Kolakham, a beautiful land in the clouds facing the mighty Mt. Kanchenjunga is home to 62 Nepali families from the Rai community. Bird watchers and adventurous souls regard Kolakham as paradise on earth because the land is replete with natural abundance. Perched at an altitude of 6200 feet, the hamlet lies on the fringes of the famous Neora Valley National Park in the Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling district. The mountainous village of Lava is located just 8 kilometers from Kolakham. Mt. Kanchenjunga can be viewed from here in its full glory along with other peaks of Eastern Himalaya which include Pandim, Kabru, Siniolchu. Kolakham is 108 kilometers from Siliguri, the gateway to North Bengal.

How to reach Kolakham


Board New Jalpaiguri bound train and get off at the NJP junction then hire car from there to arrive at Kolakham which will take 123 kilometers around 5 hours to reach. The car can also follow the Gorubathan route which takes 117 kilometers marginally less than that of Siliguri. Bagdogra is the closest airport from which you can rent cars.

Accommodation in Kolakham


Kolakham offers well facilitated accommodation units to tourists. The units are Kolakham Eco Hut whose room tariff starts from INR 1600; Pinewood Retreat whose room rent starts from INR 1800; Neora Valley Jungle Camp whose room tariff starts from INR 5000; Silent Valley whose room rent is INR 1200 and Red Panda Eco Hut whose room tariff starts from INR 1800. The rooms have attached bathrooms with hot water facilities and electricity. Most of the rooms offer an enchanting view of the majestic Mt. Kanchenjunga. The rooms have clean beds and comfortable furniture. There are duplex accommodations as well with a garden area which makes for a peaceful retreat.

Attractions in Kolakham


The natural beauty of Kolakham is mesmerizing and taking a leisurely stroll will make you happy and rejuvenate your mind and body. Of course the Neora Valley Park is the major highlight of the region. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the largest biodiversity covering an area of 89 square kilometers. Full of rhododendrons and mountains streams in every nook and cranny, the park is home to the endangered Red Panda. Apart from this rare animal, you will also notice others including wild boar, leopard, sloth bear, Himalayan Flying Squirrel and many more. The King Cobra among the reptiles has also been spotted here. It is also a bird watcher’s paradise.

Nearby attractions in Kolakham


Apart from the park, you can spend time exploring Lava, the small village which also serves as the entry point to Neora Valley National Park. The park offers several trekking trails which leads to Rachela Pass, Tiffin Dara and Jhandi Dara. Another interesting spot is the Changey Waterfall which is 6 kilometers from the village. Water gushing from 400feet above is a rare sight and you can enjoy the sound and also the view after you have reached the spot by trekking 900 feet. If you still have time, then visit the nearby villages of Lolegaon, Rishop, Charcole, Pedong all on the same route.

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Tiffin Dara is a point from where the 360 degree view of Kanchenjungha can be seen without any interruption. Dara means point in the Lepcha language and Tiffin Dara is a point in the Eastern Himalayan range in North East India offering a breathtaking view of the world’s 3rd highest peak. 3 kilometers uphill from Rishyap, a small hamlet, Tiffin Dara can be reached by trekking on the mountainous trail. The best part of this trek is that it goes through the dense forest filled with birch, pine, fir trees and different varieties of orchids. Chirping birds and some mountainous dogs might accompany you through the journey.

How to reach Tiffin Dara


Reaching Tiffin Dara is not difficult especially for the adventure lovers because it’s only 3 kilometers uphill from Rishyap through the dense forest filled with birch, pine, fir trees and different varieties of orchids. Rishyap can be reached by train, rail and also by air. The nearest railway station is New Jalpiguri which is 116 kilometers drive from Rishyap. The nearest airport is Bagdogra from where you can hire cars, trekkers, jeeps to reach Rishyap. It is only 126 kilometers taking 4.5 hours approximately to reach the destination. If you are coming to Rishyap from Lava, then it’s a 30 minutes drive and from Kalimpong it’s a 1 hour drive.

