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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TInchuley is a lovely mountain village located at a distance of 30 kilometers from Darjeeling, 25 kilometers from Kalimpong blessed with a lovely weather. Reckoned as an offbeat tourist destination, Tinchuley is a relatively new discovery in the eastern Himalayas.  Located at an elevation of 5,500 feet, the weather in Tinchuley is pleasant most of the year. However, the best time to Tinchuley is during the summers when the temperature remains between 18 and 22 degree Celsius. Tinchuley is promoted as part of the Home Stay Project in eco-tourism initiative. Lot of organic farming is also done in the area.

How to reach TInchuley


Tinchuley can be reached via different routes. If you are coming from Darjeeling, you have to take the Jorbungalow-6th mile bazaar-Takdah route to Tinchuley. If you are looking for adventure, then take the other route through Teesta Bazaar-Chegra basti-Takling village and Kolbang to reach Tinchuley. This route is known one but difficult to drive. There is another route to reach Tinchuley through the Bengal-Sikkim Highway via 27th mile. The journey through this route is beautiful with Teesta Velly-tea estates and Low Dam Project.

Accomodation in TInchuley


Accommodation in Tinchuley is not a problem. Though the best is the Gurung Cottage, there are other home stays available in the village. Gurung Cottage is the first home stay facility in Tinchuley and hence is the most experienced one in terms of hospitality. They provide basic amenities and delicious food.

Attractions in TInchuley


The natural beauty and bounty of Tinchuley is its major attraction. It is a nature lover’s paradise. A stroll through the pine and oak forests, orange orchards, marigolds, colorful Buddhist flags and small cottages will make you feel like you have landed in a dreamland. Tinchuley’s beauty appears to be straight out a fairytale book which will enthrall you and the memory will last for the lifetime.

Of course the sunrise and sunset with the color play at the mountain top is one of the major attractions of Tinchuley. The Gumbadara view point offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the mighty Teesta and the entire Eastern Himalayan range with all its beauty. The Takdah and the Rangli-Rangliot Tea gardens are close by. Darjeeling tea is an extremely famous and loved variety of high quality tea with strong taste and flavor. You will find a number of tea gardens in the region like Teesta Valley Tea Garden, Gayle Bhanjan Tea Garden and Namring Tea Garden.

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Paglajhora Waterfalls are one of the major tourist attractions of Darjeeling in West Bengal. Located at Kurseong, which falls en route to Darjeeling from Siliguri this is a wonderful destination indeed. One of the major tourist attractions over here is the Rohini Tourist Complex. In fact, it happens to be one of the latest discoveries in this area as well. The sight here is absolutely magnificent to say the least! Over here you will be treated to the rare sight of the waterfalls making their way through the mountain. At times, you may also be able to see the local river that blows in this part of West Bengal.

There are plenty of other things that you should see when you are staying in the vicinity of the Paglajhora Waterfalls. Here you would be able to see a temple as well as a lake. In addition there is the view point as well. The entire region that falls on the road named Rohini between Siliguri and Darjeeling is a majestic location indeed. In fact people prefer this road while traveling between the two places because it is a very smooth road and the whole journey is very pleasant as a result of that.

This place is very different from what you will get in Darjeeling. Since it is basically a tiny hamlet the accommodation facilities may not be as great. You will get homestay facilities as well that will be inclusive of food cooked by people hosting you. However, the real charm lies in the tranquil surroundings – just imagine sitting in the lap of nature on a calm and cold evening all by yourself or with your near and dear ones. The experience is just awesome, especially for people who may want a break from the din and bustle of Darjeeling.

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Kaijlia is a wonderful forest area near Bijanbari which tourists can visit while coming back from Sandakphu. It is 8 kilometers from Bijanbari which is considered as a halt by the trekkers returning from Sandakphu and also by non-trekkers visiting Sandakphu on vehicle. Nature lovers will definitely enjoy a walk through the colorful and enchanting forest full of Mandar, Rhododendron and Chimal trees with thick blossoms. Not only will the flowers fill your senses but also the mountain summits visible through the trail. Various Eastern Himalayan peaks are visible from the trail which will take your breath away. The best part is that very few tourists actually visit this area; so you can have a perfect rendezvous with nature.

Bijanbari is 30 kilometers from Darjeeling and can be reached by buses and cars from Ghoom. After you reach Bijanbari, you can trek to Kaijlia for another 8 kilometers to relish the view. There are no places to stay at Kaijlia. You have to find accommodation in Bijanbari which is aplenty to visit the forest. The road to Kaijlia is steep and not in a good condition. Hence, it is advised to return from the spot as early as possible.

