Somewhere beyond the overcrowded cities there are places in India where nature hasn’t been beaten down within an inch of its life. One of these is Bengal state’s Neora Valley National Park in, an area with such an important biodiversity that it is on UNESCO’s “tentative list” for World Heritage status.
Neora Valley National Park starts from plains and extends into the foothills of the Himalayas, covering altitudes from 183m to 3200m in just 88 km². The park is home to some of the most endangered species of wildflowers and wildlife, with the type of variety of rare and comical animals you’d usually only find in an animated blockbuster. The Red Panda, Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer, Clouded Leopard, Fishing Cat, Malayan Giant Squirrel – I’m not making these up, all these dudes actually live here.
The best way to see this area is by following its main artery of life, “river walking” from the Neora’s river’s lower stage towards its source, an activity that involves rock climbing, river crossing, bouldering, crack climbing, and more. A three-night, four-day guided trek is available, with costs including tent hire, food, homestay lodging guide, and transfers to the trek’s start and end.