Mirik: A tranquil town with rolling tea estate

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Mirik is a Lepcha word Mir-Yok meaning “place burnt by fire”, Hari said as we drove towards Mirik. We couldn’t find any meaning in it, given the landscape. But it might hint back to turbulent times in the tea gardens used to have in pre-independence India. About half the route to Mirik is through the Nepal border, and almost the entire trail is through pine, fir and chestnut oak forests. It is a laid-back, tranquil hill station. The road passes through the small beautiful hamlets of Sukiapokhari, Pashupati, and Simana. And the drive was most enjoyable.

Mirik is a tranquil, laid-back town on the slopes of the mountains. The vantage of Mirik is an unobstructed view of Kanchenjunga, & a rolling tea estate surrounds the area on the mountain slope. The distance from Darjeeling is 49km, about an hour’s drive, and many tourists spend a few days in Mirik. But ours is a day excursion.

Mirik: A tranquil town with rolling tea estate

The day was warm, yet a cool breeze touched my face. Our first stop was lake Samendu, popularly known as Mirik Lake. It was created in 1970, about 1.25 km long, and a 3.5 km road surrounds the lake.

Mirik: A tranquil town with rolling tea estate
Samendu Lake

But what attracts your eyes will be the idyllic view of Mt. Kanchenjunga and the green lustre of Oak, Chestnut, and Maple in the backdrop.

Mirik: A tranquil town with rolling tea estate
Mt. Kanchenjunga

Trust me; it can soothe the soul of a weary traveller. I strolled around the lake that passes through the dense cryptomeria known as Dhupi forest.

Mirik: A tranquil town with rolling tea estate
Dhipu forest

While walking up the forest trail, we reached Devi Stan, a forest temple. I had to climb a couple of stairs to reach the temple. The temple complex has a Bhagwati Mandir, the main attraction; it also has a temple of Shiva, Ganesh, Hanuman, & others. The temples were old but well-kept. Apart from this, you can take a boat ride & horse ride too at Mirik lake. After some time at the lake, we drove towards The Bokar Ngedon Chokhor Ling Monastery.

Mirik: A tranquil town with rolling tea estate
Devi Stan temple

It is about 2.8km from the lake. You can either walk, which might take 40mins or drive. Located at 5800 Ft, the monastery was founded in 1984 by the Lama Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche. Initially, the plan was to make a small retreat. Still, with a passing year of teaching, Buddhism became the genesis of the monastery. Today the monastery has a monastic school named Bokar Vajrdhara memorial school.

Mirik: A tranquil town with rolling tea estate
Bokar Monastery

The monastery follows the Karma Kagyu sect of Buddhism. The ambience inside the sanctuary is serene with the giant golden Buddha statue & intricate mural paintings on the walls. The aura of monasteries is divine; one can sit and spend the whole day in soulfulness.

Mirik: A tranquil town with rolling tea estate
Interior of the Monastery

While strolling around the monastery, I approached the Kawley Dhara and Rameetay Dhara. It’s a 10 min walk from the sanctuary, basically famous for sunrise & sunset. But I got to see the panoramic view of Mirik & mountain landscapes, & of course, the snow-capped peak of Kanchenjunga. I was glad as the day was blessed with blue sky, shining sun & few floating clouds.

Mirik: A tranquil town with rolling tea estate
Kawley Dhara and Rameetay Dhara viewpoint

We drove back towards the lake and moved ahead to the Thurbo Tea Estate, which was just 2km from the lake. It was the most extensive garden in the hill area, though we did not halt; we just passed through it.

Turbo Tea estate

Instead, we drove 8km down the Mirik road to reach the Tingling viewpoint. A hidden gem offering a splendid view of the rolling tea gardens on the mountain slopes with sun & clouds playing the game of light & shadow. Simply! Awesome.

Kawley Dhara and Rameetay Dhara
Tinling Viewpoint

Many tea stalls lined up, serving the estate tea & light snack. We had a light lunch there since it was 3 pm already. We were left with our last destination, the Pashupati Market, on the Nepal-Darjeeling border. I was still determining if the borders were reopened after the COVID unlock, but I took my chances. Upon reaching the border, I approached the West Bengal Police check post. I showed my Id & did an entry on behalf of all of us. We are damn lucky it was open, & limited tourist was allowed.

Kawley Dhara and Rameetay Dhara
Pashupati Market entrance

Our car was allowed until the check post; you can walk or take the local cab from the base. Also, only Indians & Nepalese are allowed to cross over the border area & no other foreign nationals. I needed help finding many differences in people’s architecture or language as I entered Nepal. I started to walk along with the shops full of electronics items, Jackets, perfumes, cosmetics, pottery, leather items, etc. The perfumes & cosmetics were pretty cheap hence I bought a few. At the same time, my mom & aunt bought some leather & home decor Items. And while shopping, I lost my aunt; we had to run around to find which alley she went to. Quite a task! But we found her.

Kawley Dhara and Rameetay Dhara
Shops in the Market

The joy that I steeped my foot in Nepal was at another level. A surge of excitement passed through my body, and we drove back to Darjeeling. On the way, we stooped at the Gopaldhara Tea estate. A beautiful tea garden on a small hill lock surrounded by pine trees. It was a picture-perfect site; hence I stopped to take a few photographs. We also had a cup of tea from the Gopaldhara tea stall & got packed a few tea bags from the estate.

Kawley Dhara and Rameetay Dhara
Gopal Dhara tea estate

It was getting dark, so I did not stop at any other places & drove straight to Darjeeling. If you plan to stay overnight or a few days in Mirik, visit Rang Bhang river. About 5km downhill, the Thurbo tea estate factory is Rang Bhang riverbed. Beside the river bed is the quaint virgin tea village Tabakoshi, which has scenic charm. There you see the two temples and spend quality time around Rang Bhang river by walking through the tea garden, viewing the lush mountain & listen to chirping birds. You may also trek from Mirik down if you wish for a bit of adventure. The hike is ideal for bird enthusiasts. 

Mirik: A tranquil town with rolling tea estate
Rang Bhang riverbed

Another is Mirik Orange Orchids – it’s a small village. It is famous for oranges, cardamom etc. You may take a walk in the town among the gardens for an authentic experience of non-touristic. These places I may visit these on my next trip to Darjeeling. It was late evening when I reached the hotel. I ordered dinner & went straight for a hot water shower. It was an exhausting day with endless memories.

How to reach 

By Air: 

The nearest airport is Bagdogra, approximately 47 km away from Mirik. And from the airport, hire taxis to reach the city.

By Rail:

The closest railway station to Mirik is New Jalpaiguri. And New Jalpaiguri connects the city in India. One can hire private cabs from the station to reach Mirik, 56km.

By Road:

It is well-connected via road with Darjeeling, Siliguri, Kurseong city & other closeby cities such as Gangtok and Kalimpong. Buses, private cabs, and shared taxis ply to Mirik from these places.


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