Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Lava, Rishop & Kolakham

Day 0 – 2nd june 2017 – Friday – Train

Leave Sealdah at 8:30 PM

Day 1 – 3rd June 2017 – Saturday – Kolakham

I was aware that the train route after NJP is very scenic so woke up very early… As we passed NJP station… our mood started swinging with the excitement we got glued to the windows.. there was a fellow passenger with us who was equally exited and started speaking about all sort of stories and he being a frequent traveller to the places was very informative….

The terrain started with never ending Tea gardens to green Forests to mountain rivers the views are breath taking and we were charged what lays ahead in our journey.

Reach New Mal junction at 8:15 AM, We had plans to catch a share taxi for Lava from New Mal Junction and then take a jeep from Lava for Kolakham by Lava Syndicate Taxi.

However, things doestn’t go as it is planned always… there were no shared cabs available from New Mal junction, so we decided to go to the new mal bus stand first then catch a taxi/Bus… There is only 2 buses that goes to lava, 1 in early morning and another after 2 that means it will be difficult rto reach Kolagham the same day… So we took a Taxi from bus stand to drop at Lava..

We have already seen the Tea gardens from train but when traveling in car between them was altogether a different experience.

We reached Lava around 2 in the afternoon and yes it was chilling cold in the month of June while in Kolkata we were getting roasted in Heat.

 It was already very late but still we went directly to Kolagham.

It took us around 3.5 Hours to reach our Hotel, Silent Valley, in Kolakham with few breaks in between. It really felt like Silent Valley, where practically you have nothing to do rather than enjoying the scenic beauty.

Kolakham is a small village in Kolbong Forest within the Neora Valley. While moving through Neora Valley, in between through the Pine trees, we all wondered how God have designed the Nature and soon we realized how we city people have destructed it and now we thrive for it with different Go Green pledges. It was just awesome. Wish I had more words to describe the scenic beauty of the nature here. We were greeted warmly by the staff and they took to our room.

Kolakham is an ideal destination for tourists nursing an adventurous bent of mind. Nestled beside the Neora Valley National Park around 108 km from Siliguri, this charming location offers majestic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga. Located just 8 kilometers from Lava the village of Kolakham is perched on a hill 6100 feet high overlooking the mighty Eastern Himalayas. Wildlife is in abundance here and you can take nature walks and short treks all around Kolakham.

All attractions around Lava can also be reached from Kolakham like Changer Waterfalls, Lava Monastery, Loleygaon, Rishop and Charkol. 

I had already called Mr. Subrata (the owner of Silent Valley) beforehand, when we were at Malbazar and informed about our hereabouts. So, the lunch was ready when we were there. Soon we were served Lunch at the Restaurant.
Post lunch, after taking rest for few minutes, we started for Changey Falls. Within 30 minutes we reached the point from where we trekked down to see the falls. The road was steep and while going down we noticed halt rooms around the turns for resting.

Changey is a 14 km drive from Lava, a small hamlet near Kalimpong, in the hills of Darjeeling District in West Bengal.

From the last drivable point, one has to trek for almost 30 minutes downhill just to reach this beautiful waterfalls, which is hidden in a lush green jungle.

While returning, it takes almost 45 minutes uphill.
The sound of the water amidst the silence of nature will remove all the tiredness of the journey.
Birds chirping around and plenty of butterflies will welcome you.
The monsoon always makes any waterfall look gorgeous, and Changey is best enjoyed during this time of the year as there are few tourists. The water will drench your clothes and belongings.

Places to see in Kolakham: From Kolakham, you can get a view of Mt. Kanchenjungha with its allies like Mt. Pandim, Mt. Kabru and others touching the sky. Kolakham is a tiny village amidst the abundance of nature with a panoramic view of the Eastern Himalayas upto the Nathu La Pass.
Changey Waterfalls

Things to do in Kolakham: Kolakham offers an array of activities like rock climbing, trekking and rope traversing to make your stay more interesting. You can also enjoy village walks or nature trails along the picturesque landscape of the region. Experience an exciting jungle camp at Neora Valley national Park, which boasts of its amazing biodiversity of endangered species of plants, animals and birds. You can also explore the forests surrounding Kolakham and hike over the rocks to savor the view of a splendid waterfall.

