You are currently viewing Takdah Orchid Centre: Is It Worth Visiting? [Unveil the Truth Behind the Hype]

Takdah Orchid Centre: Is It Worth Visiting? [Unveil the Truth Behind the Hype]

  • Post author:Suvankar Das
  • Post last modified:July 21, 2023
  • Reading time:15 mins read

Takdah Orchid Centre, home to a captivating array of wild orchids, is considered a prominent attraction for tourists visiting Darjeeling, Tinchuley, and Takdah. Upon entering the Centre you can see 3 separate auditoriums (glass house), where numerous varieties of Himalayan wild orchids are preserved, few of those are relatively rare species.  A portion of the expansive Takdah Orchid Centre is adorned with flourishing plants and a grass lawn, providing a pleasant resting spot amidst your sightseeing journey.

Local guides claim that the Orchid Centre houses a herbal grove featuring various medicinal plants cultivated primarily for ayurvedic treatments, although, during our visit, we did not personally observe any such elements.

List of Wild Orchids in Takdah Orchid Centre

As per the Orchid House inventory, there are purportedly 34 varieties of orchids present. However, during our visit, we observed only the following species on display.

  1. Bulbophyllum guttulatum
  2. Coelogyne flaccid
  3. Coelogyne nitida (Very common in Tinchuley and Kurseong regions)
  4. Cymbidium aloifolium
  5. Cymbidium devonianum
  6. Cryptochilus strictus or Eria stricta
  7. Dendrobium chrysotoxum
  8. Dendrobium mobile
  9. Dendrobium moschatum
  10. Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum
  11. Paphiopedilum insigne
  12. Paphiopedilum venustum
  13. Paphiopedilum villosum
  14. Thunia alba
  15. Vanda coerulea or Blue vanda

During our visit, we noticed that only three orchids were in bloom, despite it being the flowering season for several others. Additionally, we observed several plants in a deteriorated state, indicating a lack of care on the part of the authorities responsible for their maintenance.

Apart from that, we observed several other negligences in Takdah Orchid Centre which diminish its worth as a destination to visit. Let me explain the matter in detail.

Related: Tendrabong – The Offbeat Wonder of North Bengal

Past and Present of Takdah Orchid Centre

In 1900s, Takdah held significance as a gathering point for British soldiers who fought in World War II. Also, a significant portion of Takdah Orchid Centre was utilized as a base for British militants. Presently, the Forest Department of the West Bengal Government has undertaken the responsibility to maintain the Takdah Orchid Centre.

Once upon a time, it held the distinction of being the largest orchid house in Asia. However, at present, its major drawback lies in the realm of poor maintenance, which remarkably dropped its position in the last bench.

Failure in maintenance

The failure in maintenance is evident throughout the Takdah Orchid Centre. Despite its vast area, the authorities have been unable to realize its full potential in creating a beautiful and well-planned environment, comparable to renowned botanical gardens in Indian hills, located in such as Shillong or Ooty Botanical Garden. Regrettably, when compared to those exceptional gardens, the Takdah Orchid Centre’s disorganized decor falls short of captivating tourists’ expectations.

A significant portion of the area is overgrown with dense jungle and unwanted weeds, making those areas inaccessible to visitors. Only the front part of the Centre is adorned with a garden, which is also in an incomplete state of decoration. Collected Himalayan Orchids are growing with a lot of negligence inside three glass shelters. One of the three glass shelters remains closed all the day.

Love trekking? then explore: Sandakphu Trek: The Untold Way to Reconnect with Yourself!

Does Takdah Orchid Centre Repay your investment?

The entry fee for Orchid-watching is 20/- entry fee per head. When you are investing your time and money (although it’s a little amount), you must be expecting to visualize something beautiful, right?

Let’s see, what you get inside Takdah Orchid Center in exchange of 20/- per head entry fee:

  • The entrance path is well maintained, resembling a garden area.
  • Inside the Centre, there are three orchid houses, one of them remains closed.
  • You will encounter a variety of orchid species inside, a few of them are rare species.
  • The larger orchid house and the hatching area are truly lacking maintenance.
  • During the off-season, you may not witness blooming orchid flowers.
  • The vast backdrop of the Takdah Orchid Centre suffers from poor maintenance, overrun with unwanted weeds.

The orchid viewing experience can be completed within a maximum of 10-15 minutes. After exploring the orchid houses, you can take some rest by sitting on the lawn.

