Sittong, also known as the Orange Village, has become an ideal getaway destination for nature lovers, birdwatchers, and peace seekers. It offers a serene and scenic ambiance away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
This offbeat destination near Darjeeling has various attractions that you can visit during your stay here. You can discover the tea gardens and garden life, orange orchards, monasteries, waterfalls, viewpoints, and other mesmerizing places.
You can also enjoy the scenic beauty of nature, watch exotic birds, taste delicious oranges, walk along some nature trails, and experience the local culture during your Sittong sightseeing tour.
In this article, you will get to know about the following places to visit in Sittong,
- Ahaldara Viewpoint
- Namthing Pokhri (Lake)
- Jogighat Bridge
- Orange Garden
- Sittong Monastery
- Kiwi Garden and Chinchona Plantations
Let’s see each of these places in detail.
1. Ahaldara Viewpoint
Ahaldara Viewpoint is the perfect place to watch a breathtaking sunrise over the Himalayan peaks. It is situated near Latpanchar and is the highest viewpoint of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary.
This place offers a panoramic view of dense thick Pine forests on one side and the lush green tea garden valleys on the other. You can also see River Teesta flowing amidst the valleys. Ahaldara also offers a 360-degree view of the surrounding hills, from Gangtok to Kalimpong. You can also see the majestic Mt. Kanchenjunga from here.
Ahaldara Viewpoint is one of the best offbeat destinations in the Darjeeling district and you must visit it as part of your Sittong sightseeing tour.
You can get to know more about the places to stay and things to do in the article below.
2. Namthing Pokhri (Lake)
Namthing Pokhri is a serene lake nestled in the Shelpu hills, near Latpanchar. It is situated at an altitude of 4,500 feet and is a must-visit place near Sittong.
This place is surrounded by pine forests and misty clouds, creating a mystical atmosphere. The lake is also home to various birds, butterflies, and plants. But the most unique feature of Namthing Pokhri is that it is the habitat of the rare and endangered Himalayan salamanders.
These lizard-like creatures are only found in two places in the world: Namthing Pokhri and Jorpokhri. They are protected by a wire fence around the lake, and visitors are not allowed to swim or get close to the water. The lake is seasonal and only fills up during the monsoon months. When it dries up, the salamanders come out of hibernation and lay eggs on the grassy lake bed.
You can get inside and get lost in the remarkable beauty of the place. Buddhist flags are hung all around making the site much more magical. You can also visit the Shiva temple and a cinchona plantation nearby.
The best time to visit Namthing Pokhri is between October and March when the weather is pleasant.
3. Jogighat Bridge
Jogighat Bridge is a 74-meter-long steel bridge situated near the village of Jogighat and connects two villages: Mungpoo and Sittong. It spans over the Riyang Khola, a mountain stream that cascades down the rocky terrain.
The bridge is decorated with colorful Buddhist flags, adding to its beauty and significance. It was inaugurated in 2015 by Baba Ramdev, a famous yoga guru.
This bridge is a place of interest and also a popular picnic spot for locals and tourists alike. You can come here to enjoy the scenic view of the greenery. You can also walk down to the stream and listen to its soothing sound. There is also a waterfall that comes to life during the monsoon.
4. Orange Garden
The orange gardens in Sittong are another site that acts as an enticement point for tourists during the sightseeing tour. These luxuriant orange orchards are the reason why this Sittong is also known as the Orange Village. The oranges you get here are smaller in size but sweeter in taste.
The orange orchards in Sittong are a sight to behold, especially from November to February when the oranges are ripe and ready to be plucked. The valley looks like a bright orange carpet, contrasting with the green leaves and blue sky. The fragrance of citrus fills the air, refreshing your senses.
You can visit the orange gardens and enjoy picking and tasting some fresh oranges. You can also see different birds that are attracted by the fruits, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. You will get to see some of the oranges if you are visiting in the latter part of February, as the owners keep a few trees unplucked till the middle of the month.
The entire scenery looks quite fascinating with the mix of vivid colors making it a perfect place to savor nature’s bounty and beauty.
5. Sittong Monastery
Sittong Monastery is a 350-year-old monastery made mostly of bamboo and mud. It is located in Upper Ghalaytar (Sittong-I) and has a rich history and a simple appearance. It is also known as Upper Ghaletar Longho Lepcha Buddhist Monastery or Mana Monastery.
To reach the monastery, you have to walk downhill from the road, passing by colorful Buddhist flags fluttering above your head. The place is endowed with tranquility and there is a certain peace that you will feel when you get inside the prayer area.
Looking at it, you will just see a small hut, but when you enter, the inside is beautifully decorated. There are idols of Buddhist deities together with a small idol of Lord Buddha. The atmosphere is calm and blissful, with roses, incense sticks, and prayers.
You can enter the monastery by leaving your shoes outside, and explore its interior. You can also get a splendid view of the Kanchenjunga range from the ground next to the monastery.
Sittong Monastery is a place where you can experience the local culture and spirituality of Sittong.
6. Kiwi Garden and Chinchona Plantations
While exploring Sittong, apart from oranges, you will also find kiwi and cinchona plantations.
The Kiwi plants are cultivated in rows and are well-maintained The plantation is adorned with blue and purple hydrangeas that enhance its beauty. Inside the plantation, you will get to see a greenhouse filled with various types of ground and aerial orchids. All the names are mentioned there so you will have no difficulty knowing about them. You can walk around and feel the beautiful environment.
The cinchona plantations in Sittong are part of the Government Cinchona Plantation (GCP) and are known for their medicinal properties. They are used for various medicinal preparations, including antimalarial quinine that is derived from its bark. Witnessing the thick forest of trees with green and red leaves is quite a sight to behold.
These are some mesmerizing places to visit in Sittong. All colors of the wilderness can be found here and if you are one of those who loves to be in nature, then this is your destination.
Traverse every possible corner of Sittong and learn more about the charms the villages have for you. Do not miss out on the local cuisines while sightseeing.
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