Image guide for trek to Tiffin Dara view point from Rishyap

Attractions in Tiffin Dara


There is no accommodation available at Tiffin because it is a tourists spot. However, Rishyap has a number of private accommodation facilities including home stays.

Tiffin Dara is located at an altitude of around 2,360 meters; it could a little higher than that. The magnificent view of the snow capped Kanchenjunga during sunrise is a mind blowing treat to the eyes. The other peaks of Himalayan range can also be seen from here and some parts of Jalep La and Nathula Pass as well. It feels paradise on earth when you see the skyline on top of the mountain. You can also feel like being on the top of the world once you reach the point and savor the panoramic view.

Back to Rishyap

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Rishop or Rishyap, is a picturesque hamlet and a nature lover’s paradise. The term Rishyap when translated in English means Land of Lofty Mountains, Peaks and Old Aged Trees. This beautiful and peaceful land where mountains, trees, birds, animals and humans co-exist peacefully is gaining significance in terms of popularity. Nature lovers of course find it very close to their heart and the non lovers also fall in love with its unique charm. Rishyap is basically a Lepcha community village situated at the foothills of TriffinDara at an elevation of 2,360 meters. Developed almost recently, Rishyap is part of Neora Valley which offers a spectacular view of the mighty Kanchenjunga. For people who love to trek on mountain roads, the experience will be most rewarding through the forests of pine, Dhupi and Rhododendron.

How to reach Rishyap


12-miles-lava-rishop-kalimpong-connector

12 miles Lava, Rishop and Kalimpong connector

Rishyap is located at a distance of 29 kilometers from Kalimpong and 11 kilometers from Lava.  Rishop is just 4 kms uphill from Lava which you have to trek  through the deep silent forest of Pines, Rhododendrons and Orchids, Rishyap is easy accessible to tourists,  but you have to hire any SUV. Last 1 km to 1.5 km road is not accessible for any small car. However, the ones who do not enjoy trekking can hire jeeps or car. The scenic view will be the same. Jeeps or car fare from Rishyap:

Rishyap to Lava – Rs. 600
Rishyap to Changey Water fall – Rs. 1200
Rishyap to Lava and Loleyaon – Rs. 1800
Rishyap to Kalimpong – Rs. 2200
Rishyap to NJP or Bagdogra – Rs. 3500

Attractions in Rishyap


Majestic Kanchenjunga sunrise at Rishop

Majestic Kanchenjunga sunrise at Rishop

The main highlight of Rishyap is the unhindered breathtaking view of the majestic Kanchenjunga, which is the 3rd highest peak in the world. Sunrise and sunset on the white peak of Kanchenjunga rendering it a golden pinkish glow is a scene that will leave a mark in your heart forever. Also the blue mountains of Sikkim, Nathu La Pass and Jalep La passes will captivate your senses. Taking a stroll under the starry azure sky and witnessing the twinkling lights of the nearby towns will make your heart sing in joy. This perfectly ethereal ambiance will enchant you and you will never want to leave Rishyap. When you get back to your senses, enjoy the view of Kokthang, Kabroo, Talung, Narsingh, Rathung, Simvo peaks and also pay a visit to the Lava Monastery southeast of Rishyap. For trekking enthusiasts, the trail through Neora Valley National Park meeting at Jorpokhri or Sukhiapokhri will be enjoyable.

