Showing posts with label darjeeling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label darjeeling. Show all posts

Monday, April 19, 2010

Darjeeling : The Queen of Hill Stations

A mid 19th century creation of the Raj, Darjeeling is the most popular and perhaps the most spectacular hill resort of India. Located on the footsteps of the Himalayas and perched on the roof of the world, it is surrounded by snow capped mountains and dense forests. Rich in flora and fauna surrounding the countryside Darjeeling lives in the shadow of the majestic Kanchenjunga. The small town is a maze of steps and terraces and a treat for nature lovers. Over 4,000 species of flowers, 600 species of birds and many animals and reptiles are found in Darjeeling. Ruled by the kings of Sikkim, Darjeeling was Dorje Ling, meaning Place of Thunderbolt in the local language, before being discovered by two British Officers. The place then full of forests was appreciated by the two British officers as a place of strategic importance bordering the three neighboring countries. The king of Sikkim was pressurized to give the place on rent to the British who began rapid development of the small village turning it into a beautiful hill resort. Darjeeling conjures visions of serenity, of vibrant green hills steeped in splendor, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas.Reaching Darjeeling from Kolkata was a big effort which resulted in construction of the highest railway line in India. The Toy Train, a miniature railway which runs till date was started in 1881. A ride in the toy train is a joy ride with train gaining the maximum speed of 10 km per hour with giving ample time to appreciate the nature's glory around on the way.

This heavenly retreat is bathed in hues of every shade. The visitors to Darjeeling are welcomed by the cool climate, variation of greenery of dense pine forests, mountain meadows and large tea estates. To top them all are the smiling people showing the diversity of cultures present in this small place. There are Bengalis, the Gorkhas from Nepal, the Sikkimese, the Lepchas and the Bhutias and the great mountaineering Sherpas. Mountaineering and trekking activities are in full swing during the year from Darjeeling. The flaming red rhododendrons, the sparkling white magnolias, the miles of undulating hillsides covered with emerald green tea bushes, the exotic forests of silver fir - all under the blanket of a brilliant azure sky dappled with specks of clouds, compellingly confounds Darjeeling as the Queen of Hill stations.The enchanting nature at its full bloom, the enthralling views of the Himalayas, the captivating sight of the cultural diversity and the charming people, all make Darjeeling an exceptional tourist destination.

Location: At the height of 7,000 feet above sea level, in the north of West Bengal, on the footstep of the Himalayas, nestles this small town of Darjeeling. Around 680 km away from the capital of the state Kolkata, Darjeeling shares its borders with all the three neighbouring countries. Nepal is on the west, Bhutan in the north east and Bangladesh is in the south east of Darjeeling. A small portion of Uttar Dinajpur and the neighbouring state of Bihar touches its southern tip. It produces the finest tea in the world with tea industry being the main industry. With 86 tea gardens it produces 25% of the tea output of India.

Languages Spoken: Bengali, English, Bhutia, Nepali, Hindi
Long Distance Code: +91-354
Importance: Hill station
Area: 3149 sqkm
Best Time To Visit September: To June

Darjeeling Attractions:


Ghoom is the last town on the Indo-Nepal frontier in West Bengal and the highest railroad station in the world standing at an altitude of 2,257 meters. Easily approachable Ghoom is the home of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery founded in 1875 by Lama Sherab Gyantso for the Yellow Sect of Buddhists. The monastery has a 4.8 meter tall statue of the Maitreya Buddha and also contains images of Buddha''s disciples, Chenrezi and Chongapa. The Buddhist Tibetan gospel, Kangyur, has been preserved here in all its 108 volumes. This monastery is famous for its Tibetan New Year celebrations during February-March, when the monks fly prayer flags in Tibetan tradition and hold religious and folk dances. The Ghoom Rock, offering a magnificent view is the most popular tourist spot.


52 km from Siliguri lies the beautiful sleepy little hill resort called Mirik. Located at an altitude of 1,767 meters, surrounded by tea estates, orange orchards and cardamom plantations, Mirik truly is a tourist paradise. It has a small population of about 10,000 people. The climate is pleasant, and the people are welcoming. The 1.25 km. long Sumendu Lake, located at the bottom of the Mirik Spur, is the major tourist attraction in Mirik. A quaint footbridge, 24.4 m. in length, arches over the lake, connecting the flower garden on the eastern bank to the heavily forested ridge on the west. There is a floating fountain in the middle of the lake. Boating and fishing are popular pastimes and on a clear day the magnificent Kanchenjunga reflects its magnitude in its waters. There are many observation points in and around Mirik and the most popular among them is the Dara and Deora point. Another attraction of Mirik is the single day trek taken from Kurseong to Mirik in its most picturesque natural surroundings.

