Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lava, Lolay gaon, rishop/rishyap

Canopy Walk, Neora Valley, Loley Gaon
Canopy Walk, Loley Gaon - By Surajit Ray
Lava, Lolay gaon(lolegaon) and Rishop, are three small villages of Himalaya in West Bengal, India known for their natural beauty.
Lava is situated at a height of 2350 meters. It is around 101 KMs from Siliguri via Kalimpong.
Rishop is almost at the same altitude as Lava. It is around 5 KMs from Lava by trek route and 12 KMs by car.
Lolay Gaon is situated at 1850 meters, located 59 KMs from Kalimpong and 25 Kms from Lava
From Kolkata it is actually a 3-4 Days trip to cover Lava - Lolay Gaon and Rishyap.
Lava - Loleygaon - Rishop photostream
Day 1: Leaving kolkata and it is raining!
At last my backpack is ready, or I think so. Because in past so many times I started missing things soon after I left for a tour. Packing - I am not really good at it. It is raining heavily still now. But who cares. Once I made up my mind to go then I need to go.

Will not be able to update during the trip mainly due to connectivity issue and I hate carrying laptop everywhere. Though it is so nice to think that no one will be able to disturb over phone with some foolish promotional plans :).

Tomorrow morning I have a date with Himalaya and that thought is making me crazy. Just hoping for no landslide.


Day 2: No spoiler rain, and it started well (Lava)
Our bus was 4 hours late. 4 hours! and yes we went to Siliguri by bus. It is not a wise decision though. We had to go by bus because we didn't have enough time for reservation. But it is far better to travel by train(budget) or to fly. Anyway that wasted half of our day. we reserved a car after reaching Siliguri and left for Lava. The weather changes dramatically in this part of world.
Lava Monastery, 4 days trip to Lava lolaygaon rishop
Lava Monastery

When we started it was a sunny day and during halfway it started raining, though not heavy rainfall. It took 4 hours to reach Lava, mainly because we halted many times during the trip just to feel the beauty of the place and to fill our lungs with some fresh air, which is so rare in city life!
Road to Lava Monastery, 4 day trip to Lava lolaygaon rishop
Road to Lava Monastery

In this region, the night comes so quickly. So just after checking in I went out for a survey (that was my first trip to Lava). The Lava village is not big. The main business is tourism and some timber related works. There is a beautiful monastery in Lava

On our way to Lava. The visiting time ends at 5:30 PM, and I stepped in just around that time. So I was in a hurry. There, just outside the monastery gate, I found a local boy, around 10 years old. He served me as a guide. He took me to the monastery with him and told me about their rituals and cultures. Off course, I was interviewing him. I forgot his name, but I am really thankful to him for being there with me that day.

Lava Monastery, Top view

During all my trips I found that the best way to know a place is to interact with local people. People in Lava, they are just too good. I interacted with as many people as I could, They speak mainly Nepali and broken Hindi or English( In that way increasing my Nepali vocabulary :P ). Many of the people doing business there, are not local. They came from different parts of India. Almost all the shopkeepers are from Bihar. It is a fact, "There is a bit of Bihar in every part of India" :)).

Inside Lava Monastery 

My friends joined me after some time and we started wander inside Lava. We were walking through the clouds! It was difficult to see something even just a few feet away. The temperature was around 7/8 degree Celsius and we went from a place where the temp remains around 40 degree during summer! So I was enjoying the weather. But what I didn't enjoy are the leeches of Lava. I was aware of the fact that we are going to meet a few leeches as leeches are very common in this type of places. So when I felt there is something inside my shoes I was sure that it is nothing but leech

I found 4 leeches, 3 from right and 1 from left shoes. It was not really difficult to get rid of those creatures and leeches are not really harmful!
I forgot to recharge my camera batteries before the trip so I couldn't take much shots in day one. That is the only thing I regret.

It was around 10:30 and the whole Lava village was sleeping except three of us. We decided to go back to our hotel room for dinner and some rest.

Day 3: Trek route from Lava to Rishop (Rishyap)
Trek to Rishyap begins!

