Neora Valley National Park
Situated in the Kalimpong sub-division under the Darjeeling district is one of the richest biological zones in the entire Northeast. The land of elegant Red Panda in the pristine undisturbed natural habitat with rugged inaccessible hilly terrain and rich diverse flora and fauna together make the park an important wilderness zone.
The forest in Neora Valley has such a luxurious growth that even sunlight finds it difficult to touch the ground. Much of the park is still inaccessible making it an adventurous place for nature lovers/trekkers who can take the challenge to explore the still-unknown terrain in the Kalimpong hills. Virgin natural forests, dense bamboo groves, a colourful canopy of Rhododendron trees, a lush green valley, meandering rivers and streams with snow-capped mountains in the backdrop form a picturesque landscape.
The park reaches up to an elevation of 10600 ft at Rechela Danda, the highest point of Neora Valley National park, which borders Sikkim and Bhutan. The Neora River is the major water source of Kalimpong town.
Originating from an inaccessible snout of the park and can be visible from Rechila Danda. Jaributi, one of the most beautiful spots in Neora Valley, is an ideal place for viewing wildlife movements. The place has tremendous importance for medicinal plants that grow here in abundance.
Neora Valley National Park is also the home of Red Panda. A cute little animal with a reddish brown body and a bushy ringed tail is one of the most endangered species in the world. The recent discovery of the Royal Bengal Tiger in Neora Valley has prompted the administration to include the park in the list of sensitive wildlife zones in the country. According to the 2002 tiger census the park holds 19 majestic big cats. Among the other important mammals Indian Gaur, Himalayan Black Bear, Clouded Leopard Common Leopard, Lesser Cats, Himalayan Thar, Serrow, Gural, Deer, and Squirrels are worth mentioning.
Neora Valley is extraordinarily rich in avifauna or feathered animals. Due to its altitudinal variation ranging from 600ft to 10600 ft, various species of birds make the park a paradise for bird watchers. Pheasants, Cuckoos, Minivets, Flycatchers, Maynas, Orioles, Owls, Parakeets, Partridges, Sunbirds, Swallows, Swifts and Woodpeckers would captivate one with their chirpy calls and enchanting colourful plumage display.
Nature has bestowed Neora Valley with a broad medley of butterflies, which provide a grand feast to the eyes with their ingrained splendour. Kaiser-I-Hind and Krishna Peacock are amongst the most attractive butterflies found here. The self-sufficient ecosystem of Neora Valley harbours a rich plethora of insects. A mammoth diversity of Spiders, Bugs, Beetles, Ants, and Bees plays an important part in this very important and complex ecosystem.
Neora Valley is particularly well known for wild orchids. Their splendid colours and grace patterns have the capacity to hypnotize anyone. A number of orchids hidden in the deepest parts of the valley are yet to find a place in the records.
The park can be entered from Lava, 30kms from Kalimpong and also from Samsing, 80kms from Siliguri. A six days trek through the forests comprising Samsing - Bhote Ghar - Thusum - Rechela - Alubari - Lava is an unforgettable thrilling experience.