Snow-covered rustic mountains.
Small hamlets playing peek-a-boo with the clouds.
Cosy homestays and their mouth-watering food.
Gushing mountain streams at every corner of the road.
Friendly and welcoming people.
Some awe-inspiring viewpoints and mesmerising natural beauty.
Welcome to silk route. Once this was a famous trade route and now an equally popular tourist location of the country.
After COVID, this is our first tour of these beautiful Himalayan places. Here we will share a tour to Munsong and Sillery Gaon with every detail.
How to Reach
To set foot on this road, first, you have to reach New Jalpaiguri by train or Bagdogra by air. We avail a train and reached NJP railway station at around 4 am. From the railway station or airport, take your reserved car. The car will be with you throughout the tour.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit this route is from November to early December and from the end of February to May. During this time the weather will be clear and you can enjoy the natural beauty of this place. From June to October Monsoon will interrupt your tour and from the end of December to Mid-February maximum roads will be closed due to heavy snow.
On day-1 of take your reserved car from NJP and move towards the first destination Munsong. The journey itself is a remarkable one. A narrow twisty mountain road passes between lush green forests. Often you can see some small quiet locality on both sides of this road. On this road first, stop at a viewpoint and from here enjoy the gorgeous view of River Tista. Moving further through this forest-covered hilly road you will reach the first destination of your tour Munsong. A sleepy village of Kalimpong district which is a part of the old silk route.
Here, you will find comfortable homestays where you can spend the night. We stayed here at Basera farm stay. The views of the surrounding from the balcony are awesome. There is a small farm inside the complex which is also quite good.
Places to Visit Here
After lunch, go for local sightseeing. The first destination is the Tista River viewpoint.
High on top of a mountain, this place is famous for gorgeous views of the surrounding. To reach the exact viewpoint, you have to climb a few steps. Once you reach the viewpoint the first thing you will notice here is absolute silence. The only sound to hear is of crickets. A perfect place to enjoy nature and its true beauty. Small plant-covered narrow pathway, some colourful flowers, layers of green mountains lying in front- all these can be experienced here. If you have the luck then you can see at moments thick clouds shielded the mountain top and on the next moment lift the shield and there will be a bright clear sky above you. Just like a child playing hide and seek. No word can explain this beauty. Thousands of feet below, there lying River Tista and from this mountain top, the flowing river appears like a sparking twisty silver band. Mesmerizing beauty. After spending some time here, let’s move towards the next point “Meditation Point”.
The road to the Meditation point from Tista River View Point passes through a small local village. You can see Buddhist prayer flags all around this pathway. Like the previous location, this one is also a beautiful place on top of a mountain surrounded by greeneries. The only difference is here you can see the green forest on both sides of the path and several feet below lies the locality. There is a concrete shade here where you can sit for a while and take rest. After visiting this place return to your homestay and spend the night there.
On day-2 morning, go to visit Sillery Gaon from Munsong. This is a day-long trip.
On this trip first, stop at Debrali viewpoint. The way to Debrali viewpoint is as beautiful as other tranquil Himalayan mountain roads. Tall fresh trees on both sides of the road, some unknown flowers all you can see here. Sometimes the road passes through little hamlets. As we visited this place just after the lockdown, we experience little to no tourist here and the surrounding is absolutely clean and have no traces of plastic and garbage.
Debrali View Point
At Debrali viewpoint you will see abundant natural beauty. Once you get down of your car first you will notice the tranquillity of this place. There is a single small tea stall which sells tea and some tit-bits. Where ever you look up, tall trees, rows of marigold and some other tiny local flowers, clear sky, Buddhist prayer flags will catch your eyes. As soon as you look forward, you will see layers after layers of the mountain covered with lush greeneries laying in front of you. No doubt, this place is mesmerizing.
From here go to visit Sillery Gaon following the silk route trail. Sillery is a cool hamlet near Kalimpong. The place is famous for natural beauty and gorgeous views of the Himalayan mountain ranges.
If you wish, you can stay here. There are some good homestays run by the local community. The local people here are peaceful and welcoming. At the village entry, we saw some children enjoying themselves, and it was a delight to watch them. Every homestay here, you will get comfortable stays and mouth-watering local food prepared by the locals.
After completing the village tour move towards Damsang Fort. It will take a little walk of around 30-45 mins to reach the main fort area. A narrow pebbled path leads to the fort area which passes through the dense forest. Before entering the fort we saw a small waterfall and our guide mentions that its water never dries up. The place is known as Rani Nali. Once the Lepcha King made this place and it was the bathing area of Lepcha Queen.
Moving ahead you will reach the fort complex. The fort is in complete ruin now. We only saw the prayer hall of the Lepcha King where he used to prayer in the morning and the evening. The Bhutanese first captured the fortand in later days it was captured by the British. They abandoned the place and eventually it was ruined. Nowadays, Lepcha people try to recover it and every year, in December they came here to celebrate a festival.
After visiting this fort come back to Sillery Gaon and then in the afternoon go to visit another famous viewpoint Remitey Dara. This viewpoint is mostly known for its eye-catching views of the Himalayan mountain ranges.
To reach the viewpoint you will have to walk a short distance through a village road. This particular point is on top of a hill. From this hilltop, you can not only see the Himalayan Mountains but can also see the beautiful river Tista several feet below. Spend some time in the lap of nature here.
From Ramitey Dara come back to Sillery Gaon. Either you can spend your night here or can also go back to Munsong and stay there. We went back to Munsong for night stay.
Accommodation and Food
In both Munsong and Sillery Gaon, you will find local homestays or farm stays for accommodation. All these accommodation have basic facilities. Generally, these places are run by local people and they offer accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner and two times tea. The charges for the facility is around Rs1200 per person per day. The reserved car 9 generally 8-seater, will cost around Rs4000 per day.