DARAP, West Sikkim
Darap Cherry Village is one of the few places undiscovered where travelers looking for a taste of bucolic life can escape from the maddening crowds of touristic places. The word Darap is originated from the limbo word ’Tan-lop’ which literally means a plain or even land. It is located just 8 km from Pelling on the way to Khecheopelri and Yuksam. The area is mainly inhabited by the Limboo Community and other small communities like the Bhutias, Chettris, Tamangs, Rais, Gurungs and Lepchas live in harmony.
The landscape is gently sloped unlike any other locations in the west of Sikkim. Because of its close proximity to Pelling, Darap has now become a potential destination for Village tourism. There are various ways one can be engaged in: milking the cows in the morning and evening; gardening in the fields; interaction with the local children; processing butter and cheese; walking in the villages and nearby streams; hiking to other nearby villages; engaging in the daily activities of the village people; and a visit to the 200 year old Limboo traditional house. This ancient structure, with solid mud floors and tar-encrusted ceilings from the constantly burning fire, has been passed down from generation to generation of Nepali Limboo tribesmen.
The village is a living testimony of the Limboo culture and tradition that blend with natural resources and bio diversity, more than elsewhere in the state of Sikkim. Local homestays of Darap offer a village retreat gifting you a quiet holiday amidst the glorious scenic wonders of the charismatic village. The road bifurcating from the village to Nambu leads to one of the holiest cave where Guru Padsambhava had meditated, Nub Dechen Phug and the route further connects to Singalila Range through Yambong trek.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Anytime of the year except the rainy season would be best time to visit this place. Darap is close to Pelling and can get chilly and cold during winter, so get some warm clothes if visiting in winter.
HOW TO GET THERE
Airways: The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, West Bengal about 5 hrs drive from Gangtok, 12 km west of Siliguri and about 144 km from Darap. 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 140 km from Darap. You can take a taxi to reach Darap via Gyalshing, which takes about 5-6 hours.
Roadways: Darap is about 8 km from Pelling, about 15 km from Gyalshing, the West District Headquarter and about 120 km from Gangtok, the capital city.