Parengtar is a small village located at the Indo-Bhutan border in Patangodak Gram Panchayat under Gorubathan Block, Kalimpong, West Bengal. The meaning of Parengtar in Nepali translates to "A Plateau of Pareng". Villagers recount that the place was once a Bamboo forest (Pareng being a type of bamboo). The landscape of Parengtar is a dreamy vignette of Himalayan houses in bright shades of red and blue idle amidst paddy fields. The glorious Jaldhaka River flows below while the hills of Bhutan stand like a faraway fortress. A governmental school ground sits at the heart of the village, a compound where the community gathers. The ariel view of Parengtar looks like a guitar with a road that chafes right through the paddy fields towards Todey- Tangta.
The People of Parengtar
Parengtar is home to a majority of Kirati Rai people of the Eastern Himalayas who practice Christianity or Hinduism & also preserve their indigenous worship of land and nature. According to oral speculation, the progenitors of Parengtar seem to have come from the Bhutanese belt in the 16th-17th centuries. Parengtar's ambitious and close-knit population is continually working to improve their village. The residents are mostly farmers who actively cultivate paddy, a rarity in the neighboring districts. The inhabitants are strict Parma believers, helping one another with daily and agricultural duties.
While in Parengtar, you can go on a culinary adventure that celebrates the season and the spirit of togetherness. Enjoy the simple nourishment of an authentic village spread replete with fresh and local delicacies like bamboo shoots, kalo dal (black lentils), and kukhura ko jhol (local chicken soup). During Asaar auspicious dahi chiura, a combination of curd and beaten rice, a staple during the festival that provides a quick and nutritious meal for busy farmers is a must-try. The community preserves and celebrates the traditional cuisine of the Rai community such as the hearty Dhido and wachipa.
Cuisine & Culture
Agriculture is an integral part of Parengtar's economy. It is one of the few villages where community paddy farming is in proactive practice. Parengtar is a stalwart of self-sustenance where the community grows its food. Oral legends vouch that paddy farming began when a Jogi(a wandering mystic) started sharing rice seeds that he collected from nearby villages with the villagers of Parengtar.
Community-based tourism in Parengtar
In Parengtar, Kalimpong, community-based tourism takes center stage. Here, the community creatively designs its tourism patterns, offering authentic and sustainable solutions for preserving its rural heritage. Parengtar is rapidly emerging as a zero waste model village for tourism and sustainability, showcasing remarkable achievements. By choosing Parengtar, you become part of a sustainable travel movement that supports responsible tourism practices and empowers local communities. Join us in discovering this enchanting village where community-based tourism thrives, sustainability is cherished, and the spirit of the community shines brightly.
Parengtar Nawlo Umanga Welfare Society
Parengtar Nawlo Umanga Welfare Society was established in the year (2021) to mobilize the community for the holistic welfare and healing of the village through sustainable livelihood initiatives. The youth of Parengtar have come together to lead the way in creating sustainable livelihoods for their home and participate in attaining the UN SDG goals via grassroots initiatives.
Asaar Pandhra Festival
Feel the magic of Asar Pandhra (June/July), the Nepali festival heralding the paddy planting season. Immerse into the rich heritage of rice fields in the serene village of Parengtar, Jaldhaka. Soak in the rain, play with mud, and celebrate a community united by sustainability and zero-waste practices. Embrace this opportunity to immerse into the lived realities of rural life in the Eastern Himalayas.
Kholeydai Harvest Festival
Kholeydai is a celebration of the new harvest of rice. Dai refers to the dance-like steps used to process the harvested rice and Kholey is fresh rice porridge. One of the prime highlights of Parengtar, this lively festival is a one-of-a-kind celebration of rural life. The festival usually takes place from November - December.
Enjoy a stroll across the open green paddy fields of Parengtar with the friendly locals. You can have tea at any house and extend your conversation with Parengtar. A walk through the village is always full of surprises and fresh discoveries.
Learn Indigenous Craftsmanship
Narbahadur Chamling Rai is one of the only remaining craftsmen of Nepali Madal. He's been doing this for almost 60 years. He says he learned it from a Nepalese nomad when he was a child. He is always willing to teach this uncommon art to visitors. Just like this, there are many such hidden stories in the fabric of Parengtar 's narrative which can be experienced with an open mind.