Lepchajagat literally meaning the world of the Lepchas, the original tribe of Eastern Himalayas is now a beautiful tourist destination famous for its romantic atmosphere and sunrise point. Located at an elevation of 6,956 feet, Lepchajagat offers a fascinating sunrise from the Ghoom Rock which is unparalleled in its appeal. Though the place is located at a short distance of 19 kilometers from Darjeeling main town and is only 45 minutes drive from Ghoom, it seems like a completely different world. Quiet, tranquil, romantic; it is an ideal destination for honeymooners to spend time each other forgetting all about the world. Lepchajagat is now a reserved forest area maintained by the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation.

How to reach Lepchajagat sunrise point


Lepchajagat can be directly reached from Bagdogra airport or New Jalpaiguri railway station in a prepaid taxi in approximately 3.5 hours. There are 2 routes to reach Lepchajagat; one is through Hill Cart Road and the other through Pankhabari via Ghoom. It precisely falls on the Route towards Mirik from Darjeeling. You can also opt for shared jeeps from Ghoom which will take you to the beautiful Lepchajagat. The best time to visit the place and admire the sunrise and sunset at Kanchenjunga is from October through April. If you are visiting during the winter months, then remember the cold is severe. Monsoons must be avoided because the trails are not safe during this time.

Accommodation in Lepchajagat


The WBFDC Lodge is great for a short stay at Lepchajagat. This is a bungalow constructed in 1800 by the British in the middle of the jungle about 300 meters from the main road. The 6 rooms including 2 suites are clean and offer fantastic views of the forest. Not only the rooms but also the terrace offers breathtaking view of the mighty Kanchenjunga and the sun rising over it. The rooms have attached baths and the caretaker can arrange for conveyance if you ask him in advance. The general rooms cost 1500 INR and the suites 1800-2000 INR including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alternatively home stays are also available in Lepchajagat, which is a fun experience.

Attractions  in Lepchajagat


Lepchajagat is a place wrapped in tranquility. Vast stretches of rhododendron, oak, pine forests along with an awe-inspiring view of India’s 3rd highest peak and Bengal’s Pride Mt. Kanchenjunga. During the day you can savor the beauty of nature’s abundance and as night falls you can enjoy the peacefulness of the environment with occasionally the crickets breaking it. You can also ask the caretaker for the Darjeeling Tea rich in aroma and taste.

You can also take the trail to Ghoom Rock and Hawa Ghar within 2 kilometers of the lodge. The Ghoom Rock located at an altitude of 7,900 feet offers amazing view of the Kanchenjunga massif and same with Hawa Ghar. Ghoom Rock is one of the most popular sunrise points in Darjeeling from where you will witness the sun spreading its radiance to the nature under it. The Balsan Valley is also visible from here in its full glory. Visit Mirik after you have savored the fullness of Lepchajagat which is only 27 kilometers away.

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Chatakpur Eco Resort is located on Siliguri-Darjeeling Road and is only 7 kilometers from Sonada and 18 kilometers from Jorbanglow. Enjoying an elevation of 7887 feet, this lovely little hamlet has only 90 villagers and is being developed by the forest department as an eco resort for tourists. It is an ideal destination for people seeking peace and quiet in the Himalayan Mountains. Amidst the lush greenery, wooden cottages, forest trails and the majestic Kanchenjunga, this is a paradise on earth. The best place for bird watchers, Chatakpur offers that much awaited freedom and freshness from the confined city life.

How to reach Chatakpur Eco Resort


This dreamy village is easily accessible by air, road and railway. From Bagdogra tourists can arrive at Chatakpur by hiring a car covering 80 kilometers. If you are looking for an alternative, then the toy train from Ghoom will take you to the dreamy hamlet of Chatakpur in 3-4 hours covering 87 kilometers. if you are coming by road, then NH 55 will take you to the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary of which the Chatakpur Eco Resort is a part. If you are already staying in Darjeeling, then take Hill Cart Road to reach Chatakpur Eco Resort.

