Darap, Sikkim, India

Darap

Darap

Sikkim, India

The word Darap comes from “Tan-lop” which means flat land in the local language. Darap is home to some 300 families, most of who belong to the Limboo community. Livelihood is agrarian but with increasing tourist influx, a few families have opened their houses as homestays. The locals till their small parcels of land, sell their produce in the local market, run community stores or eateries, or commute to Pelling or Geyzing for work.

Though it is located only 8 km from Pelling, West Sikkim’s tourist hub, Darap is still relatively unknown. Most visitors who travel to Darap are preparing to trek the high-altitude Goecha La or the Dzongri trail. Some come to this offbeat destination in Sikkim to seek solitude. Internet is slow which means you can get a break from your mobile phone. There’s little in terms of sight-seeing but a lot to experience for discerning travellers.

The only problem with the Sikkimese village of Darap is that it will make you want to stay forever. It’s pretty, this postcard-perfect village where every house is adorned with flower pots. No matter where you are in Darap, you will be rewarded with breath-taking views of the wooded mountainside peppered with clutches of brightly painted houses. On lucky mornings, you might get a glimpse of the sun-kissed Khangchendzonga or witness bright rainbows arching over the deep valley! Far from the maddening crowd, Darap is truly an offbeat destination in Sikkim.

Darap Travel Tips

  • Do not buy plastic water bottles. Your homestay will provide filtered drinking water (it’s safe, trust us!). Carry a refillable bottle and fill it whenever you need.
  • Plastic bags have been banned in Sikkim. If you are carrying any, do not dispose of them unmindfully.
  • Smoking in public is prohibited in Sikkim. Respect local laws and refrain from doing so. And please do not litter your homestay and the surrounding garden with cigarette butts as some tourists do. Ask for an ashtray.
  • Refrain from buying packaged food like chips. Pick fruits instead to snack on or try local snacks at street food stalls. If you do buy packaged food, ensure that you dispose of the packaging thoughtfully. Do not litter; ask locals about the system of garbage segregation and disposal in place.
  • Ask before you photograph locals. It’s not respectful to thrust your camera lens into someone’s face.
  • Water crisis is a common problem all over India. Do not waste water.

Darap Facts

Go on a guided village walk or walk on your own around the village at leisure. There are shops and some houses along the main drag but most of the rural communities have settled higher in the mountain. To reach them, you have to climb up staircases that have been hewn into the mountainside. Terraces have been cut to cultivate maize, paddy, potatoes, peas, and other crops. The major crop is black cardamom. Though Sikkim produces the largest amount of this spice in the country, it isn’t used widely in the local cuisine. You can see the locals toiling in their fields or feeding the livestock. Stop to chat or extend your help, if you may.

In spring, there are flowers all around the place. Every house in the village is decorated with little flower pots. Life is slow and simple here. Women in brightly coloured cardigans leave bottles of pickles and ears of corn in the sun. Girls with bright, red ribbons in their hair walk to school. Kids play football in the street. Roosters strut their plumage outside their coops. In the little market, you can see locals stopping to greet shopkeepers. The atmosphere is convivial; everyone knows everyone and everyone has time for everyone.

How to Reach

Flight
Flight By Air

The nearest Airport is in Bagdogra in West Bengal. From here one can either take a pre-paid Taxi (from within the Airport) or one can go to Siliguri to find a shared taxi. Major flight carriers have daily flights to this airport. One can take a taxi upto Ravangla which is about 5 hours drive.

Train
Train By Train

The nearest Train station is in New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. From here one can either take a pre-paid Taxi (from within the Airport) or one can go to Siliguri to find a shared taxi. Major flight carriers have daily flights to this airport. One can take a taxi upto Ravangla which is about 5 hours drive.

Car
Car By Road

Ravangla is approximately 115 kms away from Siliguri and takes about 5 hours to reach depending on the road condition and traffic.

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