The land of the Gorkhas, Darjeeling, has been a popular tourist destination for a long time, thanks to its unmatched beauty. This place is a heavenly amalgamation of serene monasteries, lush green hills, tea plantations, and the remarkable toy train. The city is also known as the Queen of Hill Stations.
Due to its immense popularity among tourists, Darjeeling today has become crowded and people are now exploring other neighbouring destinations. However, there are still a few villages surrounding Darjeeling that has remained untouched by rampant tourism. Sitong is one such charming hamlet which is located on the banks of Riyang river and is surrounded by luxuriant orchards and inhabited mostly by Lepchas. This hamlet is also known as the ‘Orange Village’ due orange orchards spread across a vast area.
What Makes Sitong so Special?
Perched at an altitude of 4000 ft, Sitong is surrounded by alpine forests with calm weather and serene ambience. From Sitong you will get a surreal view of Mount Kanchenjunga. You can stroll around the village and get a panoramic view of the lush orange orchards from the viewpoint located near the local church.
If you have a few more days to spare, you can also visit some of the other places around Sitong such as Kurseong where you can visit the forest museum and deer park. In Latpanchar, you can visit the core area of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary under the Darjeeling Wildlife Division and is a perfect getaway for animal lovers. You can go on a jungle safari at the sanctuary. There is also a watchtower inside the core of the sanctuary situated next to the Gulma river.
You can visit the house of Rabindranath Tagore at Mungpoo which is just 20 km away from Sitong and the Dichen Sherpa Choeling Monastery. Mungpoo is also known for its cinchona plantations and medicinal plants.
The ideal time to visit Sitong is during the months of November, December and January. This is the best time to see the trees covered with oranges. The locals harvest the fruit during late December and early January. Due to its high altitude, it is also an ideal place to beat the heat during the hot summer season. There are three routes to reach Sitong, the shortest being 55 km from Siliguri via Latpanchar.
If you are planning to visit Darjeeling for a few days, you can stay at Sterling Darjeeling. At Sterling, you will not only enjoy a comfortable stay, but you can also have a curated experience of the entire hill station, creating a long-lasting memory for you.