It was around 5:30 PM and we left for our Hotel. As soon as we reached we were given some snacks and Tea. Rest of the evening we enjoyed doing masti among ourselves. At around 9 PM we were called for Dinner. 

Day 2 – 4th June 2017 – Sunday – Lava

It was 6:30 AM in the morning when we woke up to see Kangchenjunga but due to the weather it was not at all visible. We waited for few minutes at the windows and then again went to sleep. We woke up around 8AM. Soon we were served Bed Tea and after that we started getting ready for moving along, according to our Itenary. After breakfast we left Silent Valley and Kolakham at around 9 AM.

We reached Lava at around 11 AM, Our Hotel being nearer

We visited Lava (Jamgon Kongtrul) Monastery. We have been to various Monastery before, so we felt nothing special here.

Post lunch we did some shopping in and around and went to see Neora Valley National Park Jungle Safari but was closed as power was not there.
The weather at Lava was just awesome. We could touch the Fogs, as it was flying so low. It felt really cold.

We skipped Rachela Peak

Day 3 – 5th June 2017 – Monday – Rishyap

Next Day Morning we took a jeep for Rishyap.

·         Rishyap is a Himalayan hamlet in West Bengal. 2591 m above sea-level, it's a nice quaint village away from city crowds, with picturesque views of snow-capped mountains. The sun plays vermillion through the day.

At night the big sky seems to come closer. Beneath the sky the twinkling lights of Gangtok & Pedong are similar to the twinkling stars above. Tourists are attracted by the natural beauty of Neora Valley National Park (Sikkim) & Tiffindara. Both are enjoyed through trekking route which is a deep silent forest of pine, birch, fir & orchids with some soothing path following the chirps.

·         Southeast of Rishyap is the Lava monastery. The entire village is not covered by motorable road. To see the whole village, you have to walk down the mountains with majestic Kanchenjungha standing in front.

·         Still maintaining its virginity, Rishyap is not crowded with Hotels & restaurants. Only a few hotels/resorts have been set up. Most of the local residents depend entirely on agriculture for their liviing. Potato and Maize are produced in slopes of step farming, which is another beauty to witness.

·         The nearest jeep/ bus stand is Lava. Rishop is just 4 kms uphill from Lava. The road however is rough and not paved, so trekking is the better option.
Day 4 – 6th June 2017 – Tuesday – Lava
Early sunrise we woke up at around 5:30 AM. It was clear sky as it was heavily raining whole night. But as time passed by, at around 7 AM, the sky started getting clear and gradually we were getting the 180 Degree view of Kangchenjunga
(Kanchendzonga).. We got ready and left Himalayan Hut, Rishap (Rishyap) at around 11 AM.

Day 5 – 7th June 2017 – Wednesday – Lava– Train

We packed our bags as it was the last day of our trip
·         Lava is 2.5 hours from Siliguri (nearest major city) by road. Buses to Lava ply from the Tenzing Norgay Bus terminus and Sikkim National Transport station in Hill Cart Road.

·         Bagdogra is the nearest airport with daily 3-4 flights (mostly in the afternoon) from New Delhi/ Kolkata/ Guwahati.
·         New Jalpaiguri is the nearest major rail head, and is connected with rest of the country, more frequently with Kolkata.
·         New Mal Junction is the nearest railway station from Lava. Distance 58 km & 70 km from Rishop.
·         The road from Siliguri is very scenic with the Dooars tea gardens on both sides. The most recommended way to reach Lava is by a rented cab,(+91 9903295920) although buses are available. Also try to avail the route through Damdim as the road passes through beautiful tea gardens.
·         Combine your Stay at Rishyap with stays at Lava, Loleygaon, Reshi Khola, Pedong as well as Aritar or Zuluk (Foreigners are not allowed at Zuluk, Restricted Area permit required for Indians) depending upon the number of days you have in hand. You can also opt for package tours conducted by India Beacons Sojourn who can customize your stay and arrange for the transportation.
·         If you plan to trek to Rishop from Lava, the driver will take care of parking the vehicle at Lava, which you can avail on return.

·         There is limited service of Zonga four wheel drive from Lava; a round-trip (or one-way) from Lava costs INR 1000 (As on 01.04.2012). The price for round trip or one way is same as the driver charges for return trip as well.

      Taxi Service information from Lava

Taxi Service information from Rishop

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