If you feel that you have seen and explored the hilly range in Darjeeling, hold your thoughts. West Bengal Tourism has more to offer in its Darjeeling district. These are small yet spellbinding hilly areas like Lava, Loleygaon, and Rishyap which should be in your list of Darjeeling sightseeing spots. Lava is a small hamlet situated 34 km, east of the town of Kalimpong in Darjeeling, West Bengal. You should visit Lava during winters if you wish to experience the snowfall. It is one of the very few places in West Bengal, which receives snow in winters. Lava is situated at an altitude of 7,016 ft.
Ways to Reach
Nearest Airport is Bagdogra (105 km), nearest Railway Station is New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri (99 km), West Bengal. You can take private cars to reach Lava. The drive to Lava will itself gives you a preview of its spellbinding beauty. The route to Lava is pretty scenic with the change in vegetation from tropical deciduous to the wet alpine trees like birch, fir, and pine. You will reach Lava via Kalimpong town.
What to see in Lava
Apart from the mesmerizing sunrise and sunset point at Tiffendhara (1.5 km), Lava is rich with tourist spots like:
- Changey Falls (10 km), roaring waterfalls where you can swim also
- Neora Valley National Park, a popular tourist spot for bird watching, trekking and camping. Wild animals such as the Barking Deer and Himalayan Black Bear can be seen in good numbers.
- Lava Monastery, on the hilltop (very calm and serene place and the monks shared some interesting facts about the Monastery).
Another mesmerizing tourist spot near Lava is Rishyap, just a 4 km walking pathway. Your eyes can view the snow-clad Kanchenjunga range in whichever position you are standing. Trekking is the best way to reach Rishyab as jeep ride will be bit bumpy.
Where to Stay in Lava West Bengal
Resort maintained by West Bengal Forest Department Corporation Limited (WBFDCL) has a variety of cottages as per your requirement and is sure one of the best places to stay. It is better to book in advance to get availability. Apart from this resort, there are many good hotels and guest houses which also provide amazing local food. Do try the hot homemade noodles and momo (dumpling) at the main Lava marketplace.
You can also explore the small guest houses and lodges including log houses or small huts built in the midst of the forest, to experience the wildlife. Varieties of beautiful birds can be seen in the forest area.
Best time to Visit
People say the best time to visit a hill station is during winters but my visit to Lava was just after the monsoons and I can assure you that the scenic beauty of this place needs no particular season, it is breathtaking through all the seasons because of its location.
In recent few years, Lava has gained popularity as one of the favorite tourist destinations in the list of West Bengal tourist spots. It is the perfect weekend getaway for the people of West Bengal. Tourism has become an important source of living for the inhabitants.
My tip to the travelers to Lava would be to drive back through the tea gardens of Darjeeling to complete your basket of the beautiful tourist spots of Darjeeling, West Bengal.