Latpanch Cinchonest Home Stay
Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary
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Latpanch Cinchonest Home Stay
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Latpanchor Village in Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary

A Walking Trail in Latpanchor Village

Latpanch Cinchonest Home Stay, Tariff (May 2, 2013)

Type Tariff (Rs) Tax (Rs) Total (Rs)
Double Bed Home Stay 925 (per guest) 0 925
Transportation charge from New Jalpaiguri to Latpanchor: Rs 1600.
The above charge is total for room + bed tea + breakfast + lunch + dinner.
Each home stay room has an attached western-style bathroom with a water heater

Reserve a room in Latpanch Cinchonest Home Stay
Click the above link.

Samik Kundu writes:

I went to Latpanchar and Namthing Pokhri on September 30, 2012.
My Maruti Alto was driven by Ashok Tamang (Ph: 9593871066), a great person. He speaks fluent Bengali. I always go with him in the Hills. He can arrange different cars according to your need, quite energetic and a friendly man.

We left Siliguri at 10:30 AM, stopped at Sevoke Kalibari for a brief puja then at 11:40 AM we reached Kalijhora. From there a narrow tarred road on left goes up the hill. So it's a U turn to the left if you come from Siliguri. The road goes up and up and up. It's steep but wide and not broken. Actually, I had premonitions of bad road so I took a driver. But I found it is of the same gradient as Siliguri-Mirik road. We reached Latpanchar at around 12.20 PM.

The village has 4 schools, all Christian missionery, and in a local shop I heard small girls speaking in English. The place is quite developed. There is a small hospital which was built in 1975.

There is a road that meanders below 5 km to end at the Forest Beat house. We enquired if there was any accommodation other than Forest Rest house. The local people said there is a lodge on the way below to Forest Rest house. So we started going downhill and after 500 metres we found the lodge, a yellow 2 storey house on the left, an unnamed one run by 3 friends and their wives. We met the manager, Mr. P.C. Rai. The house is of his partner, Mr. Padam. There are three rooms. Each room has 3 beds. Each of the rooms on the first floor overlooking the road has an attached bath and has very basic amenities. There is a small solar lamp. There is electric connection but the solar lamp is there. There is no TV and no geyser but they will arrange for hot water. Mr. Rai told there is another lodge run by some Mr. Subba and the rooms are better.

We decided to have lunch there. Mr. Rai said they usually don't prepare lunch for outsiders other than boarders but he would accommodate. The kitchen is run by three jovial ladies. They instantly said food would be prepared. We decided to visit the Forest Rest House and on the way return would have the lunch.

The road became difficult to drive after a few turns. Slowly we drove to a place where it's dense cinchona plantation all around. The bark is used for making medicine for malaria. The landscape was heavenly. The road became flat and narrow but it was a ridge. On both sides the mountain slopes and its green all over, covered with fog and cloud. We stopped at the Forest Beat Office. The road ends and the office is encircled in electric fencing. We entered and the caretaker showed us a small way up to the rest house. Two rooms, Monal and Kalij, side by side. From the outside it appeared to be good. The caretaker was not inclined to open the locks and show. He said the Beat officer is not there and you have to book from Forest office in Siliguri. But it can be booked from Subodh Mullick Sq office also. One night there would be great as it is covered by dense forest all over. The caretaker told there is a person who comes and cooks. And you can trek in the jungles with a guide. Animals frequent there - deer, leopard. All along our way we found lots of butterflies.

We returned to the lodge to have hot food - rice, dal, squash sabzi and egg curry. Each plate cost Rs. 80. But the hospitality was so touching. The entire family sat and chatted with us.

We finished the food. It was 2:20 PM. A cold wind started blowing. It was overcast but no rain. I paid and asked Mr Rai whether we could go to Namthing Pokhri. He said "Yes" but the road is bad. You cannot go in Maruti Alto. He has a Bolero. He would charge Rs.500. We agreed.

By that time two rooms in the first floor were occupied by two families.
In one Mr Anjan Sarkar was there. He introduced himself and agreed to accompany us to Namthing. He is an avid traveller, a writer on Saturday Anandabazar Patrika, and a professor in Vidyasagar College.

We left for Namthing Pokhri. The road was being made under PMGRY scheme and it has been pebbled. A bumpy ride which wrenched our guts and back muscles. We reached Namthing. It was fog all over. I could not see even 10 feet ahead. My son had already jumped out and with Mr Rai acting as a guide and Mr Sarkar he reached the lake. Then it started drizzling and thunder clouds came in. The valley was beautiful. I took snaps of dragon flies. I found one in red color, one in silver color, and one in sky blue color. Full of butterflies and birds. Mr Sarkar wanted to stay but the weather deteriorated. Moreover, we had to return. So we started at around 3:40 PM from Namthing and reached Latpanchar.

