kolakham the offbeat destination in north Bengal
Written by Banani Chakraborty

Kolakham, Rishop the offbeat destinations are in the vicinity of Kalimpong in North Bengal. Both of them are overwhelming gifts of nature. In fact, Kolakham and Rishop are tiny villages in which look like tranquil paradise in the district of Kalimpong, West Bengal.

In the first place, they are situated in the famous Neora Valley National Park. They will easily come among the top 20 offbeat hill stations in India. Moreover, Kolakham is an ideal offbeat destination for all the adventure lovers. Besides, it is a bird watchers paradise. At first, we must show our gratitude to nature for presenting us such an amazing spot.

It is feasible to spend one night at Kolakham and another night at Rishop.

Kolakham: The Offbeat destination in North Bengal

Kolakham the offbeat destination

Source Google Image

is an amazing hamlet which is a gift of nature. As it is a part of Neora Valley National Park, so it is a bird watchers paradise.

Further, we will see the lush green beautiful coniferous forest all over the hills in all directions from Kolakham.

Besides, it is also famous as a weekend destination. One night stay is enough here. I will personally suggest staying for 1 night at Rishop also.


As a matter of fact, perched at a height of 1930meters, or 6500 feet, Kolakham is a gem of nature.

Distance From Kolakham

Kolakham is around

  1. 33 km from Kalimpong and will take roughly 2hours to reach.
  2.  Rishop is only 2km from Kolakham and will require 10 minutes.
  3. From Lava distance is 6km and time need to reach is 25 minutes.
  4. It is 108 km from N.J.P. Railway station and will take almost 4hours to reach.
  5. From Kolkata 660km and require 17 hours( train or car or bus), and 6hours by plain.
  6.  Darjeeling to Kolakham100km and require 4hours and 30 minutes.
  7.  From Sandakphu 155km and need 6hours and 30 minutes.
  8.  Murshidabad is 612km away and will take 14 hours.
  9. Kaikhali: Distance is 745km and time required is around 19 hours.
  10. Allahabad: It is 904 km and time taken is 21 hours and 40 minutes.

To tell the truth, we can see snow-clad mighty

Kanchenjunga and its range from Kolakham. Mt Kabroo, Mt Kharg, Mt Pandim, Mt Simvo, and Mt Rathung are seen from here.

Indeed, the views of sunrise and sunset are simply mind-blowing. We will get awe-inspiring panoramic views of the snowy Himalayan peaks.

Besides Kanchenjunga, we can see a variety of birds-trapogan, woodpecker, barbet, tit, Sunbird, verditer flycatcher, etc. Indeed, Kolakham is a genuine paradise for the birds as well as for all the bird lovers in the world.

Visit Kanchenjunga from Sandakphu and Phalut for a heavenly experience.

In Kolakham, we can walk here and there amidst the natural beauty through picturesque coniferous forest.    You will be charmed by the natural scenic beauty.

The various mountain ranges with different heights and shapes, the cloud, the valleys that are seen below, lush green forests spreading all over and a variety of known and unknown birds with their colours and chirps.

All together make it a heart-throbbing and absorbing adventure, in Kolakham the offbeat destination in North Bengal.

We can also trek to Lava, Rishop, and Charkol or visit by car. If we go for a trek, we must take the help of the local but experienced guide. Otherwise, we may lose our way or face some other problems.

Adventurist, both Indians and foreigners, come here every year to be mesmerized and enchanted seeing the beautiful sunrise, the mighty Kanchenjunga range from Kolakham village, and short trekking in Neora Valley forest.

We must visit Changey falls.  It is just a 3 km jeep drive or 1.5 km trek. You have to walk and go down almost 300 stairs.

We will have to remember this tour for its awesome natural beauty.

Neora Valley Forest:  We may enjoy a jeep safari in Neora Valley if our time permits. It will be a great experience as it is another of the richest biological regions in the whole of Eastern India.

Neora Valley National Park

As a matter of fact, it covers an area of 88squre km and situated at a height of 183-3200meters ( 600-10500 feet).it was set up as Notional Park in the year 1986. It is so dense that in most of the parts even sunlight cannot penetrate.

We may see Khaleej, Himalayan Black Bear,  Spotted Forktail, Golden Eagle Orioles,  Himalayan Griffon, etc. Most importantly, it is the abode of the wonderful red pandas. Because of these pristine natural surroundings along with its rich diversity of flora and fauna this place is so alluring and mesmerize



Rishop the offbeat destination

source Google image

In the first place, ‘Ri’ means mountain peaks and ‘shop’ means vintage trees in Tibet. As a matter of fact, its average height is 2591meters( 8500 feet).

Rishop is famous for its awesome views of the gorgeous Kanchenjunga range.

This tiny paradise is 11km from Lava and 30km from Kalimpong.

Rishop, an integral part of the Neora Valley, is a tranquil, tiny village, mainly of the Lepcha community. The region is surrounded by fir, birch, pine, rhododendrons and orchids. Added to this, we will see the dumfounding snow-laded mighty Himalayan sparkling peaks.

As a matter of fact, Tiffindara is perhaps the best viewpoint. Although we can see awesome snowy mountain views from all the place of Rishop. From here we can glimpse the Mount Kharg, Kokthang, Kabru, Rathung, Talung, Pandim, Kanchenjunga, Narsingh, Simvo and Siniolchu. Furthermore. we can see a part of the renowned Nathula and Jelepla passes.