Accommodation in Chatakpur Eco Resort


Accommodation is aplenty in Chatakpur. The 2 cottages constructed by the forest department offers clean lodging along with all modern facilities to the guests. All the 4 rooms have double bed accommodation. However, advance booking is recommended for the cottages. Home stay is another lovely alternative for the tourists who love to explore the land through the eyes of the local villagers. A unique feature of this village is that they indulge in organic farming and tourists can hand pick vegetables from the farm lands to be cooked and eaten by them.

Attractions in Chatakpur Eco Resort


The major attraction in Chatakpur Eco Resort is the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary within which the small settlement is found. The sprawling sanctuary covers an area of 38.88 square kilometers at an altitude of 1500-2600 meters. Beautiful waterfalls and brooks will entertain you all the way. Bird watching is the most popular activity in Chatakpur Eco Resort. Prinia, Blue Fronted Redstart, Verditer Flycatcher and Blue Magpie are some of the beautiful and colorful birds you can spot here. Apart from the birds, you might get a glimpse of the famous Red Panda if you are fortunate enough. Other animals inhabiting the forest include Leopards, Barking Deer, Antelopes and Himalayan Black Bear.

Trekking Opportunity


There is plenty of trekking opportunity for the adventure lovers. Trek to the famous Tiger Hill and you will have the greatest moment of your life when you will watch the formidable Mt. Everest, Chumbalumba is local language. Climb at the top of the watchtower and capture the panoramic view of Sandakphu and you can also visit the Pokhri for bird watching. Take guided trekking tours to the neaby Labda, Sixeen and Rimbi Village as well. If you are directly arrived at Chatakpur, then visiting Darjeeling will be a good idea. Come back and enjoy the folk dances of the local people around the fire.

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A quaint little hamlet between Maneybhanjan and Sandakphu, Tonglu derives its name from Tonglu peak 3036 meters belonging to the Singalila Ridge in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. Tonglu is a small settlement within the Singalila National Park located close to the Indo-Nepal border. It is basically a halt for the trekkers traveling to Sandakphu through Manebhanjan. Tonglu’s ethereal atmosphere mixed with its solitude is a boon to the trekkers and also to individuals who love to spend some time in isolation far from the daily busy lives. It is an ideal retreat to relax and unwind.

How to reach Trekkers’ Hut


As it is mentioned above, Tonglu is a trekkers’ halt therefore it must be reached on foot from Dhotre. You can reach Dhotre from Siliguri in 4 hours. Once you reach Dhotre, you have to trek around 4 hours that is 5 kilometers to reach Tonglu. There is the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Trekkers’ Hut and D. I. Bungalow where trekkers stay overnight on their way to famous Sandakphu. Carry photo ID proof along with you for identification and the huts can be reserved from DGHC Kolkata, New Delhi, Darjeeling and Siliguri. Note that the route from Dhotre remains closed from June to September. Trekkers generally carry their food, however, you can have lunch at the roadside eateries. They serve delicious dishes prepared from the fresh produce.

Best time to trek to Tonglu


The best time to trek to Tonglu is between middle of September and December or between March and early April when the route is filled with the fragrance and blossoms of magnolias, spruce and rhododendrons. Capture the beauty of the colorful flowers in your heart and they will serve as a memory for lifetime bringing a smile on your face every time you think about them. If you are not traveling with a team, then it is recommended to hire a guide for the tour.

Attractions in Tonglu


The Singalila Park is a major attraction apart from Kanchenjunga, Makalu, and Pandim peaks. Various species of exotic birds like parrobills, fire-tailed myzornis, satyr tragopan, blood pheasant and kalij pheasant and scarlet minivet can be spotted. There are several animals also that can be noticed in the park which include red panda, barking deer, yellow-throated marten, wild boar, pika and pangolin. The variety of orchids in the forest is fascinating. The officials point out that there are 600 different species.