If you are interested in trekking:

Peoples are enjoying Sunrise at hill top of the tiffin dara view point

Trek to Tiffin Dara View Point

3 kilometers uphill from Rishyap, the 2nd highest point of West Bengal an altitude of around 2,360 meters, a small hamlet, Tiffin Dara can be reached by trekking on the mountainous trail. The best part of this trek is that it goes through the dense forest filled with birch, pine, fir trees and different varieties of orchids. Chirping birds and some mountainous dogs might accompany you through the journey. Continue Reading →

 

Flowers and sky at Seole village near Rishop

Flowers and sky at Seole village near Rishop

Trek to Seole Village

2-2.5 kilometers downhill from Rishyap, the 2nd last village of West Bengal a small village within ideal trekking rout. You can go through the main road which is 1 kilometer uphill from Rishyap and then turn left for downhill within the jungle. Other than that there is a short cart. Continue Reading →

Accommodation in Rishyap


Rishyap has plenty of accommodation units. resorts and hotels in Neora Valley/Rishyap where you can stay on your trip and enjoy the scenic beauty. The Kanchenjunga View, Neora Valley Resort, Snow View, Suntec Resort, Sonar Bangla Resort and Green Valley Resort afford comfortable stay to the tourists. The room tariffs range from INR 950-1400 with all the hotels and resorts offering a breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga. Along with mouthwatering culinary delights, trek guides are also provided by the resorts.

Lovely Resort – Rishayp

Phone: 033 2225-8549 By WEST BENGAL FOREST DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION LIMITED.
Phone: 033 2243-6440 By West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.
Phone: 033 30230400, 9830252843, 9903111000, 09434503416 By JOURNEYY MART
Hotel: 9733061489, E-mail: info@journeyymart.com

Ice View Cottage – Rishayp

Phone: 9733264723, 9647834681

Suntec Resort – Rishayp

Phone: 9933628993, 9836087652, 9836557705

Hotel New Sonar Bangla – Rishayp

Phone: 9733093731

Resort Sonar Tari – Rishayp

Phone: 8001233610, 8017195512, 8001233431

Hotel Grand View – Rishayp

Phone: 9933780018, 9734084230
Tariff: Rs. Rs. 1200 – Rs. 1500

Sunakhari Retreat (Spring Vale Resort) – Rishayp
Pandim Cottage – Rishayp
Yankee Village Retreat – Rishayp
Hotel Orange Tulip – Rishayp
Rejoy Resort  – Rishayp
Valley of Flowers Resort  – Rishayp
Chavi Village Resort,

20th Mile, Chumirchen, Menchu

GREEN VALLEY & RISHYAP TOURIST CENTRE – Rishayp

Phone: 9830947352, 9331035550, 9836955169
Tariff: Rs. 950 – Rs. 1200

Neora Valley Resort – Rishayp

Phone: 9830947352 ,8420424111, 9331035550
Tariff: Rs. 1000 – Rs. 1600

Green Peak – Rishayp

Phone: 033 2227 7400, 033 2217 4374
Tariff: Rs. 1200 – Rs. 1500

Hotel Neils – Rishayp

Tariff: Rs. 1,500

Hotel Rishayp Green Peak – Rishayp

Tariff: Rs. 1,200

Kanchan View Tourist Lodge – Rishayp

Phone: 9830947352 ,8420424111, 9331035550
Tariff: Rs. 850 – Rs. 1000

Green Valley Resort – Rishayp
Himalayan Hut – Rishayp
Rishyap Holiday Inn – Rishayp 
Paradise Villa – Rishayp

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Loleygaon (also spelt Lolaegaon or Lolegaon) is a beautiful Lepcha hamlet located at an elevation of 1,675 meters with a population of 5000 residents. Kaffer is the Lepcha name for Lolaygaon. This small but picturesque hamlet is 24 kilometers from Lava and 55 kilometers from Kalimpong town. Located at the extreme end of the Himalayan ridge, Loleygaon is known for forests, scenic beauty, sunrises and sunsets. Loleygaon along with Lava is one of the most popular tourist destinations and hill station for the tourists from all over the world. The sunrise and sunset over the mighty Kanchenjunga viewed from Jhandi Dara will mesmerize you and as if it is not enough, you can also enjoy the spectacular view of the Kanchenjunga from Charkole nearby.

Mobile phone network is available in most parts.