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The wild and gushing Changey Falls can be found at a short distance of 14 kilometers from Lava, a famous tourist attraction in Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling District West Bengal. Tourists undertaking the trip to LavaLoleygaonRishyap circuit definitely visit the Changey Falls which is formidable and beautiful at the same time. Rapidly gaining in popularity among the nature and adventure lovers, Changey Falls has added charm to the beautiful hamlets nearby.

How to reach Changey Falls


Tourists visiting Lava Loleygaon can easily come to Changey Falls. Hire a car to drive you to Changey via Kolakham from Lava. No public or private buses ply through this route. Therefore, you must have a car hired for both reaching and departing from the destination. The route through Kolakham is beautiful and will mesmerize you with its charm. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach Changey on your four wheeler which means it is almost 4.5 kilometers from Kolakham. Once you reach the spot you have to start on a 900 feet walking trail to arrive at the source of the mighty falls. It will cost around 1200 to arrive and depart from Changey on a cab.

Attaractions in Changey Falls


It is quite an awe-inspiring sight. Forest, mountain and waterfall make an excellent spot with natural abundance. The waterfalls against the backdrop of the majestic Kanchenjunga makes for an ideal picture so do not stop your camera from clicking. The heaven like peace is only broken by the chirp of beautiful and colorful Himalayan birds like Verditer Flycatcher, White Capped Water Redstart, Blue Fronted Redstart, Niltava, Indian Robin, Blue Whistling Thrush and Grey Treepie. You can also enjoy the sunrise and sunset at 2 points known as Tiffin Dara and Ghanti Dara if you consider staying at Changey Falls for a day or two.

Accommodation at Changey Falls


Earlier there was no accommodation at Changey Falls. But now the situation has changed and there is a medium resort known as the Changey Falls Resort. It is a beautifully designed wooden resort which offers cottage style rooms with double occupancy along with attached western toilet. The room rate is 1500 INR + 10% service charges. They charge 300+10% service charge for an extra bed. You can book the resort online or call at 9836955186/9830947352/8420424111.

The uniqueness of Changey Falls is that it flows in 3 steps which could be made out clearly from its course downstream. Do not forget to capture this rare beauty in a wild setting.

Photo Courtesy: changeyfalls.wordpress.com

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Jhandi Dara is famous because of the view it offers of the fantastic sunrise over the majestic Kanchenjunga. It is rapidly gaining importance as a weekend getaway for many. Not just due to the majestic view it offers but also because of the supremely beautiful greenery wrapping the entire region. The thick green forest comprises of Sal and Pine trees offering the most soothing scenery to the eyes. You might feel like the place is straight out of a painter’s canvas with its wide spread green forest against the white backdrop of the mighty Kanchenjunga. Easily accessible from Loleygaon, Jhandi Dara is also a bird watcher’s paradise.

How to reach Jhandi Dara


Reaching Jhandi Dara is quite easy from any part of the world. Jhandi Dara is very well connected with roads through Loleygaon which in turn connects with Lava and Kalimpong. The New Jalpaiguri railway station is located at a distance of 71 kilometers from Kalimpong from where you can take a taxi to arrive at Jhandi Dara. Bagdogra airport can be found at a distance of 76 kilometers from Kalimpong from where you can reach Jhandi Dara through Loleygaon. Jhandi Dara’s distance from Lava is only 9 kilometers. For accommodation you have to choose either Jhandi Eco Huts at Jhandi Upper Lungset or the Lava Escort Resort. The resort is a luxurious one with restaurants and all modern amenities for the guests.

When to visit  Jhandi Dara


The best time to visit Jhandi Dara is during the month of September through November. The winters are too cold and the rainy season can be a bit unpredictable in terms of weather. Hence, visiting Jhandi Dara during the months mentioned are best. It is also the best time for bird watchers.

Attractions in  Jhandi Dara


Apart from admiring the sunrise from Jhandi Dara point located at an elevation of 6205 feet, you can watch birds of various species both migratory and residential ones. Once you have seen the sun rising from this point, you will forget any other sunrise you have ever viewed from any other point. The forest is full of birds and also hiking trails which are quite interesting for the adventure lovers. Other places of interest near Jhandi Dara will be Lava, Charkhole, Rishyap and Kolakham. All these lovely hamlets boast of natural abundance. There is the Samabeong Tea Garden, Lava Buddhist Monastery, Changay Falls, Indira Gandhi National Park all located within short distance from Jhandi Dara.

The tranquil atmosphere broken only by the chirping of birds and the beautiful sunrise of Jhandi Dara will remain fresh in your memory.

