Icchey Gaon is a pristine Himalayan hamlet tucked within the pine forests of Kalimpong with a panoramic view of Mt. Kanchenjungha. Nestled at an altitude of 5800 feet, it is the perfect place for those nursing the soul of a nature lover. With numerous nature trails and short treks starting off from Icchey Gaon to viewpoints like Ramitey Dara, Tinchuley and Jalsa, it is one of the best-kept secrets of this region. The evenings at Icchey Gaon become very exciting when lights of Darjeeling, Ravangla and Namchi twinkle all along the slopes of the mighty Himalayas. Presently, there is only one modern homestay equipped with electricity and attached western bathrooms to accommodate guests. The homestay also arranges transport for sightseeing to Delo, Pedong, Sillery, Lava, Reshikhola and other destinations.
What to see in Icchey Gaon
There is a beautiful hilltop called Tinchuley near Icchen Gaon, which offers a panoramic view of Mt. Kanchenjungha, the towns of Sikkim, Jeep La and Nathula. You can drive to this hilltop or trek to the spot. Another captivating sightseeing destination is Ramitey Dara, a renowned vantage point, which presents a wide view of the meandering River Teesta, featuring 14 turns along with the mighty Kanchenjungha range. A visit to the Damsang Fort is also must for all tourists. The fort resides 6 km away from the Icchey Gaon. Built in 1690, by the Lepchas, this fort was destroyed by the British, after the Anglo-Bhutan War of 1864. So, only the remnants of the fort exist now. The breathtaking beauty of the Silence Valley, small grassy woodland offers the ultimate tranquility. A trip to the famous Jalsa viewpoint, located 4 km away from Icchey Gaon is another celebrated spot within the Cinchona plantation and a British Bungalow. The site offers one of the widest view of the Teesta River and a gorgeous view of the Mt. Kanchenjungha range.
Destinations like Reshi, Pedong, Aritar, Mankhim and Sillery Gaon are all located near Icchey Gaon. One of the most celebrated tourist attractions of Icchey Gaon is the Sangchen Dorjee Monastery, located near Pedong. The ancient section of the monastery is adorned with some beautiful wall paintings, depicting Tantrik Buddhism. The major attraction of the new section is the mummified body of the most revered Bhutanese priest. A visit to the Cross Hill near Pedong, built by Fr. Augustine Desgodins in 1882 is also quite rewarding. It stands beautifully, overlooking Nathula and Jelep-La and is highly revered as a site of Pilgrimage for the local Christian Community. Do not forget the ‘Shahid Park’, located 2 km away from Pedong Bazar. There is a memorial stone in the park, which has been laid to pay honor to the memory of local young soldier of Indian army, Late Palender Raj who sacrificed his life at Thangdhar J & K sector (Kargil War). The park offers wonderful view of Sikkim on the opposite side.
You will fall under the spell of ecstasy of Kashyone village, located 8 km from Pedong Bazaar. The wonderful view of the union of Teesta River and Rongpo Khola, just behind the village is truly awe inspiring. Nature admirers can also visit nearby Ranibon that has been declared as a preserved forest. The place also houses a 300-year old Lepcha house, which is the only specimen, showcasing the delicate Lepcha craft works. Trips to Reshi Bridge and Reshi Khola from Icchey Gaon are also quite rewarding. Rishi and Mudum Khola join to form Rishi Khola. The natural beauty of the place is truly amazing. The Aritar Lake or Lampokhri is a beautiful eco tourism spot, located 16 km from Rishi Bridge in East Sikkim. The highest point of the location, popularly called Mankhim offers a mesmerizing view of Mt. Kanchenjungha on the southwest and Jelep La and Nathu La towards the northeast. Another celebrated viewpoint at Aritar is Love Dara. Regular day trips are also arranged from Icchey Gaon to Dello Hanuman Park, Loleygaon, Lava, Rishap and Sillery gaon.
Accommodation in Icchey Gaon
Hotels have not yet come up in Icchey Gaon. Only one home stay accommodation is available at the destination. You will experience the true hospitality of hill people in the home stay of Icchey Gaon. They are so dedicated to the guests’ service. Moreover, the home stay comes equipped with furnished rooms with attached Western bathrooms. Prime necessities like electricity, hot water, transport arrangements and guides for local treks are also provided. Moreover, the home stay facility overlooks the forests, village and Mt. Kanchenjungha. Home cooked food is offered to the guests, which are quite tasty and fresh.
Best time to visit Icchey Gaon
Icchey Gaon attracts tourists round the year. In winter, you can savor an amazing view of the entire Mt. Kanchenjungha range and in monsoons the whole region is covered in lush greenery, wild flowers, gushing steams and waterfalls.