Trip to Bijanbari from Darjeeling
Out of the many beautiful day trips from Darjeeling, Bijanbari will rate as one of the best. You can also spend a few nights here with the nature and visit several nearby hamlets. Bijanbari is a small town located at a valley and at an altitude of about 2,500ft (i.e. 760m).
Bijanbari: River little Rangeet flowing though the valley
Bijanbari has a resident population of only a few thousand people. The local language is Nepali. Don't expect city facilities here. You are travelling only to experience the simple life people lead there and enjoy the nature around. The town goes to sleep by 8pm.
There are only three private and one government schools in the area. A government aided college known as Bijanbari Degree College was established here in November, 1995.
While there are several routes to get to Bijanbari (discussed under 'How to reach' section), the original route is via Ghoom on Hill Cart Road... there is a winding scenic road that goes down from Ghoom area
all the way leading down to the sleepy town of Bijanbari. The road is not in good condition in several sections, so a large vehicle with good ground clearance is preferable.
As you drive down by this scenic road, you will pass by some lovely mountain streams, waterfalls, award winning tea gardens and unspoiled forests. Over this stretch of 23kms, the road drops by about 4800 ft. About 8kms from Ghoom along this road you will see the great Hima Falls which is also a popular picnic spot. A beautiful bridge crosses over the stream that originates from this waterfall.
Bijanbari as seen from a distance
Further down and another 6km (i.e. 3.6 miles) away, you will find the Biswambhar Rock, a steep 50-ft high rock rising almost vertically. You will also pass by some beautiful tea gardens like Marybong, Rishihaat, Chontong etc. You get breathtaking view of Darjeeling town and adjoining areas from a number of spots on the way.
When you get near Bijanbari, you will see the River Little Rangeet (known locally as Chota Rangeet) flowing over a bed of rocks and boulders, and separating the hills at Poolbazar. There are several picnic spots by the river side. There are also some basic food stalls by the river side.
River little Rangeet at Bijanbari
The valley around the river Rangeet has many fruit orchards like apple, orange, pineapple and others. There are many agricultural products that are grown in the valley including rice, potatoes, tomato, cabbage and lot more. Rice is cultivated in the months of June-July and harvested in January.
Poolbazar (or Pulbazar) is a place close to Bijanbari town. This is where the oldest and the biggest market of Darjeeling district sets up where farmers sell vegetables and trade farm animals. This village market is known as 'haat' in colloquial terms and is set up weekly on Fridays.
There is a Hindu temple in Poolbazar known as Panchaga Mandir that was established in 1971. Inside you will see great images of goddess Durga, Lord Shiva, Ganesha and others. The idols are all carved on stones and painted with bright colors. They have been created by the artist Lal Prashad Rai.
About 2km from Poolbazar, you will reach a Sericulture Farm that makes products out of mulberry bushes and silk worms. If you go towards the higher reaches from Bijanbari, you can reach several pristine villages such as Kainjalia, Lodhoma, Rimbik etc. You can see the hydroelectric power plant Rammam Hydel Power Station located at Lodhoma, 17kms away from Bijanbari. You can witness how the water is captured at the fiercely flowing stream to generate power. Here on one side you will see lovely orange orchard and on the other side is a steeply rising hill.
There are some great hiking routes from Bijanbari. Singla Bazar can be reached in about 4 hours, Relling is about 8 kms (5 miles) away and Soom Tea Estate is about 4 hours walk from Bijanbari. Other nice places offering great walks and picnic spots include Kaizalay, Gok, Kainjalia, Jhepi, Sumbuck, Rimbik etc. There is another place called Kolbong which is about 5km from Kainjali (14kms from Bijanbari) where the viewpoint School Dara offer a lovely view of Daramdin, a place in Sikkim.
There is also a trekking route from Bijanbari that leads to the Singalila Range. From Bijanbari, the trek route goes through the villages of Jhepi, Kainjalia, Lodhoma etc and reaches Rimbick. From Rimbick, you can go towards Rammam and all the way to Gorkhey and reach Phalut
. Alternatively, from Rimbick you can take the trail through Srikhola and Gurdum and reach Sandakphu
If you are coming from NJP/Siliguri or Bagdogra by Hill Cart Road (NH-110), then you can take the diversion from Ghum to the left, go past Mariabong Tea Gardens and further down to Bijanbari. From Ghum, Bijanbari is 23 kilometers (14 miles) away along this route. From NJP/ Bagdogra, Bijanbari is about 90kms away and will take about 3 & half hours by car.
From Darjeeling, there is a new road now to Bijanbari (known as CV Raman Road) that branches off Lebong Cart Road near St. Joseph's College, goes past Soom Tea Garden all the way down to Bijanbari... the distance between Darjeeling and Bijanbari on this route is 15kms and takes 1 hour 10 minutes by car. Another route from Darjeeling is via Tukvar Tea Estate, Jamuni bridge, Pulbazaar ... takes about 1 hour 15 minutes (24kms).
