There is a Sikkim that does not include a Gangtok, a Pelling or even North Sikkim’s cold destinations like Lachen and Lachung. It’s a Sikkim that few have cared to see and fewer still have seen.
If you are one among those who want to see that hidden beauty of the orchid state, see something unique and spectacular, make sure to include Tarey Bhir in your itinerary.
So what is Tarey Bhir and where is it?
In the lesser toured South Sikkim, in and around the lesser visited town of Namchi, there are still a handful of attractions that the comparatively few people (as against East, North and West Sikkim) who visit the region check out. The Sherdup and Dichen Choeling monasteries that overlook the town, the much less ancient 135 feet tall statue of Guru Padmasambhava that towers over the landscape and the more distant Temi tea garden – the only tea garden in Sikkim – are usually packed into a day’s cab tour.
But there is still another very deserving gem in the region that, surprisingly, is yet to be a staple on the tourist itinerary. Nor is it being visited enough by the offbeat traveller – if the amount of information and photos on the internet is anything to go by.
That, in a nutshell, is why we thought we definitely had to check out this spectacular natural marvel. And we foraged online for whatever scrap of information we could gather about Tarey Bhir. We were to learn, much to our chagrin, not much. So, that reinforced our desire to visit it. And the intrepid travellers we were, we decided to just take it as it comes…but to, definitely, take it!
Which is how we got to take an hour long cab ride from Namchi and found ourselves standing outside a rather nondescript gate that did carry, if not very many visitors, a signpost announcing Tarey Bhir. We had passed the small village of Sukrabarey and had travelled 30 km out of Namchi.
There were only a few locals around and not a single tourist, in the conventional sense. A few school children were the only ones among them who looked animated and rushed on ahead. We walked in and realized just how larger than life Tarey Bhir was.
Tarey Bhir is a 3 km long ridge with a 3500 ft drop at the end. The Bhir (Nepali for cliff) is one spectacular formation and it is hard to resist taking a few shots. There was a stepped path built along the top of the ridge that made it look like a small wall of China. It was quite windy as we started to descend the steps. A barred side railing kept us from flying off the ridge. The houses in the nearby villages looked like small specks from that height.
We walked till where the cemented steps ended. There were a few workers from the tourism department who were paving the rest of the steps. Over 500 m of the ridge remains to be paved. We were told that a lookout tower was also being planned at the end of the ridge. And why not? On a clear day, the breathtaking view from the edge promises a great vista – the confluence of the Teesta and Rangeet River down below and also the lower hills of Kalimpong and Darjeeling.
The walk lasted for about an hour. For all its charm and uniqueness, Tarey Bhir is, sadly and surprisingly, not even on any travel agent’s tour itinerary of the region. Which is just as well…is it any wonder that the place still retains an unhurried, tranquil charm?!
We realised that even the handful of local tourists we spotted there were visiting the place simply out of curiosity. Our guide and driver, Biraj Rai, confessed that he had heard of Tarey Bhir but it was the first time he was visiting the place. A great companion and resource, he is based out of Pelling (West Sikkim) but was already making plans to visit again with his friends.
So now you know that there is a compelling reason to fit in South Sikkim also and plan a visit to Tarey Bhir. High up with wide views of the surrounding area, you can’t help but stand, look out and admire the green and pleasant land. And, of course, you don’t even need to do it on a sunny day – Tarey Bhir is a great walk all year round.
Tarey Bhir Travel Information
- Location: Tarey Bhir is located at a distance of 30 km from Namchi, the district headquarters of South Sikkim.
- How to reach: Local jeep services run regularly from Namchi. Namchi is located at a distance of 75 km from Gangtok and 45 km from Darjeeling.
- When to visit: Tarey Bhir is open from 08:00 am to 17:00 pm on all days. There is no entry fee.