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Rachela Pass is the trade route between India (Sikkim) and Bhutan located at an elevation of 3152 meters. This scenic beauty of a pass is an oft visited tourist attraction and experiences footfall round the year. Especially tourists loving adventure visit this pass and feel like they have achieved something. Part of the Chola Range bordering Sikkim and Bhutan the ridge is 4700 meters also happens to be the source of other passes like the Jelep La and Nathu La; both these are extremely popular and of course in use passes. Rachela Pass lies in the southern end of the ridge.

Attractions and Trekking route in Rachela Pass


Rachela Pass is a trekking route 12 kilometers from Lava through the Neora Valley Nature Reserve which is entered through Lava. So, you must reach Lava from Kalimpong to trek this beautiful but arduous route. The route however difficult and steep it is, also offers scenic beauty of magnolias, rhododendrons and bamboo trees. It takes about 3-4 hours to arrive at Rachela Pass through the steep road. The scenic beauty along the route mesmerizes the trekkers and makes them forget about their tiredness.

The total trekking trip of which Rechela Pass is a part is completed in 4 days. Rachela Pass is virtually considered as a junction between Sikkim, Bhutan and Bengal. It used to be a trade route in the past. One of the most significant trade routes in the history of India, one could witness mules carrying merchandize within countries. The tracks are still noticeable. You can also spot the 4 chief ridges dividing the valleys known as Neora, Rishi, Rangli and Jaldhaka. From Rachela Pass, other passes of Jelep La and Nathu La are visible. Also visible are the Sigalila Range with its proud peak Kanchenjunga, world’s 3rd highest and also the entire Chola Range.

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Established in 1986 Neora Valley National Park is located near Lava in Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling District. Covering an area of 89 square kilometers this park is of the richest biosphere reserve in India. Open from 8 am to 12 noon, 1pm – 4pm. It is closed on Thursdays. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations and is growing rapidly in importance due to the number of tourists and also due to the diverse flora and fauna of North Eastern Himalayas. Located at a distance of 32 kilometers from both Lava and Samsing which is the border area, Neora Valley National Park has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Entry fee to this awesome reserve is INR 20.

Covering an area of 89 square kilometers this park is of the richest biosphere reserve in India. Often referred to as the land of the endangered Red Panda, it offers a staggering variety of vegetation and also birds. The nature lovers will be overwhelmed by the abundance of rhododendrons, bamboo groves and mountain streams. The highest point of Neora Valley National park is 10,500 feet which is the Rachela Pass.

How to reach Neora Valley National Park


Both buses and cars can take you to North East India’s biggest biodiversity zone, Neora Valley National Park. Buses plying from Siliguri will take you to Kalimpong from where Lava is 32 kilometers. The entry point of Neora Valley National Park is through Lava. There is an alternative route through Samsing for which you have to reach Chalsa from Siliguri which is 65 kilometers. From Chalsa Samsing is about 18 kilometers from where you can enter the biological zone. Accommodation is obviously in Lava or Samsing depending on whichever route you are taking.

Attaractions in Neora Valley National Park


The geography of the Neora Valley National Park is unique. The heavy growth in the forest sometimes even restricts the sunlight from entering the forest. It is also known as the Virgin Forest and quite true to its name much of the forest land is yet to be discovered pushing the adventure lovers to explore those inaccessible parts. The Neora River is the primary water resource of Kalimpong.

The flora of the region is diverse and the virgin wilderness supports tropical, sub-tropical, temperate and sub-temperate vegetation inside it. Mixed species of bamboo, sal, oak, ferns, rhododendrons and various types of orchids can be found in the park. The fauna supported by the forest environment is even more diverse. Red panda, sloth bear, Himalayan Flying Squirrel, wild boar, leopard cat, goral, serow, civet are some of the mammal species living in the forest. Others include lizards, king cobra, green pit viper, moths, bugs, wasps, cicadas.

Neora Valley National Park is also known as the bird watchers’ paradise. Some of the most sought after birds can be spotted here within areas of 1600m-2700 meters. Birds like Jerdon’s Baza, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Tragopan, Golden-throated Barbet, White-browed Bush Robin, White-tailed Robin can be seen.

Trek to Neora Valley National Park


This is also a trekkers’ paradise because he/she can explore the diversity while climbing up to the highest point of the park which is the Rachela Pass. Jaributi is a particular point inside the park which is full of medicinal plants. Other interesting points include the Tiffin Dara and the Red Panda Camp.

You must obtain the permit to enter the park from forest range offices in Lava and Samsing and nobody is allowed in the park after sunset.