In Darjeeling, you can hire a cab from the taxi stand at Chowk Bazaar or Gandhi Road (Club-side taxi stand). You can also take a shared jeep from Chowk Bazaar. There are also Darjeeling-Bijanbari buses that leave from the bus stand (located near Chowk Bazaar) early in the morning.
Alternatively check out with the GTA tourism office located on the Mall Road. They offer the above tour during high season on a per person rate. They use a jeep or a mini bus. You will need to pack your lunch or have it from the river side food stalls. For address and contacts of GTA office, check out Darjeeling Tourist Information Centers
GTA Tourism Center on Darjeeling Mall Road no longer offers the tour, but they can provide information about Bijanbari and how to reach.
There are no great restaurants in Bijanbari, just one or two eateries offering basic vegetarian food that are often used by locals and trekkers. So if you are on a day trip from Darjeeling and looking for good food, then carry it along with you. There are several picnic spots on the river banks. There are also a few food stalls by the river side selling basic snacks.
If you happen to visit Lodhoma, then there is the Sainik Restaurant & Lodge located at the Lodhoma Bazaar... it's a budget restaurant which serves traditional Nepali food, Chinese food as well as Tibetan snacks like hot momos. The food prepared here is very nice.
Bamboo Resort and ATV Park
This is a wonderful little gem of a budget accommodation in Bijanbari in a spread-out area located right by the river Little Rangeet and surrounded by lush vegetation. There are several cottages scatter in the grounds, all with straw thatched rooms to make them blend with the natural surroundings.
Bamboo Resort & ATV Park
There are two swimming pools (not too large though) where you can take a dip and relax during the non-winter seasons and enjoy the views of the mountains and the nature right from the pools.
The river Little Rangeet (locally known as Chota Rangeet) flows right next to the property with a roaring sound. And that sound of the river flow can be heard even from the cottages, particularly during the monsoon when the river is in full flow.
Cottages are simple and have basic amenities. Some of them are two-storied cottages while the rest are single storied ones. Since it can get quite warm during the day times in summer, stand fans are provided in the rooms. The bathrooms are of western style, have geysers, and nicely done up. The water supply in the cottages can be an issue at times.
A cottage room
They have a roof-covered alfresco sitting & dining area right by the rive side. They serve Indian and Chinese food and the food served is quite nice. The vegetables are mostly sourced from their own organic farm. They can also make food suited to your choice.
Dining area. Photo: Bamboo Resort & AATV Park
They can arrange for bonfire, barbecue, trekking, ATV trail jungle camping, fishing etc. You can also use their blue ATV vehicle and explore the farm area... it's fun. There is car parking in the resort. They can also arrange for car pick up and drop. Pets are allowed in the property.
You can take all inclusive package where the rates include room plus all meals. Or pay for the room and food separately.
The resort is owned and operated by Netra Ghalay.
It's located near Chota Rangeet Hydel Power Station, Lower Reilling, Bijanbari.
Phone: 085888 27280; +91 8597759361
There is a nice budget homestay at Lamagaon (about 11kms from Bijanbari). It's on the hills and at a higher altitude (5,200ft). Rooms are well furnished and the property has beautiful flower gardens and even small animals like rabbits. Food is good and homemade. Fresh homemade breads, mangoes (in season), fruit juices, Nepali thali (platter) are some of the highlights.
They grow several types of fruits and vegetables in their gardens including oranges, squash etc. Non-vegetarian food is also served including chicken and even freshly caught fish. You can also try barbecue in village style by roasting your meat on log fire. The homestay organizes treks, bird watching, fishing, local sightseeing etc.
Phone: (+91) 94346 10510, 98323 30100
Most other accommodations are basic with shared bathrooms and mainly meant for the trekkers. There is an Inspection Bungalow on top of a ridge which can also be availed through the state department.
1) Check out River Teesta & Rangeet
Confluence to know about a magnificent spectacle where the two rivers meet at a nearby area.
3) Check out Darjeeling Tours
to know about many other wonderful places that you can visit from Darjeeling within hours.
Rajorshi Basu Roy Chowdhury (October 2013)
Hello Raj, I found this site most informative an I need information about BijonBari as I have limited budget and want to explore that place for about 5 days which include some other places around it. I wish to stay at "Home Stay or other place to stay" in a clean home with a clean toilet. Basically I don't need any meal over there as I am an regular trekker and used to go out before dawn. This time my small family is also along with me so I might need to get dinner from them. What's basically I need from you is a contact number of one of them you know better so that I can find all the information about the rates and other things from them. Please co-operate as you can, and that will be a great help to me. Date of visit: 20.11.2013 to 25.11.2013. Thank You. Regards
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2013
Hi, You won't find any good hotel at the main area of Bijanbari like in Poolbazaar etc, particularly to stay with family. I suggest you stay at Karmi Farm which is located at Kolbong only few miles away. From Bijanbari, you will get shared jeeps, taxi etc to reach the farm. Andrew runs the farm and has a main house with couple of annex cottages below the main house. There are dorms with shared toilets as well as private rooms with attached toilets. Excellent place for views across to Sikkim, trekking and birdwatching. You will however need to take in-house food (mostly veg though and prepared in Nepalese, Sikkimese style). Email: [email protected]