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Jhalong: Sailing With The Rivers Waves

Jhalong aka Jhalang is a little hamlet in Kalimpong under Darjeeling district in West Bengal. It is a bustling tourist destination 99 kilometres away from Siliguri, and added to the itineraries of most Dooars tour packages. Nestled in the Himalayan foothills, this hill station is located close to the Indo-Bhutan border and rests by the side of River Jaldhaka. It falls on the way to Bindu, the last Indian village on the Indo-Bhutan border.

How To Reach Jhalong?

To reach Jhalong, you have to come to Siliguri in West Bengal first. This is the gateway to North Bengal and the Dooars. It is well connected by road, rail and air. The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and the nearest airport is Bagdogra. From Siliguri, it is 103 kilometers to Bindu and Jhalong comes on the way. You have to take the road via Chalsa, which is 55 kilometres away from New Mal Junction in West Bengal.

What To See And Do In Jhalong?

  • Jaldhaka Hydro Electricity Project: A major tourist attraction here is this Hydro Electricity Project, which is operational of the namesake river.
  • Birdwatching: Jhalong is a paradise for bird lovers as well, owing to the same project. It is home to a variety of Himalayan bird species including crested kingfisher, Hodgson’s redstart, brown dipper, Eurasian wryneck, fork tail, Rufous-necked laughing thrush, and even migratory birds like waterfowls.
  • River Camping:

    River Jaldhaka offers breathtaking views, and is an ideal destination for river camping. Luxury tents are available with attached bathrooms made of concrete. The bathrooms are tiled and equipped with geysers. Moreover, washbasins, cupboards, mirrors, and changing areas are available as well. Do not forget to request a campfire and barbecue in the evening if you happen to river camp during the winters.

  • Angling: The river, once again, comes to the rescue. It is brimming with a variety of fish species, and hence, is a much-thronged spot for angling.
  • Trekking:

    You can arrange for a trek to Todney and Tangta or even to Parren, Bindu, or the nearby Neora Valley National Park. A trek though the Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary can also be enthralling. There is no dearth of wilderness around. You should certainly explore it.

  • Heritage Forest Rest House: This rest house will take you back in time, when ‘Sahibs’ and Forest Officers used to throng the land. Observe the ancient wooden floors, the fireplace and the furniture here.
  • Cardamom Plantations: This is a lesser-known fact about Jhalong. Yes, it has gradually earned a name by dint of its cardamom plantation and curing centre. Do not give this visit a miss.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Jhalong?

You can visit the place anytime except during monsoons. The heavy downpour makes it difficult and risky to river camp by the River Jaldhaka. Also, trekking becomes unpleasant and angling futile. For an incredible tour experience, visit Jhalong during winters or early and late summers. Springtime is also favourable.

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