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  • Writer's pictureJayanti Riverview

Remembering the first time when we went to Lepchakha

The scrambled corporate head of mine tells me to go home every 6 months. So in the summer of 2019, I took a 7-day leave from my office and came back to the heart of Dooars, Alipurduar. I am the kind of person who thinks, breaths and lives travelling and no sooner had I come to Alipurduar, my planning for a new trip started. Lepchakha was in my mind for several reasons Firstly, It's just 25 KM away from Alipurduar. Secondly, It was unchartered territory. Lastly, I planned a similar Lepchakha trip in 2016 but it got cancelled 1 day before the scheduled time due to some water crisis that broke out and we ended up going to Jhalong instead. Thus I made no further delays and started calling people to accompany me, but in the end, I could only manage to get 2 friends. Anyway, we packed our phones and tripod, got our trekking boots and bags (Because backpack would be too much for a 1-day trip) ready because we knew, this escape was going to be amazing.

So, the next day we took the bus from Alipurduar court terminal bus stand that goes to Jayanti at 7 AM. Normally the trekking starts at Santalbari which is a hill station in Buxa Tiger Reserve but the bus goes till 28 Miles Basti (5 Km from Santalabari) and after which it goes towards Jayanti. So, we got down at 28 Miles and to our surprise, also found autos standing there to drop tourists till Santalabari. Santalabari is the starting point of the Lepchakha trek and you have to take permission and a guide at the entry gate for the trekking to begin.

There are mainly three checkpoints.

Zero-point: If you're afraid of early slopes, book a private car for around 2000(8 seaters) till this point which is around 5 km from the start.

Buxa Fort: The famous fort which is rumoured to have Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in captive, will surely give you goosebumps. For sports lovers. There is also a huge playground, and we regretted that we didn't bring a football with us.

Lepchakha: The final checkpoint is The Great Lepchakha valley, probably the highest point of Alipurduar District. Easy going people, surrounded by the untainted purest mother nature, and a few wooden cottages make it even more beautiful. The temperature falls quite low even during summer. So the bonfire was a cherry on the cake. It rains quite often during June-August but we were lucky enough that it didn't rain on June 5th. There is no light after 6 pm and the pitch-black surroundings illuminated by the sky full of stars untie all your knots.

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