Once you reach Tonglu you will be rewarded with the out of this world view of the sunrise over the mighty Kanchenjunga. Similarly, the night sky gives you the pleasure of lazing around under the starry canopy. Do not forget to carry Tongba with you which is a local drink to match with the environment.

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Kalpokhri is a scared lake located at an elevation of 3170 meters. It is found enroute to the famous Sandakphu peak of Singalila Range from Gairibas. The local people believe it to be the home of the formidable Kalnaag or the huge slithering black snake. Pokhri in the local language means lake and Kaal is derived from Kaalnaag and hence Kalpokhri. The Kalpokhri contains black water and is a rare presence at such an elevation. During spring the region surrounding the black lake is full of the magnificent rhododendron and orchids. The lake doesn’t freeze even during winter because the water is muddy.

Journey through Kalpokai


Since Kalpokhri is considered as a halt for the trekkers moving up towards Sandakphu, it can be reached on the 3rd or 4th day of the trek depending on the itinerary. The distance of Kalpokhri from Tonglu/Tumling is 16 kilometers and the route is covered in 5-6 hours because it is steep climb. From Kalpokhri the distance of Sandakphu is only 8 kilometers. Tourists can also reach Kalpokhri on jeep. It is especially for the non-trekkers who wish to undertake the journey on a vehicle.

Accommodation in Kalpokhri


Staying at Kalpokhri is hassle free because there are private lodges and trekkers’ huts. If you are with a trekking group, then tea, snacks and packed lunch will be provided or else if you are traveling without any affiliation you can eat at the small food joints.

From Kalpokhri start next day towards Sandakphu. The road from here descends to Bikhaybhanjyang or the Valley of Poison. Aconites and other medicinal plants grow in abundance here. From this valley Sandakphu is 4 kilometers but the route is extremely steep and the journey arduous. Buddhist flags surround Kalpokhri Lake and you will have an awe-inspiring view of the Sandakphu from this place. Once you reach Sandakphu, you will be mesmerized by the fascinating view of some of world’s highest peaks.

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Echhey Gaon is a picturesque village in the lap of Himalayas surrounded by dense forest of Juniper, pine and birch where you will feel detached from human civilization. With loads of greenery and peace and quiet, this old-world village has not been spoilt with materialistic pleasure of the city life. This is an ideal place for the nature lovers at an altitude of 5,800 feet none of the machines can disturb you from relishing the natural abundance of this village. Only 12 kilometers away from Kalimpong and cab fare is around 800 INR, this incredibly pristine hamlet is home to approximately 30 families living in peace and happiness. If you wish to share their happiness then definitely visit Echhey Gaon or the Wishing Village.

How to reach Echhey Gaon


On the way to echhey forest village

On the way to echhey forest village

Reaching the wishing village could not be easier than traveling in your car or a hired vehicle from Kalimpong. The route NH-31 through Pedong will take you to Echhey Gaon in no time. However, you have to first reach Siliguri to arrive at Kalimpong and from there travel only 12 kilometers to the beautiful and green Echhey Gaon. Since it is rapidly becoming a popular tourist destination, there is a steady influx of vehicles to take you to the hamlet from Kalimpong.

Time to go to Echhey Gaon


The months of October through April are ideal to visit Echhey Gaon to enjoy your trip the most. Avoid the rainy season at all costs because landslide is rampant. During the winter season carry heavy woolen clothes to check the cold and if you are traveling in April, then light woolen clothes will be perfect.

Attractions in Echhey Gaon


The major highlight of this village is the sensational view of the Kanchenjunga and the canopy of Rhododendron. Savor the sight of the sun rising over the great Kanchenjunga from Ramitey View Point. You will have to admire the golden hue of the peak of the might mountain and also the panoramic view of the forest from Ramitey point. The sweet chirping of the birds and the Teesta River are delightful from atop. If you really want some activity, then trek to the nearby Sillery Village at a short distance of 2.5 kilometers from Echhey Gaon.