The weather had changed. In between there had been a heavy shower in Latpanchar and it was quite cold. A strong chilly wind blew all along. We felt a night stay was an absolute in Latpanchar. Promised a next time to Mr. Rai who had served a cup of hot tea by then. From there started for Siliguri at 4:25 PM.

Amitabha Gupta writes:

Even at the peak of the summer tourist season, Latpanchor is practically deserted. And that is perhaps the most attractive feature of this picture-postcard hill station, 44 km from Siliguri.

A 13-km drive from Kalijhora along the Siliguri-Gangtok national highway (NH 31A) will take you to Latpanchor. There is little traffic on the road, so the journey is pleasant. The last few kilometres are uphill, through a dense but scenic forest.

At 4,500 ft above sea-level, Latpanchor is the highest point in Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. Since the hill station constitutes the core of the sanctuary, there is a high probability of coming across wild animals.

One of the disadvantages of Latpanchor not being developed enough as a tourist spot is that there are not many lodging options. Some utility stores cater to the local residents and the few tourists who come along.

The British, who set up Cinchona Plantation, were also behind the establishment of Latpanchor in 1920. The plantation is spread over 1,400 acres and houses four factories that manufacture medicine from the cinchona plant.

The Latkothi, which was once the residence of the British administrators of the facility, has been converted into a forest department bungalow. Cinchona Plantation is four km from Latpanchor.

The road to the plantation is lined with cinchona, sal, teak and pine. It is ideal for a relaxed morning walk. Birdsong pervades the air at daybreak. During the stroll, you are likely to encounter rosy-cheeked children on their way to school.

Surprisingly, this sleepy town boasts of three schools. The beauty of the local ladies is likely to leave you mesmerised.

It's quite fun to find the short cuts (chor bater in the local language). Rein in your exploratory zeal though, because many of the lanes and bylanes lead to the backyards of residences. With lilies and orchids in bloom, the town is a riot of colours in summer.

Jholi Basti is ideal for an encounter with wildlife. Don't forget your binocular and camera. Herds of deer and elephants often drift towards the area.

To the right of Jholi Basti, a trekking trail leads to Kurseong, while the mountain path to the left heads towards Kalimpong.

Those who would rather walk on the wild side can explore the jungle between Latkothi and Raja Rani Hill. Do not venture up the hill without an armed guide. There is an elephant corridor in the zone and you might find yourself in front of an unfriendly group of pachyderms. That's not all. An encounter with a mountain bear or a leopard perched on a tree cannot be ruled out.

The residents, however, regularly trek to the top of Raja Rani Hill to offer puja to Lord Shiva. The expedition takes eight to 10 hours.

Another attraction just outside Latpanchor is Aahal View Point. An early morning drive or a long walk through a beautiful road will get you there. On a clear day, Aahal offers a spectacular view of Kanchenjunga, Terai plains, Dooars and the Teesta up to Haldibari in Bangladesh. Don't miss the sunrise here.

At the base of Aahal View Point, there are two lanes apart from the road that leads into town. The uphill track through cinchona and pine will take you to Namthing Pokhri, a lake around which Himalayan salamanders can be seen.

A project on salamander breeding has been planned here, but most of the work is yet to be started. If the caretaker is in a good mood, he might catch a salamander and offer you a closer look. In summer, the lake dries up.

The road downhill passes Sephu, an orange orchard. One can trek from here to Sukna watchtower, located at the foothills of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary.

From Latpanchor, there is also a trekking trail to Kalijhora. The route is downhill, but rather tricky. There is a distinct possibility of coming face-to-face with wild animals.

There are many species of birds in Raja Rani Hills, but for a bird-lover, Mana Hills is a must-visit. Swallow, babbler, swift, thrush and sunbird can be found in abundance. With a bit of luck, one might even come across a rare specimen like Fairy Bluebird. The more adventurous can go right up to Mahaldiram tea estate.

The high-pitched call of cricket and the mysterious dark jungle add to the aura of Latpanchor at night. The residents of the town are not interested in outsiders, but can be very warm if you strike a rapport with them.


Hire a car from Siliguri to drive to Latpanchor. The journey is around 44 km

A View of Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary in Latpanchor

Another View of Mahananda Wild Life Sanctuary in Latpanchor

Latkothi, Latpanchor
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