Do you remember the land of graceful Red Panda with its pristine intact natural territory and uneven inaccessible hilly territory? Yes, it’s called the Neora Valley and it is amongst the last territories of pristine wilderness that is there in India. This vast territory also preserves a distinctive ecosystem. This ecosystem of several vegetative systems is the reason for the ample flora and fauna.
This is the Neora Valley National Park that is spread across 88sq km in the Kalimpong section of the Darjeeling district. The park spreads in the north till an elevation of 3,200m. Rachel Pass marks the park’s highest point. Incidentally, this is the park’s borderline with Sikkim and Bhutan in the North and the North East respectively. Its southernmost point has an altitude of 183m. Here, the forest of Jalpaiguri is its southern borderline.
A great attraction of this park is its fauna
Neora Valley has an amazingly rich avifauna. The altitudinal variation of the valley that varies from 600ft to 10600 ft, is why several types of birds frequent the park. They turn this park into a dreamland for those who love birds.
Among the birds are Cuckoos, Minivets, Pheasants, Maynas, Flycatchers, Owls, Orioles, Partridges, Parakeets, Swallows, Swifts, Sunbirds, and Woodpeckers. They mesmerize the tourists with their cheery calls and captivating multi-colored plumage display.
The Neora Valley is also the house of a broad mix of butterflies and they are a grand feast to one’s eyes with their natural grandeur. Krishna Peacock and Kaiser-I-Hind are the two most striking butterflies that you get to see here.
Coming to the animals the endangered species that include the Red Panda & the Black Asiatic Bear reside in the bamboo belt of “Eastern Himalayas.” There is very little chance of seeing the Red Panda.
While on a trek on the jungle trail the Goral Deer are common passers-by. Other animals that you have a chance of seeing are:
- Himalayan Thar
- Leopard Cat
- Flying Squirrel
- Royal Bengal Tigers (this is rare)
Then, there are the numerous insects. You will come across a mammoth number of Bugs, Beetles, Spiders,colorfulBees, and ants.
The Neora Valley National Park is characterized by a great number of Ferns, Bamboo groves, and Sal trees. When the spring and summer seasons are underway various colorful Rhododendrons are in full bloom.
The park is the house of some 10 diverse species of rhododendrons. A few of the species are approximately 300years old. The white, red, and pink, flowers are a real feast to one’s eyes. And who can forget the wild orchid? They look like a canopy in this forest. You will also see Hemlocks, Wild Strawberries, and Yews.
Nothing can match the feeling of waking up to the squeaking of the birds and amazing sights of Kanchenjunga, the weather permitting. Thus, a great place to put up in isKolakham, a tiny village at the border of the Park.