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Kizom and its historic monastery by the river Rangeet - GetBengal story

8 September, 2023 10:36:47
Kizom and its historic monastery by the river Rangeet - GetBengal story

Kizom,the ‘Switzerland of Darjeeling'

The mighty Kanchenjungha does not play peek-a-boo with the mist and clouds here, nor does the gushing Teesta romance with the dreams. Yet, what draws me every year to Kizom village, just one hour drive from the Queen of the Hills, is its tranquility. It is where time seems to stand still, where the usual tourist view points are missing, giving way instead to the divine and virgin nature. Some call this village the ‘Switzerland of Darjeeling,’ thanks to the non-descript wooden huts lying here and there, some built with stones in the middle of lush green meadows. An occasional hike down this village of a few thousand inhabitants, will bring you face to face with some of the best views one can ever get in the hills of North Bengal. The village is situated near the border of Sikkim and Bengal and hence even if you miss the Teesta, you get the best view of Rangeet river.

Nezi monastery

Rangeet is a silent killer; unlike Teesta with all its fury, Rangeet is calm and takes your breath away as you sit on its banks for hours, viewing the adjoining Sikkimese villages, cars and vehicles going through the serpentine roads leading up to the higher mountains of the neighbouring state. One gets to see sitting in Bengal, the views of Sikkim’s peaks. The hills look blue here, and though you shall miss the star attraction of Kanchenjungha that one gets to see from Darjeeling or Kalimpong, you will not be left high and dry as many other snowy ranges adorn this place. On the other side of Rangeet, stands Jorthang and Daramadin of Sikkim, two villages bigger in size than Kizom.

Kizom is like a fairytale village, best part is its extremely safe, modest homestays run by locals catering to organic meals. Here one gets a first-hand view of the local life, how arduous the mountain life can be for the people of this remote village. Still, their smiles remain intact all the time. The lush meadows are cultivation fields for Squash. Kizom is said to produce the best squash melons of the hills and they are sent in hordes to the markets of the hills where they are sold to urban folk in the form of packaged squash, juice, jam etc. Kizom is also a historical hidden gem of the North Bengal Hills as it is home to a 250-year-old Buddhist cave and monastery. 

Nezi monastery and its lush green courtyard

Naksha Dunga


The Nezi monastery is said to have been built in 1760 and happens to have one of the most ancient Gumpha or Buddhist cave for meditation. Made of wood, the monastery was once the palace of the Tenduk dynasty. The kings of the Tenduk dynasty were originally from Tibet and had helped in spreading Buddhism in this region, particularly in Sikkim. The monastery thus looks like the Tibetan monasteries in style and architecture. The Tenduks got the title of Maharaja from the Britishers who had colonized the hills and made this area their summer home. The most attractive part of this Gumpha is the exquisite paintings made of natural dyes and colours. Nezi Monastery is indeed famous for these paintings that attract tourists from all over the world. Just beside the monastery, stands Naksha Dunga, an edifice of sculpted Buddha on a rock. Lord Buddha is seen in meditation in this inscribed sculpture. It is considered to be as ancient as the monastery itself. Other than this Buddhist Monastery, in 1815 a church was also erected in this region, which still stands beside the monastery. 

While in Kizom, one can stay in Karmi Farm, a homestay built by none other than the descendants of the Tenduk Dynasty, Raja Andrew. If you want to stay in this homestay you have to do the booking well in advance. Because of its historical significance, this homestay is always in demand. If you are an adventurous hiker, you can try out the Alletair View Point and the Panchakanya Viewpoint. The uphill road in this area is a bit treacherous, so it is advised to take the help of locals. Once atop, one gets a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the hills and valleys around along with the Rangeet river. 

How to reach:
Kizom is 30 km away from Darjeeling. You can take a car from Bijonbari, else you can also take a share taxi or your own vehicle from Darjeeling and Siliguri. Car cost will be around Rs 2000.

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