How to reach Loleygaon


Chunabati road on the way from Lava to Loleyaon

Chunabati road on the way from Lava to Loleyaon

Loleygaon in English means a village of happiness and pleasure and the easiest way to reach Loleygaon is by road from Kalimpong. You can either avail the bus service, jeep or Maruti van service from Kalimpong. The fare for the later is around 850 INR. It is only 1.5 hours journey from Lava with a Land-Rover and cab.  You can also trek to Loleygaon on Railey’s Hanging Bridge through Kalimpong-Relikhola-Sohilung Bazaar route. The Bagdogra airport is the closest airport and New Jalpaiguri station is the nearest station.

Attractions  at Loleygaon


Apart from the spectacular view of the sunrise and sunset visible from Loleygaon, the most notable tourist attraction is the 180 meters Canopy Walk on the hanging bridge from Heritage Forest is only 10 minutes walking distance. This forest is a century old one and is famed for its Cypress and Oak vegetation. Taking a stroll on the bridge with the towering pine, oaks and cypress creating a mystical atmosphere is an ethereal experience. You will feel a sense of freedom and also feel like you are getting close to achieving salvation on this journey through the bridge. By the end of this journey you will arrive at the Kaffer village from where you can see the snow capped Kanchenjunga like never seen before and also the peaks of Pandim, Kabru, Talung, Narsingh and Shimbho.

There is a Buddhist Temple nearby and Charkhol is only 15 kilometers from Kaffer. Only 10 kilometers from Loleygaon is Gumdara village which is considered as a land of virgin forest. Lovely blue and green valleys and enchanting forest is the specialty of this quaint village. All the lovely hamlets at the foothills of the Shivalik Himalayan range are known as “Natural Tranquilizers” in a consolidated form. Other tourist attractions include Ramitey Dara– the popular sunset point and the Loleygaon monastery which is the oldest in the region.

Accommodation in Loleygaon


Loleygaon has plenty of accommodation units.

Loleygaon Nature Resort (WBFDC Loleygaon is CLOSED for maintenance work)

Resort Tree-fern
Tariff: Rs. 1500.00 + 10% service charge

Hotel Laliguras
Tariff: Rs. 900 + 10% service charge

Kaafal Guest House
Tariff: Rs. 1200 / 1500 + 10% service charge

Lovely Resort
Tariff: Rs. 950 – 1,050

Sunakhari Resort
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 900

Hotel Pride
Tariff: Rs. 2,500 – 4,000

Glen Vista Retreat, Charkhol
Tariff: Rs. 850 – 1,500

Hotel Sunrise
Tariff: Rs. 1,100 – 1,500

Sonargaon Resort
Tariff: Upto Rs. 650

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The wild and gushing Changey Falls can be found at a short distance of 14 kilometers from Lava, a famous tourist attraction in Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling District West Bengal. Tourists undertaking the trip to LavaLoleygaonRishyap circuit definitely visit the Changey Falls which is formidable and beautiful at the same time. Rapidly gaining in popularity among the nature and adventure lovers, Changey Falls has added charm to the beautiful hamlets nearby.

How to reach Changey Falls


Tourists visiting Lava Loleygaon can easily come to Changey Falls. Hire a car to drive you to Changey via Kolakham from Lava. No public or private buses ply through this route. Therefore, you must have a car hired for both reaching and departing from the destination. The route through Kolakham is beautiful and will mesmerize you with its charm. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach Changey on your four wheeler which means it is almost 4.5 kilometers from Kolakham. Once you reach the spot you have to start on a 900 feet walking trail to arrive at the source of the mighty falls. It will cost around 1200 to arrive and depart from Changey on a cab.