Tiger Hills

Located at 7 km from Darjeeling, at an altitude of 2610 meters, the Tiger Hill offers a magnificent view of the great Mount Kanchenjunga and the other peaks of the Himalayan range including the Mount Everest. A steep gradient road through colourful forests of oak, magnolia and beautiful ferns runs up to the Tiger Hill. To ensure a treasured sight one has to reach this point early at dawn before Sun rise. The spot is superbly developed to give a 360 degree view of the Himalayas. As the Sun rises over the Kanchenjunga one sees the five snow-capped peaks glow in the magic of crimson, pink and shining gold light. If the weather is clear even the great Mount Everest is Visible with Tibet's Chomol Hari Mountain, the most beautiful peak in the world and the Kabru and Janu, peaks which are though visible, actually are dwarfed by the magnificence of the Kanchenjunga, which leaps into view. The Kanchenjunga, at 8,586 m., is the world's third highest peak, and a formidable peak for mountaineers as the climb is considered more hazardous than the Everest. The Kanchenjunga Range derives its name from the Tibetan word, Khang-Chen-Dzod-Nga, meaning Five Treasures in the Snow, a reference to the five snow-capped peaks of this towering mountain range which can be viewed from the Tiger Hill. Although the Kanchenjunga is seen off and on from various places in Darjeeling, the sunrise view from the Tiger Hill takes the cake.

The Toy Train

The ancient locomotive that comes chugging from Siliguri for Darjeeling is the attraction for young and old alike. This miniature railway engine, popularly known as the Toy train, has been doing the rounds from Siliguri to Darjeeling since 1881 and has been included in the world heritage site. It takes six to seven hours to cover a distance of 82 km and with a speed of 10 km per hour it offers a relaxed view to appreciate the abundance of nature on the hills of Darjeeling. Driven by a chugging stream locomotive, the train moves on a narrow, two feet gauge track, passing through the forests, waterfalls, deep valleys and through tunnels to reach Darjeeling.

The idea of this train was conceived in 1870 in order to reduce transit costs and it started operating in 1881.
Soon the landscape changes to reveal tea plantations that cling to the steep mountainside, and form narrow terraces that look like giant steps. The Kanchenjunga appears out of the mist like magic little later. Moving through the many tea gardens, the train reaches Ghoom, the last town on the Indo-Nepal frontier and the highest rail station in the world, situated at 2,257 meters. After Ghoom, the train starts descending towards Darjeeling for 6 km and passes through the Batasia Loop. The Batasia Loop is an engineering marvel where the railway line negotiates a graceful circle and descends 1000 feet almost imperceptibly. Whether riding aboard the Toy Train, or just watching it navigate the loop, the Batasia Loop is a memorable experience. Batasia means Windy Place which offers a grand view of the town of Darjeeling, with the magnificent Kanchenjunga in the background.

The tea Gardens

Darjeeling grows the world famous tea. The exotic tea produced here is known as the Champagne of teas. There are about 86 tea estates in Darjeeling which produce 10 million kg tea every year. The story of Darjeeling tea started some 160 years ago when a civil surgeon, Dr. Campbell planted a few seeds in his garden at an altitude of 7,000 feet. The soil and the weather being conducive to tea growth soon tea gardens became popular and later became the main source of income of Darjeeling. One can visit a tea estate and see all the stages of tea being made, right from plucking to processing it and also can taste the tea and buy it.

The Lloyd Botanical Gardens

Sir Ashley started the Lloyd Botanical Garden to study living specimens from the sub-temperate and temperate Himalayas in 1878 over the 40 acres land donated by Sir Lloyd. Over the years, exotic plants from other parts of the world have also been included turning them into the best gardens of Asia.The garden has charmingly laid-out terraces containing alpine plants, arum lilies, geraniums, azaleas, tree ferns and conifers. There are plant species from Europe, Japan, China, Africa, America, and also from Australia and New Zealand The Orchidarium houses 2,500 plants, including over 50 rare varieties. The cacti and succulents are housed in a separate conservatory, with 150 species on display. The medicinal garden contains indigenous medicinal plants of the Eastern Himalayas. A flower show is held annually during the summer months.

