Tonglu

 
 
Tonglu is a small settlement and a mountain hamlet along the route to Sandakphu and located in Darjeeling district. This is usually where the trekkers halt for the first night at the GTA (Gorkha Territorial Administration) lodge. There is also a District Magistrate's (DM's) Bungalow which can also be booked through DM's office in Darjeeling and Siliguri. 
 
Tonglu is actually one of the peaks of Singalila range and located at an altitude of 10,130ft. Earlier in 1800s this place was part of Sikkim and known as Mount Tonglo. This was during the time when Sir Joseph Hooker came here and other places around on expeditions to discover the plantations of the area. 
 
 
 
Tonglu is about 2kms from Meghma and it takes about 1 hour trek to reach the GTA lodge from Meghma. The Gravel road for vehicles (which is also the trek route for most part) comes here from Meghma and continues ahead to Tumling which is another 2kms away. Trekkers not willing to stay overnight at GTA lodge can also take a diversion (a trekking trail) before reaching the GTA lodge and go down to Tumling on a route which is a little shorter). 
 
The last stretch of the route to Tonglu from Meghma is quite steep and the it's an uphill climb all the way. However from Tonglu towards Tumling is a quick descend. It was only when I was approaching Tonglu recently in April, when I got the first glance of Rhododendrons (see the red flowers at the turning of the steep road). 
 
Road to Tonglu from Meghma 
 
 
Masterji, the knowledgeable man at Manebhanjan told me that these days perhaps due to global warming, you can hardly see rhododendrons blossoming at the lower altitudes along Sandakphu route. Once you go past Gairibas, you can start seeing lots of them as the temperature becomes cooler there. In fact earlier due to exceptionally low temperatures at the higher reaches of Singalila range, the flowers could be mostly seen at the lower reaches. Now it has reversed. 
 
GTA Lodge, Tonglu 
 
 
The GTA lodge has both rooms and dormitory beds and located in a lovely spread out area. Visit GTA Tourism Info to know about booking GTA lodges.  
 
Right outside its premises is a viewing point (in fact two of them nearby) that are excellent vantage points to watch the Kanchenjunga snow peaks during a clear day and the lovely mountain landscapes around. At night, you can also see the lights of Darjeeling and Kurseong towns. And far below you can also trace the Koshi river. 
 
A view point, Tonglu 
 
 
The DM's bungalow is also great and located next to GTA lodge. It offers great views from the rooms. The cook prepares nice meals to order.  
 
DM's Bungalow, Tonglu 
 
 
Farming activities at Tonglu 
 
 
 
 

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Visitors' Reviews/Comments

 
 
Abhijit Sarkar (November 2018) 
Dear Raj, As per your advice we had a tour to Tonglu from Darjeeling. Luckily we met Sukhraj (a Maneybhanjan based Max driver), who picked us up from Darjeeling and drove us up to Tonglu. We were astonished. The journey had been amazing. The GTA lodge was simply superb. The weather was clear and sunny. The momos at Tumling were yummy. The best vacation I have ever spent. Thanks Raj, once again. 
 
Abhijit Sarkar (July 2018) 
Mr. Raj, I do really follow your answers and suggestions when I visit Darjeeling. This Nov 5th, 2018 we have planned to visit Tonglu from Darjeeling. How will the temperature expected to be? Which is the best tourist lodge and from where to book? Waiting eagerly for your suggestion. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) July 2018 
GTA Lodge is basically the only tourist accommodation in Tonglu which is a budget lodge, but nice. You can book from Gorkha Bhawan at Salt Lake, Kolkata. Nearby Tumling has several lodging choices (Sikhar Lodge, Siddhartha Hotel etc) and has better motorable road from Meghma onwards. 
 
Pyali Chakraborty (May 2018) 
I follow your website religiously. It is indeed extremely helpful. I am planning to visit Tonglu from Darjeeling and back on same day on 1st July. How are the visibility and roads during that time? Can I hope to enjoy scenic beauty of the place during that time? 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2018 
The route up to Meghma has been converted to a concrete road in recent times and the journey to Tonglu will be smooth except the last stretch of about 2kms. But you need to change to a local Land Rover at Manebhanjan (they don't allow other vehicles to ply on that route). July is in peak monsoon time... so expect heavy showers. Visibility is likely to be quite low. You can still enjoy the drive. 
 
Sasikiran (October 2017) 
Hi Raj, Is it possible to visit Tonglu and come back to Darjeeling on same day? áUsually how much time it takes? áAnd what would be appropriate tax fare for that? Regards, 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2017 
Taxis won't go all the way. You need to take a Land Rover from Manebhanjan - a jeep type vehicle. Darjeeling to Manebhanjan takes 1 hr 15 minutes, from there another 1 hr 40 minutes to Tonglu... you can also consider visiting Tumling (near Tonglu). 
 
D J Ghosh (October 2016) 
Dear Mr. Bhattacharya, I have been touring all over India and especially North Bengal and Sikkim in a self ádriven car with my family for a long time. Please let me know whether it will be possible to visit Tonglu in the last week of February,2017 in a self driven vehicle, how is the GTA Lodge? will there be snow during that period? Since you are an expert in this field I would request you to kindly answer these queries at your convenience. Thanks. Your reply will help me in planning my tour. 
 
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2016 
There is high probability of heavy snow, and routes may not be accessible. I found knee deep snow in end Feb. And you must have a Jeep type sturdy vehicle. Tonglu GTA lodge is otherwise good. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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