Takdah Orchid Centre

A topic of your interest: Simanadara – A Hidden Heaven Where Mountains Meet the Valley

Our Evaluation of Takdah Orchid Centre

We revealed, unless you are a botanist or plant biologist seeking to explore new plant species or you have ample time to spare on your trip, Takdah Orchid Centre is not worth for investing your time and money. Even though you are a general plant lover (but not a botanist), you may feel upset watching the negligence of the authority here.

During the peak season, the road in front of the gate becomes congested with cars carrying eager tourists, each hoping to discover something exceptional within the orchid Centre. However, regrettably, most visitors end up leaving with a sense of disappointment. (Certainly, there may be a few exceptions who have not explored other botanical gardens in the past.)

It is worth noting that the individual collecting the entry fee is likely not an employee of the forest department. Instead, she runs a tea and snack stall near the main gate of the Takdah Orchid Centre. We observed this during our visit and were astonished to witness such negligence on the part of the forest department!

It is bewildering to contemplate how the Forest Department of West Bengal can be so careless about such a valuable Orchid Centre. I believe that if this Centre were located in any other state of India, it would be in far better condition, retaining its glory as one of the best Orchid Centres in Asia, as it was in the past.

If you have previously visited any other plant houses or botanical gardens in hilly regions, as present in Ooty, Shillong, or even in Gangtok, you will undoubtedly agree with me.

Also see: Charkhole – A promising offbeat destination in North Bengal

Other Places to Explore near Takdah Orchid House

Takdah Orchid House becomes a must-visit spot for every Tinchuley and Takdah tourist. Most of them visit this place based on the recommendation of local homestay owners. But truthfully there are far better places to explore nearby.

Following is the list of places to visit around:

  1. Lamahatta Ecopark
  2. Gumbadara Viewpoint
  3. Peshok tea Garden
  4. Rangli Rangliot Tea Garden
  5. Tinchuley Hills and Monastery
  6. Lover’s meet viewpoint
  7. Bara Mangwa Orange Garden (seasonal)

How to visit Takdah Orchid Centre

Situated just 0.5km away from Takdah Market, Takdah Orchid Centre is a part of sightseeing in Takdah part of North Bengal. You can visit this place from Darjeeling or Kalimpong. Tinchuley and Lamahatta are two popular offbeat destinations nearby, where you may opt to stay overnight.

Accommodation nearby

Darjeeling and Kalimpong are far away from Takdah Orchid Centre, though many tourists visit here for both of these places, especially from Darjeeling.

However, to explore Takdah Orchid Centre and other nearby spots, it’s ideal to stay in a nearby homestay. There are many homestays in Takdah and Tinchuley region. The best ones are listed in the link below, you can opt for any from this list.

Alternatively, you can also choose to stay in Lamahatta, Bara Mangwa, Chota Mangwa, or Peshok.

Best Time to Visit Takdah Orchid Centre

The Takdah Orchid Centre boasts a wide variety of orchid species, each with its own distinct blooming season. To truly witness the beauty of these orchids, it is essential to visit when they are in full bloom.

The period between February and April is considered an ideal season to explore the Centre, as numerous orchids are in bloom during this time. Additionally, some orchids blossom in late autumn (October-November), while the summer season typically sees fewer blooms.

You may like exploring: 12 Best Places to Visit in Munnar Hill Station, India

Final Remarks

Despite the reputation of Takdah Orchid Centre as one of the region’s most popular attractions, we feel that it is somewhat overhyped. While it may hold appeal for botanists or plant enthusiasts due to the preservation of a few different orchid species, the overall collection is not as impressive as expected. In fact, several listed species are noticeably absent.

Furthermore, the maintenance of the Takdah Orchid Centre is subpar, which is disappointing considering the entry fees they are charging per visitor.

Finally, when viewed from the perspective of a typical tourist, the Takdah Orchid Centre falls short of its hype. Although it may hold some interest for botanists or limited plant lovers, you may feel disappointed as a common tourist.

Considering the presence of other attractive destinations in the vicinity (as mentioned earlier), we suggest prioritizing those over the Takdah Orchid Centre.

Wishing you a delightful and fulfilling trip.

Please follow, like, and share us:
Home | Articles

Dr. Suvankar Das is a scientific advisor by profession, associated with a CRO organization. He pursued his doctoral degree in Chemistry in 2015. Later, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher & scientist in a couple of institutes/companies.

Besides his scientific journey, Dr. Das is also a passionate traveler and travel blogger. He loves to share all his travel experiences with other travelers so that everyone can enjoy hassle-free holidays with their own tour plans.

He believes, the most beautiful thing in this world is the WORLD itself. so there is no way to live like a clock; rather live it like a compass!

Leave a Reply