The erstwhile summerhouse of Maharaja of Nazargunj is now redesigned in the colonial style as modern resort located just opposite the Governor House. This westward facing resort offers warmth of sunlight to guests throughout the day. Surrounded by fir and pine trees & flowers of different colours, shapes sizes and fragrances, Mayfair Hill Resort nestles at the foot of a hill and overlooks several others.. A stay in this resort is a haven from the maddening crowds.

Total Rooms : 50
Star Category : 3
One of the best hotels in Darjeeling. 50 beautifully appointed rooms & facing the Kanchanjanga.Darjeeling (2134 metres above sea level) is a superlative combination of fern-filled valleys, snow-capped peaks and tea-scented air. A blue toy train on the world's highest railway track chugs through an emerald carpet of tea gardens, passing through a series of dizzying waterfalls and hairpin bends.

Total Rooms : 32
Star Category : 3
A heritage property in Darjeeling. hotel provides warm cosy ambience in 32 well equipped rooms all rooms have a fire places and are funished with wooden pine floors and walnut panell

Total Rooms : 39
Star Category : 4
The Windamere Hotel-situated on the Mall, Darjeeling's beautiful scenic walk, and overlooking the Chowrasta, the town's famous promenade. Hotel has 21 rooms with 5 attic rooms, 6 luxurious double rooms, 10 cottages.

Total Rooms : 38
Star Category : 4
A luxury hotel in Darjeeling, India ,Viceroy needs no introduction. Stepping into the warm settings of the hotel,you will immediately feel yourself sucked into the lap of contemporary, understated luxury. It is the best hotel in Darjeeling where you can pamper yourself with the ultimate luxury. The details are in impeccable from its world class service and cuisine to an unrivalled fusion of business services and modern luxuries, from the displays of fine art work to the highly stylized uniforms worn by the staff. The Viceroy is in every sense a fashionable deluxe hotel in Darjeeling and is graded as the best hotel in Darjeeling.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

North Bengal Adventure Tours

The Hills, the jungle and the serene beauty of undulating tea gardens spread to the horizon. From the low lying agricultural fields to the High alpine Mountains of Sandakphu. The Red Panda, the Gaur, the leopards, the Rhinos and an innumerable variety of avifauna all around. From the Mangos of Malda to the Oranges of Kalimpong Hills. The bio diversity of North Bengal is unmatched anywhere. The people of North Bengal are also a varied lot. The tea gardens brought in Tribals from Bengal and Bihar in search of Job. The hill stations attracted people from neighboring Nepal, and the partition of 1947 brought in Hordes of Bengalis from Bangladesh. Along with the local inhabitants known as the Rajbansis, this made a heady mix of culture and traditions.

Trekking is the best option to reach many of the destinations of north-bengal. naturebeyond is highly experienced in organising treks for small as well as large groups of Indian and foreign guests.The most common trek is to Sandakphu. The trek passes through the Singalila range (habitat of red panda). Sandakphu is the highest point in West Bengal and a unique place from where one can view both the Kanchenjunga and the Everest range of mountains simultaneously.

There are a large number of other options some of which are briefed below.

Sewak-Loleygaon trek - A low altitude trek in the Kalimpong Himalaya that begins on the bank of River Tista and ends at the famous tourist destination of Loleygaon.
Neora Valley trek - The Neora valley national park is famous for its virgin forests. Trekking inside the core area of the forest is restricted. The periphery of the forest also makes interesting trek. One entry point is Lava near Kalimpong. The other major entry points are Samsing and Todey.
Darjeeling-Tista - The Hill cart road connecting the Hills with plains and the Sikkim-Bengal highway, run almost parallal to one another. At any point the distance between the two arterial roads of the hills is about 8-15 km. The patch of hills provides some of the best treks.
West Dooars treks - There are a number of trek possibilities in this region including trek to Rupam valley in Bhutan, trek to Buxa fort and suntalekhola, trek in the Bhutanghat region, trek in the moraghat or chilapata forests etc.

Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking is the best way to see the most exotic sights of the Himalaya such as ancient trade routes of Trans-Himalayan traders and the mystifying rural life of the hilly towns and villages. Infact, biking and hiking make the best adventure options to witness the timeless cultural celebrations and life styles of the hill people as well as the rich bio-diversity of the Himalayan heritage.You do not require any special permit traveling within North-Bengal. But if you are an International tourist and have plans to move onward to Sikkim or Bhutan, you will need permits for that, naturebeyond also organizes these permits for its guests on request.