Accommodation in Echhey Gaon


Home Stays are the best accommodation facility in Echhey Gaon with prices varying between 700 and 1000 INR per head. The prices include a square meal served by the home stay owners. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes are served to the guests prepared with the vegetables organically grown by the farmers in the village. Along with Bengali and Chinese cuisine, Lepcha food can also be ordered.

khawas-home-stay-echey-gaon

Khawas Homestay

Panoramic view of icche gaon

Visitor in front of Pankarma Homestay

Pankarma Homestay, Echhey Forest Village, Burmaik
Mrs. Lalita Rai
Telephone: 9002790443, 8670915570

Khawas Home Stay, Echhey Forest Village, Burmaik
Mr. D.K. Khawas
Telephone: 8670242128, 8906926652, 8116760140, 8972287740

Marigold Homestay

Marigold Homestay

Mukhia Home Stay, Echhey Forest Village, Burmaik
Telephone: 8972470220

Marigold Homestay, Echhey Forest Village, Burmaik
Laxuman Bhujel
E-mail: bhujellaxuman@gmail.com
Telephone: +91 7602789667, 9679685022, 09800664087, 08158858078, 9614576818, 7602233369

Photo Courtesy: Shantanu DebSingha and others

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The soothing pine wrapped village of Sillery Gaon is situated at an elevation of 6000 feet. It is only 8 kilometers from Pedong and is termed as New Darjeeling due to its beauty, accessibility and affordability. The name Sillery is derived from a plant which grows aplenty in the region. This hamlet has also has a huge cinchona plantation to boast off. This village is arguably the best upcoming tourist destination in Darjeeling with its wilderness, silver Kanchenjunga peak, diverse flora and fauna. With so much greenery around you and of course the appealing view of the world’s 3rd highest peak Kanchenjunga, Sillery Gaon is a place oozing serenity to calm your raging soul. Even the most hardcore pragmatic person is bound to become a diehard romantic after visiting Sillery Gaon.

Time to go to Sillery Gaon


Visiting Sillery Gaon is permitted throughout the year. However, it is advisable to avoid the rainy season due to landslides and also unclear view of Mt. Kanchenjunga. Summer is the best time to visit, however, if you can visit during winter season, the atmosphere is totally different with fog enveloping the village rendering a mystical charm to it.

Activities and Accomodation in Sillery Gaon


You can trek from Pedong to arrive at Sillery Gaon which offers fantastic accommodation facilities to the guests. Being a small village Sillery Gaon offers a number of home stay facilities to the tourists as part of the eco-tourism initiative. It is bound to be a thrilling experience for those who have never stayed in a village. Their unique hospitality, clean rooms with round the clock hot water and home cooked food is going to give you some of the best memories in your life. The village doesn’t have electricity, but the owners of home stays ensure comfort to their guests by operating generators during the day and gas lamps or candles at night.

Attractions in Sillery Gaon


New Darjeeling has loads to offer to the tourists along with its scenic beauty. The fascinating hilltop known as Tin Chuley offers a panoramic view of the formidable Himalayan Range along with Nathu La, Jelep La passes and the town of Sikkim. Trekkers will obviously take this opportunity to explore the place and others can reach by car. After this majestic view, it is time for Ramitey Dara which is another famous vantage point from where the entire course of the mighty Teesta River can be seen along with the Himalayan Range. This appears like the shooting site of romantic films.

Only 4 kilometers from Sillery Gaon is the Damsang Fort constructed by the Lepchas in 1690. Though only the ruins of the fort are visible now, the place has gained importance among tourists because not many spots of historical significance are found in this area. Call it a day by a visit to the Silence Valley in Sillery Gaon. As suggested by the name, this is a thriving green valley with an all pervading silence occasionally broken by the chirping of the birds. If you manage to visit this vast tract of green land during the rains, you will be rewarded with a lovely sight of the lake known as Siyal Pokhri.

