Lamahatta is an ultimate example of how eco-tourism can change a place for the better. The place has been developed as an eco-tourism site in the year 2012. The place with its vast stretches of huge conifers and pine along with the majestic mountain views offers a pacific and idyllic destination.
It is said that some Buddhist monks used to stay here before independence. The word “Lamahatta” is derived from the words “Lama” meaning a Buddhist monk and “hatta” meaning a hut. So Lamahatta actually turns out to be a hermitage. Indeed the beauty of the landscape of this place makes for a unique destination.
Situated just 23 km from Darjeeling , Lamahatta stands at an altitude of 5700 ft. The Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee during one of her visit to Darjeeling stopped at this roadside mountain village and took some pictures of the place. Soon enough, with the help of the government, the villagers and the forest officers, the village was turned into a perfect eco-tourism destination. The main inhabitants of this village are Sherpas, Tamangs, Bhutias, Yalmos and Dukpas. Cattle rearing and farming are their main livelihood along with tourism activities.
How do eco-tourism and Lamahatta go hand-in-hand?
Eco-tourism has been a boon for the Lamahatta villagers. The villagers work closely with the tourism department while maintaining the diversity and ecological balance of the flora and fauna of the region so that these activities remain sustainable in the long run.
Several homestays have come up run by the villagers. There are also jungle camps run by them. From these homestays, one can get the clear view of the Kanchenjunga ranges along with the valley below. These homestays are at one side of the road, while the other side has the vast stretch of garden. This is the roadside garden that has been created with much care and love.
The garden is well kept with beautiful flowering plants and orchids. And as you go up, the canopy of firs and conifers start caressing you. There is a pathway in the garden for taking a leisurely stroll. For the more active ones, there is an uphill pathway that leads to a sacred lake. A hike of 20 minutes will take you to the pond. The path is well marked and there are resting seats in between if you want to catch your breath.
Colourful flags dance in the winds at one side of the garden. The locals say that the breeze passes through these prayer flags and purify the surroundings as well as the souls of the people. Some of the best views of the Darjeeling hills are seen from the garden. On a clear day, you can see the surrounding ranges, the valley and the Rangit river flowing down. But we were a tad unlucky that day as the sky was cast with clouds. Nevertheless, the natural beauty of the surroundings was enough to keep us mesmerized.
Lamahatta offers a tranquil atmosphere for all those looking for some peace away from city life. Nature will cleanse everything and you will be refreshed after having that garden fresh Darjeeling tea. So visit Lamahatta and stay there for a day to relax and rejuvenate.
How to reach Lamahatta:
From Siliguri, Lamahatta is about 72 kms and will take about 3.5 hours. You will need to come to Jorebungalow near Ghoom and then take the road for Lamahatta. You can take a shared jeep to Jorebungalow and then another one to Lamahatta. Or else, you can also book a cab.
From Darjeeling the distance to Lamahatta is 23kms. The best way to reach Lamahatta is by hiring a cab. From Kalimpong, the distance is 41kms and it will take about 2 hours.
Places to stay:
There are a number of homestays and tents as well.
You can also enjoy at Lamahatta:
There are a few short jungle treks at Lamahatta. For those looking for some activities can try these.
There is a 8 km trek route through the jungle to Takdah. But take a local or guide if you are venturing this one.
Visit the nearby tea gardens.
There is a cave temple and Lamahatta Village monastery nearby.
You can also visit the beautiful Peshoke view point about 8 km away and also Triveni, the meeting point of Teesta and Rangeet.
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