Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Level: Easy
Time: 2 days (2 way)

Todey(1500 m) and Tangta are two small settlements at the extreme end of Indian border, adjoining the neighbouring kingdom of Bhutan. These two hamlets were primarily important for large yields of cardamom. But in the recent years, the yield has declined heavily, due to some widespread fungal disease to the plants. Tangta is also well known as the gateway to the beautiful Rochella peak.

Take the 7 a.m. North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) bus from Siliguri to Bindu. Excellent bus service. The bus will cover the 108 Km distance till Bindu(650 m) by 11.30 a.m. Bindu is a quiet village at the very border of India with Bhutan. At its, northernmost reach, the most imposing figure of Bindu is the dam with hydel power turbines. It is a part of the Jaldhaka Hydel Power project. The torrential waters of river Jaldhaka enters the national boundaries of India at this very point. The river also forms a natural boundary between the two countries. Take a walk to the land of Bhutan through the footbridge accompanying the dam. A project of the West Bengal State Electricity Board, it is the first hydroelectricity project to go in operation in independent India. Bathing and lunch at Bindu.

Take a ride by the 1.30 pm MAXX share jeep back to Paren. Reach Paren in half an hour. Change to another Sawari or MAXX which will take you to Todey in an hour. Stay at the home lodge of Prem Kumar Rai at Todey. Previous booking not possible unless by snail mail. No telephone or cellphone service at Todey. In the evening , visit two churches. St. Nicholas' church is quite a big one, situated on a high ground above the main settlement of Todey. The Church of North India is a humble cottage, about 110 years old. It is located at a lower level, just below the main ground of Todey. Stay the night at Todey.
Next morning after breakfast, set out for Tangta. Hiring a local guide is advisable. The trail to Tangta starts from the Church of North India. First part, a very small portion, is metal road. You will pass a big missionary school. On the first day of trek, while walking towards Tangta, take a detour to the bed of 'Todey Khola' river to take a refreshing bath. This small relaxation will cost you an extra hour. So it will make your total journey time to Tangta four hours instead of three.

There are no lodges or trekkers' hut to stay at Tangta. You can always carry a tent, but there is another option. You can stay at the home of Nipu Tshering, one of the villagers. There you can stay at homely comfort as a member of their family, for a nominal payment.

Further venture can take you to Rachella peak, which is six to eight hours climb from Tangta. Load carrying horses are available at Tangta. In Rachella there are many natural lakes.

While returning back to Todey, take a dip in the medicinal waters of Dabai Khola. Its water contains sulfur and other minerals which is said to have healing properties for skin diseases.

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