LATPANCHAR DARJEELING | 2020 | The unexplored hamlet
Latpanchar is located at an average altitude of 4,200ft. above sea level, on the hilly region of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, It is an offbeat spot for the nature lover. It is in the Kurseong division of Darjeeling district and is a brand new tourist destination. Latpanchar offers a captivating view of the Kanchenjunga and is a bird watcher’s paradise.
HOW TO REACH
- I took the Shatabdi Express from Kolkata to New Jalpaiguri (NJP). From NJP, Latpanchar is at a distance of 43.1Kms and takes about 1.5 hr by car. I took the Sevoke road and reached Kalijhora in an hour. Latpanchar is 13kms from here and there is hardly any traffic.
- From Latpanchar to Tinchuley distance is 48 km via NH10. It takes around 2 hours.
WHERE TO STAY
Many come to Latpanchar to take a break from the daily hustle-bustle of life, just like we did. Since it is not yet developed as a proper tourist attraction, there are limited facilities & accommodations here. Although there are home stays that offers simple rooms with basic amenities, but are full of warmth and hospitality. I stayed at the WBFDC Forest Rest House called Latkothi. which was originally the bungalow where the British officers in the early 1900s stayed while looking after the expansive 1,400 acres of Cinchona plantations in this area.
- Ahal Dara ViewPoint: Highest Point of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, at a walking distance of 5 kms from Latpanchar it provides a spectacular view of the Kanchenjunga peaks and the river Teesta which flows as far as Haldibari.
- Numthing Lake: From the base of Ahal Dara viewpoint, the main road continues & leads to the Namthing lake and surrounded by coniferous trees. It is well known for its wildlife.
- Sarsari Dara: (1.5km from the village) This place also provides a panoramic view of the Kanchenjunga range.
- Sittong Orange Orchard: Latpanchar comes under Sittong-3, Mahakuma. However, the road to Sittong-1 led us to a beautiful orchard called Sittong Orange Orchard.
- Latpanchar Cinchona Plantations: It is an abode to a variety of trees like sal, teak, pine, and dense Cinchona.
Latpanchar being a part of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and well known for its wide range of animals and birds. There are approximately 40 species of animals and 250 species of birds spotted here. Here I found
Birds like Yuhina, spotted eagles, woodpeckers, Robins, Magpie, minivets, drongo, etc . Most common animals include Himalayan Black bear, leopards, deer, mountain goats, monkeys & even elephants, which often drift to this side. In order to experience the exotic wildlife here, we had to enter the core of the village (6kms from the Place) and instructed to take an armed guide with us. This stretch of forest falls between our Forest rest house and the Raja Rani hills.
EXPENSES FOR THIS TRIP
Reserved small taxi fare from NJP to Latpanchar is Rs 1,600 and from Bagdogra airport, it is Rs 1,800. Overall it is a fairly low-budget trip (within 10,000/-)
TEMPERATURE OF LATPANCHAR :
The temperature here is moderately cold during Oct-Dec, ranging between 4°-25°C. During summer, Mar-May, it has mild to medium heat (24°-26°C). Namthing Lake also mostly dries up during summer. During the monsoon, all roads are often filled with potholes. Best time to visit Latpanchar during winter from October to May.
Bird watcher’s and wildlife lover’s paradise
Latpanchar is a bird watcher’s and wildlife lover’s paradise and is sure to fill its tourists with immense tranquility. All in all Latpanchar transcends its visitors from the regular routine to a euphoric fantasy-land filled with greenery and tranquility.
Riddhi Bhattacharya (Travelofina Travel Stories).