Ban Jhakri Falls
BAN JHAKRI FALLS, East Sikkim
This 100-foot waterfall is located in a landscaped park with forested area at about 7kms from Gangtok town and close to Ranka Monastery. There are paved pathways and footbridge around the park which spreads across some 2-acres of land area with many trees and flowering plants in it. It's a popular picnic spot.
There is also a manmade lake here with a dragon at the center. You can do paddle boating at the lake. The entire park is themed on Shaman culture and you can see Sikkimese architecture visible all across the park. There are gazebos at several points where you can relax while soaking in the view of the flowing stream that forms at the bottom of the waterfall and the greenery all around.
Ban Jhakri means 'Jungle Priest' or in some definition 'Jungle Magician'. The Nepali folklore says that the first Jhakri or Shaman acquired the power of mastering the evil spirits from the gods. However he required to identify the right boys and teach the technique secretly in his forest cave. And after the training the boys themselves became Jhakris being able to cure anybody affected by evil spirits. While the male Jhakris always protected human beings, the folklore says that their wives (the Jhakrinis) were evil spirits themselves and would eat up human beings.
This park is also known as the Energy Park because of its use of non conventional energy like solar. There are slides and swings in the park that generate power when used by the children. Another great thing that I liked about the park is a great viewing platform right in the middle of the jungle. A short spiral stairway leads up to the platform. On top there is a bench where you can sit and just gaze at the amazing forest ambience all around and hear the birds twitting.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
This place is very close to the capital city Gangtok, so if you wish to explore this place, you don’t need to look for the best time to visit. However, September to May is considered as an ideal time since Sikkim receives continuos rainfall during monsoons.
HOW TO GET THERE
Airways: The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, West Bengal about 5 hrs drive from Gangtok. Sikkim also has got its first commercial airport at Pakyong, East Sikkim but weather hampers the operation of this airport most of the time. If you are lucky enough you can get a flight directly to Pakyong.
Railways: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal which is about 118 km from Gangtok. You can hire a taxi to reach Gangtok which takes about 3-4 hours.
Roadways: Gangtok is connected to the rest of India via NH10, which links Gangtok to Siliguri. Local taxis are available for local commute.