One of the most difficult thing in life is to leave the warmth of bed in a cold morning! But early morning is the best time to feel the tranquility and serenity of Lava. I bought a new set of batteries for my camera and went out on a road between clouds. Everybody in the monastery was also awake. I took a few shots of the monastery and the monks living there. I had a good conversation with a few monks. They were curious about photography. I roam around the place almost for three hours, taking photos , talking with people, sometime taking tea breaks.

During Lava to Rishyap trek
Around 10:30 AM we said goodbye to Lava and went out for the trek to Rishyap. The condition was overcast and as soon as we started it started raining, no heavy rainfall till then though.The road was around 5 KMs, and over 3 KMs of that through "Neora Valley National Park" following "pagdandi"

Neora Valley National Park
That experience was amazing. The forest was calm and serene as usual. And I love walking in the forest and I love walking in the rain too! During midway it started raining heavily. No shelter inside the forest and I didn't have any protection. But I enjoyed it really. Our journey continues for one and half hour. It took that long because we were enjoying it inside the forest and wanted to spend time inside.

Rishyap or Rishop
We didn't have any plan to stay in Rishop as due to overcast condition it was not possible to see "Kanchendzonga" or other snow clad peaks of Himalaya. So after reaching Rishyap we keep walking and did a survey of the place as well as the forest near Rishyap. When we stopped for Lunch we got drenched in rain to our skin. The good thing was that I didn't get any leech in the Forest of Rishyap ;).

Lolay gaon is almost 25 KMs from Rishop. So we hired a car from the car syndicate in Rishop. It was around 4 when we left Rishop. The road to Lolay Gaon was not that good in condition, so it took longer than usual. That was not a problem for us though, we were not in any hurry and were enjoying the roadside views. We reached Lolay Gaon around evening. Our driver took us to a beautiful resort - "Resort Tree-Fern". All the arrangements were so good there and it was very clean

We didn't waste much time in room though. Just after getting refreshed we went out again for a walk in neighborhood. There was a very good family just beside our resort. We spent a lot of time talking with the members. It was a nice experience. There is nothing to see during night time in Lolay Gaon. So after roaming around for a while we returned to our room, had our dinner
Day 4: Adieu, Time to say goodbye to Lolaygaon
The first thing came to my mind after I wake up is "We have to leave today ... ", damn!

Neora Valley, Loley Gaon

I had a wonderful sleep the previous night. The resort was really good. We took some time to get ready. I was sensing the neighborhood, so calm! There was a dog near the resort. After we arrived at Lolay gaon it never left us and went with us wherever we went! We canceled our plan to go to sunrise point, Jhandidara (3Kms), as it was really cloudy. In that trip I was not able to see the sun even for a few minutes.

Neora Valley, Loley Gaon
Lolay Gaon

So we went to the Heritage forest to spend some time with nature. There we got unwanted company of thousands of leeches, but the atmosphere was so beautiful we completely ignored those creatures. After spending good time there we came back to the main market place of Lolay Gaon. There is an Orchid park, but not many varieties of orchids left there. After a photo session there we went for our lunch. We checked out immediately after reaching our resort and took a cab for Siliguri.

41 comments:

  1. What a lovely collection of snapshots… Really appreciate your blog. I am saving them as wall papers.
    Thx,
    Sourobh

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  2. I am glad that you like ... :)

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  3. It is going 2 be helpful for others

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  4. Do i need permission for treking between Lava and Rishop?

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  5. No permission needed. Local people use that road as a short cut.

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  6. really nice pics...could u please tell me the cost of resoert rooms in lolegan...we are planning to go 1st week of jan and would probably incude pedong as well..i really want to stay at lolegaon for a day atleast.....

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  7. Depending on your budget there are several hotels/resorts there, ranging between 400 to 1600.

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  8. Is end Feb a good time to visit Lolegaon?

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  9. Sure ... you may visit Loley Gaon any time during the year except rainy season.

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  11. I AM PLANNING TO GO ON THIS ROUTE BETWEEN MAY 28 TO JUNE 3.WILL WEATHER PERMIT?

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    Replies
    1. Also I will be there during that time :) . The Neora Valley forest is beautiful during rainy season. Let us hope for good weather.

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  12. Hey Surajit, I am planning for a 5 day trip with frnds, in which i want to include some trekking..could u please advise some route. and also suggest some moderate bed and breakfast if you would please....Thanks.