Photo Courtesy: http://echeygaon.blogspot.in

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Latpanchar is a small and wonderful hamlet near Kalijhora which is also a part of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. Only 13 kilometers from Kalijhora, you should not miss this beautiful and unspoiled forest village with an average elevation of 4,200 feet. The best part of Latpanchar visit is that you will be able to see many wild animals, birds and enjoy dense vegetation as it is a section of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. It is an ideal place for forest lovers. However, in spite of such natural splendor Latpanchar has yet to become a primary tourist destination in the Eastern Himalayas.

How to reach Latpanchar


Latpanchar can be easily reached from New Jalpaiguri Station within 1.5 hours by car/taxi. It is only 44 kilometers away from this railway station and taxi fare is around 1600 INR. The car will take Sevoke Road to reach Kalijhora and from there a narrow winding road uphill will take you to Latpanchar covering 13 kilometers in around 1 hr drive. The condition of the road is not good and hence you must keep some precautions like medicines for nausea. Jeeps are easily available on this route.

Accommodation in Latpanchar


The forest rest house known as the Latkuthi Bungalow is the best place to stay in Latpanchar. It has 2 lovely rooms with basic facilities. However, this place must be booked in advance from West Bengal Forest Development Corporation. Alternative option is the Cinchonest Home Stay offered by Padam Gurung. It has 3 rooms with attached bathroom and hot water. The rooms have balcony and the view of the Himalayan range is awesome. Delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is served to the guests thrice and tea with snack is also provided. The rent is 925 INR. The best part of home stay is that you get to know the locals from close quarters.

Attractions in Latpanchar


Latpanchar is famous for its diverse flora and fauna and also the cinchona plantations covering 1400 acres of land. Walking through the forest and the plantation is a memorable experience especially if you are bored of the city life.  Just taking a stroll on the winding forest road is refreshing especially early in the morning. The Ahal Dara view point is close by from where the sunrise appears stunning. Look below to see the wide spread forest and Teesta River flowing in its own course. On clear days the view of the Silk Route, Kalimpong and Gangtok cities is striking. At a little distance is Namthing Pokhri, the lake which is flanked by cinchona plantation. Himalayan Salamander and different types of birds often visit this place.

Sarsari Dara is another view point which offers a breathtaking view of the scintillating Kanchenjunga during sunrise and sunset. Other peaks and the small hamlets at foothills look like a painting on a large canvas. This view point is about 1.5 kilometers from Latpanchar. The biodiversity of Latpanchar is staggering with over 240 species of birds and 36 kinds of animals. Elephants, Himalayan Black Bear, mountain goats and even leopards can be found here. Scaly Thrush, Yuhina, Minla, Drongo, Magpie, Spotted Eagles and many more birds flock here throughout the season. The best time to visit Latpanchar in its full glory is during October through April.

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Monsong is a lovely little quaint village located in the charming eastern Himalayan region. It is quite an offbeat destination and a perfect weekend getaway. The beautiful and cool weather, the formidable mountains, the lush green forests of fir, pine, birch shaal, cinchona and cypress, innumerable birds, some endangered animals and hospitable and warm people are some of the characteristics of this charming hamlet, Monsong. It is situated at a short distance of only 8 kilometers from Pedong and 32 kilometers from Kalimpong, the major town.  Sparsely populated and far from the din and bustle of city life, this is an ideal place for rejuvenating the senses; tired body, mind and soul.

How to reach Monsong


Reaching Monsong is easy. You can hire a jeep or take any of the buses plying from Pedong towards Kalimpong/Lava. The road gets bifurcated from Algara and taking one of those split routes towards Sikkim covering 27 kilometers or Rongpo covering 17 kilometers you will reach the misty and foggy land of Monsong. During the summer months the sky is clear and you can experience the best weather. The weather remains cool and with the clear skies you will be able to see the panoramic splendor of the region.

