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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Singalila National Park located at the Singalila Ridge is a popular tourist destination in Darjeeling District West Bengal. Sitting at an altitude between 7,900 feet and 12,000 feet, it is a unique national park situated at the highest point in West Bengal. The Singalila National Park covers an area of 78.6 square kilometers and is popular for its wide range of flora, fauna and also because of the trekking route to Sandakphu and Phalut, two of the highest peaks in Singalila Range. Originally it was a wildlife sanctuary which has now been transformed into a national park where tourists are allowed to undertake jeep safari on the gravel road winding through the park starting from Manebhanjan.

How to reach Singalila National Park


Singalila National Park can be reached by road, railway and air. However, the easiest route is by road for which you have to travel from Siliguri to Manebhanjan where you will find the first sign of entrance to the park. The actual entry point is at Tumling which is a few kilometers from Manebhanjan. Another entry point of the park is through Rimbik which is another small settlement at the Singalila Ridge. The best time to visit the Singalila National Park is from March through May and again from October through early December. During the former months you will be able to see thick blossoms of orchids and rhododendrons covering the park. In the later months the snow capped peaks will dazzle you with their pristine beauty and color play during day and night in clear skies.

Accommodation in Singalila National Park


There are plenty of accommodation facilities available in and around the park. Gorkhaland Territorial Administration lodges and trekkers’ hut are available at various points like Gairibas, Tonglu, Sandakphu and Phalut. Online booking service is available. For non trekkers private lodges and huts galore at Tumling, Jhaubari, Meghma, Gairibas and Kalpokhri. One of the cheapest, well facilitated and best positioned accommodation units is the Shikhar Lodge near Singalila National Park.

Attractions in Singalila National Park


The Singalila National Park offers loads of attractions to the tourists which include its diverse and beautiful flora and fauna and the mesmerizing and enchanting view of Kanchenjunga and Everest. The forest is full of oak, ferns, silver firs, bamboo, primula, Bistort, Geranium, orchids, rhododendrons and magnolias. The rich fragrance and color of the trees and their blossoms fill the air during spring time. There are over 600 varieties of wild orchids in the Singalila National Park. This feature makes the park a unique destination in the world.

Amidst this beautiful environment live a large number of animals and birds which can be spotted during the jeep safari or trekking tour through the forest. The Red Panda, barking deers, pangolins, Pika, Takin, Clouded Leopard and birds like Satyr Tragopan, Old World Babblers and Golden-breasted Fulvetta can be spotted throughout the forest. A large number of reptiles and amphibians can be found near the Jore Pokhri and Sukhiapokhri Lakes.

The view from Sandakphu, the highest point of Singalila is enthralling. All the major peaks of Eastern Himalaya can be seen enveloped in a vast stretch of snow where time stands still.

Entry fee to the park is 100 INR and foreigners need to show their ID proof to enter the forest. Permission to enter the core area can be obtained from the forest department at Manebhanjan or Tumling.

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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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