TOURISM: 3 trails to track nature – Kurseong gets ready to open tourism route in September

TOURISM: 3 trails to track nature – Kurseong gets ready to open tourism route in September – a pipe dream till separation from Bengal realised ?!!

A view of terraced fields at Sittong near Kurseong - a trekkers paradise ?!! (TT)


Siliguri, Aug. 2: Kurseong in its full beauty will soon be open to tourists who love to trudge through coniferous forests past gushing waterfalls, a salamander lake, a butterfly zone, terraced fields and lush tea garden.

The Land of White Orchids — Kurseong as it is known in local Lepcha language — is more popular now as a halt en route to Darjeeling from the plains, than as a tourist spot.

But Himalayan Eco-Tourism Welfare Society, a Kurseong-based NGO, has taken an initiative to promote Kurseong as a prime trekking zone. It has charted out three trails for nature enthusiasts.

One of the homestay facilities for trekkers at Kunti Tar - a private initiative ?!! (TT)

“So far, the place has been less popular than Darjeeling and Kalimpong as a tourist spot. But it will take just a trek in the remote busties (villages) to discover the beauty of Kurseong. We will take visitors to the unexplored sites in the subdivision from the coming tourist season in September,” said Roshan Lama, the secretary of the Welfare Society.

Of the three trails, two lead to a common destination of Baggaura — also known as the zero point because of its highest elevation in Kurseong.

Travel Tips - all within Darjeeling ?!!

A winding uphill path from Kurseong station leads to Dowhill forest, where Victoria and Dowhill Schools — both more than 130 years old — are sheltered amid thick vegetative cover. A forest museum housing rare species of Himalayan flora and fauna can also be found on the way.

Further on, Deorali and Chimney Dara offer spectacular views of the Kanchenjungha and Balasun river. At Baggaura, one can spot a lot of birds and get a view of the Teesta. The tourists can pass through Selphu and Sittong during their downward trip to Lohapool along NH 31.

“From Selphu, the trekkers can climb to the salamander lake at Namthing, surrounded by dense flora. Apart from salamanders, various types of toads, too, are found there,” said Y.K. Rai, the convener of the Welfare Society.

The trekkers can enjoy a variety of fun on the route. They can chase colourful butterflies at Kunti Tar on the bank of the Riyang and visit an ancient Lepcha museum.

The other trail starts from Gairigaon (located 10km from Kurseong on the way to Darjeeling) and passes through the Old Military Road — meant exclusively for the use of British soldiers in the past — which is lined up with birch, pine and silver firs on either side.

“From Baggaura, the trekkers can go to Tiger Hill via Chattakpur. Although Tiger Hill is a famous sunrise viewpoint, another unexplored site along this trail is Lal Khutti, which provides a spectacular view of sunrise,” said Lama.

The third trail is a leisurely walk past sparkling waterfalls from Giddhapahar (10km from Kurseong) to Maldiram Tea Estate (one of the oldest gardens in the hills) via Chittrey, Majua and Jungpana.

“At Giddapahar, tourists can visit Netaji Museum where Subash Chandra Bose had spent seven months under house arrest in 1936. The other USP of this trail is waterfalls that are dotted along the route,” Lama said.

“The distance of the trails ranges between 22km and 27km and it will take three days to complete one trek. There are homestay facilities and lodges for tourists to stay. We have around 10 trained guides to lead the travellers on these routes,” said Lama.

State has not utilised Central funds: Minister – while Sikkim got the National award ?!! No wonder the just agitation, Bengal to be squarely blamed ?!!

From The Statesman

KOLKATA, 2 AUG, 2010: The state government has failed to utilise Central funds which was given for upgradation of infrastructure for promoting tourism, Union minister of state for tourism, Mr Sultan Ahmed said today.

He was talking to media persons at Town Hall after the valedictory function of travel and tourism fair. The three day fair was organised by the Fairfest Media Ltd at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.

There is no dearth of funds for upgradation of infrastructure for tourism in the state but there is lack of initiative on the part of the state government to utilise the funds, Mr Ahmed said.

He said the Centre had sanctioned Rs 20 crore for the Ganga Heritage River Cruise Project but the project is yet to be completed.

The Centre sanctioned  another Rs 25 crore for the beautification and the development of the banks of the river of Hooghly, said Mr Ahmed regretting that the state government had failed to utilise Central  funds for the past five years.

Mr Sovan Chatterjee, mayor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation said the  government has failed to develop many tourist spots including Sundarban, Dooars, Darjeeling and Digha.

The government also failed to promote the existing tourist spots to domestic and international tourists, Mr Chatterjee said. SNS 


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