Male Satyr Tragopan by Ratna Ghosh
to North Bengal's
with western Bhutan lies a stretch
of pristine forest shrouded in cloud and mist.
This mature moist evergreen biotope covers an altitude range from
1600m to 2500m.
The Paktham Forest on the road to the village of Lava from Algarah and the north western margin of the Neora
Valley National Park form the core of this birding hotspot
The Lava area is the place to see Satyr Tragopan,
Rusty-bellied Shortwing, Broad-billed Warbler, Blue-fronted Robin, Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Rufous-throated Wren Babbler, Grey-sided Laughingthrush, Scarlet Finch and many more rarities.
Adjoining Loylegaon is also worth a visit for these and other great birds.
8 Stay at either Kalimpong or Lava. If you prefer the comfort of Kalimpong be prepared for a hours drive in the early morning.
8 Cover the Algarah Road from the 4 km marker to the 6 km marker (away from Lava).
8 Visit Tiffindara peak.
8 Do the trek to Neora
Valley from the top as the lower scrub near the monastery is fairly
degraded these days.
How to reach:
Lava is accessible from Kalimpong (35 km east) and from the Damdim Road which connects to Siliguri. Lava is best combined with a trip to the Duars, Sikkim or the Darjeeling area. The roads are good, particularly the Damdim Road.
Where to stay:
Valley Jungle Camp
Neora Vally Jungle Camp run by
8 Yankee Resort
8 West Bengal Forest Dev. Corporation Tourist Bungalows
Orchid Retreat, Kalimpong
8 Himalayan Hotel,
Best time to visit:
October to April. Always expect some rain so keep some extra days in
hand. Lava can be very cold in winter (min: 0o
Sumit K Sen