Mongpu: An Ideal Summer Retreat

Mongpu is an ideal offbeat destination and a perfect summer retreat for those seeking out a peaceful scenic place in the eastern hills. Located at a height of 3500 meters near Kurseong (West Bengal) Mongpu will delight you with its gurgling water streams, greenery and even better sunsets!

Rabindranath Tagore was invited by Maitreyi Devi to stay here and being extraordinarily quaint, Mongpu became his favorite summer retreat and this is where he wrote the famous ‘CAMELIA’, sitting under a Camelia tree. Sadly, the tree was burnt during an agitation held on 22nd January 1988.

Rabindranath Bhawan at Mongpu
Rabindranath Bhawan at Mongpu

Locally known as ‘Surel Kothi’, this British bungalow was home to  Maitreyi Devi, a novelist known for her beautiful Bengali NovelNa Hanyate‘. There are other colonial and British Bungalows at Mungpu, but most are today in ruins.

He even celebrated his 80th Birthday here and wrote ‘Janamdin’, a poem that he recited over AIR-Kolkatta via phone. The bungalow is now a museum and houses couple of Rabindranath Tagore’s personal items including an interestingly styled Mahogany Table and some rare art pieces. Currently, there are a few giant Araucaria Bidwillii trees that are also known as the Monkey Puzzle Tree and has an astonishing diameter of 5 feet!

Mongpu is also popular for the Cinchona plantation that was established by Dr. Anderson in 1864. The plants are know to offer miraculous power to cure ailments and diseases including malaria and are native of South Africa.

Sightseeing at Mongpu

Visit the Orchid Plantation and Park located nearby. This place offers a delightful sight with numerous varies of colorful orchids and is indeed a must visit. Walk along the Cinchona Plantations and learn the interesting history behind its plantation in India and the many healing properties it offers. There are in fact special Cinchona and Orchid Plantation tours from Darjeeling that brings you to Mongpu on a day Excursion and includes a trip to Rabindra Bhawan too.orchids1 orchids_0

For a day picnic, go to the Kalijhora Waterfall, that merges into River Testha, offering a scenic sight. There is also a Buddhist Monastery located at the heart of the village market. Located along the sparkling Teesta River, Kalijhora is itself a hill retreat and a perfect getaway.mongpubuddhistmonastry

Kalijhora (which literally translates to “black stream”) takes its name from the small river that cascades down from a height of 550 feet with immense force and rushes towards the Teesta. The colour of the waters of the Kalijhora is definitely blackish, as compared with the blue waters of the Teesta. Kalijhora flows by the side of the PWD inspection bungalow, while another — Rambijhora — flows at a distance.

Toy Train at Sonada, Near Mongpu
Toy Train at Sonada, Near Mongpu

Visit Sonada, a small village located 8 kms from Mongpu known for Samdrup Darjay Choling Monastery, Tiger Hill, Senchal Lake (located on a hill top that also one of the highest golf courses in the world!), Chatakpur, a small village within the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary and Gorato Nalichor Intek Cider’s, a pilgrim center that highlights and reflects the life’s of Lord Jesus Christ.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), a UNESCO world heritage site profoundly known as toy train passes through the Sonada town as there is a DHR (Darjeeling Himalayan Railway) station located here.

Stay Options

It is recommended to book Kurseong Tourist Lodge (Tariffs: 1500-1800 INR) and then travel to Mongpu.

Located at the end of the town of Kurseong, the tourist lodge offers one of the most picturesque views of the surrounding hills and deep valleys. It is a fascinating place to stay and is also recommended even if you are planning to visit Darjeeling. The toy train trudges past the tourist lodge, making your stay more eventful!

The Majestic Himalayas As Seen from Darjeeling
The Majestic Himalayas As Seen from Darjeeling, Image Copyright @Anthony Robson

Distance Chart:

  • Darjeeling to Mongpu: 30 kms
  • Mongpu to Siliguri: 52 kms
  • Mirik to Sonada: 23 Kms
  • Sonada to Mongpu: 8 Kms
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