Along the Old Silk Route #2: Romantic Rishikhola
A lonesome night at Rishikhola:
Sometimes our souls also need a holiday. Solitude can only give us that opportunity. Rishikhola is the place where one can enjoy the romance of solitude. A stay along the bank of the meandering river stream, surrounded by the lofty hills dotted with the emerald green forest is enough to enjoy one’s solitude. It is not only the place to enjoy solitude by laid-back evening stroll, but it is also the starting point of many astounding trecks. Though it is an offbeat location, still the locals of North Bengal, use it as a picnic spot or as the beautiful weekend gateway.
How to reach Rishikhola?
It is sited along the Sikkim border of Kalimpong of West Bengal. In the local language, “Khola” means River. The Reshi river separates Sikkim from the Bengal. We reached Rishikhola from New Jalpaiguri Railway (NJP) station by the car we rented for the tour of the old silk route. If you do not pre-book any car, you can also hire car from NJP station. Plenty of cars are available from the station. But, for the silk route trip, you have book a car or you have to contact any travel agencies, who have the cars for silk route trip. On the other way, you can also rent a car for the silk route trip from Rishikhola. But, in the season, you may not get that because of the high demand for tourists.
If you come by air, you can also hire a car for Rishikhola or Gangtok from Bagdogra Airport. It takes 3-4 hours from NJP/Bagdogra airport to reach Reshi Khola.
Car booking and Cost:
- The cost for the car rental for one day is about 3000-4000 INR.
- You can also rent the car by making an online booking through North Bengal Car rental.
- Our driver Tenzing Bhutia has own car for the Silk-route tour. He is a very trustworthy person and an excellent driver. Contact No.-08116923004.
- For the conducted tours, you can also Contact with the following Tour Operators, who charges the reasonable rate for the package tour.
- We booked a conducted tour through Hello Travel and found good homestays in every place and a trustworthy car driver with a comfortable car throughout the trip.
Where to stay?
If you decide to stay at Rishikhola, it will give you an amazing experience of night stay. The deep silence of hill on one side and the slightly noisy streaming sound of rolling River under the deep black mysterious sky create an amazing ambiance that you remember for a long time. The honeymoon couple must enjoy their romance in this charming ambiance of Reshikhola. The scenic beauty around the river with the chirping of birds and dancing of numerous types of butterflies will never stop your hand from pressing shutter of Digital or Mobile cameras.
There are few river cottages on the bank of the river Reshi. They charge almost the same for food and lodging. The Food includes breakfast, lunch, evening snacks with the tea/ coffee and dinner. The quality and quantity of the food are really awesome
Charges for one person for food and lodging is 800-900 INR per day.
Here are contact Numbers of the homestays/River cottages of Rishikhola.
- Reshi River Cottage is the oldest accommodation in the area. Phone- 9635836535/9635123043
- Reshi River Retreat. Phone- 9836955186, 9830947352, 8334852352, 8420424111
- PRAKRITI RIVER RETREAT – Phone-9836955186, 9830947352, 9830788403
- RISHI RETREAT FARM HOUSE- Rappelling, Rock Climbing, Fishing and many adventurous activities are organized from here. Phone– RYAN:9832372070 NORDEN:9641191669.
What to see in Rishikhola?
Reshi Khola is the place where the mountains embrace the forest and the forest embraces the river.
- The forest surrounding Rishikhola is the home for many exotic Himalayan birds like Himalayan Bulbul, White Capped Water Redstart, Plumbeous Water Redstart, Tricolour Shrike, Green Magpie, and Great Barbet making it an ideal place for bird photographers.
- The forest endowed with flora and fauna. In summer, you can find the vibrant vista of blooming rhododendron.
- The amazing landscapes of the flowing river and the greenery of mountains are mind-blowing. In one word it is the heaven for the photographers.
- It is also the good place for trekking. Even, everyone has to trek at least 2-3 Km down to reach the cottages on the bank of the river from the hillside road as the cars cannot go there.
- I don’t recommend anyone, who has arthritis or any other problem in the limbs, to go there.Even, those, who have small kids of 1-3 years, think twice to go there because parents have to carry their children during trekking through the narrow, rocky roads. But, the trekking is really amazing and exciting. My first experience of rock climbing happened in the village of Reshi Khola.
If you plan a trip to North- East India, or Sikkim or North Bengal, don’t miss a stay at the romantic Rishilkhola. We stayed here for a night. After spending an amazing night with a little drizzle. we found a crystal clear morning. In the morning, after having a heavy breakfast with Puri, Potato curry, Upma and tea, we were going out for Aritar, the entry point of the old silk route.
Please stay updated with for more stories and photos about the old silk route of Sikkim.
To know about the Silk route trip Please visit my previous post or Part 1 of the series Along the Old Silk Route.
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