At night, we will see the fascinating beauty of the sparkling lights in Gangtok town as well as Pedong.

Due to this reason, Rishop is now coming up as another offbeat destination along with Kolakham.

The temperature of Rishop and the best time to visit

From March to June temperature stays between 100 C to 200 C. This is the best time to visit. Additionally, we will get a full bloom of orchids and rhododendrons. Another good season is October and November when the temperature remains almost same as March-June. But we will get no flowers. From July to September, it is monsoon and it will be better to avoid because of frequent landslide and hazy views. From December to February temperature stays between 00 C to 60 C. This is also a good time, but it is very cold. Moreover, there is every chance of snowfall in these regions.

Hotels in Rishop:

Golden Sojourn- 9830107879, 9733071716, 9830107780

Sonar Tari-8001233431, 8001233610, 8017195512

Himalayan Hut-9007181584.

Apart from this, there are a lot of hotels here.



Source Google Image

The average elevation of Lava is 2195 meters( 7200feet). In fact, it is the entry point of well-known Neora Valley National Park. As we approach towards Lava the scenery that comes to our notice is very beautiful. To tell the truth, the scenic beauty of flora changes from deciduous tropical trees to the wet alpine trees like pine, birch, far and etc.

Flourishing Lava is a popular spot picnic, bird-watching and trekking.

If possible visit Lava Monestry, the forest, Rache-La.

We will reach Lava via Gorubathan from Dumdim or Malbazar. Most importantly, the road is wide, smooth and very much scenic.

Due to many reasons, Lava is gradually gaining space as a tourist spot.



Source Google Image

To start with it is another quaint hamlet in the vicinity of Kolakham. In the first place, this tranquil paradise is famous because of its amazing sceneries. This place is surrounded by lush green forests. Moreover, the majestic views of the Kanchenjunga range are absorbing.

At the time of sunrise and sunset, it seems that the whole Kanchanjenga is in the fire. Nature simply makes a lot of unique and stunning combinations of seven rainbow colours for her own satisfaction. We can see this splendour from anywhere in there.

If we go to Jhandi Dara, a viewpoint, we will see the awesome beauties of the snowy peaks of the majestic Himalayas.

We can also enjoy a canopy walk here. It is in the forest which is full of oak, far, pine and birch. It is just one kilometre away from the bus stop.

There are a lot of hotels here. If we wish we can spend a night here.

The temperature in Kolakham:

  • January-February, December = 1°C-18°C
  • March, November = 5°C-21°C
  • April-May, October =12°C-24°C
  • June-September =11°C-28°C

Therefore, it is clear that the best time to visit is March- April and October-November. From June till end September is monsoon season. Thus, it is better to avoid this place at this time. However, winter is very good. But it is very cold. Added to this, there may be a problem with snowfall. If we have to plan to travel in winter, then we will remain cautious about the problem.

Also, read about Ghatshila- The Fortifying Natural Beauty.

The best time to visit

October-November and February-March are the best time of visit because we will get the maximum clear sky at this time. At this time the sky generally remains clear and the temperature is not very cold. Therefore you can enjoy the day very much.

However, we will keep enough time so that we can visit Lava, Lolegaon, Rishop, Charkhol, Rikisum, Silarigaon etc.

Also, read 4 unique places to visit from Kolkata

Things to remember
  •  At first, I will suggest you drink purified water. Please carry them from Siliguri/Kalimpong.
  • Secondly, always carry dry foods– like biscuits, fruits, etc. of your choice.
  • Thirdly, carry enough cash with you. There is no ATM nearby. There is every possibility that they may not entertain Payment through card or Paytm etc.
  • Moreover, Carry a kit of necessary medicines.
  • Besides, Carry an electric kettle for emergency purposes.
  • Further, Keep sufficient woollen garments with you depending the time you are visiting.
  •  Furthermore, All mobile networks are more or less available in Kolakham.


BY Air: The  nearest airport is Bagdogra

BY Train: From Kolkata come to NJP Station or New Mall Junction. The best train is Darjeeling Mail) / Padatik Express, Kanchan Kanya Express (all from Sealdah Station) West Bengal.

By Bus: NBSTC, SBSTC, CSTC or other buses up to TENJIN –NORGE Bus Terminus, Siliguri.

At first, we will hire a car or come from Bagdogra or N.J.P. or Siliguri by public transport-bus or local jeep up to Kalimpong. From there, we need to hire a car for Kolakham.

Also, read about Murshidabad- A place to spend the weekend.


At first, there are a few homestays in Kolakham. But there is no hotel at Kolakham( available in Rishop).  From the open windows or door of the rooms or sitting in the open balcony, we can enjoy the sunrise, the peaks, the forest, the birds, in a word the beautiful and enchanting sceneries.

Neora Valley Jungle Camp-2454-9719

Kolakham the Nest-9830147718

Neoravalley Eco House-9674900101;9804469423,

Not only the mind-blowing view of the majestic Kanchenjungha but also colourful birds and their chirps are very tough to forget in our life. It will definitely increase our level of happiness. That is why we will visit Kolakham and Rishop as early as possible.  Furthermore, the nearby locations like Lava, Lolegaon and Rishop-all are magnificent for their unique natural beauties. We must set our goals accordingly.

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About the author

Banani Chakraborty


  • Must admit the writer has gone through a proper research about every detail of the place. Including what should be carried, like no ATM place. As a tourist these are pivotal information. Please make sure you post few more places.

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