Takdah is an newly developed tourist destination located at an altitude of 4000 ft and is 28 km away from Darjeeling. The word ‘Takdah’ means covered in fog or mist, which can be evident when walking through the road as it frequently gets dark and misty. The small settlement of Takdah stretches up to 1 km in length and basically has few houses, homestays, shops, pharmacies, eateries and two banks – state bank and central banks on both sides of the road. There are two ATM’s there and mobile connectivity is quite good, I had Jio and Airtel, both worked fine. I visited Takdah in September for the purpose for photography.
Why visit Takdah
Takdah should be visited if you want to get away from hustle and bustle of a large city and breathe fresh air into your lungs. Takdah is still unknown to a lot of tourists, so you can spend some lone time with yourself and nature. You can also undertake short trekking to nearby places and enjoy the scenic beauty. Also, I felt that walking through those dark misty roads surrounded by tall pine trees, will give you a sense of living in wilderness, which will last for a lifetime. I traveled to Takdah solo from Darjeeling and stayed at a homestay for 2 days.
Takdah was established in 1864 and was a British military quarter. You can still see and live in old heritage bungalows of the past like Takdah Club Bungalow and Saino Heritage Guest House, both which have been converted to guest houses.
There is also a orchid center, which you can see while entering Takdah. I did not enter it though and only took a picture from outside.
Places to visit near Takdah
Rangli Rungliot tea garden
Rangli Rungliot is the first tea garden you will spot when coming down from Takdah. It is located just 2 kms away and can be easily reached on foot or you can also hop on a shared vehicle passing on the way. It is very beautiful to look at and you would feel that you have gone to an exotic foreign location. There is also a small village, a police station and a monastery in these tea gardens. I would suggest everybody to walk through these gardens so that you fully appreciate the beauty.
Scenic beauty of Rangli Rangliot tea garden.
Gielle tea garden
Gielle tea garden is located 5 kms away from Takdah and stretches further for a few kilometres. It can be easily reached by shared vehicles. There are a lot of scenic view points along the way. The entire area is just filled with greenery and if you walk the road instead of traveling by a car you will enjoy it further. The Gielle tea estate factory can be seen from the main road where you can spot tea garden workers plucking tea leaves. You can go inside the factory if you want although I did not go inside it and enjoyed the beauty from outside.
Gielle Bhanjyang Bazaar
Gielle Bhanjyang bazaar is a small settlement surrounded by tea gardens and comprises of few houses and shops. It is a important shopping center for people coming from nearby tea estates. A small road goes downhill there which leads to the Namring tea garden. There is a Martyr’s Memorial or Shaheed Smarak before the bazaar, from where you can get panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the bazaar itself. The picture below has been taken from there.
Namring tea garden
Namring tea garden is located 5 kms away from Takdah and can be reached by taking a small road going downhill from the Gielle Bhanjyang bazaar. The picture below was taken on the downhill road near to the bazaar.
Teesta valley tea garden
Teesta valley tea garden is located 10 kms away from Takdah and shared jeeps regularly ply there from Takdah and Siliguri. It is a very large tea estate and visiting the entire area will take a lot of time. Nevertheless, the starting point of the garden can be visited which is very scenic with numerous mountains on the other side of the garden.
Tinchuley is located 3 kms away from Takdah, but there are no shared vehicles to go there. I saw that local people generally take lift from mini trucks to go there. You have to show your hand and ask them which direction are they going. They charge nominally, I paid Rs 20 while going to Tinchuley and Rs 20 which coming back. However, if you are in a group or have luggage with you, it is better to reserve a car, they will charge Rs 100. Tinchuley is even smaller than Takdah and I could not even get mobile connectivity. I found it covered in fog. There is a small observatory there from where you can get clear views of Kanchenjunga, but it found it ill maintained and covered with trees. There are few homestays in Tinchuley, if you want to stay.
Poomong Barbotey Hanging Bridge
Poomong Barbotey Hanging Bridge is located 8 kms away from Takdah. It is a 100 year old hanging bridge, I could not visit it due to time constraints and lack of shared vehicles. I am not sure if any shared vehicle goes that way, but you can visit it if you want as it quite beautiful to look at, although I read it is suffering from lack of maintenance.
Where to stay
Takdah has several home stays run by local people catering to tourists. Most of them are budget stays, but the hospitality they provide is unparalleled. If you want to book home stays, you can easily do it with Booking.com. It is better to stay in the cantonment area, as the bus stops there, plus there are shared vehicles, shops, banks, eateries there, in case you need anything.
How to reach
Buses go to Takdah from Darjeeling at regular intervals. The earliest bus is at 9 am and the last bus is at 3 pm. Shared jeeps do not from Darjeeling. Despite the distance being 28 km, it took one and half hours to reach Takdah. From Siliguri, shared jeeps are also available.
If you are a budget traveler or adventurous like me, you can visit all these places by shared vehicles, but it will be difficult as vehicles are less. It is better to stand near the road that goes down to the Rungli rungliot as most of the shared vehicles go by that route and do not enter the town of Takdah. Shared vehicles generally ply from 8 am to 5 pm and you would have to wait at least half an hour to get one, sometimes they are full and then you have to wait further more. If you are in a family or group, it is best to hire a private vehicle.
When to visit
Takdah has a pleasant and cool climate all year around. However, it is best to avoid it during peak monsoon season.
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