Rafting in Tista
White water rafting in Tista was introduced in Darjeeling hills more than a decade earlier and has gained tremendous popularity since then. Several private organisations along with DGHC tourism have set up rafting facilities.River Tista is graded at IV on an international scale. With a series of rapids with varying intensity and character, Tista extends a challenging invitation to the enthusiasts.

Jungle Tour in North-Bengal
North-Bengal is endowed with some of the richest natural forests in India. The forests of the region include Tropical Moist Deciduous, Himalayan Moist Temperate, Himalayan Dry Temperate, Tropical Semi Evergreen, Tropical Dry Deciduous, Subtropical Broadleaved Hill, Subtropical Pine forests. West Bengal has forest cover of 1.19 million ha, much of which is in the Darjeeling and Dooars region of North-Bengal. There is a tiger reserve in the region known as Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR), wild life sanctuaries at Jaldapara and Mahananda, National parks at Gorumara, Neora Valley and Singalila.With such wide and varied forest cover, the region is also home to a large variety of fauna. The animals in the forest include Rhino, Tiger, Leopard, different varieties of Deer, Gaur, Monkey, Bear, the Himalayan red panda and countless other species and subspecies of birds, reptiles and animals.

The camps offer a tremendous opportunity to know nature first hand, to understand the unique natural eco-systems of North Bengal, to know about the environmental problems and finally to participate actively in programs launched to combat such problems.

Monday, June 01, 2009

North Bengal

North Bengal comprising the districts of Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Dinajpur and Cooch Behar lies at the foothill of the great Himalayas. The area covers the moist and dense riverine forests of the Bengal Dooars (Duars) and the stark foothills of the snow-capped Kanchenjunga range. The unique climatic and ecological conditions makes North Bengal an unique home for a large variety of mega-fauna & superb restricted bird species. Bhutan and Nepal are two beautiful countries having an easy access from North Bengal. Sikkim previously an independent country joined union of India later on as one of its states. All these three beautiful places are all adjacent to parts of North Bengal. North Bengal is a term, for the parts of Bangladesh and West Bengal. The Bangladesh part denotes the Rajshahi Division. Generally it is the area lying west of Jamuna River and north of Padma River, and includes the Barind Tract. The West Bengal part denotes Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda districts together. It also includes parts of Darjeeling Hills. Traditionally, the Hooghly River divides West Bengal into South and North Bengal, divided again into Terai and Dooars regions. This region comprising the state of Sikkim and the adjoining parts of North Bengal - Darjeeling and Kalimpong, is a rugged strip of vertical mountain country. Wedged between Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and the North Bengal Plains of India. This tiny region is just 90 km wide and 150 km deep. The grain of the country rises from near sea level to 8500 meters, in a short distance, The great Himalayan Range with its giant spurs – Singelila and Chola, virtually enclose this region in a titanic horseshoe. Starting from the plains of North Bengal tangled interlacing ridges rise range after range to the foot of the great wall of high peaks and passes opening into Tibet, Nepal and BhutanThe climate varies between the tropical heat of the valleys and the alpine cold of the snowy regions. With rainfall averaging 348 cm, it is the most humid region of the Himalayas. Dry season is from November to April. The altitudanal zones of vegetation range from tropical, sub tropical, temperate to Alpine – some places only 10 km in a direct line separates the palm growing valleys from perpetual snow. The varied terrain - from the pleasant humid foothill valleys below 1000 meters, to the arctic cold of the snow capped peaks up to 8000 meters, has created marked altitudinal zonation in the humidity, rainfall, climate and vegetation.

The Terai ("moist land") is a belt of marshy grasslands, savannas, and forests at the base of the Himalaya range in India, Nepal, and Bhutan, from the Yamuna River in the west to the Brahmaputra River in the east. Above the Terai belt lies the Bhabhar, a forested belt of rock, gravel, and soil eroded from the Himalayas, where the water table lies from 5 to 37 meters deep. The Terai zone lies below the Bhabhar, and is composed of alternate layers of clay and sand, with a high water table that creates many springs and wetlands. The Terai zone is inundated yearly by the monsoon-swollen rivers of the Himalaya. Below the Terai lies the great alluvial plain of the Yamuna, Ganges, Brahmaputra, and their tributaries.

