Lava is a small hamlet situated 34 kilometres (21 mi) east of the town of Kalimpong via Algarah in Darjeeling district of the state of West Bengal, India. Lava is situated at an altitude of 7,016 feet (2,138 m). It is one of the few places in West Bengal to receive snow in winter. It is the entry point to the Neora Valley National Park from Kalimpong. The route to Lava is scenic with the change in vegetation from tropical deciduous to the wet alpine trees of fir, pine and birch. The idyllic verdant forests are an ideal spot for picnicking, trekking and bird-watching and other peripatetic activities. The road is untouched by modern life and its inhabitants are still living as they have for centuries.Wild animals such as the Himalayan Black Bear and barking deer are found in profusion in these parts. A Buddhist monastery is present on one of the hills of Lava.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.
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.
The best time to pay a visit to Lav is October to April. Always expect some rain so keep some extra days in hand. Lava can be very cold in winter (min: 0o c)
Panoramic snow views: Mt Kanchenjunga, Mt Siniolchu, Jalep La Pass, and Rechila Pass. Best view points are Sherpa view point and Tiffin Dara
Nature Interpretation Centre: Operated by the Forest Department, focuses on flora, fauna and local people interacting with ecology to conserve soil and forests of the area.
Lava Jamgyong Kongtrul Monastery and Ngedon Chag-Chen Ling Retreat: Since 1987 on a hill, overlooking the snow-mountain range to the north, the Monastery is surrounded by ancient forests and enveloped in mists for most of the year. In this remote, secluded place, monks in the Monastery are intensively engaged in Buddhist studies. There is also a 3-year retreat centre, Ngedon Chag-Chen Ling, which follows the ancient contemplative tradition of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage.
Neora National Park: Lava is the gateway to the Neora National Park standing hidden in the mist & clouds almost throughout the year at a height of about 2350 mts (7755 ft). This National Park is at the junction of Sikkim, West Bengal and Bhutan. A short trek of 3 days will cover Rachela Danda (Tri-junction of West Bengal, Bhutan and Sikkim).
Hidden in mists and clouds, at an altitude of 2,350 Metres with Neora National Park at its backdrop, is a starting point for trekking to the Neora National Park , which is a storehouse of flora, wildlife and leads to the 3,152 metre high RacheLa tri-junction of Bhutan , Sikkim and West Bengal , with a panoramic view of the Chola Range .It is popular for nature exploration and bird watching.
Altitude: 2,350 Metres, this small village, on the old trade route to Bhutan, is surrounded by virgin pine forests.
Highest Hill: Rachela – 3152 mts.
Summer: Mar to Jun – 10°C -20°C
Monsoons: Jul to Aug
Autumn & Winter: Sep to Feb: Subzero – 10°C