Neora Valley National Park
The Neora Valley National Park is located at a distance of 84 kms from The Riverwood Forest Retreat-Dooars. Spread over an expanse of 88 sq. km, the National Park is located in the Kalimpong district, West Bengal. It derives its name from the river Neora that flows through the park and has several mountain streams connecting this river. The land was declared a national park in the year 1986.
The Neora Valley landscape is made of virgin natural forests, dense bamboo groves, colourful canopy of Rhododendron trees, lush green valley, meandering rivers and streams with snow-capped mountains. There are giant trees like Oak, Sal, ferns, Rhododendrons, bamboo groves, and also tiny wild strawberries, Himalayan yew, wild white orchids and primulas.
The endangered Red Panda and black Asiatic Bear inhabit the bamboo groves in the park. The Red Panda are diminishing in number because of the bamboo belt being destroyed and substituted with timber. The poachers also pose a threat with their hunt for its fur. They can only be seen at dusk as they sleep atop the bamboo groves during the day. Other animals spotted here are the Clouded Leopard, Barking Deer, Sloth Bear, Golden Cat, Wild Boar, Leopard Cat, Goral, Sambar, Himalayan Flying Squirrel, Thar and the Royal Bengal tiger.
The park is a paradise for bird lovers with over 200 species. Some of the birds found here are the flashy male Satyr Tragopan, Golden Eagle, Jerdon’s Baza, Kalij Pheasant, Nutcracker, Magpies and numerous Finches and Sunbirds. Different species of cuckoos fill the area with their singing during the spring and summer months.
Best time to visit
The park remains closed during the monsoon season (mid-June to mid-September). The ideal time to visit the park is from October-April. October-December months provide a splendid view of the mountains while the spring months of March and April are the best to watch the flowers bloom. Bird watchers are advised to visit from December-March.