Upper Sonada, West Bengal
Sonada Shady Pines
Starts from 1200
Kasto mazza hai railaima
Ramailo ukali oraali…
It’s fun to be in a train
When it goes up and down through the hills…
The heritage toy train of the Darjeeling Himalaya Railways is itself a living history. The pervading mists of Darjeeling, the British era railway station and the hoot of the steam engine echoing across the beautiful hills together take you to a bygone era.
When you get off at Sonada Toy Train Station, you might find the bustling streets of this hill town a bit crowded. Still it has an old world charm about it.
But the truth is, most tourists don’t look out for Sonada beyond the jostling streets around NH 55. Move out as less as 100 meters away, you’ll be surprised by the untapped beauty of Sonada.
❝ ❝O give me a home where the buffaloes roam
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day
Home, home on the range❞ ❞
— Dr. Brewster M. Higley
Catch me if you can…
The hills are alive with luscious shades of green and a veil of mist adds to its magnificence. Thousands of birds nestled in the hills break the solitude with their songs. And any day, given the right weather, you’ll be bewitched by the grandiose facade of the series of 8-thousander peaks, Mt. Kanchenjunga, Kabru, Makalu, Kumbhkaran, all dazzling with their silvery snow in broad daylight.
The Sonada forest houses rich flora and fauna and some of them are on the endangered list too.
Sitting at 6,143 ft, Sonada has a pleasant weather in summer, though winter temperatures plunge, when a thin layer of frost glitters on the grass and the foliage.
The famous Tea Gardens of Darjeeling producing finest leaves like Rumbook Tea Gardens, Kalej Valley tea Estate, Margaret’s Hope, Balasun etc are close by. The Old Cart road, only a few walks uphill from the railway yard was originally built by the British as the main road to Darjeeling. Now it’s like a heritage walk under the canopy of the beautiful Dupi trees.
The Samdrup Darjay Choling Monastery and the Gorato are two pilgrimage sites of Buddhists and Christians but travellers won’t like demarcate this way, owing to the peaceful ambience and wonderful panoramic views these two places offer. Don’t forget to visit Samarpans for a heartful of sumptuous veg dumplings.
The contrasting facades…
By now you must have figured out that this hilly town in Darjeeling is unique in the way that it shelters two very contrasting facades of the Darjeeling Himalayas:
⤑ the old world charm of the busy, bustling main town with markets, narrow gauge rail way station, bakery,settlements etc along NH 55.
⤑ the pristine, untouched greenery around forests in Upper Sonada and a calm, peaceful rural life thriving under the canopy of beautiful alpine vegetation along the slopes of Darjeeling hills.
If you go by our opinion, we’d definitely suggest you to hole up somewhere close to nature, to explore the best of both.
Sonada Shady Pines — an ideal homestay in the lap of nature…
The ‘Sonada Shady Pines’ is a small and very basic homestay nestled in a blissful environment beside the forests of Upper Sonada. It’s only 1 km from Sonada and 16 kms from Darjeeling town and stands on the beautiful trekking trail to the wilderness of Chatakpur, 7 kms away.
It has 2 quad and 1 triple bedrooms to accommodate a total of 12 guests. and have attached bathrooms with geysers and western toilets.
All the rooms and bathrooms are clean and airy. Kitchen and dining areas are adjacent to the rooms. Warm, cosy and simply furnished, the homestay does not boast of a luxurious stay or star rated facilities. What sets it apart is the heartwarming nature of hospitality you can experience here, bereft of any artificiality or hypocrisy. Yes, that’s the most positive and intriguing characteristic of endogenous, rural tourism exhibited here. The hosts make it their top most priority to make you feel at home. And you have a truly rewarding experience in their company.
Available Rooms & Tariff
Includes (unless otherwise specified):
Bed Tea Breakfast Lunch Evening Tea with Snacks Dinner
Children & Extra BedsChildren of all ages are welcome.
Kids upto 5 years of age are our guests at no charge.
Child 5 to 10 years with no extra bed: 50% of the tariff.
Child 10+ years in extra bed: considering as adult.
Double Room - A room assigned to two people and have one bed.
Quadruple - A room assigned to four people. Have one two double beds.
Tea around a cosy corner, an old tale and an audience…
Even in this remote Homestay you would get to taste some fresh brews of Darjeeling tea, and dollops of nice, old stories and folklores about the old hamlet. Food is very fresh and tasty, simple, traditional dishes cooked in traditional way using garden fresh, organically grown vegetables. Chicken and eggs comprise the non-veg platter. Ask your hosts to take you along the village trails to understand their culture and traditions better. This place was where the Tibetans first took refuge after being exhiled from their homeland. Other than Tibetans, the Lepcha, Sherpa, Bhutias also dwell peacefully in the village.
An adode of solace or a drop of eternity, which ever way you describe, Sonada Shady Pines has lot to offer, that too at a meagre price.
But the story does not end there…
When you wake up to the chirps of birds at dawn or when the wilderness echoes with their soulful cries at dusk you’ll realise what bliss it is to be here! Blue throated magpie, prinia, verditer flycatcher etc are there to woo you with their beautiful antics and vibrant plumage.
Miles upon miles, you’ll see either vast stretches of forest laden mountains, with fog and mists adding an element of mystery…
Or the lofty pines, magnolias, camellias, competing each other to reach out and grab an ounce of the sun from a brilliant blue sky.
If you love nature and believe it to be the best anti-dote to the toxicity of urban life, then head straight to Sonada Shady Pines for a rejuvenation beyond imagination…
A backpackers paradise…
The Sonada Shady Pines is ideally located 16 km from Darjeeling and 17 km from Kurseong, one can plan to explore Darjeeling from Sonada without even staying at the heart of the busy Queen of Hills.
Come to Sonada on an extended weekend. You need at least 3 days to fully appreciate what Sonada has in store for you. You can explore the scenic village trails or go trekking into the wilderness of Senchal Wild Life Sanctuary(buffer zones). The best option is however Sonada to Tiger Hill trek (approximately 7 km) via Chatakpur. A part of this trekking trail passes through the buffer areas of Senchal WLS which is home to a number of exotic species of fauna like the red panda. Himalayan serow, barking deer, antelopes, yellow throated Marten, red faced Assamese macaque and of course the Himalayan black bear and leopard.
Good to remember:
Even though the black bear or leopards reside in the core areas of the sanctuary and are rarely spotted outside their natural habitat, it is always advisable to go on guided treks through the buffer zones of Senchal WLS so that you do not accidentally drift into the core areas. You can also trek upto the charming village of Chatakpur, but the views of Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Kabru, Makalu on the way to Tiger Hill are too good to be missed.
25% deposit is charged in by Bhramonik upon reservation. 50% of total to be paid in behalf of Sonada Shady Pines after booking. Final balance to be paid to Sonada Shady Pines after arrival.
If government travel restrictions or hotel closure prevents your stay, the initial deposit paid to Bhramonik may be freely transferred to a future booking through Bhramonik (T&Cs apply).
For cancellations less than 90 days before arrival, Sonada Shady Pines will keep/charge 50% of total. For cancellations less than 30 days before arrival, Sonada Shady Pines will keep/charge full amount. For no-shows or early departures, Sonada Shady Pines will keep/charge full amount. Cancellation fees kept by Sonada Shady Pines may be used for a future stay at this property.
Payment and cancellation policies may vary with special offers.
Unless otherwise specified, the initial guarantee deposit is non-refundable.
We're available from 9am-6pm Monday-Friday,
and 9am-5pm Saturday (India times).