Accommodation in Monsong


You can stay the Jalsa Bungalow also known as Wiaba Village Resort. The resort set up in Monsong is for the discerning travelers who arrive here looking for peace. The resort offers modern amenities to make the guests comfortable. The railway station is 100 kilometers and airport is 105 kilometers from the resort. The rates at the resort changes with season and rooms are mostly available throughout the year. The multi cuisine restaurant serves various delectable dishes to the guests. Other facilities include medical services, airport transportation, parking and round the clock room service. Home stays are also available if you want to experience the local lifestyle.

Attractions in Monsong


If you are craving for some activity, then fishing, trekking, sightseeing, farm activities and adventure camping are some options for you. Now, while trekking to the nearby hill you will admire the Himalayan range fully visible from here in its full glory. The Teesta valley is also clearly visible from here with the mighty river sprawling through the region. This valley was famous for cinchona plantation in the early times.

All in all Monsong is a charming village near Pedong offering ample opportunity for rest as well as activities for the tourists.

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Rikisum is a beautiful and almost isolated village in the Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling District in West Bengal. 15 kilometers to the north of Kalimpong, this quaint hamlet is only an hour’s drive from the main town. The hilltop settlement welcomes you with open arms to savor the unspoiled beauty of the village in its full glory. Since it falls on the PedongLava Road the village enjoys an elevation from which the mighty Kanchenjunga and other peaks are clearly visible. The towns of Gangtok and Pedong also present a panoramic from this village.

How to reach Rikisum


Reaching Rikisum is not difficult at all. You can either visit Rikisum on a trip from Kalimpong or arrive at the place directly by hiring a jeep from New Jalpaiguri Station. It is only 1 hour drive from Kalimpong town.

Accommodation in Rikisum


The only accommodation facility in Rikisum is the Swarnasikhar Lodge which is a cozy place with cottage like accommodation units. There are 2 cottages with 3 rooms of double beds and attached bathrooms. Basic amenities are provided in this lodge along with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guided tours and treks will be arranged by the lodge if you ask for it. The price for lodging is 1534 INR + 3.09% service tax per person. An alternative to this lodge is the home stay available in Rikisum.

Attractions in Rikisum


Rikisum offers a soothing environment and a fantastic weather. While on a journey to reach Rikisum you will be welcomed by meandering Teesta and in the evening you will be lulled by the hypnotic starry sky. There is a point 2 kilometers from Rikisum village offering the best view of the majestic Kanchenjunga. Also the Damsang Fort can be reached within 15 minutes from the lodge. You can either trek to the fort or hire a taxi. Pedong is also nearby and you can trek to the place and explore its beauty.

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Chibo is a busty found in the Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling district in West Bengal which is famous for its flower nursery. Busty meaning residential area; Chibo Busty is quite a famous community in Kalimpong. Located on 7th Mile Kalimpong Chibo Busty attracts a large number of tourists for the Standard Nursery of flowers. Standard Nursery is popular for growing magnificent and colorful Dahlias, Gerbera and different types of roses.

How to reach Chibo nursery


Reaching the nursery is easy. Once you reach Kalimpong from Darjeeling, you can walk or hire a local vehicle to take you to the Standard Nursery.

Attractions in Chibo nursery


It is an amazing place for horticulturists because he/she can learn a lot about the process. For general public it is a beautiful place to see a wide variety of roses including the rare ones, Dahlias and Gerbera.

Standard Nursery like all the other nurseries in Kalimpong facilitates export of plants and flowers to other parts of the world. The nursery has a seating arrangement inside and remains open throughout the week expect Sundays from 9 in the morning to 6 in the evening. The weather of Kalimpong supports horticulture in the area. Therefore, beautiful plants are cultivated in various localities of Kalimpong for commercial purposes.

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