If you are planning a vacation in Darjeeling area, it can be a great idea to spend a couple of days in Mirik and then make an onward journey to Darjeeling or other places. You can also do the reverse. In fact Mirik lies almost halfway between Siliguri/NJP and Darjeeling on the alternative route that goes to Darjeeling through scenic tea estates. Mirik is a small hill town and part of Kurseong subdivision and within Darjeeling district.
So why should you spend a couple of days in Mirik? Reasons are plenty. As I said, since it is about halfway to Darjeeling (52kms from Siliguri, Darjeeling is another 49 kms), it makes sense to break the journey and make it more relaxing as you ascend along the winding roads of the mountains. In fact this alternative route to Darjeeling is less steep and much more scenic as well, although it takes 1 hour longer to reach Darjeeling.
Mirik-a nest in the hills is West Bengal’s one of the hill resort at an altitude of 1767 metres with its own special charms – 49 km. From Darjeeling and 52 km. From Siliguri. 1.25 km. Long lake is fed by perennial streams. A floating fountain in the middle of the lake is a joy for ever and very often you may find the glory of Kanchenjungha reflected in the lake waters. A rich forest with thousands of Cryptomaria-Japanica trees clothe the slopes on the west. A 3.5 km. zig-zag footwalk takes you along the lake – a sleek foot bridge connects the garden on the east with the woods on the west. Alone or in company, you are sure to enjoy a boat-ride in the lake.
Mirik actually has several sightseeing and tourist places other than the lake. Lovely view points to watch sunrise, sunset and the landscape, several nearby tea gardens, monasteries & temples, orange orchards, flower gardens including orchids and more. Some popular activities at the lake area includes boating, horse riding, fish feeding etc.
The word mirik means – the place of White Orchid. Because of its lower elevation, mirik enjoys milder and very healthy climate throughout the year. It is the peace, serenity and the healthy climate that attracted many a great person to this place. Some of the famous poems and songs of Guru Rabindranath Tagore were composed in mirik. The magic painter, Abanindranath Tagore and great composer Atul Prasad Sen got inspiration for some of their famous works around mirik. Sister Nivedita, the great disciple of Swami Vivekananda made mirik her home. It is learnt that Mark Twain spent some time in mirik in 1885, Fazlul Haque the Prime Minister of undivided Bengal also stayed here. Netaji Subash Chandra Bose was interned by the colonial government for a couple of months in 1936 in a house at Giddapahar near mirik.