Meaningful Journey through Lepchakha
Territories divide nations, cultural influence, constitutions and nationalism, but when it comes to live with nature, do you really care for such things? Today, as revealing the inside story of a developing nation, where you always hear the proclaiming public demands of Infrastructural development like energy, drinking water and advanced communication, it is quite unusual and strange to hear the people say ” We want no Roads and we are happy without electricity.” This meaningful journey through lepchakha is where all the so called spiritual meaning of true nature begins with the end of all the materialistic lust. Not so far from the sonorous and hustling crowd of Kalchini town in North Bengal, India, lies a small or the smallest village of Dukhpa community who still have their incontrovertible relation with the forest named Buxa Tiger Reserve and the name of the village is Lepchakha. The feeling of nature’s own home starts right from the beautiful and small railway station of Rajabhatkhawa, perhaps the smallest area you have ever seen being inhabited by so many diverse ethnic tribes. To be more clear, don’t just think about a different town or village, but you can feel a different world of culture, language and tradition just after every lane in the village. Some of the tribal communities for your information are Rabha, Koch, Mech, Tamangs, Totos and last but not the least Dukhpas. The last point where you can get dropped by a vehicle is Santalabarie, and then the real journey towards the so called” heaven of doors “- Lepchakha begins.
The steep road carpeted with the dry leaves of Buxa forest may initially seem tiring, but as you approach nearer towards the ruins of Buxa fort and the Buxa village, the same tiredness will turn into curiosity. The haunted stories recited by the villagers about the abandoned fort will certainly create a picture in your mind once you visit the abandoned congested walls of once the prison guarded by three mountains. The fort is said to be a prison once during the British rule in India. The three hills that surround the fort still have the hidden watch towers that were once made for the guards to watch over the activities of the prisoners inside the fort. The claustrophobic ghostly stone walls and the chambers gives make you feel more of a prisoner rather than that of a guard. After having enough of different experiences and swinging moods, you can then start you last trek towards the Dukhpa village -Lepchakha.
When you finally reach the Heaven of Doors…
Once you start seeing the traditional dukhpa houses with windows almost as big as doors without any glasses to shield, you can feel those interrogating stares of little children perhaps scared of strangers. Their innocent eyes peeping through the wedge cracks of the big wooden windows will suddenly give you a feeling of an intruder in their reign of playfulness. The sloping landscapes providing you the greenish view of vast Buxa Tiger reserve forest will be a true experience of being isolated from the modern world.
The meaningful journeys is not always to seek for unexplored beauties of the world but also to understand the happiness attached to it through the lives of the people residing in such areas. My experience was of a different kind. After a night’s stay and being able to get a bit closer to the people sharing their lovely smiles, I was quite fortunate to finally hear them speak about their daily life. Early in the morning I found my host relaxing on a chair in his balcony. He eyes were upon the trail that reached people to his village. A radio was playing some meaningless sound that lay beside him on a wooden railing. Perhaps because of low frequency the radio was not able to catch the proper signal. As the village has no electricity, the whole village uses solar energy for lights and other energy purposes. Our host seemed like no interest to what the radio was playing but his attention was on something else. When I asked him what was it? I asked my host, ” Wouldn’t you ever want your village to demand for electricity, roads and hospitals to the government?” He replied ” We want no roads, and electricity and talking about hospitals, people in the cities are more sick than us because they are near to the hospitals,” It was a strange answer for me so I again asked ” But Why?”. At this he smiled and pointed his finger towards the trail that came from Santalabarie that was far down. I saw few travellers climbing up the train with wooden sticks in their hand that they used as walking sticks. Their steps seemed like too tired and I was sure their body was fully wet because of sweat. I stared at my host who was so relaxed and his face was bright with some sort of inner happiness. I looked around the village, no electricity, no roads, no shopping malls, no luxurious dreams, though the happiness in his face was far more intense than any richest man in this world. ” He has no targets, no plans , but still the people from far countries, cities and towns travel through such tiresome journey, just to reach him and pay him for his smiles, for the nature he protects every day and for the modern luxuries he has abandoned that any urban person would not live without.