About Icchey Gaon

Nobody knows, when Icchey Gaon was carved out from the jungles and formed and when our forefathers came here and settled. However, my grandfather told me stories of the British Sahibs and the Babus from Kolkata, who looked after the Cinconha Plantations and the pine forests. Our forefathers were asked to settle here by the British Cinconha Planters and were allotted the job of clearing the forest and taking care of the plantation. Maybe, it was during the 1920’s that they settled here because the nearby Jalsha Bungalow was built during the same time.

We do not have records and exact dates of our early history but we have stories to tell. We have all sorts of stories here – from the Fairy Godmother who wanders in the forest to the story of the English Sahib who fell for a village girl to the hilarious story of naming our village.

I was born and brought up at Icchey Gaon. My father used to work with the Forest Department and used to stay out of home for days. My mother used to do all the chores and send us to school. We used to walk five kilometers to school everyday and return by afternoon. There was no electricity and all the houses were “kutcha” in our village. Well! There were not many houses in those days too! I still remember, the first time our neighbour put up a tin roof on his house – it would shine in the mornings and we could see it all the way down from our road – it looked so fascinating!

View - old Kalimpong

View – old Kalimpong

Icchey Gaon is around 5700 feet above sea level and it is surrounded by pine forests on three sides and Cinconha Plantation on one side. At night, you can relish the twinkling lights of Namchi, Darjeeling and Ravangla from our terrace and the morning sky is ruled by our guardian deity – Mt. Kanchenjungha. Icchey Gaon is one of the very few villages in Eastern Himalayas from where you can catch the setting sun as well as the rising sun over the mountains. We have all types of guests coming to Icchey Gaon. First, we have the mountain lovers – who sit in a quiet corner of our terrace and keeps gazing at the mountains for hours sipping tea, then comes the prolific nature lover who treks in the pine forest and walks around the village and takes amazing photos and later sends them by post to us. Then there are the family guests who love our home-cooked recipes and would go for sightseeing to nearby Kalimpong, Lava, Reshikhola and Delo and return by the evenings to settle down around a campfire.

We also have lots of bird watchers as our guests who stay back here for weeks recording bird calls, taking photos and sketching them. Then there are the gifted ones like star gazers who go out in the evenings to the highest point of the village and stay back till midnight looking through their telescopes soaking in the Himalayan chill.

We were the first ones to start our home stay at Icchey Gaon back in 2011. When we started our home stay with only two rooms, we had no idea about who would come to stay with us. Then, some guests turned up because they did not get rooms in nearby Kalimpong during the tourist-rush season and we were honoured by our first guests. The guests went back home and asked one of their friends, who happened to be a tour-operator to check out our place. So, came the first tour operator TRAVEL MONK to Icchey Gaon and they suggested about all the things we needed to do to bring in more guests. Soon Travel Monk started sending more guests to our home stay and from two rooms we had to build eleven rooms in last seven years to cater our guests. Our neighbours were also encouraged by our success and today we have around 20 home stays at Icchey Gaon.

View of Mt. Kanchenjungha from Icchey Gaon

View of Mt. Kanchenjungha from Icchey Gaon

We have three separate accommodation options for our guests. We have our two stored Main Building with four rooms, the Traditional Cottage with two rooms and the New Building with five rooms. My family prepares the food for all our guests and most of the ingredients are organic and procured locally. We love to see the contentment on the faces of our guests, when they taste our local poultry and traditional dishes. They usually ask us for the recipes and some even end up in our kitchen to learn the intricate folds of the momo.

We take our guests through our village and tell them the stories about us and about the good times and not-so good times, about our struggles, our hopes, our culture, our people, our forests and our Icchey Gaon. I told you already! That we love telling stories, so be our guest and we will tell you all those stories and specially that funny one about naming our village!