Situated at an elevation of five thousand feet above sea level, and located very close to both Kurseong Town and Darjeeling, Singell is a beautiful but lesser known destination. It is surrounded on all side by alpine villages and tea-estates. It is perfect for those who wish to enjoy several days of perfect calm and solitude, since Singell, given its location and nature, is never crowded and is free of the usual hustle and bustle of city life. Visitors who wish to catch a glimpse of nearby hill-stations can do so, especially catching glimpses of the toy-train from one’s window. BOOKING DETAILS OF SINGELL
During the British era, Singell and nearby Kurseong was a town for resting and convalescence, especially for wounded soldiers. Owing to its remoteness and solitude, it provided the perfect place for the same. With several British built bungalows and villas spread all over the landscape, lush tea gardens, colonial churches and pine forests Singell will never disappoint you with all its charm.
Places to see around Singell:
Tea Gardens – There are several tea gardens of both historical and commercial significance in Singell. These include Castleton, Makaibare, Singell, Goomtee and Ambotia. Visitors to any of these gardens will be able to get a glimpse of the manufacturing process of the finest Darjeeling tea in the world, and will be enriched for the experience.
Eagle’s Craig View Point – This is located at the top of the hill, on the edge of the cliff. It offers an excellent view of the hills, hamlets, forests and villages surrounding the town. It is well furnished with a watch tower, flower garden and places to sit and relax. This point also has a stone altar adorned with a kukri, called the “Shahid Smarak”. This memorial was built by the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council to commemorate the martyrs of the 1988 agitation. A cafeteria is also located here, to provide fresh beverages and snacks to all weary visitors.
In the late evening and night, a fantastic view of Siliguri can also be had from here, when the lights of the nearby town are clearly visible. This is truly a photogenic moment.
Deer Park – Located on Dow Hill, this is a deer sanctuary which once held a large and thriving population of the animal; however deforestation has resulted in loss of large numbers. Visitors may still get to catch a glimpse of the animals, but entry into the forested area is strictly prohibited.
Forest Museum – The Forest Museum is situated on Dow Hill. It gives visitors a firsthand look into the animals that were, and are present in Singell. It is a must for naturalists who wish to get a glimpse of Singell’s natural history and the animals that may now have become extinct from the mountains.
Giddapahar – This site provides a breath-taking view of the mountains, and is excellent for photography. It also houses the Giddapahar Seti Mata Temple, a rock temple which is dedicated to Goddess Durga. It can serve as an excellent tourist spot for both devotees and visitors alike.
Ambootia Temple – This temple is located within the Ambootia Tea Estate, and is a focal point for several devotees.
Dowhill Girl’s School – A stellar example of colonial British architecture, it is surrounded by peaceful and green environs lined with pine trees. It is well-known for the quality of education it provides.
Victoria Boy’s School – This school has some of the best Victorian era architecture in Singell, and is a treat to history-lovers, especially those interested in colonial history.
Grotto – The Grotto houses a statue of the Virgin Mary and is perfect for spending time quietly in prayer and solitude. Devotees are allowed to pray and light candles.
Nearby attractions of Singell:
Bhangzang Salamander Lake – It is located approximately 14 kms away from Kurseong. It was a favourite holiday and travel destination even during the British era. Consisting of a beautiful lake, tinged green, it is home to some of the rarest and endangered species of salamanders – a must for naturalists and visitors alike.
Bagora – Nicknamed “Zero Point”, it is said to be the highest point in Kurseong. Its elevation has ensured that it can serve as a base camp for the Indian Air Force, with a helipad.
Darjeeling – A world-famous hillside town, it is located within the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is most famous for its several tea gardens, its vantage points from which one can get stunning views of the Himalayas, the Everest Museum, the Himalayan Zoo and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mirik – Mirik is famous for its beautiful Sumendu Lake. The lake is flanked on one side by pine trees, and on the other side by gardens. The two are connected by an arching footbridge known as the Indreni Pull. The lake is surrounded by 3.5 kms of road, which can be utilized for taking leisurely strolls around the lake and at the same time, awesome views of the neighbouring hills and the Kanchenjunga. Boating on the lake, as well as pony rides are easily available.
Things to do at Singell: Trekking trips are regularly organized up to Chimney Busty, and on the way, other fabulous views such as the Balasun and Mahanadi rivers can be taken in. Other places that can be visited while on the trek are the Victoria Boy’s School on Dow Hill and the Deer Park. Visitors can also stop over at Eagle’s Craig on the way from or to the trek. There are excellent fishing opportunities in Balasun River. Those interested in angling may also bring their families along for an amazing picnic at the same spot. Guests may get an excellent panoramic view of the hills and the rivers while on the Toy Train. The Toy Train starts at Kurseong at about 7:00 am, and goes up to stations as far as Sonada, Tung etc. Visitors may also avail of fresh breakfast served after the trip.
Best time to visit Singell: Singell may be visited any time of the year. The monsoons usually record higher rainfall than other hill stations, however, this adds to the beauty of the place, particularly the beautiful post-shower sun and lush greenery. This is a sight that will make every visitor instantly fall in love with Singell.
How to reach Singell: Bagdogra is the nearest airport from Singell, located 1 hr 30 mins away from it. Rented car services from the airport can be arranged. The train station closest to Singell is New Jalpaiguri. From there, regular taxi services are available to take guests to Singell.
Lodging and Food at Singell: A well-built house perched on the edge of a cliff with fabulous views of mountains, tea estates and the snaking Balsun River in the distance. A balcony facing the endless stretches of mountain slopes and forests, a terrace and the surrounding silence makes this destination one of the best places to spend a few days away from the troubles of civilization. The accommodation in Singell is run as a homestay with two Double-Bedded rooms and one Four-Bedded room. All rooms have attached Western Bathrooms equipped with hot water geysers and showers. There are separate dining rooms in the home where guests can enjoy their food. Everything that makes our lives a little more comfortable like electricity, Television, Internet-connectivity and mobile connectivity are available in the home stay. Guests are welcome to share and participate with the hosts in the kitchen though food is cooked and served by home stay. Special care is taken for Diabetic and Hypertension guests. Food is essentially Indian cuisine and organic.
Photographs by Nikhil Kulkarni and others.