Ahaldara is a beautiful Himalayan hamlet that is considered a hidden gem in the hills of West Bengal. It is situated at an elevation of 5000 feet in the Kurseong sub-division of the Darjeeling district.
This place offers a spectacular view of the sunrise over the snow-capped peaks of Kanchenjunga, which makes it a famous sunrise viewpoint near Sittong.
Ahaldara is also home to some of the exotic and rare Himalayan birds and is thus a delight for all serious birdwatchers. It is also surrounded by lush green tea gardens and pine forests which makes it an ideal destination for a quick escape from city life.
The place is small, yet filled with remarkable beauty, stunning terrain, lovely people, and good food.
In this article, you will get to know the following details about Ahaldara,
- How to reach
- Natural beauty
- Things to do
- Places to stay
- Best time to visit
- Nearby attractions
Let’s see each of these points in detail.
How to reach Ahal Dara
|NJP to Ahaldara distance
|Siliguri to Ahaldara distance
|Kurseong to Ahaldara distance
|Sittong to Ahaldara distance
From NJP or Siliguri
You can take a taxi, a shared jeep, or a bus from Siliguri or NJP to Kurseong. Then you can hire a local shared jeep or car to reach Ahaldara. The journey takes about 2 hours.
Alternatively, you can take a toy train from NJP Station to Kurseong, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The toy train runs on a narrow gauge track and offers a scenic ride through the hills and valleys. (See how to book tickets)
The toy train takes about 4 hours to reach Kurseong. You can then take a local shared jeep to Ahaldara.
You can take a taxi or shared jeep from Darjeeling to Kalojhora, about 30 km away on Sevoke Road. From Kalojhora, you can take a steep winding road that goes uphill for about 20 km to reach Ahaldara.
Another route you can take is from Darjeeling to Peshok Road, about 25 km away. From Peshok Road, you can take a left turn and follow the Latpanchar-Mahaldiram road for about 34 km to reach Ahaldara. This route may be longer but smoother than the first one.
You can take a cab or shared jeep from Sittong to Kalojhora, about 30 km away on Sevoke Road. From Kalojhora, you can take a steep winding road that goes uphill for about 20 km to reach Ahaldara.
Alternatively, you can also take a cab or shared jeep from Sittong to Bagora, about 15 km away on Hill Cart Road. From Bagora, you can take a left turn and follow the Latpanchar-Mahaldiram road for about 23 km to reach Ahaldara.
The natural beauty of Ahaldara
Ahaldara is a place where you will find peace and tranquility in the lap of nature. If you love mountains and nature, this is the perfect destination for you. The spot offers an awe-inspiring 360-degree panoramic view of the majestic Mount Kanchenjunga. It is also surrounded by tea gardens, which look like green carpets from afar.
This place is one of the famed viewpoints of North Bengal, where you can witness a stunning sunrise over the East Himalayan Range. From here, you can see the sun’s rays illuminate the snow-capped peaks.
A short walk from the viewpoint will take you to the Cinchona plantations, where you can see the contrast of green and red leaves. It’s a feast for your eyes and soul.
Ahal Dara Viewpoint
Ahaldara Viewpoint is a stunning destination that offers a panoramic view of the lush green hills and valleys of the region. From this vantage point, you can admire the majestic peaks of Gangtok, Kalimpong, Tiger Hill, Kurseong Hill, Mongpu Hill, Darjeeling Hill, Chatakpur Hill, and others. You can also see the sparkling river Teesta gushing through the valley between the ranges.
The highlight of this viewpoint is the spectacular sight of Mount Kanchenjunga. If you are lucky, you can catch a glimpse of its “sleeping Buddha” shape, which glows in the rays of the rising or setting sun.
The golden hour is a magical time to visit this viewpoint, as the transitioning sky and the hills beneath create a mesmerizing atmosphere. You can sit on the grass and spend some time adoring nature and the bliss that fills it.
Sometimes, the clouds descend and envelop the area in a misty veil, adding to the charm and mystery of the place. You can feel the freshness and fragrance of the air as you breathe in. As you sit here, time passes by like a snap of a finger.
There is a small shop at the top where you can savor delicious momos, tea, coffee, and a lot more. The people here are so welcoming. Along with good food, they also sell small plants at affordable prices and with great quality. If you love plants like me, go for it and buy as many as you can.
Things to do in Ahal Dara
There are a lot of things you can do in Ahaldara. Some of them are,
- Enjoy the 360-degree aerial view of the East Himalayan Range.
- Watch the sunrise over the snow-capped peaks.
- Go for a trek.
- Have a tour of the nearby tea gardens.
- Relax and enjoy the fresh oxygen and organic food.
- Take a walk around the village and interact with the locals.
- Take day trips to places such as Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Mirik, Lepchajagat, Latpanchar, and Sittong.
Places to stay in Ahaldara
Ahaldara has a few homestays and cottages that provide cozy accommodations and delicious food. They are owned by warm and welcoming families who will treat you like one of their own. You will also get to learn about their rich history and traditions.
We stayed at the Ahaldhara Viewpoint Homestay for a night. So let me tell you a bit more about it.
Just by the viewpoint, there is a homestay called Ahaldara Viewpoint Homestay. This is a very popular place that offers a stunning view of the surroundings.
However, you will need to book it online well in advance, at least three months before your trip. There are only five cottages available, so they fill up fast.
The price per person is around ₹1300, which covers both food and lodging. The cottages are cozy, comfortable, and clean, with attached bathrooms. A small porch is there in the front for each of the cottages to sit, relax and admire the blissful view.
There is a small dining area that is just a few steps away, where you can have breakfast and lunch. For tea and snacks, you can just ask them to bring them to the rooms. Dinner is served in the rooms as well. The food is excellent in both quality and quantity. You will get to taste different dishes every day and they are wholesome.
You can also choose to stay in the tents if you want a more adventurous experience. The staff there are very courteous, friendly and helpful.
Apart from this, there are other homestays in the area where you can stay and explore the nearby attractions. Some of them are Humro Home Ahaldara, Ahaldara Paradise Homestay, and Sunrise Viewpoint Homestay.
Best time to visit Ahaldara
Ahaldara welcomes visitors throughout the year. However, the best time to visit this place is from October to May.
During winter, you can visit this place to feel the chill in the air. The entire place gets covered in fog which makes it look more mystical, especially in the morning. But remember, it could get quite cold there so you must carry sufficient woolen clothes. In the summers, the pleasant weather invites guests to this hamlet from all over the state as well as from outside.
It is recommended to avoid the hills in the monsoon due to landslides. However, as Ahaldara isn’t that high an altitude, you can visit and relax amidst rain and mist. Monsoon gives a magical view of the small falls that come to life. You will also get to witness the mighty Teesta that comes to her full glory at this time.
Other attractions near Ahal Dara
|Namthing Pokhri (Lake)
|Latpanchar Sunrise Point
Ahaldara Viewpoint is truly a relaxing and scenic spot to be at. The bird’s eye view of the East Himalayan Range will make you feel like you’re on top of the world in the middle of clouds and lush greenery. Just don’t forget your binoculars!
And yes, there are quite a number of orange trees nearby. So, if you are traveling in the fruit season, take back some of the sweet citrus goodness with you on your way back.
Explore the viewpoint and the charming neighborhood as much as you can. You will fall in love with the streets, colors, and the beautiful people there.
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