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Lava is a small beautiful hamlet in Darjeeling district located 34 kilometers east of Kalimpong. One of the popular destinations Lava means the land with the presence of God. True to the meaning of its name, Lava is paradise on earth. With an elevation of 7,016feet, it is one of those few places in West Bengal to experience snowfall which is one of the major attractions to his charming village. The heavy forests covering the land mostly consist of wet alpine trees of birch, pine and fir and the forest here is a deciduous one. However, during the rainy season the forest is infested with leeches for which tourists are advised to carry salt, stick and occasionally knives with them.

How to reach Lava


If you are traveling from Kalimpong, then you will arrive in Lava through Algara and the journey will take around 2 hours. Buses ply regularly to Lava from Kalimpong at 6:30 and 10 in the morning. While traveling from Siliguri covering a distance of 105 kilometers you will reach Lava via Gorubathan by Damdim road. Besides, jeep can always be hired both from Siliguri and from Kalimpong to reach Lava. The journey by road is wonderful with tall trees and colorfully fragrant flowers of Chanp, Chimol, Cryptomoria. During the months of April-May which is considered to the best time to visit Lava, the route is filled with different types of orchids as well.

Chunabati road on the way from Lava to Loleyaon

Chunabati road on the way from Lava to Loleyaon

Road distances from Lava (approx)

Lava to Bagdogra Airport – 112 km
Lava to New Jalpaiguri Railway Station – 105 km
Lava to Changey Waterfall – 14 km
Lava to Tiffin Dara view point – 9 km
Lava to Loleyaon (Kaffer village) – 22 km
Lava to Charkhole Loleygaon-  34 km
Lava to Neora Valley National Park – 10 km
Lava to Rishyap – 11 km
Lava to Rache La Pass – 12 km
Lava to Kalimpong – 34 km
Lava to Gumabadara Village – 12 km

Attractions in lava


The biggest highlight of Lava is the Neora Valley National Park (Open from 8am to 12noon, 1pm – 4pm. It is closed on Thursdays) which is a wildlife reserve located around 10 kilometers from the center of the village. This area is popularly known as the Virgin Forest area and is a visual treat with mountains, dense green forest, a rivulet and a wide species of animals and birds. Entry fee to this awesome reserve is INR 20 and the area is divided into Upper Neora Valley which is in Lava and Lower Neora Valley near Samsin. For wildlife lovers, the concerned authorities are beginning a project on eco camps where they can stay and enjoy the wild atmosphere. Some of the and animals spotted here include Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, tiger, leopard, deer. There is ample scope of bird watching in these forests and you can spot birds like Scarlet Finch, Rusty-bellied Shortwing, Blue-fronted Robin, Broad-billed Warbler, Yellow-throated Fulvetta and many more.

Trekking at lava


Trekking can be done through the forest trail but with permission from the forest authority. You can also trek to Lava peak once you have reached Rache La pass located at an elevation of 3152 meters. Jalep La is also nearby. The Chhangey falls is another specialty of this region located at a distance of only 14 kilometers. Other attractions include Buddhist Monastery Kaju Thekcheling Institute, plant nursery, glass house.

Accommodation in Lava


Lava has plenty of accommodation units. You can either put up at the forest Bungalow in Gorubathan or at the hotels in the village. The hotels are actually partial homes of the locals with basic amenities and reasonably priced rooms. However, you will not suffer from any kind of problem there. In fact, it will provide the opportunity to know the local people from the village.

Lava Nature Resort by WBFDC
Authorized Agent by WBFDC
43 Sarat Bose Road , Hakimpara Siliguri – 734 001, Dist.-Darjeeling,WB, India

Orchid Hotel, Lava
Tariff Rs. 1,000/1,200

Yankee Resorts, Lava Bazaar
Tariff Rs. 1,000/2,000

Himalaya Inn, Lava Bazar
Tariff Rs. 859

Hotel Choice, Lava
Tariff Rs. 550/600

Safari Hotel, Lava
Tariff Rs. 700/1,600

The Sana Homestay, Lava Road
Tariff Rs. 1855

Hotel Paradise, Lava

Parker Hotel, Lava Bazaar
Tariff Rs. 700/1,200

Neora Velley Eco Huts, Lava
Tariff Rs. 1,200/2,200

Hotel Devika, Lava
Tariff Rs. 1,200/2,200

The Lava Escape, Lava
Tariff Rs. 1,200/2,000

P P Resort, Lava
Tariff Rs. 600/900

Hotel Himalaya, Lava

The Pinewood Resort, Lava

Hotel Lava View Point, Lava

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