The door step begins with the artistically shaped tea gardens of Terai, and then gradually you feel the breeze getting cooler as your wheels demand the shift of gears to number one and two, and it continues till you reach the foggy land of Lava. If you consider Darjeeling as one of the most beautifully located town India, then in terms of its green beauty, a name that can never be missed for its red lusciousness of Rhododendron flowers is Rachela- The Rhododendron Paradise of north Bengal. The spot is crowned as the highest altitude jungle of one of the pristine heritage forest of India- Neora Valley National Park. In order to save its untouched beauty, the place can only be reached by a determined trekker as no road ways are available. The base camp can be chosen either at lava or at Samsing which is the only other entrance point to Neora Valley National Park.
Photo from Flickr
A three night’s tough trek has to be planned in order to reach the Rhododendron paradise of North Bengal. If one wants to set the glimpses of rosy forests in the most healing memories then the most suitable time begins from the second week of MARCH, As this is the time when the whole Rhododendron forest starts blossoming. The best part of this trek is that one can avail the different types of bio-diversity with its deeply palpable touch. If you start from Samsing the first sight of natural evergreen forest create a fresh sensation of the greenish heal in your mind , you can make your halt in Tents by the side of infant Murti river. Slowly the evergreen forest gets perished as you cover the distance and climb the altitude with a new revelation of huge bamboo forest where you can find the birds and the breezes playing hide and seek in the density of small bamboo grooves.
The forest is not only renowned for its exquisite heritage beauty but also is an abode to some of the cutest mammals on earth like Red Panda. Apart from red panda the forest shelters animals like Himalayan Black Bear, Yellow throated Martin, Mithun, Barking Dear, common leaopard, clouded leopard, Himalayan Thar. The Dawn in Rachela is heralded by the sweet song of Himayan peasants ( Munal in local language) and some high altitude butterflies like krishna Peacock.
In whole the trek can not only be considered as an research tour for zoologist but its richness in medicinal herbs and shrubs also makes it a paradise for Botanical students to hug their most enthusiastic subject like a true lover. The additional ornament of this highest point of Neora Valley national Park is a lake called Jorpokhari and the hypnotizing sight of Mount Kanchanjunga bathed in the golden rays of rising sun.
Therefore, all your tiredness of the tough trek can be converted into a beautiful adventurous story that you can recite anytime like a healing mantra during your tough times of life. Ultimately, if on earth a solitary paradise exists away from the human in habitation, then Rachela is perhaps a part of it left on earth.