Surrounded by greenery and rivers amidst picturesque terraced farmland, a small mountain village near Darjeeling has now been developed by the West Bengal government to attract tourists.
Lamahatta, at an altitude of about 1700 meter and only 23 km away from Darjeeling town, will be ready for tourists later in the month.
Attractive also as a 'Honeymoon Point', with five cottages and 44-bed accommodation, Lamahatta was identified by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a recent visit, state's Tourism Minister Rachhpal Singh said.
The spot is being promoted as an attractive tourist destination as part of developing village eco-tourism at a non-forest Khasmahal area with active involvement of the local forest protection committee.
This will help sustainable development of poor villagers without disturbing the ecology and biodiversity of the local environment, Singh said.
Inhabited by tribes like Tamangs, Sherpas, Yalmos, Bhutias and Dukpas, besides few Christians, this village is a conglomeration of rich and unique mountain culture with the main occupation of inhabitants being farming and cattle rearing.
With moderately cool but pleasant climate, Lamahatta is well connected by Darjeeling-Kalimpong state highway.
As part of developing the Darjeeling-Lamahatta-Takdah circuit, six old rooms have been renovated at Takdah close to Lamahatta and the surroundings developed for this, the minister said. Developed at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore in eight months, Lamahatta with roadside garden and prayer flags presents a variety of season flowers and wild orchids to attract tourists on way to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sikkim, Singh said.
A watch tower and garden benches are major attraction of the village from where a magnificent view of Kanchenjunga, Sikkim Hills, flowing Teesta and Rangit rivers and also a bird's eye view of Darjeeling town can be enjoyed.
Inside the dense woodland, natural rock points have been conceptualised for those wanting to meditate amidst nature.
Besides, a number of trekking routes have been identified in the area with the facilities of trained guides for trekking and local sightseeing, Singh said.
An observatory has also been developed to view the entire Kanchanjunga range, while landscaping is already developed either side on the way to Lamahatta along with tourist facilities.
A rainwater harvesting structure has also been developed, officials said.
Local villagers were being trained for hospitality purpose, while the departments of tourism and forest would jointly maintain the entire facilities.