The Dooars or Duars are flood plains at the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in North-East India around Bhutan. Duar means door in both Assamese and Bengali languages and forthe Bhutanese people can communicate with the people living in the plains. This region is divided by the Sankosh river into the eastern and the western Duars consisting of an area of 8,800 square kilometer (3,400 square-mile). This region was controlled by the Kingdom of Bhutan when the British annexed it in 1865 after Bhutan War. They are now part of the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal.Many wars have been fought over them. These plains are very fertile. There are innumerable streams and rivers flowing through these fertile plains from the mountains of Bhutan. In Assam the major rivers are Brahmaputra and Manas, and in northern West Bengal the major river is the Teesta besides many others like the Jaldhaka, Torsha, Sankosh, Dyna, Karatoya, Raidak, Kaljani among others.The forested areas of Northern West Bengal present a plethora of Wildlife.This mixed dry deciduous forest land dotted with grasslands, harbors the largest diversity of mega fauna in West Bengal. A large range of foothill forest in North Bengal is called Dooars. Once the whole area was under the reign of Koch Raj. Tea Gardens, alpine landscape, transparent river, National Parks and the Wildlife Sanctuary creates a paradise. Beautiful motorable roads cut through deep forests, rich with wildlife. Mauve hills stand at the end of velvet green plains. The forests echo with the melody of birds. In between, there are fabulous wildlife sanctuaries with, log cabin lodges and valleys carpeted with tea gardens. Dooars is the habitat of the rare Toto tribes. The most convenient entry point to Dooars is through Siliguri by road. Regular bus connections between Siliguri and most important spots in the Dooars. Also broad gauge rail connection between New Jalpaiguri and Mal, Madarihat, Nilpara, Jainti, Mainaguri, Dhupguri and Falakata. Metre gauge rail connection between Siliguri and most spots. Dooars Jungle in North Bengal are:- Buxa, Gorumara, Jaldapara, Neora Valley, Bindu, Jaldhaka, Jhalong, Malbazar, Samsing The state has 4031 sq. Km. of forests, under protected area network which is 34% of the State's total forest area and 4.54% of the total geographical area. There are five National Parks, fifteen sanctuaries, two tiger reserves and one biosphere reserve. The PA network includes 1055 sq. km. of sanctuaries, 1693 sq. km. of National Parks, the balance are being represented by buffer areas of the two tiger reserves, viz. Sunderbans Tiger Reserve and Buxa Tiger Reserve.

Habitat Loss
Habitat loss has largely taken place due to human intervention and change in land use pattern. Large scale conversion of natural habitats for a variety of purposes have led to shifts in floristic pattern (like in case of weed flora) and also fragmentation and loss of natural corridors for animals, leading to man-animal conflict. After the armed conflict with China in 1962, for example, the Army has been permanently stationed in Binnaguri, which has led to loss of the elephant corridor. Similar is the case of tea gardens in North Bengal, which have also witnessed man-animal conflict after forests were clearfelled. Habitat loss has led to decline in several species, and fauna like otter, Bengal jackal, pangolin, mongoose, porcupine are among those which are not frequently sighted today. Much needs to be studied about the underlying inter-relationships between biodiversity and the anthropogenic element, to clearly establish how harm to flora and fauna as a result of human interference must be stemmed. The jungles of North Bengal is an extremely rich biodiversity zone but today faces, a declining rhino population, political unrest in the entire zone and incidences of elephants being hit by speeding trains in their migratory corridors are some of the glaring issues. In the face of industrial resurgence, land acquisition has become a grave issue, The locals are least concerned about preserving the forest ecosystem. Efforts are on to set up a tourism development centre in the area that will hamper the forest biodiversity. Industrialisation has a considerable impact on environment. Another disturbing environmental site is the East Calcutta Wetlands that has been declared a Ramsar Heritage Site but is poorly maintained. In the tea gardens of the Dooars, huge amounts of pesticides are used that have a damaging effect on the floral biodiversity. All’s not well in the jungles of North Bengal with recent incidences of loss of an increasing number of wild fauna and the major factors contributing to the depleting wildlife habitat are lack of proper administration by forest officials and hazardous methods of conservation. The North Bengal forests are reeling under severe crisis owing to the threat from the fringe populace residing in and around the plains of the Dooars. The tension brewing in the tea sector has caused misery for a huge section of locals and this is creating increased pressure on the forest resources. There are other prevailing threats that are posing a danger over a considerable period of time, including excessive grazing that has not been taken care of. The rising conflict between man and animals has placed certain prominent categories of mammalian species in jeopardy. The rapid tourist influx has also degraded the environmental scene in North Bengal since it generates a lot of non-biodegradable wastes in the hilly areas. Efficient treatment and recycling of waste will provide a source of livelihood for locals, make the environment safe and clean and will be a draw for travellers.

