Dawaipani: A Hamlet of Tranquility

Darjeeling has always been the destination for Christmas, for most of the Indians, including me. The hill station harbors a pack of tourists from every nook and corner of the world. And being the British summer capital alongside Shimla, the place is a heritage. But visiting Darjeeling every single Christmas is too mainstream. So I decided to visit Darjeeling but not the same old and new hill station.

No words can explain the beauty of Dawaipani. Yes, this is the place I visited this Christmas along with Samir Saha, Atanu Chakravarty, Abhik Ray, Subhash Saha and Joydeep Das. Situated in the opposite mountain of Darjeeling, that is the famous Tiger Hill, the place is deprived of sunlight for most of the day. Rangaroon tea estate, which is situated at the foot of Tiger Hill, gets its first sunrays of the day at early afternoon. So you can pretty much imagine how hard the life is in the cold winter when the mercury hits subzero level.

Dawaipani or as it translates, Medicated water, is the nature’s own hospital for curing emotional and physical stress. After visiting the place I thought where is this medicated water? I wanted to see from where it gets its name. I asked a locale. He said to me that the name is derived from khola or a river that passes the village and is located a bit below. Riang provided the villagers who went downhill to fetch valuable forest things like wood, medicines and food, with sweet water to quench their thirst. It can even heal wounds. Sounded a little fictitious but who am I to judge. The road to the river is pretty hard and I didn’t dare to take the road down. One day I will.

Dawaipani offers you a spectacular view of the “Sleeping Buddha” or you might know it as Kanchendzonga. I previously mentioned that the exoticness of the place is indescribable in words. But I will try my best to convey the beauty in words. A mahoosive task! [The Featured Image]

From the “tin mile” or the 3rd mile more we took the right road that goes straight down, very steeply winding and binding its way through the dense pine forest. In the cold winters and even in the warm days, sunlight barely reaches the ground. And within that black dense darkness inhabits one of my favorite birds, The Blackbird. But this time I couldn’t find one. We crossed the Leopard breeding centre and stepped in the small version of Sikkim silk route, but with a steepness of a slide. But our experienced driver managed to land us safely. And we were welcomed by the massive and immense white of Kanchendzonga.

I have been to the north Bengal section of Himalayas since I can remember. I have seen the blood red and the molten gold phases of the snowy peaks, the crown of North Bengal. But every time, every single time, Buddha doesn’t disappoint. This time I have seen it or her or him like never before.

Our Cottage or Home stay some might say. Kanchendzonga at the back :)
Our Cottage or Home stay some might say.
Kanchendzonga at the back 🙂

And our cottage was located at such a point from where I can sit in the bed, have the tea and enjoy the sunrise and the sunset without leaving the warmth of the quilt. But the cold was bitter. Even with four layers of cloth on me, the chilly winds were piercing hard, fingers were going numb and the only redemption was either the liquid blanket or a dive in lava; second one being impossible. 😛

We took a day to get accustomed. Our main concern of this trip was birding. Himalayan birds have always eluded me, so I can never spend enough to get a glimpse of those bright colors and their puffiness.

Bar Throated Siva
Bar Throated Siva

But the trip didn’t dishearten me from the food side also. Pork and chicken and hand made flat breads with fresh vegetables were delicious after the long walks. Bhabiji (Sashikala Rai) is an excellent cook that’s for sure. I have again no words to mention the food. They provided us with everything we asked for. From hot rice and chicken, the local ones to delicious Aloo Paratha. We even arranged a little bonfire. And tried our hands in roasting chickens. But the samples turned out bad. So we asked kabiraj ji to cook them. 3kilograms of white meat devoured by 6 giants. What an evening! 😀

For Birding we trekked like 12kms and more maybe but due to dampness and severe chill in the air bird density was very low, they might have migrated to the hills getting proper sunlight, their only source of warmth. But whatever we found were lifers, starting from Bar Throated Siva to Himalayan Vultures.

