Hee Gaon – A new destination
Darkness descends early in autumn. Its only 5 o’clock in the evening and the road ahead is dark. Our Sumo while negotiating the steep ascents and hairpin bends of the mountain road that passes through a jungle has put all its head lights and fog lights on. There is not a soul around to ask for direction and we don’t know where we are. We have just crossed Soren, a small hamlet in the western Sikkim and at presenet are somewhere near a place called Kaluk. We are told about 7/8 kilometer ahead of Kaluk on the road to Dentam is Hee Gaon, our destination. Our only link to the outside world is the cell phone, which surprisingly, is working. But whenever I could contact Mr. Birendra Tamling, the hotel owner at Hee, for direction; he sought back asking, “Sir, where are you?” But how the devil, I know where I am?
Suddenly out of the darkness came out a signboard declaring “Hee Police out Post”. As I yelled the driver to stop, a young man materializes form the darkness – Jitendra Tamling, the younger brother of Birendra Tamling. He was waiting for us. This is the Hee Bazar and the 8 kilometer road to the resort is a Kuchha stone paved road under construction with sharp hairpin bends. Our driver never stopped cursing his bad luck till we reached the resort. He had to be on his back gear several times to negotiate sharp hairpin bends and drivers are famous for not to like backing in a mountain road with deep gorges laying the road.
We had started from Siliguri around noon. The road goes on the bank of the Teesta till Melli where we crossed Teesta and reached Jorthang, the business centre of south Sikkim, in the late afternoon. An hour rest and some refreshment later, we crossed river Rangit to enter western Sikkim and started to climb steeply towards Soren, crossed Kaluk and ultimately reached Hee Gaon around 7 in the evening.
It was quite dark and cold. We were exhausted more from the excitement than the long journey and went to bed early.
Hee resort was opened by the chief minister of Sikkim Mr. Paban Chamling on 3rd December 2006 under rural tourism project and the
resort started functioning from May 2007.
It’s a quite, serene village far removed from the hassles of the modern frenetic life with water fall cascading through the village, collecting itself in a quite natural pond in front of the resort. The resort facing the majestic Kangchenjunga range, with basic modern amenities is comfortable to live-in. The kitchen serves organic food and traditional Limboo food, “Khabze” and “Jero”. The village boasts 300 houses, mostly of Limboo race that originally belonged to the Kirat race, mentioned in the Mahabharat and who inhabited amidst the dense jungles in the foothills of the Himalaya. In later period they migrated to greener pastures of Sikkim, Bhutan and Darjeeling. They follow the teachings of Teyongsi Srijanga who came from Nepal in 1740 AD to preach Yuma Samyo sermon in order to educate and spiritualize his people.
The morning saw us on the road to see the must visits around the village, the Yuma Samyo manghim(Temple of Teyongsi Srijanga), Srijnaga Phuku ( Cave), where His Holiness Srijanga is said to have hidden his book of knowledge in a box. The box has turned to stone imprisoning the book of knowledge forever. A nice trek to see the Pheng Doji falls and to the Red Panda gate of the Rhododendron sanctuary is a must. Verse, famous for its blooming Rhododendron is only 22 kilometer away from the Red Panda gate. The stone paved path through the sanctuary under the shade of Rhododendron trees is delightful trek, particularly in late May when the Rhododendron trees are in full bloom. 14 kilometers of the Red Panda, there is even a camping ground, Samma Tar, so that the trekkers can take it easy. Porter, tents, all camping gears are available in Hee I promised to come back and to do the trek.
Next day ushered in a turquoise blue sky with white clouds leisurely wafting around in it. Hee Goan has such a laze ambiance that I just lay down in the resorts’ courtyard sunbathing till the sun went behind the mountain, gazing at the mighty Kangchenjunga range lording over the green mountains and the Rishi Khola
(Mountain stream) valley with butterflies fluttering all around me in the cool breeze.
Access: Hee Gaon is around 150 Kms from Siliguri/Bagdogra. You can either take a vehicle (Rs 2500) or go to Jorthang by share jeep or SNT bus and then take share jeep for Dentam. Get down at Hee bazaar and trek the rest 8 kms. On prior intimation Mr. Tamling may arrange pick up from Siliguri/Bagdogra or Hee bazaar.
Stay: Hee Resort. Room rent Rs. 1200/day/room (two bedded, extra charge for extra bed) + 10% service charge.
Food: AP Plan. Rs 500/head/day.
Others: More places to see around Hee. You can also hire vehicle in Hee to visit Pelling, Pemayangtse, Khecheperi Lake (Rs 1800) or Uttare(Last Village of Sikkim on West Bengal border) via Singsore Bridge (the 2nd highest bridge of Asia over a gorge) (Rs. 1500/).
For Booking and further info Contact:
Help Tourism: 143, Hillcart Road Silguri.
Ph: 0353-2535893/2433683 Fax: 0353-: 2532313 E-mail: email@example.com.
Kolkata office: 67-A, Kali temple Road, Sadanandakuthi, Kalighat, Kolkata: 700 026. Ph: 2454 9719. Fax: 2485 4584.
Mr. Birendra Tamling, Hee Gaon, West Sikkim. Pin; 737111. Ph: 03595-242201.