If you are a nature lover or looking for a romantic stay for couple of days, then Lepchajagat is the place for you. I know of many who actually combine a short stay in Lepchajagat with their visits to Darjeeling just to blend the vacation with an offbeat stay amidst nature.
Lepchajagat is a small village located in wilderness at an altitude of 6,956 ft (i.e. 2123 meters) and only 19kms away from Darjeeling hill town. Although it's quite close to Darjeeling's main hub and takes only about 45 minutes by taxi, it has a world of its own.
As the name suggests, 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. Subsequently it was taken over by the West Bengal Forest development Corporation (WBFDC) and now a reserved forest area.
What can you experience in Lepchajagat?
In short, Lepchajagat is all about dense forested area full with pines, oaks and rhododendrons. And all that is combined with magnificent views of Kanchenjunga peaks, wonderful birdlife and serene tranquility.
So during the day time, you engage with nature in its full bloom, and when the night falls, you sit next to the fireplace and read a book, hear the sounds of crickets from the jungle around (that's the only sound you will hear), or just recapitulate your day's experience as you sip a cup of Darjeeling tea and relax. There are no shops or other nightlife attractions around to disturb the quietness that you have been longing for.
While the WBFDC Forest Lodge here offers great views of the snow peaks, there are couple of other places nearby which are even better for the views.
From the forest lodge, there are stairs followed by a pathway that goes through the dense forest. There is also 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.
Lepchajagat - Flowering Plants
Another place is Ghoom Rock (1.5kms away and at an altitude of about 7,900 ft). This 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. You should come here before dawn and watch how from darkness the milky white hues start radiating, then slowly making the sky blue, and then making way for the glittering snow peaks of Kanchenjunga to emerge.
If you are a bird lover, you will also greatly enjoy watching the rich birdlife in Lepchajagat. There are many different kinds of birds in the forests here including the Sibia, Sunbird and more.