A Green Paradise in the Hilly North-East

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Narrow roads, winding up like a snake take you to a land covered in a canopy of clouds. Tucked away in the hills of Kalimpong, “Lolegaon” is a stunning offbeat tourist destination in the north eastern hill ranges of India. This small Lepcha village with a population of 5000 has been the witness to many film shoots. Lolegaon is located at the extreme end of a Himalayan ridge at an altitude of 1,675 mts. Lolegaon though a small tourist spot, is primarily famous for the heritage Pine and Oak forest with the Himalayas in the backdrop.

People who love trekking, mountaineering and hiking will find “Lolegaon” as the perfect destination for a short weekend getaway. The place is also ideal for spending quiet quality time with family and friends away from humdrum of city life. This place boasts of plenty of wildlife in their natural habitat. The ancient forest expanse of tall, towering Pine, Cypress, and Oaks is the home to many endangered species like the black bear, mountain goats, myriads of colorful birds, butterflies and other rare varieties of flowers. The serenity that this place offers cannot be bargained for anything else, allowing one to enjoy nature’s beauty at its very best.

“Lolegaon” offers many options for sightseeing and the most popular ones are Jhandi Dhara Sunrise Point, Canopy Walk, Sunset Point at Ramitey-Dara and Lolegaon Monastery. Viewing the sun rise over the snow-capped peaks from Jhandi-Dara, a wooded hilltop is a dream for many. On days when the skies are clear, one can see all the major peaks of the Kanchenjunga from here. If lucky, one might even be able to spot Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world looming in the distant, kissed by the first rays of the Sun. The famous ‘Canopy Walk’ takes you through the Heritage Forest, where you will be left spellbound by the wealth of nature. A hanging footbridge over the canopy of huge trees is a special attraction. Standing here on the bridge you can view the endless forests as far as your eyes allow you. Lolegaon also offers short thrilling treks to the remote Kalimpong hills. Places like Samthar or Relly in the lower Himalayas is a great opportunity to blend in with the lives of the local habitants in the hillside and learn about their culture and traditions. Various travel agencies now offer package tours that take you to several other beautiful nearby locations such as the town of Kalimpong, Lava, Charkhol and Kolekham etc.

Tourists find “Lolegaon” really exciting as almost all hotels located here face the majestic Kanchenjunga Mountain Range. One can sit in the plush comfort of one’s room and have a marvelous view of the entire village, the town of Kalimpong in the distance and the breathtaking mountains covered in clouds. If you are planning to visit this place in the peak season, make sure you book in advance to avail the best accommodation. Quaint shops nestled by the roadside help you take a peek into the local handicrafts, souvenirs which you can add to your collection as a cherished memory.

You can visit “Lolegaon” from Siliguri on a 4 hours drive via Kalimpong and Lava. You will journey through beautiful roads lined with tall trees and flanked by various lush green Teas estates on both sides as you move up. The blue hills in the distance make for a spectacular view. The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport and the nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. You can rent a car or a cab to Lolegaon from here.