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Lava
About Lava

Lava is a small hamlet which is located about 34 kilometres (21 mi) east of the town of Kalimpongvia Algarah in Darjeeling district of the state of West Bengal, India. Lava is located at an elevation of 7,016 feet (2,138 m). It is one of the few places in West Bengal to receive snow in winter. It is the entry point to the Neora Valley National Park from Kalimpong. The route to Lava is scenic with the change in vegetation from tropical deciduous to the wet alpine trees of fir, pine and birch. The lush forests are a popular spot for picnicking, trekking and bird-watching.

Lava has now become a favorite tourist destination for people living on the coast of West Bengal, and tourism has become the source of living for the inhabitants. Many small guest houses and lodges has been built including log houses or small huts built in the midst of the forest which a tourist can rent to experience the wildlife and a popular spot to view the sunrise. Another tourist destination near Lava is Rishyap which is just 4 km walking pathway with a view of Himalayan peaks. A Buddhist monastery is present on one of the hills of Lava.

Wild animals such as the Himalayan Black Bear and barking deer are found in these parts. Prominent sites include Lava Jamgyong Kongtrul Monastery and Changey Waterfalls. Best time to visit Lava is from October to April.

Situated at 3500 meters above sea level, in a quiet, secluded amidst dense forests of Pine, Birch, and Juniper trees along with a vast variety of orchids in this small hamlet called Lava. Just a three hour drive from the nearest airport and railway station, it makes for a perfect place to lose yourself in the spiritual charm of the mist covered hills where the summers are delightfully pleasant and the winters snow cold. Lava is one of the few getaways yet to be discovered by the rest of the world.

 
Tourist Attractions in Lava

Lava is not a sight seeing destination, its rather a natural destination where the most pleasant part is the time spend in walking around the forest covered village roads. There are two sunset points named Tiffin Dara and Ghanti Dara (Dara means top of the hill).

Neora National Park
Lava is the gateway to the Neora National Park standing hidden in the mist & clouds almost throughout the year at a height of about 2350 mts (7755 ft). This National Park is at the junction of West Bengal ,Sikkim, and Bhutan. A short trek of 3 days will cover Rachela Danda (Tri-junction of West Bengal, Bhutan and Sikkim).

Lava Jamgyong Kongtrul Monastery and Ngedon Chag-Chen Ling Retreat
Since 1987 on a hill, overlooking the snow-mountain range to the north, the Monastery is bounded by ancient forests and covers in vapors for most of the year. In this remote, isolated place, monks in the Monastery are intensively engaged in Buddhist studies. There is also a 3-year retreat centre, Ngedon Chag-Chen Ling, which follows the ancient contemplative tradition of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage.

Lava Monastery
Lava Monastery is also a spot of interest of tourists. Visitors can enjoy the Nature Interpretation Center of the forest department as well.

Panoramic snow views
Mt Kanchenjunga, Jalep La Pass, Mt Siniolchu, and Rechila Pass. Best view points are Sherpa view point and Tiffin Dara

Nature Interpretation Centre
It is operated by the Forest Department, it focuses on flora, fauna and local people interacting with ecology to conserve soil and forests of the area.

General tourist attractions
Common tourist places around Lava include Silviculture Research Centre, Neora Lake, Ratnarishi Gumpha, and Chhangey falls. Treks to the Neora valley starts from Lava. Apart from long treks across the valley, small treks are also possible in the region. Common treks include trek to Tiffin Dara, Aluabari etc.

 
Walks Around

Lava offers some nice walks for nature lovers. One can walk towards the Neora Valley National Park, this area has good vegetation. For serious jungle trek, the Neora valley trek also originates in this area, after taking permission from forest department before entering the core area of the forest. Maneydara village is also a place where one can go for walk which is about 5 kms walk from the town. Another route takes to Rishop, a more recent tourist destination. Rishop is close to 12 kms by car, but the trekking distance is about 5 kms.

A Bird Watcher's Paradise

The area is a bird watchers paradise. The road extends from Algarah to Lava and the north west area of the Neora Valley National Park is a birding hotspot. The Lava area is home to the Rusty-bellied Shortwing, Blue-fronted Robin, Broad-billed Warbler, Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Grey-sided Laughingthrush, Rufous-throated Wren Babbler, Scarlet Finch and many more rarely sighted birds.

How to Reach Lava

Lava is accessible from Kalimpong (35 km east) and from the Damdim Road which links to Siliguri. Lava is best combined with a trip to the Duars, Sikkim or the Darjeeling area. The roads are good, particularly the Damdim Road.

 

 


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