DiPuDa. Digha. Puri. Darjeeling. Bengalis love these destinations as much as they love their aloo posto. But these days, DiPuDa has competition. From Jaldapara, Gorumara, Jhalong, Buxa National Park, Samsing, Murti, to Lataguri or Madarihat, Bengali tourists have found their comfort in the Dooars region in North Bengal too. However, a few places in Dooars remain less explored. 102 km from New Jalpaiguri, the sleepy hamlet of Chamurchi along the banks of river Diana is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty.
It’s for those looking for a weekend destination near Kolkata with plenty of natural light and planning to immerse themselves in Mother Nature. With no tourist rush and distinctive silence all over the place, Chamurchi guarantees you one thing we strive for in our mundane city life — a better sleep.
Tucked away in the Banarhat area of Jalpaiguri district, Chamurchi is close to the Bhutan border. The nearest railway station is Banarhat, but only a few passenger and DMU trains halt here. It’s best to take a train till New Jalpaiguri and then hire a car till Chamurchi. Drive through Malbazar, Chalsa to reach Chamurchi or you can also take the National Highway 31 and then enter Banarhat.
Often referred to as the ‘Gateway to Bhutan’, Chamurchi will win you over with the lush greenery and lovely panoramic views. With the tearing clouds and the misty breeze (best to visit from November to January), Chamurchi is an escape from the urban crush. And if you are someone who enjoys trek, then you have another reason to fall in love with this hamlet.
Chamurchi is well-known for its Mahakal trek. For a trek of six km, you need to walk through the Diana riverbed. Only then you will reach the base of the hill, which has the famous Chamurchi Mahakal. Trek a little further and you will reach the ‘musical stone cave’. You will find stalactite and stalagmite formations here. Try tossing a stone on the ground and you can hear the music, hence the name. The ‘musical stone cave’ with its stalactite and stalagmite formations might take you to the Borra Caves located in the Ananthagiri hills of Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam. During Shivaratri, this ‘musical stone cave’ attracts locals. They consider it as a temple of Lord Shiva.
If you are staying a day or two at Chamurchi, make a quick visit to the Bhutan gate. It is one of the 18 gates that marks the end of the Indian border and the beginning of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Also, the Chamurchi tea garden is worth a visit. Try to make some more time and visit Samchi in Bhutan. The monastery will calm the soul.
If you are planning to stay here, then the Chamurchi Eco Resort is strategically located. With the meandering river and sprawling gardens, the property is ideal for a weekend vacation. A fortunate tourist can even catch a glimpse of the mighty Kangchenjunga just sitting near the riverbed at Chamurchi. It can be an experience to cherish for a long time.