Explore Nature’s Paradise – Lava and Lolegaon
North Bengal is known for its exquisite scenic beauty and tea gardens. You must have heard praises innumerable praises about the “queen of hills” – Darjeeling as well as the bustling town of Kalimpong for its old-world charm. Well, far from these well-known places to visit in North Bengal, certain lesser-known places offer pristine natural wonders. These hidden gems are no less than North Bengal’s treasure. Interested to know more about these places? Well, Travelxp has successfully discovered this mesmerising destination and is all set to make your holiday extra special. Keep scrolling to unfold its miraculous secrets.
Lava – The Mystical Town
Lava, elevated at 2350 metres, the town is approximately 35 km from Kalimpong, is a new emerging tourist destination. Lava’s deep-green woods are excellent for nature walks, bird watching, and plant and wildlife discovery. The Sherpa View Point here gives a stunning view of the snow-capped mountains of Bhutan and Tibet. The Lava Monastery is quite a highlight for the scholars and Buddha devotees.
Places to Visit in Lava
1. Neora Valley National Park
With a mere distance of 10km from the Lava town, lies the world-famous Neora Valley National Park in the foothills of the Himalayan range. It was established in 1986, on land spreading 88 sq. Km. And recently it has been declared as one of the richest biological zones of the country. Apart from being nature’s womb, Neora Valley National Park is home to many species of animals, reptiles and birds such as golden-headed black finch, King cobra, and red panda. Therefore, this is one of the most ideal places for nature enthusiast and wildlife photographers.
2. Lava Monastery
Earlier known as Ratnarishi Bihar Buddhist Gumpa, it is located in the Darjeeling district of Bengal. Karma Lodro Chokyi Senge, the third Kongtrul Rimpoche, founded this monastery. This religious residence is constructed of brick and concrete and is located next to the massive Neora Reservoir Lake. The facilities at Lava monastery have been extended as the number of devotees and monks has grown over time. The fourth Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche currently studies and trains here.
3. Samthar Plateau
It has breath-taking views of the snow-capped mountains, stunning sunrises and sunsets, postcard-perfect hamlets, tropical plants, parks, mountain lakes, and river pools, all away from the infuriating masses.
Trekking to the Samthar Plateau begins near Lava at a spot named Gompa Dara. Bird watchers can love the forested areas around Lava. Many different birds can be observed, including Blue Robins, Fulvetta, Finch, Wren Babblers, among many others.
4. Lolegaon – Gateway to Wilderness
Lolegaon is a quaint little hamlet that is known for its exotic nature, wildlife, and Jungle walks. One of the most unique highlights of this place is the canopy walk, a 180-meters long hanging wooden tree-top bridge that goes through the dense jungle. An amazing view of Kanchenjunga can be enjoyed from here too.
Places to Visit in Lolegaon
1. Canopy Walk
Canopy Walk is located around a kilometre from the bus stand at Lolegaon. In the middle of the forest full of fir, oak, birch and cypress are inter-connected footbridges which the whole aura creates an ambience of abandoned fairy-land.
2. Eco Park
There is a flat field opposite the Eco-Park in the village centre, where there are a few small tea stalls and stores. This is the only bazaar where you can buy small souvenirs and tea of course and eat the local dishes. You can bring your packed lunch on a day trip as well.
A 4 km hike uphill from Lava leads to the location, which is surrounded by a deep silent forest of pines, rhododendrons, and orchids. The breath-taking views of might Kanchenjunga, Sikkim’s blue mountains, and the Nathu-La and Jelap-La passes are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.