The real challenge was facing the chilly nights and shooting milky way arms and the brightly lit Darjeeling hills.

Enjoy the photographs now.

Blue Whistling Thrush or locally known as Kalchura
Blue Whistling Thrush or locally known as Kalchura
Blue fronted Redstart female
Blue fronted Redstart female
A sunset
A sunset
Himalayan Griffon.
Himalayan Griffon.
Our cottage with the Glamorous and blingalicious Darjeeling Hills in the back
Our cottage with the Glamorous and blingalicious Darjeeling Hills in the back

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A look inside the kitchen
A look inside the kitchen

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Mt. Kanchenjunga
Mt. Kanchenjunga

Some Facts:

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station.

Nearest Airport: Bagdogra Airport

Route: From NJP station you can take a car and ask them to take you to Dawaipani. But be positive that the driver is an experienced one. You can contact Zero Point, who conducted my trip, to plan yours too.

Zero Point number: +919903228000(for domestic use)

2. 00919903228000 (for international use)

The homestay is maintained by Kabiraj Rai and his wife Sashikala Rai and their two sons. Don’t expect grand fiesta, but you will be amazed by the hospitality they serve.

Few Tips: Take warm clothing any time of the year. It last snowed in 2007. But the water can collapse you even in warm months. And more over, be sure and be careful.

More Pictures are coming soon… Stay tuned

19 thoughts on “Dawaipani: A Hamlet of Tranquility

    1. Glad you liked it and thanks for dropping by. Sadly, the caretaker, Kabiraj Rai has injured himself badly and has closed down the home-stay for a while.

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  1. Hi Agnij,

    Inspired by your write up, we have booked for first week of October, 2015.

    I wanted to ask, for the photographs did you use any Neutral density graduated filter?

    Loved your Mangalajodi write up. We were there in Jan 2014.

    Sudeep

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good news. I hope you’ll enjoy the serenity. Better not reveal anymore or the mystery will be demystified. 😀
      I haven’t used any ND filter, you won’t be getting scorching sun like Ladakh or Tibet. The sun is accompanied with the gusty winds, make sure you carry some heavy winter garments.
      Well, have a nice trip. Enjoy. 🙂

      Like

      1. Hi Agnij,

        Thanks for your detailed reply. I will be going with my wife and 7 year old daughter. My wife has a question. If there is any health emergency at night, will it be possible to hire a car and go down to NJP?

        Thanks in advance,
        Sudeep

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      2. You must take proper medicine to prevent cough and cold, paracetamol, domstal, zopher MD4, something to help you with indigestion although zopher md4 will do that but in case of diarrhoea. There’s a slight problem, it is a small village away from all the fuss of the main town. I would advise you to keep the car that you will hire with you. I know it will exceed the tour budget and all, but it is a small village and in case of an emergency, you don’t want to take risk. Ask the driver who will drive you to dawaipani if he knows anyone in dawaipani with a car. I guess that will also do.
        But I can assure you, you won’t face any problem. You will have a safe journey 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Agnij,

    Thanks again for the detailed reply. Since posting the query, I spoke to Mr. Dinesh Rai, who now is the coordinator in Dawaipani. A local person, M. Prashant has a car hire business and in an emergence will be able to help.

    We are going till Jorebunglow in shared Jeep and from Jorebumglow we are hiring a jeep from Mr. Prasant. You advice about specific medicines is noted!

    Thanks,

    Sudeep

    Like

  3. Since this is a old thread, not sure if you can help me with current condition of Dawaipani. Is it still tranquil and quite as before??
    I have some plan to visit this region in Oct but having a Todd (5 years) and baby(1 year), any advice or contact info to help me?

    Like

    1. Hi, it’s good to see willing travellers stumbling on this post. I will get back to you. For the time being you can establish contact with the mentioned individuals (contact information details given at the end of the post).
      If you are unable to establish contact, please email me at agnij.sur.96@gmail.com.

      Like

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