Attaractions in Changey Falls


It is quite an awe-inspiring sight. Forest, mountain and waterfall make an excellent spot with natural abundance. The waterfalls against the backdrop of the majestic Kanchenjunga makes for an ideal picture so do not stop your camera from clicking. The heaven like peace is only broken by the chirp of beautiful and colorful Himalayan birds like Verditer Flycatcher, White Capped Water Redstart, Blue Fronted Redstart, Niltava, Indian Robin, Blue Whistling Thrush and Grey Treepie. You can also enjoy the sunrise and sunset at 2 points known as Tiffin Dara and Ghanti Dara if you consider staying at Changey Falls for a day or two.

Accommodation at Changey Falls


Earlier there was no accommodation at Changey Falls. But now the situation has changed and there is a medium resort known as the Changey Falls Resort. It is a beautifully designed wooden resort which offers cottage style rooms with double occupancy along with attached western toilet. The room rate is 1500 INR + 10% service charges. They charge 300+10% service charge for an extra bed. You can book the resort online or call at 9836955186/9830947352/8420424111.

The uniqueness of Changey Falls is that it flows in 3 steps which could be made out clearly from its course downstream. Do not forget to capture this rare beauty in a wild setting.

Photo Courtesy: changeyfalls.wordpress.com

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Jhandi Dara is famous because of the view it offers of the fantastic sunrise over the majestic Kanchenjunga. It is rapidly gaining importance as a weekend getaway for many. Not just due to the majestic view it offers but also because of the supremely beautiful greenery wrapping the entire region. The thick green forest comprises of Sal and Pine trees offering the most soothing scenery to the eyes. You might feel like the place is straight out of a painter’s canvas with its wide spread green forest against the white backdrop of the mighty Kanchenjunga. Easily accessible from Loleygaon, Jhandi Dara is also a bird watcher’s paradise.

How to reach Jhandi Dara


Reaching Jhandi Dara is quite easy from any part of the world. Jhandi Dara is very well connected with roads through Loleygaon which in turn connects with Lava and Kalimpong. The New Jalpaiguri railway station is located at a distance of 71 kilometers from Kalimpong from where you can take a taxi to arrive at Jhandi Dara. Bagdogra airport can be found at a distance of 76 kilometers from Kalimpong from where you can reach Jhandi Dara through Loleygaon. Jhandi Dara’s distance from Lava is only 9 kilometers. For accommodation you have to choose either Jhandi Eco Huts at Jhandi Upper Lungset or the Lava Escort Resort. The resort is a luxurious one with restaurants and all modern amenities for the guests.

When to visit  Jhandi Dara


The best time to visit Jhandi Dara is during the month of September through November. The winters are too cold and the rainy season can be a bit unpredictable in terms of weather. Hence, visiting Jhandi Dara during the months mentioned are best. It is also the best time for bird watchers.

Attractions in  Jhandi Dara


Apart from admiring the sunrise from Jhandi Dara point located at an elevation of 6205 feet, you can watch birds of various species both migratory and residential ones. Once you have seen the sun rising from this point, you will forget any other sunrise you have ever viewed from any other point. The forest is full of birds and also hiking trails which are quite interesting for the adventure lovers. Other places of interest near Jhandi Dara will be Lava, Charkhole, Rishyap and Kolakham. All these lovely hamlets boast of natural abundance. There is the Samabeong Tea Garden, Lava Buddhist Monastery, Changay Falls, Indira Gandhi National Park all located within short distance from Jhandi Dara.

The tranquil atmosphere broken only by the chirping of birds and the beautiful sunrise of Jhandi Dara will remain fresh in your memory.

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Rachela Pass is the trade route between India (Sikkim) and Bhutan located at an elevation of 3152 meters. This scenic beauty of a pass is an oft visited tourist attraction and experiences footfall round the year. Especially tourists loving adventure visit this pass and feel like they have achieved something. Part of the Chola Range bordering Sikkim and Bhutan the ridge is 4700 meters also happens to be the source of other passes like the Jelep La and Nathu La; both these are extremely popular and of course in use passes. Rachela Pass lies in the southern end of the ridge.

