Mirik is a relatively new addition in the tourist map of Darjeeling region. Mirik used to be a meadow surrounded by hills. During the 1970’s at the initiation of the tourism department of West Bengal, a small dam was created thus blocking the water from flowing out. Thus lake Samendu was created, one of the biggest attractions of Mirik.
Most tourist activities center around the lake. There is a path that goes around the lake through the mountains. The walk is a favourite especially among honeymooners. You can get into boating in the Lake or take a horse ride. You may simply spend hours sitting on the grass besides the lake and enjoy the surrounding.
Mirik is situated at an altitude of 1768 meters above sea level. The weather is pleasant here for most part of the year. The temperature rarely comes close to 30 degrees centigrade in summer and during the winter it may hover around 13-18 degrees. Yearly rainfall here is 297 centimeters. The population of Mirik is about 25000 and most of them are of Nepali origin. Nepali and Hindi are spoken by most people, in the tourist places Bengali and English is also used.
Mirik is situated between Siliguri which is the entry and exit point for all tourists, and Darjeeling. The direct distance between Siliguri and Darjeeling is about 80 kms. To travel via Mirik, you have to take a small detour and the total travel distance would be about 92 kms. Mirik is 52 kilometers from Siliguri and takes about 1.5 hour. The road from Mirik further leads to Darjeeling via Sukiapokhri and Simana (Nepal Boarder). This distance is about 40 km and takes another 1.5 hours.
If you are constrained with time, you may visit Mirik on your way to Darjeeling immediately after arrival at Bagdogra or NJP. Your transfer vehicle will give you an hour’s break at Mirik which is just enough time to familiarise yourself with the town.
Many tourists prefer to take a full day sightseeing from Darjeeling to Mirik. On the way they can also stop over at Simana, the Indo-Nepal boarder.
To enjoy the town fully, you must spend a minimum of one night in one of the many hotels here. These will allow you a soak in the charm of the hill station without hurry.
Samendu Lake: Situated in the middle of the Mirik valley, this is the main attraction of Mirik. This is not a natural lake but is created by the government to promote tourism. The area of the lake is 1.25 sq. kilometers. The lake with its boating facilities and "Dhupi" forests all around enhances the natural beauty of the place. Swimming in this lake is neither permitted nor suggested. There is a substantial population of Fish in the Lake. You can feed them but fishing is not allowed.
Boating in the river is a common tourist activity. There are restaurants around the lake where one can relax and enjoy the view.
The Helipad : Mirik helipad is located on top of a hill overlooking the Mirik lake. The vantage location makes it a great view point and attracts tourists and locals alike. On a clear day, the helipad offers grand views of the Mirik lake and the town with majestic Kanchenjunga forming the background. The Helipad is not in regular use and there is no restriction on tourist movement to the helipad either.
Devi Sthan : Devi Sthan or the temple of Singha Devi is situated on the west bank of the Samendu Lake. This temple is one of the main attractions for the tourists. The places of worship of Hanuman, Shiva and Kali Mata are on the other sides of the lake. Another holy place for the tourists is Bokar Gompa situated near these temples.
Other Viewpoints – Since the lake is surrounded by hills on all sides, you can reach on the top of any of these hills and have a great view of Mirik. Two such viewpoints are Rameetay Dara and Kawlay Dara. The term Dara in Nepali means a hill and both hilltops provides great view of Mirik town.
Thurbo Tea Garden & Factory: Mirik is situated in the center of some of the best tea gardens of the state. The tour of these tea gardens is one of the memorable events for the tourists.