Established in 1986 Neora Valley National Park is located near Lava in Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling District. Covering an area of 89 square kilometers this park is of the richest biosphere reserve in India. Open from 8 am to 12 noon, 1pm – 4pm. It is closed on Thursdays. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations and is growing rapidly in importance due to the number of tourists and also due to the diverse flora and fauna of North Eastern Himalayas. Located at a distance of 32 kilometers from both Lava and Samsing which is the border area, Neora Valley National Park has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Entry fee to this awesome reserve is INR 20.

Covering an area of 89 square kilometers this park is of the richest biosphere reserve in India. Often referred to as the land of the endangered Red Panda, it offers a staggering variety of vegetation and also birds. The nature lovers will be overwhelmed by the abundance of rhododendrons, bamboo groves and mountain streams. The highest point of Neora Valley National park is 10,500 feet which is the Rachela Pass.

How to reach Neora Valley National Park


Both buses and cars can take you to North East India’s biggest biodiversity zone, Neora Valley National Park. Buses plying from Siliguri will take you to Kalimpong from where Lava is 32 kilometers. The entry point of Neora Valley National Park is through Lava. There is an alternative route through Samsing for which you have to reach Chalsa from Siliguri which is 65 kilometers. From Chalsa Samsing is about 18 kilometers from where you can enter the biological zone. Accommodation is obviously in Lava or Samsing depending on whichever route you are taking.

Attaractions in Neora Valley National Park


The geography of the Neora Valley National Park is unique. The heavy growth in the forest sometimes even restricts the sunlight from entering the forest. It is also known as the Virgin Forest and quite true to its name much of the forest land is yet to be discovered pushing the adventure lovers to explore those inaccessible parts. The Neora River is the primary water resource of Kalimpong.

The flora of the region is diverse and the virgin wilderness supports tropical, sub-tropical, temperate and sub-temperate vegetation inside it. Mixed species of bamboo, sal, oak, ferns, rhododendrons and various types of orchids can be found in the park. The fauna supported by the forest environment is even more diverse. Red panda, sloth bear, Himalayan Flying Squirrel, wild boar, leopard cat, goral, serow, civet are some of the mammal species living in the forest. Others include lizards, king cobra, green pit viper, moths, bugs, wasps, cicadas.

Neora Valley National Park is also known as the bird watchers’ paradise. Some of the most sought after birds can be spotted here within areas of 1600m-2700 meters. Birds like Jerdon’s Baza, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Tragopan, Golden-throated Barbet, White-browed Bush Robin, White-tailed Robin can be seen.

Trek to Neora Valley National Park


This is also a trekkers’ paradise because he/she can explore the diversity while climbing up to the highest point of the park which is the Rachela Pass. Jaributi is a particular point inside the park which is full of medicinal plants. Other interesting points include the Tiffin Dara and the Red Panda Camp.

You must obtain the permit to enter the park from forest range offices in Lava and Samsing and nobody is allowed in the park after sunset.

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Purulia district in West Bengal is an abode of natural beauty. Some of best tourist destinations of Bengal are located here. These are great places to unwind for the weekend. The crimson red soil and the varied landscape have much to offer to the tourists. Beautiful water bodies, dense green forests with colorful blooms, historical sites all these things make it the most sought after weekend destination for nearby cities.

Purulia has many water bodies. Purulia Lake is the biggest and most famous among them. It is also known as Saheb Bandh. The huge water body spanning an area of almost 83 acres adds to the aesthetic beauty of the district. Visitors and locals enjoy fishing and boating in this lake. This beautiful lake is located 1 kilometer from the main town.

History


According to history, the process of digging this water pond started in the year 1843 under the supervision of Colnel Trickle. It was a mammoth task undertaken by the freedom fighters who were convicts. The purpose was to search for a permanent water source for the British.  Even after so many years of independence this vast expanse of water body serves as the only water source for the residents of Purulia Sadar Town.

Attractions


This lake is also a haven for bird watchers. It is a home to many migratory birds. These birds travel long distances from Baluchistan and different parts of Europe to spend some time here. The mornings are beautiful. The feel of fresh air and the rising sun is a thrilling experience. Mornings and evenings are perfect time to spot migratory birds. This is a perfect place for family outing where you can enjoy boating.

Saheb bandh has been playing a crucial role in the lives of the residents of Purulia. However, in recent years due to neglect and lack of maintenance the condition of the lake is deteriorating and the water level is receding. This is a serious concern and attempts of restoration are on by the local civic bodies. The lake is filled with water hyacinth and also needs some cleaning up. The water level in the district is receding and the authorities were unable to identify any alternative sources of water other than this lake.

Other Attractions


Near the lake there are two parks – Subhas Park and the District Science Park which is an educational park. An island in the middle of the park is a site for migratory birds. The park is clean and beautifully landscaped. This patch of green the park turns into a riot of colors when the seasonal flowers are in full bloom. The District Science Park was created in order to inculcate scientific awareness among the residents and students. Various exhibits in the four popular science galleries allow students to learn science in a fun way through discovery and interactivity.

If you are planning to visit Purulia for the weekend make sure you explore the surrounding areas of Ayodhya Hills. People here are known for their hospitality.

