Chatakpur, a quaint eco-friendly village within Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, is a must visit for the nature lover. The pristine village is surrounded by Kachenjunga Range in the north and the river gorge Relly Khola in the south. Since it’s only 26km from Darjeeling, a visit to Chatakpur solely to experience the beauty of the hills can turn into one of the most surreal experiences ever.
It’s a place where you’ll see the locals actively participating in order to make tourism an alternative source of livelihood here other than just farming. That, in turn, gives you more scope to interact with the locals, exchange stories and taste the simple life by putting up at the home-stays there.
Located at an altitude of 7,887 feet, Chatakpur is paradise on Earth, courtesy of the spectacular view of the imposing mountain Kanchenjunga that one is afforded on a visit here. Interestingly, the population of the town is no more than a few hundred people; there’s only lush greenery all around and hardly any human population here.
The village folks here are into organic farming of vegetables through terraced cultivation. Medicinal herbs are also grown in abundance. You can infact, pick fresh organic vegetables from the farmland, or even feed or milk the cattle if you want, but with their permission of course.
It’s a great place for wildlife and adventure enthusiasts as well. Trekking through the forest trails here is highly recommended; however, it’s a better idea to take the help of a local guide. You can spot Sundakphu from the Watch Tower in Chatakpur. They say, the sunrise seen from here is even more stunning than the sunrise seen at Tiger Hill in Darjeeling.
Keep an eye out for commonly spotted wildlife such as leopard, barking deer and even red panda, if you’re lucky. The forest is also home to a number of colourful birds like the blue magpie, bulbul, verditer flycatcher, pipits, long-tailed shrike, warbler, prinia among many more.