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Things To Do In Lava
Located 30 km from Kalimpong is the beautiful quaint village of Lava. It is one of the twin hill destinations in the area, Loleygaon being the other one. It is a paradise for nature lovers. It is a charming hideout offering a stunning view of the gorgeous terrain of North Bengal. From here tourists can catch a fascinating glimpse of the famous Kanchenjunga peak, the Great Himalayan snow-peaked mountains, the lush green forest cover dotted with orchids and rhododendrons. Lava, with its unadulterated and pristine beauty, continues to charm people and despite an increase in tourist footfall, Lava has retained its beauty and natural splendor. There are a number of activities tourists can engage in during their stay here.
For trekkers, there is good news. The Rachela Pass trekking route is about 12 km Lava and passes through the Neora Valley Nature Reserve. The trekking trail offers a gorgeous view of the stunning landscape of the surroundings. Many tourists are encouraged to undertake trekking just to witness the pristine natural beauty of Lava. It is refreshing and the greenery is truly rejuvenating. The trail is adorned with blooming rhododendrons, magnolia and bamboo trees. The route, however, is difficult and pretty steep. The mere 12 km takes 3-4 hours to complete.
Neora Valley is a popular destination for camping. One of the last remaining ecosystems of Eastern Himalayas, Neora valley is known for its rich flora, fauna and for being a natural habitat for endangered species of animals and birds. Neora Valley has a different beauty in every season. During winter one can be treated to some truly fascinating views of the mountains. During summer tourists are treated to a magnificent spectacle of blooming flowers that cover the area. The best time for camping in the region is between October and April. Monsoons should be avoided at all costs. There is the Neora Valley Jungle Camp which has cottages situated in the extreme wilderness and can be a great experience for nature and wildlife lovers.
Trip to Pedong
A tiny picturesque village, Pedong has become an attractive tourist destination for nature lovers and adventure lovers. It has some stunning walking and trekking trails that are absolutely gorgeous. In particular, there is a road leading to Tinchuley that deserves a special mention. It offers a spectacular view of the Kassang Valley, Sikkim Himalayas, and Cinchona Plantation. There is a place named Rikkissum which is a six-kilometer drive from Pedong and offers a stunning view of Rishi Valley. Pedong is also becoming an adventure sports hub and tourists can indulge in rock climbing, mountain climbing, mountain biking, archery etc.
Bird Watching & Bird Photography
For bird lovers and bird watchers, Lava is an attractive destination. Lava lies close to the Neora Valley National Park which apart from being a home to a large number of wild animals, is also a natural habitat for different species of birds. Bird lovers and watchers can spend hours at the natural park watching the activities of the beautiful winged creatures. Cuckoos, minivets, partridges, sunbirds, pheasants are to name only a few species of birds that one comes across here. Apart from Neora valley Nature Park, Changey La Waterfall is another popular sighting spot for bird lovers. Indian Robin, grey Treepie, Capped Water Redstart, Verditer Flycatcher, Niltava are some of the popular species found here.
Watching Sunrise or Sunset
Any trip to the mountains cannot be complete without witnessing a fascinating sunrise or sunset in the mountains. Watching the sun setting on the snow-capped mountains, bathing the skies and the landscape in gold can be an experience of a lifetime. The serenity and tranquility of the ambiance created by the setting sun can be truly heartwarming and peaceful. A sunrise can be an equally fascinating experience for the tourists. Watching sunrise slowly, peeking from behind the mountains and lighting the dawn’s sky can render anyone speechless. There is the Tiffin Dara View Point where tourists can visit to view a sunrise or sunset.
Visiting Lava Monastery
Built-in the 1980s, the Lava Monastery in Lava is its chief attraction. It is a pretty little monastery that is decorated with bright bold colors. The monastery which started with only a handful of monks today houses more than 110 monks. They are engaged in meditation and in the daily study of Buddhist literature and other works. Set amidst beautiful surroundings, a visit to the monastery can help to soothe nerves and has a calming effect on the minds of all. From here tourists can get a stunning view of the gorgeous landscape.
A trip to Lava is incomplete without a trip to Loleygaon which is considered its twin. The two hill stations are visited together. Loleygaon is located 50 km from Lava and is has a charming forest cover of dhupi and cypress trees. The wilderness and peacefulness of the surroundings attract people. From here too, tourists can get a spectacular view of the mountains. There are a number of viewpoints here too which are frequented by tourists to catch a glimpse of the sunrise and sunset. It is home to a large number of animals and birds. The chief attraction here is the Canopy Walk which is a hanging bridge surrounded by dense forest.
Eating in Lava
A small sleepy hill village that it is, Lava does not offer much in terms of dining out. There are no fine dining facilities or five-star restaurants for tourists. They have simple roadside eateries and a few popular restaurants that offer delicious food. In Lava, there is a strong Tibetan influence in their cuisine. The roadside eateries offer mouthwatering steaming hot thukpas and momos that taste lovely on cold wintry days. There are restaurants that serve both veg and non vegetarian Bengali dishes and they are good enough.