Neora Valley National Park

3.2 / 5 54 votes


Weather:

Time Required: 2-3 hours

Timings:

8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM (Closed on Thursday)

Entry Fee:

INR 100 per person
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Neora Valley National Park, Kalimpong Overview

Established in 1986, Neora Valley National Park finds itself in the Kalimpong district of West Bengal. Spreading over an area of 88 sq km, it is one of the richest biological zones in eastern India. It gets its name from the river Neora that flows through it. Due to the luxurious growth of forest cover, many areas in the park are still inaccessible. This untouched destination becomes an adventurous place for nature lovers and trekkers who wish to explore its wilderness. 

Neora Valley, also known as the land of the elegant red panda, belongs to a pristine natural habitat which lies undisturbed in hilly terrain. Due to its diverse flora and fauna, it is one of the essential wildlife zones. The park has mixed species of flora that include bamboo, oak, ferns, sal, etc. along with a wide variety of fauna such as Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo, Jerdon's Baza, Bay Woodpecker, Golden-throated Barbet, and many more. The place is heavenly blessed with an abundance of beauty. The growth here is so enormous that there are even spots where sunlight finds it difficult to touch the ground. The lush green valley and meandering streams make it an exotic location. You must pay a visit!

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Neora National Park is situated at the tri-junction of Sikkim, Bhutan, and West Bengal. It is contiguous with forests of these three boundaries. Moreover, it expands from 30 m of altitude up to 3200 m. These wild lands reach up to an unimaginable elevation of 10,600 ft at Rachel Danda, the highest point of Neora valley. The park is one of the last remaining ecosystems in the Eastern Himalayas. It has incredible biodiversity which is home to some rare endemic species of animals, plants, and birds. The valley is full of temperate and tropical vegetation.

Well known for its Rhododendron Vegetation and wild orchids, the Neora Valley is a mix of several plant species. The major types of forests are Subtropical Mixed Broadleaf Forest, Upper Temperate Mixed Broadleaf Forest, Lower Temperate Evergreen Forest, Wet Mixed Forest, Bak-Oak Forest, and Coniferous Forest, etc. Rhododendron arboruem, Berberis cristata, Didymocarpus pedicellate, R. barbatum, Swertia chirata, etc. are some dominant species of flora found here. Apart from this, it has stored orchids in the wildest of its areas which are yet to be discovered. The lush green cover here is quite refreshing and has several unrecorded species.

The dense forest cover is home to several mammals such as Himalayan Tahr, Chinese Marmorata Pangolin, Black Bear, Clouded Leopard, Sloth Bear, Wild Boar, Red Panda, Golden Cat, Sambhar, Musk Deer, Goral, Barking Deer, Himalayan Flying Squirrel, etc. It is an ideal place for Pheasants, Golden Headed Black Finch, Redstart, Brown Wood Owl, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Sunbirds, Swifts, and Parakeets too. The reptiles consist of King Cobra, Lizards, Viper, Indian cobra, Green pit viper, Common Krait, Blind snake, etc.

To all the trek lovers, the Neora Valley National Park has been proved as a heavenly site. It has two entry points: Samsing and Lava. The trek route from Lava is about 25 km long. Starting from the Zero point, the path bounded by dense forests reaches straight into the Valley. Towards the beginning, it takes you downhill until you reach Jaree-Butee, a flat piece of land inside the forest of Oak trees. 3 km from here is a camping site in Alubari which is situated beside the river. An overnight camping session is something you must opt for. 

Trekking through Samsing is a visual delight. Most trek routes originate from the village of Suntaley Khola which is five km from Samsing. One may come across an overwhelming variety of flora and fauna while trekking through this route. The incredible biodiversity is something that the park boasts about.

The highest point of the park is Rachela, also known as the virgin paradise of North Bengal. It is situated 9500-10,000 ft. above the sea level. Trekking to this point makes you familiar with the evergreen, deciduous, and coniferous vegetation of the park. The 300 years old rhododendron trees beautifully ornate it. This point is the meeting point of its three borders, Bhutan, India, and Sikkim which is adjacent to the legendary 'Silk Route.'

Remember to seek permission from the Forest Department before starting your trekking expedition. The permit can be taken from the forest office situated at Lava and Samsing.

You cannot enter the park without an entry permit. It needs to be obtained from the Forest Range Office which is located both at Lava and Samsing. The process of issuing the permit requires two-three hours. Hence, it is advisable for you to start early.
The process begins at 6:00 AM during the summer and springtime.

Every month of the year calls for a different experience in Neora valley. During March and April, the flowers blossom to their fullest, making the flora look more lively. July-September are the months when the park remains closed. October-December is the time for mountains to be a visual treat. And lastly, months between December and March are a retreat for bird watchers. 
Day visits are open from 16th September-15th June. 

The popular tourist destination is located 30 km from Darjeeling railway station. After stepping down here, you can hire a taxi to reach the national park. The nearest town to Neora valley is Lava. One of the park entrances that falls in the village named Kolakham is only 10 km from Lava. It takes an hour to reach Lava from Kalimpong which is located at a distance of 34 km. You can reach Lava from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) via Gorubathan as well. From this route, you can reach Lava in 3 hours. 

Another way you can opt is from Samsing. This route is usually taken by trekkers who wish to stay back for camping and hiking. It takes 3.5 hours to reach Neora Valley from Samsing. Moreover, it is well connected to other towns and cities like Kolkata, Siliguri, etc. The government and private owned buses operate from these cities at frequent intervals.

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