Rishop - The dreamland in the lap of the Himalayas.
Rishop is a small hilly village near Kalimpong in West Bengal. This small hilly village is approximately 140 kms from Bagdogra or New Jalpaiguri station. The name Rishop means hilltops and trees. Lots of wildflowers and orchids fill Rishop like a bird's paradise. Apart from Kanchenjunga, many other mountain peaks from India and Nepal, can be seen from here. Don’t miss the opportunity to capture the mountain panorama from Tiffindara View Point. A 360-degree view is available from this viewpoint.
Some parts of Nathula and Jalepala passes are also visible from Rishop. Rishop is one of the best places to watch the sunrise and sunset. If you can plan to go during the full moon, even better. However, it is better to skip the rainy season. After sunset, the scene of the lights shining like fireflies in the surrounding mountains is worth watching! This time my blog post is about my experience of our two days stays in Rishop.
On 17th September 2019, my son Rik and I left for Bagdogra. Our flight from Kolkata to Bagdogra was at 4:15 in the afternoon. The flight was on time and we reached Bagdogra at 5:10 pm. We took a car from the airport to Hotel Venkatesh Regency in Siliguri. In the evening one of my acquaintances Biswajit Da came to meet us. We checked into a local hotel, quickly finished our dinner and went to bed.
The next morning at 8 o'clock we checked out of the hotel and started our journey by a Bolero car for Rishop. We had breakfast of aloo paratha and coffee near Teesta Bridge.
If you want to go to Rishop, you have to go through Garubathan. From Sevok we proceeded across the Coronation Bridge. There are lots of tea gardens on both sides of the road and most of the roads are in the plains. The scenery in this region is very beautiful. The railway line continues along several routes.
After driving for about an hour, the hilly road started. Rishop is about 6 km away from Lava - you have to go to Rishop via Lava. Rishop has no market of its own, everything comes from Lava. We passed the Lava around 12 noon. There is no pitch anywhere on this rocky road, it is all uneven and rough. The road is sometimes suddenly high and sometimes suddenly low.
At 12:30 pm we reached our destination - Rishop. Our room was booked at Hotel Rosedell Inn, one of the best hotel in Rishop. Its cottages have been built on the steps of the hill. When we visited there were no guests except us. We really liked the cottage. The walls and floors are all made of wood and very nicely made. The rent of this resort is 2500 rupees which is absolutely affordable for the view it offers.
After washing our hands, we first went to the dining room. Rice, Dal, Fried Potatoes and Egg Curry were served. The quality of cooking is not great but quite good.
It was 3 pm when we finished our lunch. Rishop is 6,200 feet high and almost at the top of a hill. Naturally, it is quite cold here. After lunch, we came back to our cottage and put on warm clothes.
The sun sets here a little after five in the evening. From the balcony of our resort, it is amazing to see the last rays of the setting sun on the hill in front. As we had nothing else to do, we sat on the balcony for a while and chatted with the resort staff Gopal da. He told us various stories of the mountains. Gradually the light around dimmed and it became completely dark. Then slowly a firefly-like light shown on the hills in front. We saw this scene while drinking tea. The place is empty and seems to be completely quiet after dusk. When we are not talking, we hear nothing but crickets. All in all a very beautiful environment. I looked at the sky and paused for a moment. So many stars in the sky! For people like us who live in the city, we never get a chance to see them.
We did not go to the dining room for dinner and ordered our food in the cottage. We had dinner with Ruti and Chicken Kosha.
There is a severe water crisis in Rishop - that's why people there repeatedly say not to waste water. However fortunately our hotel arrangements were very good, so we did not have any problems.
I woke up the next morning at seven. In the morning sun makes the whole place look like a fairy tale. Our resort also has a garden of its own. There are many types of flowers and tubes. All the trees are very well taken care of. We walked around the garden for a while and had breakfast.
Also Read, Dzongu - The heaven in Mystic Sikkim.
As I said before, there is not much of site seeing in Rishop but it is a perfect place for beautiful views, weather and relaxation. I learned from the people at our hotel that there are a monastery and a children's school - there is no transportation, you can walk around if you want or you need to have a vehicle of your own.
We started to walk through the village - I saw some more resorts on both sides of the road. On the way to the monastery, I saw 'Neora Valley Resort' - a Bengali film called 'Shabdo' was being shot here. It feels good to roam around the village and learn about the local culture and people surrounded by beautiful mountains. The mountains are sometimes sunny and sometimes shaded with extraordinary natural beauty.
After crossing the hill for about 2 km, we reached a place from where the monastery could be clearly seen. To reach this monastery from our position, we had to walk down the hilly road which was difficult for my son Rik so we skipped the idea and returned to the hotel.
Another detour from Rishop is Lava trekking. You can trek about six km up the hill to reach Lava from Rishop and the views are mesmerising.
We had our lunch and later sat in our balcony to relax. This hotel balcony is so beautiful that you can spend hours sitting here and watch the clouds pass by.
In the evening we order chicken momo. Hilly area is famous for Momos and they are delicious. We finished our dinner at 8 pm and dinner consisted of mixed Chowmin and Chilli Chicken.
We decided to go to Tiffindara the next day. It takes about an hour to trek from Rishop to Tiffinidara. We started early in dawn at 4:30 to reach Tiffindara before sunrise. The mountain road is through the jungle, so there is no question of going without a guide.
The next day we got ready at 4.30 am. It was pitch dark outside, and the lights of our hotel were visible nearby. But unfortunately it suddenly started to rain and we had to cancel the plan. We came to our cottage disappointed and went back to bed. Slowly the darkness began to recede, rain subsided and the sky cleared. We went and sat in our balcony. As soon as the sun rose, that extraordinary scene could not be described in words.
20th September was the day of our return. After breakfast at 8 am, we boarded a bolero from Rishop and left for New Jalpaiguri. On the way, the driver stopped for a while in Lava for his own needs - right in front of the Lava Monastery. So we went to see Lava Monastery. The monastery is very beautiful. Extremely clean and brightly coloured. It took fifteen minutes to see the monastery.
At last, we reached Bagdagra at 1 pm, had lunch at the airport restaurant, then took the flight at 3 pm and reached Kolkata at 4 pm.
Best option to stay in Rishop : Hotel Rosedell Inn (9748285958 / 7003936238)
There is a glaring thing in nature that we who live in polluted places usually do not feel. This shiny thing can be understood very well in Rishop. The main feature of this place is its natural beauty. There is nothing to do with sightseeing here, just take a break from daily life and take a couple of days of rest in the mountains. The biggest attraction of Rishop is the opportunity to enjoy nature in a quiet and secluded environment. If this environment attracts you, then go out for a trip to Rishop.