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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Kalimpong sits at an altitude of 1,250-1600 meters and is seamlessly connected to other parts of Darjeeling district. Kalimpong, known for its scenic beauty, hospitable people, fantastic climate and central location is a popular destination of the tourists who love hill stations. For those who prefer oceans will also fall in love with this town which has a glorious history and an equally captivating present. The wonderfully snow capped peaks of the Himalayan mid ranges are most beautiful in this town and it perfectly connected to the railway station and airport being within a range of 80 kilometers. Tourists find Kalimpong to be an easily accessible hill station whose charm can mesmerize even the non-romantic treading this earth.

Kalimpong bazaar is a bustling area with a wide array of objects like hand beaten silver, Lepcha daggers, Buddhist thankas, Bhutanese weaves, Chinese lamps, being sold here. The town also boasts of religious unity where churches, temples of Hindus and Buddhists, monasteries all coexist peacefully. Gardens and alleys full of orchids, other exotic flowers and cactus nursery make it a picture perfect location for photography and painting and also movies.

The magnificent view of Kanchenjunga and other peaks like Pandim, Simbhu, Janu, Siniyolchu and Chomio Mo renders it an ethereal beauty. The peaks changing colors throughout the day from scarlet to copperish and finally white is a rare phenomenon in other parts of the world. Not only peaks you will also be astounded with Kalimpong’s natural variety in the form of forest, the valley above the Railey River and the Sinchal range covered with trees.

How to Reach Kalimpong

Kalimpong is easily accessible from Siliguri, New Jalpiaiguri Station (NJP), Gangtok and Darjeeling.

Air– Bagdogra, 60 kms away is the nearest airport. It is possible to get a pre paid taxi from the airport to Kalimpong.

Railways– You can also avail the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway facility to reach Kalimpong.

Road– Direct buses from Kolkata ply to Kalimpong at regular intervals from 6.15 in the morning to 4.15 in the evening which arrives at Teesta Bazaar. If you are traveling from Darjeeling, hire a jeep or landrover to reach Kalimpong which will take around 2.5 hours. Alternatively, buses of DGHC also ply to Kalimpong via Mongpu taking almost 3.5 hours. The route through Mongpu is enjoyable with cardamom plantations on one side and the eco tourism center called Teenchula.

Attractions & Activities in Kalimpong

Wandering around the city and trekking in the nearby mountains is an excellent activity that most tourists indulge in. Apart from the spectacular scenic beauty, Kalimpong is also famous for its places of religious interests namely, churches and monasteries.

Deolo Hill and Garden – This is a picnic spot that offers a morning view of the Kanchenjunga range. It is close to a tourist lodge, run by the Department of Tourism. Entry fee of Rs. 10 per person.

Preparation of paragliding at Deolo Hill-KalimpongParagliding in Kalimpong– Paragliding in Kalimpongstarts from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm depending on wind conditions. Take off point is Dello hill. There are two types of flights, Medium and Cross Country. The medium flight’s lands on Homes Ground near Dr. Grahams Homes School and the Cross Country flight’s lands on Relli River ground near Relli resort distance about 10 km. Continue Reading →

Rafting over the teesta river

Rafting over the teesta river

White Water Rafting – Teesta River at Kalimpong has become one of the most popular hotspots of River Rafting in eastern India. It starts from Beni, the confluence of rivers Teesta and Rangeet provides the major base of rafting. Continue Reading →

Kalimpong Golf Course – A beautiful, mountainous golf course which enjoys tourists from all over the world.

The Pine View Nursery – Also known as the famous Cactus nursery, this nursery has almost 1500 varieties of cacti ranging and other plants from the mountainous region from just Rs. 20. Entry fee: Rs. 10 per person. 

Durpin Dara – This is the highest point of Kalimpong that offers a breathtaking view of the city and the fast flowing Teesta River.

Pedong Monastery -This is a Buddhist monastery of Bhutanese origin.

dr.-Grahams-home-at-kalimpong-entry-gateDr. Graham’s Homes – A self sufficient educational institution, located on 500 acres of land, 50 cottages with its own farmhouse, poultry, bakery, hospital and garments department. This missionary school was set up by Dr. J A Graham in 1900 as an orphanage cum school for the destitute Anglo Indian children. It is located on the way to Deolo Hills.

