I LOVE lakes. So, when my host at Kettle Valley told me about Bhangzang Salamander Lake, I jumped at the idea of visiting it. Interestingly, one has to hike downhill to reach the lake and it takes around two to three hours of walk. It’s not hard at all, as there is no significant uphill hike involved. In fact, it’s lots of fun.
|A 'secret' lake of Darjeeling|
A rainy and slippery ramble
We started our hike from Dilaram Village and meandered through many tea gardens and quite a few deserted places before we made it to our destination, the lake. Before I go any further, let me give you a bit of humour – since it was drizzling that day and it had got quite slippery on the way, I had a slight fall in the sight of my fellow-hikers! Well, I choose to label it funny because I was quite confident of my shoes that they wouldn’t let me slip, as they had a good grip, but I still slipped.
|Me, smelling a tea leaf along the way. Photo credit: My host|
|Lots of lush tea gardens on the way to the Lake|
|We spotted a deserted temple on our way|
What did I think of Bhangzang Salamander Lake?
Coming back to the lake, it’s not a usual beautiful lake with blue water to soothe your eyes. It is a muddy green lake, which has different types of salamanders living in it. To be honest, the moment I saw the lake, I was a bit disappointed. It didn’t impress me pronto. But, as I walked around and took my time to observe it, I liked its uniqueness.
|It turned out to be 'unusual'|
|It has rare salamander species|
|A perfect place to witness nature's beauty and quietude|
A hidden picnic spot
I was educated that salamanders survived only in a pure environment. No wonder the freshness in the air was pretty evident. There was a bunch of young boys swimming in the lake, who kind of indicated that it was a great place for such outdoor frolic. Later, I read somewhere that the lake used to be a picnic spot for the British.
|They seem to be natural swimmers. Their spunk was in sync with nature.|
|Green hues dominate the scene|
A lesson of ‘environment’ love
Thankfully, it isn’t touristic. Maybe not many people know about it yet. But if you ever visit Darjeeling, make sure to hike down to this offbeat lake. It’s not just a place to soak yourself in the natural beauty, but it should also give you a sense of environmental consciousness.
|It's therapeutic to spend some time at such places|
|The lake appears 'heart-shaped' from a distance|
As we began to walk uphill and bade adieu to Bhangzang Salamander Lake, I realised that the lake looked like a heart from a distance. Perhaps it was nature’s way of telling us, “I love you.”
So, what do you say? Do you think places like Bhangzang Salamander Lake reinstate our faith in environment?
Practical Information: Bhangzang Salamander Lake is in Darjeeling district around 14 km from the town of Kurseong.
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