Lamahatta, located 23 kms from Darjeeling in West Bengal, is a picturesque mountain village situated 5400 feet above sea-level. It is surrounded on all sides by pine forests and gardens with panoramic views of Mt. Kanchenjungha. Lamahatta is an ideal holiday destination for tourists who wish to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life and enjoy natural solitude, with its rare and beautiful species of flowers carpeting the landscape and surrounding gardens. Lamahatta is well-connected to all major tourist hubs like Darjeeling and Kalimpong. BOOKING DETAILS OF LAMAHATTA
Places to see around Lamahatta: The Road Side Garden is one of Lamahatta’s major attractions. This is an open garden spread over a wide expanse, surrounded by pine forests containing numerous seasonal flowers, as well as several rare and exotic species of orchids. In addition to browsing through the beautiful array of flowers on display, visitors are also able to relax on the numerous benches and enjoy the views of Mt. Kanchenjungha. The watch tower also helps visitors to enjoy panoramic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga as well as the Sikkim Hills, the River Teesta and the River Rangeet.
The Dhupi or Pine Forest is the best place to take pleasant walks. Visitors may choose to hire guides or go on un-guided hikes through these forests. They are ideal for visitors who wish to spend quality time with nature. You can also hike to the two sacred ponds situated at the top of the hills guarded by pine forests.
There are several tea estates to be visited in and around Lamahatta. Most famous among these is the Runglee-Rungliot Tea Estate, world-famous for its fine blend, and awesome aroma. Fortunate visitors may also be allowed to pamper their taste-buds with a heady cup of freshly brewed tea, which will really soothe their senses. The other tea estates to visit are Takdah, Geil and Teesta Valley, each of which has their own particular variety of tea. No visit to Lamahatta can be complete without a visit to any of these lovely estates.
Nearby attractions of Lamahatta: Darjeeling, located approximately 6700 feet above sea-level is just 23 kms from Lamahatta. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (which is a UNESCO heritage site), the Himalayan Zoo (housing several rare and endangered species of animals such as the Tibetan wolf and the Red Panda) and the Mall are some of the famous attractions of Darjeeling.
Another hill town – Kalimpong located on a ridge above the Teesta River is a major tourist destination famous for its nurseries growing some of the rarest orchids and cacti. When in Kalimpong, you can visit the famous Zhang Dok Palri Phodang monastery, the golf course, Rabindranath Tagore’s house and the famous markets of Kalimpong.
Another nearby hill town is Takdah located very close to the Runglee Rungliot area of the Darjeeling district. This erstwhile Cantonment area of the British is known for its extensive stretches of tea gardens, several old British bungalows, pine forests and the famous Takdah Orchid Centre.
The little hamlet of Tinchuley located in Darjeeling, gets its name from the word for “three ovens”. The eco- tourist will enjoy visiting Tinchuley, as it has over the course of several years developed several sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies such as vermin-composting and by-compost. This has enabled Tinchuley to emerge as a centre for eco-friendly floriculture and forest nurseries. The other star attractions of Tinchuley are the Gumbadara view point, from which visitors can get complete 180 degree views of the Eastern Himalayas.
The nearby Borbatey Heritage Bridge is a hanging bridge whose architectural ingenuity at such an elevation is very impressive.
Things to do at Lamahatta: Trekking provides a great opportunity for visitors to explore unspoiled nature and greenery, while engaging in meaningful exercise. The most popular trekking destinations include an 08 km jungle trek from Lamahatta to Takdah through pine forests. Bird watching in the surrounding forests is also a great option for interested guests. River rafting on the Teesta just 15 kms away is an excellent source of recreation for tourists, who will enjoy the cool and pristine waters of the Teesta as they raft down its course.
Best time to visit Lamahatta: You can visit Lamahatta anytime of the year. However, if you are fond of flowers then be at Lamahatta during winters, when the flowers are in full bloom and the climate is the most conducive.
How to reach Lamahatta: Visitors wishing to travel by car from Siliguri or NJP should take NH31 and reach Lamahatta through Peshok Road. You can also take the Peshok Road from Jorebungalow near Darjeeling and reach Lamahatta.
Lodging and Dining at Lamahatta: Guests are accommodated in various home stays and guesthouses at Lamahatta with views of Mt. Kanchenjungha. The pine forest and the park is just a walk away from these accommodations. There are also arrangements for tents where guests can enjoy a somewhat adventurous stay. The lodge has six rooms in various categories like Deluxe rooms and standard rooms with facilities like attached Western bathrooms with hot water geysers, parking facility and a fabulous terrace with views of the surrounding jungles and the snow capped Mt. Kanchenjungha. The homestays are also facilitated with similar facilities with lesser number of rooms. The lodge and home stays source the ingredients locally to serve homely Indian food.
Photographs by Siddanth Rai and others.