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Thursday, 6 February 2020

Lepchajagat-Lamhatta, Darjeeling

Lepchajagat, Darjeeling, W.Bengal, India
                  Lepchajagat is a small forest village at an altitude of 6,960 ft (i.e. 2125 meters) and only 15 km from Darjeeling and 8 km from Ghoom station. Though it is quite close to the main hub of Darjeeling and takes just about 45 minutes by taxi, it has its own world. If you're a lover of nature or are looking for a romantic stay for a couple of days, then Lepchajagat is your place. Most of the tourists who combine a short stay in Lepchajagat with their visits to Darjeeling just to mix the holiday with an unbeatable stay in the middle of nature. It used to be a hamlet of the Lepcha tribes, as the name suggests as it is the world of Lepchas. Moreover, it is undertaking by the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC) and declared a reserved forest area.
Mystic Forest, Lepchajagat
               It is the secret pearl of Darjeeling hill which is free from the tourists' noise. Witnessing the sun-rise of the third highest peak of Mt-Kanchenjunga is an experience to any nature lover like in a word marvelous picturesque. 
             In short, Lepchajagat is a heavily wooded area full of pines, oaks, and rhododendrons. And all that is paired with stunning views of the peaks of Kanchenjunga, beautiful birdlife and serene quietness. A nice quiet place and great for honeymooners.  Must engage with nature in its full bloom during the daytime, and when the night falls, you sit next to the fireplace and read a book, hear the sounds of crickets from the jungle around you (that's the only sound you'll hear).
How to Reach Lepchajagat?
            Lepchajagat can get prepaid taxis from NJP or Bagdogra. From NJP/Bagdogra it takes about 3.5-4 hours to reach (by the usual route-Hill Cart Road via Ghoom). You'll also be having shared jeeps from NJP/Siliguri to Ghoom as an alternative. From there take another shared jeep that will drop you off at the main road next to the lodge. Fare around 2500-3000/- (Car)
Sight Scenes
               Lepchajagat's main attraction is its close proximity to the town of Darjeeling but being able to stay in a picturesque village with great natural views. You can spend the whole day wandering around the village and not going for sightseeing. Things to see in the nearby area include 
Pashupati Market–It is a Nepalese town just 16 km or 30 min drive from Lepchajagat on the Indo-Nepal border. Upon reaching the border check post, Indian tourist vehicles are not permitted to go inside Nepal for shopping, etc., so you have to hire a local car if anyone want to go to the local Nepalese market.
Sukiapokhari - The nearest town is Sukiapokhari or Sukeypokhari, it is just a 4 km walk through beautiful pine, oak, maple, and chestnut conifer forest. Although Sukiapokhari does not have a lot of attractions for tourists on its own, here you can visit Jorepokhari about a kilometer from town. This used to be a natural lake where rare Salamander could be seen, now the entire lake is cemented and decorated, a nearby Shiva temple has also been built, and tourist accommodation is also available here. The location is very peaceful and provides beautiful mountain views around.
Darjeeling town and Mall - Mall road being only a 30-minute drive (15 km) from Lepchajagat, can stay here and enjoy all of Darjeeling's tourist attractions as well.
Mirik - Mirik town is also about 28 km away, or 45-50 min drives away. One can go for a day trip to Mirik and enjoy boating there on Lake Samendu.
Manebhanjan - Manebhanjan (17 Kms.) is the base for treks to Sandakphu on the Indo-Nepal border and is about 45-50 min drive away.
Lamhatta, Darjeeling
          Lamahatta was developed in late 2012 as a place for eco-tourism. Earlier that year, when State Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee passed by Lamahatta in March, she paused for a while, taking pictures of this roadside mountain village, its vast sprawling Dhupi & Pine forests, and the spectacular views of the peaks and rivers around it. 
            Lamahatta is situated at an altitude of around 5,760 feet and 23 km from the hill town of Darjeeling (Darjeeling-Ghoom-Lamhatta) and 22.5 km from Lepchajagat (Lepchajagat-Ghoom-Lamhatta) (about 1 hour by car). Although it is only a small village where the main sources of livelihood are agriculture and cattle rearing, Lamahatta is well connected by the Darjeeling-Kalimpong state highway.
         Overall, Lamahatta has a serene, peaceful, eco-friendly and romantic ambiance. It's ideal for honeymooners or couples who want to spend some quiet and intimate time with nature, take some nature walks through the dhupi jungle labyrinth, enjoy the beautiful garden & views of the surrounding area, as well as several other nearby natural sights.
Time to Visit 
          October to April in Lepchajagat & Lamhatta is a great time to enjoy nature. Nevertheless, note that winter nights and early mornings can be very cold. Avoid monsoon (June-September), as it can rain almost anytime and the trails are not suitable for trekking or walking.

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