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Ayodhya Hills in the district of Purulia, West Bengal is an amazing tourist destination known for its natural beauty. Ayodhya hills are an extension of the Dalma range in Jharkhand. Each year hundreds of tourists visit the hills to witness the scenic beauty of the forests in and around Ayodhya hills. The hills are covered with dense forests with a variety of flora and fauna. The dense forests are a home to different species of wild animals. Gorshabru is the highest peak in Ayodhya and stands tall at an altitude of 610 meters. The presence of numerous waterfalls amidst the forests makes them even more beautiful.

Reaching the Forests of Ayodhya Hills


Ayodhya Hills are located at a distance of 42 kilometers from the Purulia town. From Kolkata Purulia Sadar town is only 260 kilometers. Everyday buses from Kolkata will take you to Purulia. There are several trains connecting Howrah and Purulia.

The Forests


The forests cover the undulating hills as a green blanket. The forests of Matha Hill are known for their scenic beauty and the place gives you a feel as if it has been painted on canvas. Small tribal villages are nestled in these forests. Visit these small villages to feel the lifestyle of tribal people. The tribes are known for their friendly nature and hospitality. They welcome all tourists and even offer them tea and talk to them.

pakhi pahar

Hill of Birds

Pakhi Hill which means the ‘Hill of Birds’ is one of best tourist attractions. Bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts can spot different species of migratory birds and wild animals such as Pangolin, Leopards and Madras Tree Shrew. Elephants can also be spotted occasionally when the elephant herds cross the forests seasonally.
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Akash Balaka

 

Mayur Hill

Mayur Hill

If you do not want to miss the panoramic hilltop views a trip to Mayur Hill is a must. From the top of the mountain the view below is just amazing. Trekking and rock climbing are popular outdoor activities enjoyed by the visitors.
Photo Courtesy: https://myspace012.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/down-a-hill/

Trekking in purulia

Trekking in purulia

Trekking trails are interesting as they walk the trekkers through beautiful sal and palash forests. Palash is also known as Flame of Forests. When in full bloom you can see the whole forest transform into a riot of colors.

 

 

Rock climbing in purulia

Rock climbing in purulia

Purulia Ayodhya Hills with the surrounding forests is also a favorite among rock climbers. Baghmundi a small block is the base camp for the rock climbers from where they start. Dams have been built to harness power from the waterfalls. Dam sites have been into exotic locales for picnic. It is relaxing to spend a day with your family and friends just loitering in the forests and soaking up the natural beauty.

Where to Stay?


 Since Ayodhya Hill and Purulia is fast developing as an important weekend destination. Wide range of accommodation has come up in this area suiting the needs and the budget of the travelers. The Tourism Department of West Bengal Government run many guest houses such as Niharika, Malancha, Bihabari, Anamika and Upekhita. There is a Forest Rest House in Ayodhya Hill that can be booked.

 

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Purulia district in West Bengal is an excellent weekend getaway for people who want to enjoy a few days in the lap of nature. There are many tourist attractions in Purulia. Sirkabad is one of them. It is a small village in the Arsha block in Purulia. It is located in Burdwan district in West Bengal.

Attractions


There are different tourist destinations in and around Sirkabad. Travelers come here to enjoy the beautiful forests, spectacular waterfalls, undulating hills, the variety of flora and fauna. Beautiful dams, exotic picnic spots and heritage buildings are scattered in and around Sirkabad.

To reach the famous Ayodhya Hills, you have to travel via Sirkabad. Ayodhya Hills have always been an attraction for rock climbers and mountaineers who love adventure sports. Sirkabad is the base camp for rock climbing. The village is surrounded by steep cliffs and to conquer them is an adrenalin rushing experience for most adventure enthusiasts. One has to be adept in rock climbing to climb Gajabaru, the highest mountain peak of Ayodhya Hills. The starting point of this challenging rock climb starts from Sirkabad.

Dams surrounding Ayodhya hills are potential places tourist destinations with picturesque views. These are not very far from Sirkabad. Murguma, Pardi, Ramudah, Gopalpur are a few dam sites frequented by tourists. These are places where you can spend your day leisurely without any worry. Pakhi Pahar is another tourist hotspot in the vicinity of Parda Dam. It is a paradise for bird watchers. Different species of seasonal birds can be seen here. The water body with lush green forests surrounding it makes an ideal stop for migratory birds.

Activities


Trekking is a popular outdoor activity enjoyed by tourists in Purulia. Most of the trekking trails are via Sirkabad. The trails cut through the Shimul and Palash forests. It is a sight to behold when these trees are in full bloom.

While in Purulia, one can also visit the small tribal villages scattered in and around Ayodhya Hills and Sirkabad. Tribals living in these villages are known for their hospitality to the tourists.  If by any chance you happen to wander to near their house they will welcome you and greet you and offer you tea. These small villages look like picture postcard.

There is a Nature Interpretation Center at Ayodhya Hills. This was a project undertaken by the Forest Department which aims in representing the Ayodhya Eco System and the tribal culture.

How to Reach


Regular buses from Kolkata ply to Sirkabad. Several trains connect Sealdah and Purulia station. From there, Sirkabad can be reached by road. The driving distance from Purulia to Sirkabad is 27 kilometers and it takes around 40 minutes to reach. Bokaro and Jamshedpur railway station are also nearby.

There are many budget hotels along the highway for accommodation. A forest rest house is also available in Ayodhya Hills. These hotels also serve food for their guests. Small eateries along the road also serve hot and fresh food.

Adjoining areas of Sirkabad are known for their natural beauty and is definitely work spending a quiet weekend with family or friends.

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