Sitong, a cluster of villages in the Kurseong district of Darjeeling is truly known for its gorgeous orange orchards. However, Sitong has much more to offer to the intrepid traveller, especially if you’re headed there to escape the bustle of everyday life. From pristine beauty to unadulterated tranquility, Sitong is a place unaffected by modern tourism.
For those visiting Sitong in the winter months, taking a tour of the orange cultivation and orange gardens is a must. It’s a special experience, with the weather being the perfect accompaniment for long walks amidst the orchards.
Another attraction is the very old Sitong Church, which was earlier made of bamboo but has now been converted into a brick and mortar structure. Ideal for praying or for some much-needed quietude, the church also offers stunning views of the surrounding hills. There’s also an old monastery in the Upper Sitong area made of bamboo and mud. This is where you must head if you wish to get an uninterrupted view of the Kanchenjunga range in its full glory.
In Lower Sitong, Jogighat is a bridge that goes over Riyang river. A common picnic spot for locals, travellers often find the small stream flowing under the bridge an idyllic spot for a rejuvenating time amidst nature. If you’re a birder, the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect place to spot diverse avifauna. Even the diversity hotspot of Latpanchar is great for avian photography. The most commonly spotted bird is the rufous-necked hornbill in these areas.
What’s a trip to the hills without some trekking and camping. You can undertake a trek to the highest point in Sitong and get a breath-taking panoramic view of Dooars, Terai, Kurseong, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Camping is also organised regularly by the river Riyang, where a small waterfall makes for the perfect backdrop.