It was supposed to be a quiet family outing to Gorumara in North Bengal with a few adhoc places thrown in between. Somebody quipped in with a suggestion for a trip to Suntalekhola and we all nodded casually little knowing how much that nod would change our whole lives.
Suntalekhola is a quaint little settlement located at a distance of 5 km from Samsing in the Darjeeling District in the Northern part of the Indian state of West Bengal. It drapes around itself a mantle of solitude, but yet is able to attract a substantial number of tourists who wish to rest beneath that mantle and display an intention to partake the bliss it offers.
When we first approached the place, we were struck by the stunning beauty of the place. The welcoming gurgle of the mountain streams hopping across the boulders to greet us were matched by the friendly chirping of the avian population and the merry rustling of the surrounding greenery. At Suntaleykhola, we heard nature like never before. The stunning silence around us actually amplified the soft notes that nature sounded gladly for us, happy at last to have found someplace where she could hear her own voice.
The WBFDC cottage, probably the best accommodation (location wise) can be approached through a suspension bridge strung across the little mountain river that flows in front of the cottage. We were ignorant enough not to book a one night stay there as we were told that Suntaleykhola is best viewed at night.
As we left after a day well spent I kept humming to myself the strains of the song we all know and love and which I felt would never be more appropriately sung than in this place:
“Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence”