Hi…sharing my experiences from the Lava-Rikisum trip, and an account on the beautiful flora of the region.
A journey of 115km via Gorubathan from Chalsa near Siliguri took us to Lava, one of the most picturesque spot in the Darjeeling Himalayas. A serene misty hamlet in the Kalimpong sub division of West Bengal, Lava has been a recent addition in the tourism map of North Bengal and is getting immense popularity among the travelers looking for off beat destinations. We stayed in a resort at Rikisum admist the hills, a few kms away from Lava town.
Situated at an altitude of 2100m (app.7000 feet), Lava presents a landscape with ultimate splendour of nature that can never be captured by word. The conifer forests under the worm glow of sun with colourful birds flying and singing everywhere the whole surrounding will enthrall you to a new dimension. Lava remains hidden in the mists and clouds almost throughout the year. It stands against the backdrop of the Neora Valley National Park. Attractions approached from this unique landmark of bio-diversity are the emerald green valleys, lakes, waterfalls, the snow-capped mountain peaks and the unforgettable, ever smiling helpful village folks. Lava is the gateway of Neora Valley NP…. a virgin, unexplored terrain in the Himalayas. A drive to Algarah town through the pine clad winding road and the Sunrise view point are simply unforgettable. Rishap, another upcoming popular tourist destination is only 8kms from Lava.
Flora: Lava is considered at the best ecological destination in India, and it is the gate- way to the famous Neora Valley Nationla park. It thrives in wide range of flora and fauna. Some of the most commonly found floras in Lava are orchids, pines, Cypresses, Cryptomeria japonica, ferns, cinnamon, junipers, bamboo, cacti and cardamom. Evergreen alpine vegetation and pine trees are commonly found. Here, you can find seven different species of rhododendron and three hundred species of orchids. The hill sides are dotted with sunflower and poinsettia.
We have also seen banana trees growing at such high altitudes. (refer image 2)
Images: 1. Dhoopi trees (Cryptomeria japonica)
3. Standing infront of the Dhupi plantations
5. A spectacular view of the Kanchenjungha peak
6. The mist shrouded coniferous forests of Lava
7. the winding road bordered by pines
9. Close up of Cryptomeria (male)
Shantanu : )
B.Sc, M.Sc (Zoology)
University of Calcutta.
Dept. of Biology.
Vivekananda Mission School(ICSE).