Lepchajagat is a tiny, little hamlet, tucked away in the Pine forest of North Bengal. This hamlet is the heaven for the nature lovers, photographers and trekking addicts. The literal meaning of Lepchjagat is the world of Lepcha as it was originally an inhabitant of the Lepcha tribe until the British brought it in prominence during the early 19th century. Subsequently, the West Bengal Forest Department Corporation (WBFDC) marked this place as the reserved forest area. The wild forest of Pine, Oak, and Rhododendron with the bounty of natural beauty offers a magnificent view of Mt. Kanchendzongha from this hamlet. This is the reason why it becomes the hot offbeat travel destination in the Bengal circuit.
How to reach?
Lepchajgat is located in the wilderness at an altitude of 6,956 ft and only 19 Km away from Darjeeling town. We came to this place from Kalimpong by a shared car and dropped at the Ghoom Railway station. It is only 8 Km from Ghoom and we reserved a small car at the cost of Rs-300 to reach our Homestay.
If you come from Siliguri by shared car or bus, you have to drop at Ghoom and from there you can get plenty of options for shared jeeps and cars (which are going towards Sukhiapokhri) to reach Lepcha Jagat. If you come by a small group and have luggage, I’ll suggest reserving a car to reach the place.
Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri (NJP)
Nearest Airport: Bagdogra
Shared car cost:
NJP to Ghum- 170/-
Lepchajagat to Sukhiapokhri- 20/-
Sukhiapokhri to Jorpokhri ( reserve)- 200/-
Lepchajagat to Darjeeling- 40/-
You can also reserve a jeep from NJP or Bagdogra for Lepchajagat at the cost of Rs-2500-3500.
Where to Stay?
Lepchajagat is actually a slum area of few Lepcha families, located just beside the motorable road between Ghoom to Sukhiapokhri. The people of this hamlet arrange plenty of homestay accommodations for the tourists with basic food and lodging facilities. Though they have the basic amenities for stay but their behaviour are just flawless. They always try to help you at their best and you must feel that a home away home feeling from those homestays.
We stay at Renu Homestay where the cost of food and lodging per person per day is only Rs-900. The food quality and quantity is very good. They also provide cars for sightseeing and pick-up or drop to for NJP. Contact No.- +916294293776
Kanchan Kanya Homestay- +919593565309
How to Explore Lepchajagat?
This is a place where the mist and light play hides and seek in the forest. I think, if I didn’t go to Lepchajagat, I couldn’t discover the magical spell of mist in the deep, thick pine forest.
The most interesting part of this place is the thick forest of the tall Pine and oak trees, whose end you cannot see if you turn your head up. This forest is the core of all unending mystery. The blue hue of the mist in the gaps of those tall trees, the low beam light inside the forest and my own shadow in the mist created such an enigma that I can only compare with the background of any horror film. The cold Himalayan breeze in the forest, the mystery of the blue mist, the fear of attacking wild animals in the dark (as light is very low) forest and my solitude took me away to another world that I had never imagined.
I struggled to manage my dynamic mind, where the fear of losing in the forest and the desire to do more adventure in the forest, collided with each other. If I moved forward 3 steps, I stepped back 2 more steps. I sensed goosebumps on my skin inside my jacket. After walking a few steps in the forest, I saw the drops of rain on my camera hood. I packed my camera as soon as possible and ran away from the forest towards our homestay. That time, I really scared as I had to trek long way on the slippery and bouncy roads of the forest to reach the residential area.
After having an awesome lunch, we went to the Jorpokhri Lake, which is only 6 km away from the Lepchajagat. As this place is very close to Darjeeling, shared cars are easily available. We were three including our child and we mostly travelled in the shared car. It saves our trip cost.
When we reached this lake, we saw, the cloud masked over the lake and its surroundings and we also experienced a little drizzle. I really felt bad as I cannot see most of the area of this beautiful lake in this fog. After roaming around the lake in the little afternoon light, I realized that the fog has a unique beauty that we cannot see in a clear day.
Next day, morning, we went to visit Darjeeling. This is the most crowded place in North Bengal, particularly in the season of summer vacation. It seemed to that half of West Bengal has shifted to Darjeeling. This is the reason why people choose Lepchajagat and other surrounding offbeat places for staying and visit Darjeeling on a day trip. We visited Ghoom Monastery, Ghoom Railway Station and Batasia Loop only.
Ghoom Railway station is the highest station of India. The toy train stops here for half an hour. The tourists of Joyride (Darjeeling to Ghoom toy train) visit the Ghoom Railway museum in that time.
From the railway station, we moved to the Ghoom Monastery. This is the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monastery built in the year of 1850. There is a great Buddha statue inside the temple.
That day, the weather was seriously bad. The valley, the roads and its surrounding area was covered with the fog. We didn’t see any landscape in this beautiful place. Hence, we dropped the plan for visiting Batasia Loop and move towards Darjeeling mall for some shopping. As we visited Darjeeling earlier, we didn’t go for 5/7 point sightseeing. If you wish you can get the car for it from Mall chowrasta.
Next day, morning, we found quite better weather. I realized that the weather plays a great role in our mood. The morning light induced me to take my camera and wander around the village. The Lepcha busty is the great spot for pictorial photography. After taking some photos in the village, I came to the viewpoint. As the weather was not so good, Mt Kanchenjunga didn’t come out from the layers of clouds. But, the viewpoint offers a panoramic view of Tiger Hill, Darjeeling and Sandakfu.
That was the last day of our tour. After having breakfast, we packed our luggage for leaving this misty dreamland. We visited Batasia loop before leaving Darjeeling. Perhaps one of the most picturesque train routes in all of Darjeeling, the Batasia Loop is a lush green toy train pathway that is meant to minimise the elevation of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The unique design of this magnificent attraction allows the track to wrap around itself through a hilltop tunnel. One of the most enchanting aspects of the Batasia Loop is its unmatched natural beauty and panoramic view of the Darjeeling in all its verdant glory.
- October to April is the best time to visit.
- Always carry winter wears even in the summer also.
- You have to feel the place rather than watching it.
- It is the best place for honeymooners and nature lovers.
- Here rain comes very frequently. So, always carry an umbrella or raincoat.
- The village people are very simple and only provide the basic amenities in the homestay. So, don’t expect much from them and please, behave well with those people. They are really very much helpful.
- Lepchajagat is the paradise of the landscape, pictorial and Nature photography. The photo lovers can explore this place in a different way.
We are going organize a photography tour To Lepchajagat and Tinchuley this October for 4 days and 3 nights. If any of my photo lover readers or fellow bloggers is interested in the Photo-tour, please check the Facebook Event Let’s Explore Offbeat Darjeeling for the details. Thank You.