Scenery and serenity come together in Bagora, offering a soothing refuge from the frenetic city life. Perched on a ridge at 2,339 metres above sea-level, this town in North Bengal is still unspoilt by the demands of tourism.
Those who leave for the hills without advance booking will do well to try Bagora rather than Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Take the serpentine Hill Cart Road (NH55) intertwining with the toy train tracks —from Siliguri. Buses ply regularly between Siliguri and Darjeeling via Kurseong and Ghoom. If you are driving down, you can take a right turn from Kurseong to reach Bagora via Dow Hill Road (16km). The drive, through a road lined with conifers, is pleasant.
The other option is to follow Hill Cart Road up to Dilaram, before taking the right turn. The road is like a long black ribbon lying in a virgin green forest of silver fir, oak, pine and birch. The forest is richer than those near Darjeeling. If you have the energy, trek the 3km from Bagora to Dilaram. It should take about an hour.
There are many rewarding walks and trekking trails from Bagora, which is known as “zero point”. A short stroll will take you near the core area of Kurseong Air Force Base, from where you can enjoy a view of the vast expanse of the Teesta.
Head towards the Forest Rest House to enjoy a wide variety of Himalayan flora ——– the well-maintained flower garden with its terraced green houses, is a sight to behold. Birdwatchers would also love the variety of feathers in the region. ——–
Those who put up at Diki House, situated on a hillock, will have a bird’s-eye view of the entire settlement with the mighty Kanchenjunga as a backdrop. If you have an appetite for adventure, walk down the dark jungle trail to Tiger Hill to watch the famous sunrise. One can plan a trek to Mongpu too.
If you are staying more than a weekend in Bagora, consider a 3-day forest trek from Kurseong to Kalijhora via Bagora, Namthing Pokhri (11km from Bagora) and Latpanchar (15km from Bagora) –
Bagora is famous for its medicinal and herbal plants. In October – November, the trees are laden with oranges. The colour of the fruit blends with the jade green of the trees. Apart from taking long walks, there’s not much to do but relax under the turquoise sky and enjoy the view of the icy mountains. You can click or paint to capture nature’s might and magnificence.
Staying at Diki House is a cosy and comfortable option The tariff is about eight hundred rupees (US$ 12) per day. Food is available on request. The other option is to stay in Kurseong, where there are plenty of hotels, and undertake a day trip to Bagora.