Lepchajagat or Lepcha Bustee as the locals call it is a world of its own. As you take the road towards Sukhiapokhri from Ghoom, a 7 km drive will take you to the misty dreamland of Lepchajagat. The tall pine and fir trees give a grand welcome while you wander into this world.
Lepchajagat is one of the unexplored places near Darjeeling, though of late, it has gained prominence in the tourist circuit of Bengal. It is only 18 Km from Darjeeling, a small quaint village surrounded by the forests. Lepchajagat had been in our bucket list for long. So when we got a couple of days leave, we packed our bags to Lepchajagat. After arriving at Siliguri, we hired a car which took us to Lepchajagat. The place has a few homestays and a Bungalow of West Bengal Forest Department. We had booked our rooms at the Forest Bungalow and our car took us right there. The Bungalow stood imposingly and the gate made a screeching noise a s we tried to open it. It was a perfect setting for a Bhoot Bungalow. I was almost ready for an old caretaker coming out with a lantern in his hand!
The Forest Bungalow was a two storied building and was supposedly built during the British era. The rooms are quite spacious with wooden floor and a fireplace in each room. We thought it would be a grand stay here. But the maintenance of the Bungalow was quite poor as expected in the Government tourism properties. There was a single caretaker who looked after the building. There is a path from the forest Bungalow that led to the forest. But the caretaker does not really encourage the people to go there. Also the view of Kanchenjungha was fabulous from the terrace of the Bungalow and 2 of the suites. May be that is why people prefer staying in these Bungalows. The Government properties always get the best places!
The Lepchajagat village itself is quite small with a few houses. There were no local markets nearby and the main market was at Sukhiapokhri 4 km away. And there lies the beauty of the place. Completely secluded, Lepchajagat offered a perfect place to hide from the world and delve into your own thoughts. The tall trees offer you solitude and the cold breeze across your cheeks simply makes you happy. The smell of the mist is equally enchanting. The mist comes suddenly and you are unable to see much beyond you; and it disappears equally fast.
A place becomes more beautiful because of the people inhabiting there. This can be truly said about Lepchajagat. The people are so friendly and helpful. They will help you in any way they can. We had tea from a homestay, but they refused to take any money from us! “You are our guest”, that was all they said with a smile on their face.
There are a few sightseeing places from Lepchajagat. Jorpokhri is a beautiful lake only 5 km from Lepchajagat. Mirik is also about 30 km from there.
Lepchajagat can be an ideal weekend retreat for all those who want to spend a couple of days in the lap of nature away from the anxiety of daily life. So next week you could also be at Lepchahagat.
All that you want to know about Lepchajagat
Lepchajagat is at an altitude of 2123 metres above sea level.
Lepchajagat is almost 18 Km from Darjeeling. It can be reached from Siliguri by hiring a car. It would take around Rs.2000.00 to Lepchajagat from Siliguri. Alternatively, you can get a shared jeep from Siliguri to Ghoom. From Ghoom, you can take a share jeep or hire a full car. A full car will take about Rs.500/- depending on your bargaining capacity. Getting a shared jeep to Lepchajagat from Ghoom is a bit difficult.
You can also take a full car from Darjeeling which would cost you about Rs.600/- to Rs.700/- again depending on your bargaining capacity.
You can stay at the Forest Bungalow of West Bengal Forest Department. The bungalow has to be booked prior to your visit. You can book online also. And if you are booking it online, please carry the money receipt. The caretaker insists on having the printed copy of the receipt.
You can also stay at the homestays. These homestays provide basic accommodation and food and the people are quite friendly.
Roam around the roads of Lepchajagat. It is quite refreshing. You can visit the colourful market of Sukhipokhri. Jorpokhri and Mirik can also be visited by hiring a car.
Best time to visit:
Definitely the summers. Winters are quite cold and the winds are quite chilly. Do carry all your winter wear if you are visiting in the winters.
Feel free to contact us if you want to know more.