Mangal Dham – Mangal Dham is situated about a kilometre away from Kalimpong and spreads over an area of 2 acres. On the ground floor of this temple lies the “Samadhi” of Guruji Shri Mangaldasji. The prayer hall is on the 1st floor and the walls have of the GuruJi’s with Lodr Krishna and other scenes from Krishna Leele.

Reshi Retreat & Farmhouse – It is a retreat about 37 kms from Kalimpong. It lies on the historical Silk Route and offers excellent trekking, fishing and adventurous activities.

buddha statue at kalimpongLord Buddha Statue – Near about Deolo Hill there is a small rock garden in which you will get this wonderful statue of Lord Buddha sitting in a lotus position.



Mac Farlen Church in Kalimpong

Mac Farlen Church in Kalimpong

Mac Farlen Church – Mac Farlen Church was constructed in the year 1890 – 91, this magnificent building has been the landmark of Kalimpong. This church was built on 1 Nov 1891 by the Scottish Missionaries. . In the early days the sermons were in 10 different languages for the purpose of spreading Christianity.

Tsonga Gumba – This is the oldest monsatery in Kalimpong which was built in 1692. It’s also known as the Bhutan Monastery and located near to Mangal Dham. 

Nature Interpretation Center – Visitors must visit at this museum for getting a good idea about the wildlife of the hills. Samples and photos of fauna like the beetles, butterflies and animals are explaining the nature and environment of Kalimpong area.

Lepcha Museum – The museum is situated about a kilometer away from the town. This museum has various articles of interest for those who want to know about the Lepcha culture and heritage. The entire are of the darjeeling and Sikkim is known as The land of the Lepchas. Various articles of worship, original lepcha musical instruments and many other articles can be seen here.

Morgan House – It is located opposite to the Golf Course. This used to be an old British property with a typical colonial architecture with a garden and views of Kanchenjunga. Now it has been converted into a hotel and run by West Bengal Tourism Department. We can enter the premises and walk around, but cannot go upstairs in the building.

Hanuman Tok – Hanuman Tok has a large statue of Lord Hanuman approximately 25 to 30 ft in height located on a hill top near to the Science City. There are fantastic views of the both sides of the hill and a nice view of Testa River can be seen along with the Himalayan range. A small temple of Goddess Durga is found right side of the statue.

Hanuman Tok kalimpongtemple-of-goddess-durga-at-kalimpong-beside-hanuman-tok-


The confluence of the Teesta and Rangit rivers

The confluence of the Teesta and Rangit rivers

Beni-the lovers point – Beni is the confluence of rivers Teesta and Rangeet provides the major base of white water rafting. Teesta River at Kalimpong has become one of the most popular hotspots of River Rafting in eastern India.


RC Mintri Road – There are a line of shops which have been there since the trade days and provides for one of the most delightful shopping experiences in Kalimpong You can get Buddhist thankas, hand beaten silver, Bhutanese weaves, Chinese lamps, Lepcha daggers, masks and a lot more stuff.

Kalimpong Market – If you want to know the Kalimpong culture, then a visit to the market is a must! This market is held only Wednesdays and Saturdays from early morning.  From agricultural and farming items, homemade items, vegetables, clothes, bags, umbrellas, spices, shoes, you can get them all at the best bargain prices. One side is for clothes and likes and the opposite is full of spices, vegetables and fruits. Behind one particular side, lies a segment hidden from the regular eye. You will see few groups of people playing carom board and various card-games. With these games they enjoy the freshly made Momos, Phambi, Alu Thukpa (with soup), all of the local street delicacies.


Dharmodyar Vihar/Krukuti house

Science City – There are various examples of science-magic as we would like to call it are displayed and also has a hilltop garden with various outdoor activities like tyre ring-swings, climbing ropes , see-saws, along with models of dinosaurs like Jurassic Park.

