Loleygaon is a small Lepcha village. It lies at the altitude of approximately 1670 meters.Loleygaon is about 124 Km from New Jalpaiguri. It takes about four hours to reach Loleygaon by road from NJP via Kelimpong. From Lava, Loleygaon is about 24 Kms away. It comes under the Kelimpong 1 block in the Darjleeng district  of West Bengal.

Loley gaon has few wonderful points to enjoy the beauty of Kanchenjunga range and sunrise but as we visited the place in rainy season, we did not go there. We could not walk even on the famous hanging bridge as due to heavy rains it was closed on the day we visited there .

But due to abundance of surreal clouds walking from all sides we enjoyed an entirely different beauty of the famous Loleygaon forest. A long stretch of road passing through exuberant jungles on both the sides was bumpy, strewn with pebbles .Giant sized trees  with moss covering their boles stood there with arms widely outstretched. Wild creepers hung from branches and swing from tree to tree.Wet moss grew even on creepers hanging downward. It felt like traveling back in time, ages back at the time of the planet being uninhabited. The grey white clouds swirling in the forest created a mysterious world.Rain lashed on the window panes with wild  fury perhaps it did not like our intrusion into the solemn world of nature.

Forest from a distance appeared one green,grey, white like vast expanse of ocean but come closer and it broke into different forms— fresh, radiant green ferns standing tall like trees and bushes, gracefully curved tall bamboos like explosion of green, stealthily tip toeing lights and shadows, fallen trees and above all the pulsating stillness , the complete silence yet alive with anticipation. A twig snapped somewhere, someone scurried unseen, a shrill voice of unknown bird exploded across entire jungle

Loleygaon forests cast spell. They not only engulf you, swallow you but they step inside you, they  spread within and then everything else fades in the background.

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Varied moods of forest we enjoyed at Loleygaon.

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The hanging bridge. The walk under the canopy of trees.

Above  the picture of the hanging bridge  are four   pictures of a monastery[ rather it was more like a temple of Buddha] and a temple on our way from Lava to Loleygaon. Barring a very small shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman on a roadside rock on way to Kolakham from New Jalpaigudi this was the first temple we came across during our travels. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva but these two shivlingas with nagas are erected in open.The temple can be seen behind Buddha’s statue in the first picture. Standing Buddha too is very rare. May be it’s a monastery in making. This place was referred to us by the lady of the eatery at Lava where we had our breakfast.

All the pics by Sunder Iyer.

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