Attractions and Trekking route in Rachela Pass


Rachela Pass is a trekking route 12 kilometers from Lava through the Neora Valley Nature Reserve which is entered through Lava. So, you must reach Lava from Kalimpong to trek this beautiful but arduous route. The route however difficult and steep it is, also offers scenic beauty of magnolias, rhododendrons and bamboo trees. It takes about 3-4 hours to arrive at Rachela Pass through the steep road. The scenic beauty along the route mesmerizes the trekkers and makes them forget about their tiredness.

The total trekking trip of which Rechela Pass is a part is completed in 4 days. Rachela Pass is virtually considered as a junction between Sikkim, Bhutan and Bengal. It used to be a trade route in the past. One of the most significant trade routes in the history of India, one could witness mules carrying merchandize within countries. The tracks are still noticeable. You can also spot the 4 chief ridges dividing the valleys known as Neora, Rishi, Rangli and Jaldhaka. From Rachela Pass, other passes of Jelep La and Nathu La are visible. Also visible are the Sigalila Range with its proud peak Kanchenjunga, world’s 3rd highest and also the entire Chola Range.

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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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Lava is a small beautiful hamlet in Darjeeling district located 34 kilometers east of Kalimpong. One of the popular destinations Lava means the land with the presence of God. True to the meaning of its name, Lava is paradise on earth. With an elevation of 7,016feet, it is one of those few places in West Bengal to experience snowfall which is one of the major attractions to his charming village. The heavy forests covering the land mostly consist of wet alpine trees of birch, pine and fir and the forest here is a deciduous one. However, during the rainy season the forest is infested with leeches for which tourists are advised to carry salt, stick and occasionally knives with them.

How to reach Lava


If you are traveling from Kalimpong, then you will arrive in Lava through Algara and the journey will take around 2 hours. Buses ply regularly to Lava from Kalimpong at 6:30 and 10 in the morning. While traveling from Siliguri covering a distance of 105 kilometers you will reach Lava via Gorubathan by Damdim road. Besides, jeep can always be hired both from Siliguri and from Kalimpong to reach Lava. The journey by road is wonderful with tall trees and colorfully fragrant flowers of Chanp, Chimol, Cryptomoria. During the months of April-May which is considered to the best time to visit Lava, the route is filled with different types of orchids as well.

Chunabati road on the way from Lava to Loleyaon

Chunabati road on the way from Lava to Loleyaon

Road distances from Lava (approx)

Lava to Bagdogra Airport – 112 km
Lava to New Jalpaiguri Railway Station – 105 km
Lava to Changey Waterfall – 14 km
Lava to Tiffin Dara view point – 9 km
Lava to Loleyaon (Kaffer village) – 22 km
Lava to Charkhole Loleygaon-  34 km
Lava to Neora Valley National Park – 10 km
Lava to Rishyap – 11 km
Lava to Rache La Pass – 12 km
Lava to Kalimpong – 34 km
Lava to Gumabadara Village – 12 km

Attractions in lava


The biggest highlight of Lava is the Neora Valley National Park (Open from 8am to 12noon, 1pm – 4pm. It is closed on Thursdays) which is a wildlife reserve located around 10 kilometers from the center of the village. This area is popularly known as the Virgin Forest area and is a visual treat with mountains, dense green forest, a rivulet and a wide species of animals and birds. Entry fee to this awesome reserve is INR 20 and the area is divided into Upper Neora Valley which is in Lava and Lower Neora Valley near Samsin. For wildlife lovers, the concerned authorities are beginning a project on eco camps where they can stay and enjoy the wild atmosphere. Some of the and animals spotted here include Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, tiger, leopard, deer. There is ample scope of bird watching in these forests and you can spot birds like Scarlet Finch, Rusty-bellied Shortwing, Blue-fronted Robin, Broad-billed Warbler, Yellow-throated Fulvetta and many more.

