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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Biharinath Hill is a famous attraction in Bankura district of West Bengal. It is located in the northwestern side of the district and stands tall at a height of 448 meters being the highest in Bankura. It is a part of the Chotanagpur Plateau and was deemed to be the center of Jainism in ancient times. The area is known for its natural beauty and diversity. The lush green and dense forests are covered by blossoms of shimul, palash and kaash flowers spreading the beautiful fragrance to the surrounding. Biharinath Hill is flanked by River Damodar on one side and by Purulia district on the other.

This picturesque tourist destination also boasts of a diverse fauna and animal life. One can get a glimpse of fox, hare, wild boar, pangolin, hyena, racaphorus, chameleon and hear the twittering of colorful birds while walking along the trail. With its natural richness and Paleolithic origin the Biharinath hills have gained the attention of the archaeologists as well.

Apart from the flora and fauna, the place is also known for a famous Shiva temple due to which it is sometimes referred to as the Biharinath Dham by the Hindus. A leisurely walk around the winding roads of the hills through the forests while the sun rises and sets will compel you to extend your sojourn. For tourists who love adventure Biharinath hill offers loads. Have a nice time scaling the hilltop within 1-2 hours. While climbing the hill, you can explore the diverse flora and fauna of the region closely and you will be surprised by the diversity. Also take a ride on a boat along the lake close to Biharinath Temple.

When to Go


If you are fortunate enough to arrive during festive season, then you will be able to witness the grandeur of the festivals during Saraswati puja and Shivratri puja. People from in and around the village gather at the temples to offer prayers with fruits, flowers, milk and various other things. These are quite colorful. Rich and thick Palash blossoms during the months of February through March covering the region beautifully.

How to Reach


Reaching Biharinath Hills is easy with the availability of trains and cars through Madhukunda road. If you have your own transport, then of course take the Madhukunda road from Raghunathpur and if you are travelling by train, then you have to hire a taxi. Remember, to negotiate the rates.

Nearby Places


There are many other tourists attractions located nearby. The Ureshwari Temple is on the western side of the hill and is quite popular. The Joychandi Hill and Binodpur Dam are located within 15 kilometers of Biahrinath Hill. Joychandi Hill is the place where the famous film Hirak Rajar Deshe from the Goopi Gayen Bagha Bayen trilogy was shot by the world famous film director Satyajit Ray. Other nearby spots includes Sushunia, Maithon, Boranti, Panchet Dam and Shaltora. All in all everyone will be able to enjoy a trip to the highest hill of Bankura. The Biharinath Hills are an asset of this district.

Back to Bankura

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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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