The pristine Himalayan hamlet Icchegaon is a newly explored tourist destination of North Bengal near Kalimpong. It is the ideal place for rejuvenating the soul of the nature lovers, who want to spend few days in the lap of the Himalaya and enjoy the beauty of the Mt. Kanchenjunga. This awe-inspiring hill-spot tucked within the pine forest offers a breathtaking view of Mt. Kanchenjunga. In the month of April –May, the valley gives you an welcome treat with its bright canopy of colorful orchid, Rhododendron, cosmos, and many unknown vibrant flowers.
How to go to Ichhegaon?
Icche-gaon is only 15 Km away from Kalimpong. New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is the nearest railway station. You can get a cab from NJP station or Bagdogra Airport. As it is an offbeat location, it’s hard to get sharing cab. I’ll suggest to prebook the cab or ask your homestay owner to send a cab for you. We visited it during our Old Silk Route trip. We had a prebook cab for the whole trip. You can make either a trip at North Bengal with Kalimpong, Ichhegaon, Lava, Rishop or you can go for the entire old silk route trip from here if you have a time of 4-5 days at least.
How to explore Ichhegaon?
Ichhegaon is basically an organic village, constitutes with 25-30 Lepcha families. Their lifestyle, their struggle, their beauty all are the part of your sightseeing when you travel in a less known hilly-village.
We stay for a day in this place and the stay was amazing. In the morning, I woke up before the sunrise. I came out from the room of our homestay to see the queen ( Mt.Kanchenjungaa). The cloud covered the valley and the surrounding hills. A small part of Mount K was visible from the layers of cloud. So, I missed the golden light of Sunrise on the snow pick of Mount K. But, the beauty of the surrounding with the flowers was mindblowing.
After the breakfast, we went to Ramety Dara, the viewpoint that offers a panoramic spectacular view of Mount K with the valley. But, we only saw the valley as the cloud-veiled over the mountain.
Sangchen Dorjee Monastery:
This is a 300 years old Bhutanese monastery and a prime attraction of Icchegaon. The old section of this monastery contains some beautiful wall paintings, which depict the various principles and tales of Tantrik Buddism.
It was built in 1690 by the Lepcha rulers to resist invasions by the neighboring states. A significant portion of this fort was destroyed, by the British forces, during the Anglo-Bhutan War of 1864. The fort has a scenic mountain backdrop with greenery all around.
Icchegaon offers long and short trekking trails towards Sillery gaon and other places. We didn’t trek, we went Sillery gaon by our cab. The night view of the valley from Ichheygaon was amazing. You can see the twinkling lights of Darjeeling and Sikkim at a distance. But, the prime attraction of Ichhegaon is its tranquillity and staying within the cloud covered Ichhe forest.
My theme for this Challenge is The OFFBEAT DESTINATIONS OF INDIA.
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