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    1. 1. Versey Rhododendron Trek
      2. Maenam Trek
      3. Tendong Hill Trek
      and North Bengal Village Trek --- Mulkharka to Lingsey
      These are easy trek routes nearby.

      What exactly your plan is? Jungle safari? River side camp? or a single day trek of 5/6 hours duration?

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  13. I have never been to this area, so i don't know if camping or hill trekking would be possible in that time (weather!!)..forest hiking sounds good..as of now my plan looks like..
    *1st day stay at Lava
    *day trek on 2nd day on a suggested route and come back to Lava.
    *trek to Rishyap and stay there if possible on day 3.
    *Rishyap to Darjeeling on day 4 and stay another day there.

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    Replies
    1. The best trek route will be Lava(1) -> Rishyap -> Bhaledunga(2) -> Rachela Pass(3)
      Not many trekking routes are there but you can explore the mountain trails like trek from Lava to Changey falls.

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    2. Thanks Surajit..I googled Changey falls and it looks great!! .i was planning to go on June 8 to 14.. I hope its not going to be a complete disaster. please suggest.. my pals here are getting a little worried about the weather condition..

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    3. Check the weather forecast online before going ... I personally like that area during rainy season, The only bad thing is that you may not get a glimpse of Kanchenjunga. Beware of Leeches and don't panic if you a get a few (Obviously you will get a few during trek), just carry salt in you backpack. Best of luck :)

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  14. Hi Surajit, I am going to visit Rishop & Lava during 19-22 June,2013. As monsoon has already entered in WB, we expect rainfall in those areas. Can You tell me, whether it will be unsafe to visit during monsoon?? Any suggestion regarding this tour?? Sightseeing etc...Awaiting..:)

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    Replies
    1. Hi ... first I wish you a very happy journey. I hope rain will not cause any problem for you. If you find, it is raining heavily, follow the Kalimpong route and don't take the route via Dooars (Though that route is more beautiful). And beware of leeches ;). It will be difficult for you to have a view of Majestic Kanchenjunga due to the weather condition. You may visit Changey falls, not many options for sightseeing in that sense, just enjoy the tranquility of that area. If you have more queries ... feel free to ask me.

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    2. hi, how would you suggest the route from Lava to Bhaledunga during this time? does 1 require a permit to go there in the rainy season.

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    3. Yes ... permit is needed for trekking towards Rache la pass. I will not suggest you to go there during June - July, just because the view will not be clear. You will get an idea from Rishyap.

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  15. Hey, is it rite time to go to Rishyop/Lava/Lolegaon....from 15-18 August...

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  16. Hi Surajit..u've got a nice blog in here:-)

    Could u pls provide contact details of taxi service providers from NJP to Rishop? Planning for an outing in October. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Can't help you about this my friend ... every time I do spot booking

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  17. Very Helpful blog it gives me an idea... pics are very beautiful....

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    1. Thanks Satyaki for you nice comment :-)

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    2. Hi...is lava lolegaon a good honeymoon destination in the month of july

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    3. If you are planning for honeymoon .. then NO. You should try "Mandu", MP during that time.

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  18. missed lava lava in my first trip to sikkim surely cover it on the next trip.

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  19. I have been to Darjeeling but dint visit Lava. lolegaon. Must Visit this place next.

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  20. Yes, for sure ... though it is a bit crowded now. You can add Lava-Loleygaon with Dooars trip also

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  21. Its not always possible for all to trek but I love reading as it carries one to the exact destination in your memory and the pain is in the pen of the author... Your writing been just like the same... Waiting for a real time description of a jungle-safari!!!

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  22. I m planning to reach mal jn by 30 jan then to lava lolegaon then to rishyap silerigaon pedong and return by feb 4th
    Any one please help me out with the temperature at that time.

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    Replies
    1. I know it is too late .. but this is for other. The temperature remains around 6-7 degree centigrade around that time.

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  23. Hello! Is it r8 time to go lava-lolegaon-rishap-darjeeling in 4thjune to 14th june...plz rply

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    Replies
    1. ... do no visit this part of himalaya during monsoon with family.

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