Kurseong, means ‘the land of white Orchids’ in the local Lepcha language. Situated at about 47 kms from Siliguri, this hamlet offers stupendous views of the Kanchenjunga, sprawling tea estates, thriving forest reserves and a close encounter with some of the most endangered species of the world. Here are top five things you must do when in Kurseong.
Five Things You Must Do When In Kurseong
Take A Hike To Eagle’s Crag
Eagle's Crag viewpoint is Kurseong’s best-kept secret. A short distance from Kurseong railway station, you can have a sweeping view of the surroundings from here. Revel in stunning panoramic views of the mighty mountains as well as lush green slopes around the small town of Kurseong with the river Teesta snaking its way through the valley. This place has a cafeteria, a watch tower and a flower garden. It also houses the water reservoir for the entire town of Kurseong.
Sip On A Hot Cuppa At Makaibari Tea Estate
When in Kurseong, you must visit the Makaibari Tea Estate for its cozy homestays, misty mornings, picturesque landscapes, and of course for a good cup of tea. The estate offers guided tours where you can meet the workers, get to know the history, art and the science behind tea processing. You can also take part in tea-tasting sessions. A full guided tour generally costs INR 500.
Spot A Deer At Dow Hill Park
Situated in the Dow Hill area the Deer Park is one of the major tourist attractions in Kurseong where deer used to roam freely before the human population growth made it necessary to create an enclosure. Near the Deer park is a water reservior from where you can have good view of the plains. Although the fenced park itself is quite small, there is a gazebo in the park where you can sit and relax, while the children enjoy the swings and slides. The park is open from 10am to 4pm. Closed on Thursdays. There’s a small entry fee to enter the park.
Learn About Rare Animals At Forest Museum
While you’re in the Dow Hill area, visit the Forest Museum maintained by the Forest Department. It’s a treat for nature lovers of all ages. You can learn about various flora & fauna that inhabited the forest in the past through rare exhibits like animal skins, bones, hides, selection of models, photographs of certain fauna of the forest regions, other forest produces and artifacts. Although you might be a little disappointed by the condition in which these exhibits are kept.
Say Hello To The Endangered Salamanders
Visit the favourite haunt of British visitors back in the day, Salamander Lake. A boat ride on the lake used to be the show-stealer. But following a massive landslide in 1968, the debris filled up almost the entire water-body, turning it into a swamp. Later, cleaned out and revived by the locals, this lake is now a sanctuary for himalayan black salamanders (the rarest and most endangered species of salamanders on the brink of extinction). Try not to pollute this already fragile environment by snacking or littering there.