Lepchajagat is a small village located at an altitude of 6,956 ft (i.e. 2123 meters) near Darjeeling.
It once used to be a hamlet of the Lepcha tribes. The word ‘Jagat’ actually means “the world’, so it was the world of the lepchas. Lepcha people are originally from Sikkim. It was taken over by the West Bengal Forest development Corporation (WBFDC) and now a reserved forest area.
Lepchajagat is all about dense forested area full with pines, oaks and rhododendrons and view of Kanchanjangha. Bird lovers enjoy watching the rich birdlife in Lepchajagat. There are many different kinds of birds in the forests here including the Sibia, Sunbird and more. The only sound here is chirping of numerous birds during day time and the sound of cricket after the evening.
Place to visit:
* Hawa Ghar : There is a nature walking trail that leads to a place called Hawa Ghar (about 1km). This place offers magnificent view of the peaks. If you are lucky, you can see all five peaks of Kanchenjunga massif.
* Ghoom Rock : Ghoom Rock (1.5kms away and at an altitude of about 7,900 ft) is also great for the views. You will find a massive rock here. The place offers wonderful view of the Balsan Valley. Ghoom Rock is also famous as a sunrise point.
The food is simple and good, and reasonably priced. You will get toast, butter and omelet for breakfast, or alternatively puri & bhaji. For lunch and dinner, they make rice or roti, daal (pulses), chicken curry and some vegetables. If you let them know in advance, you can also get chicken pakoras in the evenings served with tea.
How to reach:
You can get pre-paid taxis from NJP or Bagdogra for Lepchajagat. It takes about 3 hours to reach from NJP/Bagdogra (by the normal route – Hill Cart Road via Ghoom). Alternatively you will also get shared jeeps from NJP and Siliguri to Ghoom. From there take another shared jeep which will drop you near the lodge at the main road. From Darjeeling, there are shared jeeps available which pass by the main road as well.
Best time to go :
October to April is a great time to enjoy the nature in Lepchajagat. However note that nights and early mornings in winter can be very cold. Avoid monsoon (June – September) as it can rain almost anytime and the trails won’t be suitable for treks or walks.