In search of peace from the maddening lifestyle of Kolkata -
The name of Rishyap came up (valuable suggestion from an office colleague).
With the help of Google/ Wikitravel and other relevant webpages it was decided
that the Christmas & the weekend holiday be spent there !
I along with few of my friends, left Kolkata on 24th
December evening via Kolkata Dibrugadh Express & reached Siliguri on 25th
morning - only to be greeted by many travel agents waiting to fleece us. After
hassling for hours we got a cabbie for Rishyap. The somewhat bumpy-somewhat
scenic drive to Rishyap (from Siliguri via Gorubathan) took nearly 3 hours.
The moment we entered Rishyap - the darkness of huge
beautiful trees enveloped us. The journey in the middle of these trees is
really magical making the bumpy ride worth it ! Rishyap/ Rishop is a small
hamlet situated at 2591 m (8500 ft. ) above sea-level. Away from city crowds,
it offers picturesque views of snow-capped Kanchenjunga range.
On reaching Rishyap, we went for long walks exploring the
beautiful village dotted with stone pathways, beautiful trees, and cute homes (with
lovely plants like lilies and orchids) offering picturesque views. There is a unique Shiva-Buddha temple housing
both the lords under the same roof. Though not architecturally beautiful, its
uniqueness makes it a must visit place. After dusk, we spent time staring at
the the twinkling lights of Gangtok & Pedong in a distance which felt
similar to the twinkling stars above ! A breath-taking sight for any nature
lover. We snuggled in our quilts inside our cosy wooden rooms lodges providing
the perfect escape from the 3-4 degree temperature outside!
|View of Kanchenjunga range from Neora valley|
After nearly two hours of bumpy ride, we reached the Neora
Valley forest. One has to re-register
oneself and has to pay Rs. 100/- for a guided mini-trek (which does not cover watch tower & core area visit- for that one
has to obtain special permit and trek for 1 whole day
) inside the forest
which meanders through Bamboo groves and pine trees treading through narrow
lanes. The park is famous for its Red
Panda - which is very rarely seen. The 25 min trek led us to an open area where
one could have a breath-taking view of the majestic Kanchenjunga.
|Sun rays playing hide and seek !|
From Neora valley we drove downhill to visit the beautiful
Changey waterfalls. The road that runs past it onlooks the scenic Dentam Valley.
The 2 hour bumpy drive was quite
exhausting and after reaching Changey base, one has to walk downhill for nearly
20 minutes for spectacular views of the waterfalls. The Changey falls from a
great height and disappears below among the thick vegetation. It is a very
serene place with almost nobody to disturb the sound of crystal clear gushing
|Posing with the Changey|
From Changey, we went towards Lava town and reached the Lava
Jamgyong Kongtrul Monastery in an hour. This monastery is named after one of
the most prominent Buddhist masters in Tibet in the 19th century and follows
the Karma Kagyu lineage within the Kagyu School. The main attraction here,
apart from the natural settings in which it is located, is the golden statue of
Lord Buddha in a meditating posture. The beauty of the place is enhanced by
numerous multi-coloured murals and frescos found all over the walls of the
Monastery. The Monastery is also home to Buddhist Monks who meditate upon
Buddhist teachings. Although Lava had a temperature of 6 degrees centigrade
(well above 3-4 degrees at Rishyap), it is way more chilly due to the constant
flow of chilly breeze from all the nearby valleys.
|The Lava Monastery|
|Lava- in the midst of clouds|
Early next morning- at 5 am we visited Tiffin Dara (3 kilometres
uphill from Rishyap) to view the much hyped sunrise view of Kanchenjunga.
Tiffin Dara is a point from where a 360 degree view of Kanchenjunga can be seen
without any interruption. Dara means point in the Lepcha language and Tiffin
Dara is a point in the Eastern Himalayan range in North East India offering a breath-taking
view of the world’s 3rd highest peak. We hired a car from Rishyap at 5 AM and
reached there in an hour. The road to Tiffin Dara passes through the dense
forest filled with birch, pine and fir trees making the valley look monstrous
before sunrise. On reaching the point, the chilly winds at Tiffin Dara made our
hands and bodies freeze while we desperately waited for sunrise! At the stroke
6:15, faint rays of sunlight emerged, colouring the sky orange and purple.
Around 6:20 AM, as the golden rays of sun fell upon Kanchenjunga, the colour of
Kanchenjunga peak turned from dark blue to deep orange in minutes - The scene witnessed
- would remain etched in our minds forever.
|Just before sunrise at Tiffindara!|
|When the sun blesses Kanchenjunga at Tiffindara|
|Sunrise at Tiffindara|
From Tiffin Dara we went to Lolegaon. The drive to Lolegaon
took nearly 2 hours and offers the best scenery of pine trees! Lolegaon is a small Lepcha village with
situated in an extreme end of a Himalayan Ridge at an altitude of 1,675 meters
(5500 ft.). Lolegaon offers a Heritage Forest walk and a Hanging Bridge. Both
are in the same compound and offer lovely beauty. Although one can have enough
fun at the Hanging Bridge, it is the natural beauty of Lolegaon that will leave
you spellbound !
|The drive in the midst of pine trees|
|A walk through Heritage Forest|
|A walk through the forest|
|At the hanging bridge !|
If you are a nature lover looking for peace and
tranquility with nothing to do, these places will enthuse you and you would love to spend days at these wonderful places
This post was earlier published by me on Tripoto on 1st January 2015.
Post a Comment