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Delights of nature

Ahana Chattopadhyay | Kolkata |


Last year, we planned a trip to Lava, Lolegaon, Rishyap and the surrounding areas, which have gained much popularity in the last few years as tourist spots. Our first destination was Lava. It is situated at an elevation of 7,700 feet, and needless to say, it was too cold. The two noteworthy spots for site-seeing in this region are the Neora Valley National Park and a monastery, and if one happens to be fortunate enough, red pandas can be seen at the former. Its situated in a spot called Kolakham and is a little far off, about six kilometres away from proper Lava.

The Lava Jamgon Kongtrul Monastery also demands a visit for the breathtaking scenic beauty. Lava is a mesmerising spot, and if bereft of fog, offers a clear view of Mt Kanchenjunga, the primary attraction of tourists when in North Bengal. We stayed in Lava but were unable to venture out for any sight-seeing because of the continuous heavy drizzle that dragged on.

It was unfortunate that we couldn’t catch a glimpse of Mt Kanchenjunga; we even had to miss the red panda ride. After enjoying the pristine beauty, we headed for Lolegaon. Situated about eight kilometres away from Lava at a comparatively lower altitude of 5,500 feet, this place offers a much wider view of the entire Kanchenjunga range, start- ing from Mt Kumbhakarna (Jannu). The hanging bridge of is a famed spot for local site-seeing here, in spite of being the humble abode of countless leeches.

The peaks offer a beautiful view as the snow covered mountains exhibit a fiery red hue at that moment. We stayed in Rishyap for two days.

On the first day we took a stroll around the place and made a good idea of the shops, hotels located there. There is not much to see in Rishyap as it is a small hamlet, relatively peaceful and serene, nestled in the heart of mountains graced by forests on all sides.

Its also home to the most exotic flowers, ranging from fuchsia to roses to lilies. We were lucky to see some wild fuchsia and lilies. Next day, we were fortunate to get a glimpse of Mt Kanchenjunga.

Our next destination was Darjeeling. Having spent a wonderful time in Rishyap, we started for Darjeeling that offers the most splendid view of Kanchenjunga. After reach- ing there and filling ourselves with wholesome meal, we went for sightseeing. We did loads of shopping at the exotic roadside shops and even took a stroll inside Oxford Book and Stationery.

Our tour still didn't end. After Darjeeling, we started for Kalimpong, a nice little town, snuggled amidst the mighty mountains. The birds eye view of the river Tista flowing unhindered, from Delo, is surely amaze every tourist by its beauty.

It serves as a home to nurseries. One would find differ- ent types of nurseries, the most well-known being the Pine View Nursery, which has the greatest ever collection of the most varied kinds of cactus ~ undeniably a nature lovers immense delight which allows one to witness a variety of cacti, roses, lilies, lavender and many more.

With Kalimpong our most awaited trip came to an end. It was a great tour indeed, and will always be imprinted in my memory for years to come.