Trekking at lava


Trekking can be done through the forest trail but with permission from the forest authority. You can also trek to Lava peak once you have reached Rache La pass located at an elevation of 3152 meters. Jalep La is also nearby. The Chhangey falls is another specialty of this region located at a distance of only 14 kilometers. Other attractions include Buddhist Monastery Kaju Thekcheling Institute, plant nursery, glass house.

Accommodation in Lava


Lava has plenty of accommodation units. You can either put up at the forest Bungalow in Gorubathan or at the hotels in the village. The hotels are actually partial homes of the locals with basic amenities and reasonably priced rooms. However, you will not suffer from any kind of problem there. In fact, it will provide the opportunity to know the local people from the village.

Lava Nature Resort by WBFDC
Authorized Agent by WBFDC
43 Sarat Bose Road , Hakimpara Siliguri – 734 001, Dist.-Darjeeling,WB, India

Orchid Hotel, Lava
Tariff Rs. 1,000/1,200

Yankee Resorts, Lava Bazaar
Tariff Rs. 1,000/2,000

Himalaya Inn, Lava Bazar
Tariff Rs. 859

Hotel Choice, Lava
Tariff Rs. 550/600

Safari Hotel, Lava
Tariff Rs. 700/1,600

The Sana Homestay, Lava Road
Tariff Rs. 1855

Hotel Paradise, Lava

Parker Hotel, Lava Bazaar
Tariff Rs. 700/1,200

Neora Velley Eco Huts, Lava
Tariff Rs. 1,200/2,200

Hotel Devika, Lava
Tariff Rs. 1,200/2,200

The Lava Escape, Lava
Tariff Rs. 1,200/2,000

P P Resort, Lava
Tariff Rs. 600/900

Hotel Himalaya, Lava

The Pinewood Resort, Lava

Hotel Lava View Point, Lava

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Ponbu is a small almost insignificant village of Eastern Himalayas. It is situated on the trek route from Samthar village to Purbikhola. Ponbu is part of adventure tourism on the eastern Himalayan range and is 8 kilometers from Samthar village. Located atop the ridge overlooking the vast Teesta River Valley and the surrounding plain lands of Terai, Ponbu is a refreshing break from the busy life in lower Kalimpong hills. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the view from Ponbu. There are numerous waterfalls cascading downstream to meet the Ponbu Khola which further flows into the mighty Teesta River. All these streams form isolated valleys which are all individual trekking spots.

How to reach Ponbu village


Reach Ponbu by trekking from Samthar and put up at the home stays due to be scarcity of hotels or other accommodation units. Take some time out to enjoy a typical village life at the home stays with the residents at their farmlands and poultry. Ponbu is home to around 100 families.

Attractions  at Ponbu


The trekking route to Ponbu is actually a bird watching trip. You can explore the Nezeok Reserve Forest which is home to around 250 species of birds. Some of them include White Browed Shrike Babbler, Greater Yellownaped, Blue Throated Barbet, Blue Winged Minla, Ashy Bulbul, Pygmy Blue Flycatcher (female), Paddy Field Pipit, Streaked Spiderhunter, Longtail Broadbill, Orange Bellied Flowerpecker, Blue Whistling Thrush. This trek is actually a bird watcher’s paradise and one that you will never forget.

Trekking at Ponbu


You can walk down to the Teesta Valley through this route if you are interested. Explore the river banks of Teesta and Rilli. While exploring you will find an exciting way to cross the river practiced by the local people. The hand pulled ropeway is one of the most thrilling ways to cross the Teesta River. Though not for the faint hearted, it is generally an attraction of this place. After you have explored enough, drive down to Kalimpong Gurudongma House for overnight stay.

The trekking trip to Ponbu is generally divided into Upper and Lower Ponbu and it is on the lower Ponbu trip you can admire the course of Teesta and its valley.

Accommodation in Ponbu


Generally, tourists do not stay overnight in Ponbu because that is outside the trekking itinerary. However, if you wish to stay there, then home stays will be available with food. Sometimes, the trekking team sets up camps at Ponbu to explore the variety of birds in the region.

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