Want to take a short break from Kolkata? If you are a wildlife enthusiast then set off for Kolakham. You have to reach New Jalpaiguri (NJP) station. Cars are available from there that will take you to Kolakham, a destination in north Bengal. You can stop at Sevoke which is few kilometers away from it for some snacks.
The winding mountain roads, will take you higher and higher. Look down to catch a glimpse of the meandering Teesta. The air is sweet and light there. The vegetation grows greener and denser with the rise of altitude. The road is steep, sometimes almost precariously narrow road. A panoramic view of the rocky riverbed and endless rows of tall green trees spread out below.
On the way you spot the tiny town of Dam Dim and the bustling commercial centre of Gorubathan, and then Paparkheti. The vegetation changed to thick clusters of tall coniferous trees lining the winding mountain roads. According to the local people these pine trees were planted by the early travellers with the East India Company. Miles of desolate roads is surprising for any hardcore urbanite living in a congested city. You can spot the occasional band of mountain labourers waving their hands on your way.
The Neora Valley Jungle Camp is 7km from your destination — a resort located above the Kolakham village at an altitude of 6,000m. While passing along a mountain trail along the edge of a cliff stare down at a sheer drop of miles of emptiness. However even the gut-churning drive can not stop one from admiring the breathtaking view from the cliff — fiercely beautiful and desolate. With the last bend of the car you will spot the cliff clustered with pine cottages. It is the Neora Valley jungle camp.
The four cottages in the resort are each named after mountain birds — Shyama, Niltava, Besra and Shikra. The cottages are built of pine wood, complete with a wooden staircase leading up to a little attic. Each cottage has a sit out with large glass windows looking out on the Neora valley and Kolakham village.
Directly in front the majestic mountain ranges of Sikkim with Nathu La pass are clearly visible. In the evenings the lights of the new airport being constructed in Sikkim is quite visible from there. You may also get a shadowy glimpse of the Kanchenjungha on days when the mountains are not covered in mist.
Do make a visit to the sparsely populated Kolakham village during the day time. The evenings are accompanied in with lanterns and lamps, as the cottages don’t have electricity yet. The sight of the setting sun from the cottage is awesome — strokes of deep pink cutting through miles of mist as the last blaze of daylight sank behind the mountain ranges.
The forest is also worth venturing. Scrabble over the rocks and soak your feet in the icy waters of a waterfall, the source of water supply in the resort. The trees are thick and form an endless green canopy. You will stumble as you walk upon the stony paths in the midst of the deep ravine which is however a thrilling experience. You may also experience hailstorms in this region.
Jungle Camp will provide you with a sense of wellbeing and peace. It’s a challenge that you will bid goodbyes, with a resolution to come back to this perfect getaway.
How to go?
Take a train to New Jalpaiguri station and then hire a car to Kolakham. You can also fly to Bagdogra and then take a car to Kolakham via Kalimpong and Dam Dim.
Where to stay?
The only option is the Neora Valley jungle camp. For booking contact:
Kolkata Office : Sadananda Kuthi (1st Floor)
67A – Kali Temple Road
Kalighat, Kolkata -700026 India.
Cell : +91-9733000442 / 443
Tel : +91-33-24550917,
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.