Last year during the winter I traveled up to the three most exquisite local travel destinations I have ever known of, Rishyap, Lolegaon and Lava. They have different essence of their beauty in different seasons, even without experiencing what they have to offer to the tourists in the other seasons I can assure you, that winter is the best time to travel there, if you are a nature lover.
If you are from West Bengal, just catch any train to New Jalpaiguri, get down and take a car to Rishyap via Kalimpong. On your way just sit with a camera and stare out of the window, don’t forget to blink though!
There will be lots to see, and I can assure you no traveler can fall asleep in this long trip. You’ll get to see the turquoise Teesta flowing smoothly, numerous curious monkeys waiting to cross the roads, tea gardens and several mini waterfalls. You’d pass by Gourbari, the bunglow of Rabindranath Tagore in Kalimpong, and just opposite to it is a beautiful horticulture garden. They have several varieties of cactus, roses, and other flowers which were unknown to me prior to my trip. All you have to do is get a ticket of minimal expense, walk in, focus your camera and go click, click, click. If it isn’t cloudy or if you are lucky enough to miss the fog then do look down at the miniature town you have left behind in your journey from the open balcony.
The next stop would be at the shooting spot, Dello. Where I was lucky enough to meet the famous singer Rupankar! Stopping and hopping by you’d know why it is a shooting spot, they have a huge house beautifully maintained, with a medow several yards long spotted with flower bushes and huge willow trees on the edge. Again from the edge of the gardens on the skirts of the medow, you can look down for a far sight of the world beneath you.
Now getting back to your car munch on to something while it passes by the dark cold woods, where even in the daytime you wouldn’t get sunlight! On this trip you can definitely experience the difference in temperature in the various places you’ll travel, the dark forests will be surely two degrees less than the other areas.
Rishyap is a beautiful place, situated over the Neora valley at the foot if Tiffin Dara.
The sight that I’d experienced was worth living there for ages. After its dark, step out in the balcony and look out in the open black, but it’s not all black, like fireflies floating in the dark fields, you’ll see dots of yellow lights in the wall of darkness ahead of you. Those are the lights of hurricanes or electric bulbs hanging on the front doors of the residents far far away; these lights may help you to find texture of the mountains and hills in the dark. If there’s no fog you’d get a clear view of Mt. Kanchenjunga, and with patience you will experience something worth storing in the can of your memory till you die – the colour changing of the ice capped mountain with the changing position of the sun. Even if there is fog, the early morning light is quiet visible and a glimpse of the legendary mountain is a certainty. After you have watched the sun reflection rising through the golden ice capped mountain, go out in the open and look close into the trees. They’ll have frozen leaves, layers of powdery snow set on cherries and the grass and the leaves. You touch them and they melt. With the growing hours of the day the picture of Mt. Kanchenjunga changes, from golden to blue to white. What more? You get to see frozen white terrace farming lands from your balcony!
Visitng Rishyap with the fog wouldn’t be a bad idea altogether, when I was there a year ago, even in the daytime the sun was not visible, or so we thought, but keen investigation proved the existence of sun in the form of a large white moon! And the sheet of cloud covering the sky cracked at places allowing beams of visible sunlight reaching the Earth.
The mornings will be remarkable with the day beginning with Kanchenjungha, as day approaches the clouds descend and it gets cooler, another reason for the falling temperature is the melting snow. Due to this sudden fall in temperature many of us greedily dug into the hot Aloo Parathas served at the Breakfast table absent mindedly wearing our gloves!
to be continued…