Relli Khola River – There are so many beautiful picnic spots along the river, the most beautiful one is on the Relli bazaar. During the spring and winter many picnic groups enjoy here. You can enjoy swim or simply enjoy the river banks and the nearby forest. There is a beautiful public swimming pool at Relli bazaar by the river side.


Accommodation in Kalimpong

There are numerous hotels, suiting every budget, in Kalimpong. It is also possible to stay in retreats or guest houses located away from the city.

Morgan House, You can book online directly through the WBTDC (West Bengal Tourist Development Corporations) website.

Hotel Elgin Silver Oaks, Rinking Pong Road
Phone: +91-3552-255296, +91-3552-255767

Hotel Garden Reach, Upper Cart Road, Below Bankim Chandra Park
Phone: 03552-255091, 09832040822, 09331107996

Himalayan Hotel,Upper Cart Road
Phone: +(91) 3552-255248/258602

Sood’s Garden Retreat, 8.5 Miles Mr. Siddhant Sood
Phone: 9733123113
Fax: 91-03552-260321/260322

Deki Lodge, 10th Mile, (Near Power House), Tripai Road
Manager: C.D. Bhutia / Kamal Pradhan (Asstt. Manager)
Phone: +91-3552-255095, 9434329695

The Orchid Retreat,Ganesh Villa, (P.B. No. 7)
Phone: +91-3552-274517/274275
Fax: +91-3552-274489

Bethlehem Lodge, David Gas Building, 10th Mile, Reshi Road
Phone: +91- 3552- 255185/255847/258798/255847/255185, +91- 9434735225, +91- 98320-96611

RANGEET LODGE, Dr. B. L. Dixit Road, Near Jubilee High School
Phone: 03552-257447/259039, 9832076147

Alkananda Resort, Upper Cart RoadSanjogita Subba
Phone: (03552) 256251, 98320 33410

Dew Drop Villa, Galanka Road, Hill Top
(A Himalaya Home Stay at Kalimpong)
Phone: 03552-259883, 98324 59067,97330 51821, 98325 49009

Hotel Mountain View, Kalimandir Phatak, Besides Tashi Petrol Pump, 8 1/2 Mile
Phone: +91 3552 255123/ 255440, +91 9832039412 – 8016218762 – 9434048370

Deolo Tourist Lodge, You can book from GTA tourism office. Check out Tourist Centers to know location and contacts of GTA tourism offices and how to book.

Deputy Director of Tourism, GTA Silver Fir Building, Bhanu Sarani

Phone: (0354) 2254879 / 2255351
Fax: (0354) 2254214

Indradhanush Madhuri Mintri
Phone: +91 9932893350, +3552 255697

Gompu’s Hotel, Damber Chowk
Phone: + 91 (3552) 255818, 9832435448 Fax: +91 (3552) 257062 / 256758

Himalayan Hotel, Upper Cart Road
Phone: +91-3552-255248
Fax: +91-3552-255122

Contact person: Mr. R. S. Prasad, Mr. Ravi Gupta and Sashi Gupta
(Member of HORAK & Listed in Lonely Planet)
Phone: +91-3552-257457 (O) / 260186 (PP), +91-9932332017

Kalimpong Park Hotel, Rinkingpong Road
Mr. Amode Yonzone
Phone: +91 3552 255304/256656, +91 80164 80665
Fax: +91 3552 255982

Hotel Oasis, Sheela Building, D.S.Gurung Road
Mr. Sudesh / Yogesh Phone: (03552) 256385 / 260030

Pineview Resort, Atisha Road
Phone: +91-3552-255843

Hotel Tres, Primtam Road, Kalimpong – 734 301
Phone: +91 92335 55456, +91 92335 55457


Parijat Lodge
Phone:  91-03552-256698

Phone: (03552)255074/259654
Fax: 91 3552 255290

Chimal Hotel
Phone: +91-3552-255776

When to Visit

Kalimpong receives tourists all through the year on account of its pleasant climate. However, it will be wise to avoid the monsoon months of July-Sept due to frequent landslides which may cause roadblocks.

Photo Courtesy: Kalyan Mohan Paul, Flickr/Sharat Kolke and Asim Shah 2008

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