The Forests & Protected Areas
The forests of West Bengal are classified into seven categories viz., Tropical Semi-Evergreen Forest, Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest, Tropical Dry Deciduous Forest, Littoral and Swampy Forest, Sub-Tropical Hill Forest, Eastern Himalayan Wet Temperate Forest and Alpine Forest. The state has a recorded forest land of 11,879 sq. km., of which 7,054 sq. km. is Reserved Forest, 3,772 sq. km. is Protected Forest and 1,053 sq. Km is Unclassifieded State Forest, thus constituting 13.38% of the geographical area of the state. Under the conservation and protection regime the State has one Biosphere Reserve, two Tiger Reserves, five National Parks and 15 Wildlife Sanctuaries. Four out of five National Parks are located in the North Bengal along with one tiger reserve and seven Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Neora Valley National Park
The Neora Valley National Park, spread over an area of in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal was established in April 1986. The park, a unique area of rich bio-diversity lies in the Himalayan foothills and is bordered on the east by Western Bhutan and the forests of Neora Valley, one of the least tracts of virgin wilderness in the country sustains a unique eco-system where tropical, sub-tropical, sub-temperate, and temperate vegetative system still harbours a wealth of flora and fauna.

Buxa National Park
The Buxa Tiger Reserve with an area of 759 sq. km was established in the year of 1982-83 at the north eastern corner of West Bengal bordering Bhutan and Assam. The core area of 315sq.kms around the Buxa Duar Fort was declared a National Park in January 1992. This park is located in eastern Dooars (rolling humid plains) at 2600 ft above sea level. The Dooars comprises of deciduous forests which are densely wooded and grasslands and is home to some of West Bengal's most varied flora and fauna.

Singalila National Park
The vegetation of these virgin forests mainly alpine, changes with the range in altitude. The main tree species found are the Rhododendron, Magnolia, Oak, Hemlock, Silver Fir, Juniper, Mailing Bamboo, Buk, Kawla, Bhujpatra etc. Other flora includes primulas, aconitums, gentians, arisaemas and orchids adorning the forest clearings. The fauna found in the park are leopard, serow, pangolin, elephant, chinkara, red panda, barking deer etc. The park has a variety of birds such as pigeons, doves, sibia, minivet, magpie, cuckoo, hornbills, Kaleej pheasants and a large number of migratory birds.

Gorumara National Park
Gorumara National Park is located in the Dooars (rolling hill slopes) region of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal. This small forest area famous for its natural population of the Great Indian one horned Rhinoceros was declared a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1949.
Later in the year 1992, it was established as a National Park, comprising 80 km of diverse forests.

Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary
The sanctuary lies amidst the idyllic surrounding created by the mysterious backdrop of the Mountains of Bhutan and the confluence of river Torsa and Malangi. The sanctuary covers an area of The park is the home of several wild lives, which includes the famous one horned Indian Rhinos, Swamp Deer, wild boar, leopard and tigers. The sanctuary has the maximum number of one-horned rhino in India after Kaziranga. The park has excellent facilities for wild life enthusiasts.

Bird Heaven
The varied terrain - from the pleasant humid foothill valleys below 1000 meters, to the arctic cold of the snow capped peaks up to 8000 meters, has created marked altitudinal zonation in the humidity, rainfall, climate and vegetation. This factor is responsible for the great variety and abundance of the resident bird life, making this area arguably one of the richest areas of its size anywhere in the world. 527 species of resident birds have been recorded. In addition there are vagrants, and transients on migration. It is estimated that more than 30 percent of the species of the Indian Sub continent can be spotted in this region.

Lava and Neora Valley National Park are the prime birding destinations in North Bengal. Located 35 Kms from Kalimpong, it is surrounded by very large tracts of protected forests ranging in elevation between 1600 and 2400 m. There are several sites for bird watching and photography around Lava and the adjoining Neora National Park. Some of the rarities that can be found at Lava are : Satyr Tragopan, Rufous-throated and Spotted Wren Babblers, Yellow- throated Fulvetta, Ashy wood Pigeon, Red – Faced Liocichla, Blue-fronted Robin, Long-billed thrush, Cutia, Rusty-belied shortwinged, various Laughing Thrushes ,Warblers and Sunbirds.

More on Dooars...