Rustic roads, solitary ambiance, fast-flowing rivers, foothills, variety of flora and fauna and thick green forest all around, that’s Dooars for all of you. Even the charming lush tea gardens and amazing wildlife are equally heart-capturing. Among the so many magnificent and enchanting places of North Bengal, Neora Valley National Park is one, with its vibrant and enthralling wildlife.
Located in the Kalimpong district of North Bengal, Neora Valley National Park is another point of tourist attraction. The entire forested area is crisscrossed by several mountain streams, even the place is named after the river Neora, flowing through the place. This area was earmarked as the National Park in the year 1986 and challenged the endless human interference, biotope changes and environmental pollution. The place has been preserving its natural biodiversity and much of the national park has inaccessible forests in its territory.
WILDLIFE AT NEORA VALLEY FOREST:
Neora Valley is rich with Sal, Ferns and Bamboo groves, varieties of colourful Rhododendrons and orchids. Yews, Hemlocks and Strawberries also form a part of the vegetation. Among the wild species Red Panda, Black Asiatic Bear can be found, though they have become extremely rare for several reasons. The Barking Deer, Leopards, Leopard cats, Himalayan Thar, Flying Squirrel, wild cats, Royal Bengal tigers can catch your eyes while trekking through the dense forest. Neora Valley is also considered the birding paradise for the bird-lovers with about 265 species like Rusty Bellied Shortwing, Myanahs, Swallows and Parakeets. Apart from them Himalayan Griffon, Redstart, Golden Headed Black Finch and so on are quite common in the National Park, the best time for birding is between December and March.
THINGS TO DO AT NEORA VALLEY:
The place offers you a beautiful landscape full of varieties of flora and fauna. Vehicles can take you to the zero point which is about 13 km inside the forest; it’s an amazing experience through the midst of the deep greenery. Apart from that one can also reach the place by trekking through several trails in the forest, it is the best way to explore the forest and its diverse flora and fauna along with the birdlife. At the entrance of the forest, you can get the government-authorized guide, who can take you for a trek through the forest. There is a way for trekking that covers all the way to Phuntsholing located at the Bhutan border.
ENTRY FEE OF NEORA VALLEY:
The entry permission in Neora Valley is available at the forest range office at Lava. The whole process of going to the forest and getting back with the permission, can take around two hours.
Entry fee- for tourists- 120/- per person, per day
500/- per day, for foreigners
Vehicle entry fee- 400/-
HOW TO REACH NEORA VALLEY:
It’s very easy to reach Neora Valley from Lava, which is just 105kms from NJP station; from Lava by road, this place is just 10 km away. Tourists can have jeep-type vehicles to reach the valley by road. Another route lies through Samsing, crossing the places like Malbazar, Chalsa, and Metelli. Bagdogra is the nearby airport, from where you can hire a car to reach the place.
BEST TIME TO VISIT NEORA VALLEY:
October to April is the best time to visit the valley (open from 16th Sep-15th June) and it remains closed for three months during the monsoon. New blooming flowers catch your sight during March and April and December is considered the best time for enjoying enormous colourful birds.
NEORA VALLEY SIGHTSEEING
Tourists can enjoy the beautiful, breathtaking view of Changey Falls, close to the valley. From Lava it takes only an hour to reach, which includes a 20 minutes’ walk along the trail to reach the place. Acute calmness along with the sound of the waterfalls makes a wonderful contrast. At night the moonlight makes the waterfalls glitter as the stars have fallen from the sky.
A short visit to Kolakham village (10kms from Lava) can be a very soothing experience; it’s mostly occupied by the Rai Nepali Community. The large coniferous pine trees and exotic rhododendron flowers will surely leave you breathless.
A drive to Loleygaon and doing the exciting canopy walk is always a memorable experience for nature lovers. It’s a very attractive tourist spot, especially for nature lovers for its rich wildlife, jungle walks through the forest, and a breathtaking sight of the whole Kalimpong town. It is very famous for the panoramic view of Mt. Kanchenjunga, which has made the place an amazing tourist hub.