Lava Monastery, Lava: Lava Monastery or Kagyu Thekchen Ling monastery is situated in a small village of Lava. In 1987 the Buddhist community present here offered 3 acres of land to the 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche for building a monastery for the local community. From here one can get a clear view of the enchanting forests surrounding the town and the breathtaking view of the mighty Kanchenjunga. With the ambiance of serenity punctuated by chirping of birds, the place bears an heavenly ambience.Lava is 32 kms from Kalimpong town. The closest railway station is NJP at a distance of 120kms. Taxis and shared jeeps are easily available there which takes about three 3.5 hours to reach Lava. Bagdogra is the nearest airport.
We were tired from our journey the previous day and woke only after Bishal amma called us for the morning tea. We planned to go to Changey falls today,so we ate fast our breakfast being delicios alu ka paratha and achar! Then we headed off by walking towards changey falls which was at a distance of 4.5kms from Bishal Amma's place. We reached the entry point after a walk of 1 and half hours. To reach the location of falls we had to go down around a narrow road for 15 minutes.the walk being easy due to the downwards slope. The falls was very beautiful and we clicked some pictures before returning back. The journey back was very tough as we had to climb steeply.We managed to climb back in 30minutes while most people were taking more than an hour to come up.(It is very very difficult for aged and people with leg pain problem to reach changey falls).After coming up we decide to take a Jeep so that we dont get late for sillery gaon as we had already spent 3 hours for changey falls. Here we faced a huge problem as most of the Jeeps that reached this place were pre booked and were almost full We requested many drivers to take us on top of their Jeeps which most of them refused. Finally one vinod daiju(bhaiya) offered us a ride and we were able to reach kolakham.Vinod daiju also offered us that he can leave us at lava if we can get ready in 30minutes.Bishal amma had prepared our lunch. The lunch consisted of Rice,pickle,alu fry,alu full.gobi sabji and egg curry!! It was delicious!! We thanked her for her hospitality and clicked photos with her while leaving.Vinod daiju dropped us at lava and also offered us to arrange a shared Jeep for us to Sillery gaon. We waited for 1hour while no vacant Jeep went that way. Then daiju told us if we would be ok to travel by truck. We agreed at once and he talked to a nearby driver who offered us to drop us at 20th mile(the entry point of sillery gaon). The journey was the breathtaking. It was like travelling in an open jeep. We enjoyed the journey a lot. The driver droppes us at 20th mile and we started walking a distance of 4.5km towards sillery gaon. The route was beautiful..rows of pine trees marked the road on both sides. We enjoyed walking in such a lovely road in the lap of nature. After walking for 3kms it was getting dark and so we increased our pace. Once again the local people came for our help.( Until and unless you travel in these places you can never understand how helpful,understanding and good the local people treat travellers) An alto was going towards sillery gaon,it stopped behind us and a lady asked us where we were going. Once she came to know our destination she told us to climb in her car. Then she called a lot of her friends in the area for a room for us however most of them said rooms were full. But still she told us that she will try her best to get us a room else at least we can reach to get a ride back. Fortunately one owner informed her that one room is vacant as the guests have cancelled reservation. She left us at their place and invited us for tea next morning at her place. The room was good but more than anything the hospitality of the hill people won our hearts. From nonstop garam chai to pakoras to dinner they served us nonstop without complaning. They were attending to 6 families and yet they will never make you feel alienated. It was our good fortune that we could stay at both the best homestays ever!
The Lava Monastery or Zang Dhok Palri Phodang epitomizes spiritual utopia is a Buddhist monastery atop Durpin Hill. Although every Gompa i’ve ever seen or read about fascinated me with their galore rituals and ceremonies. The combination of red and yellow all over its interiors and the calm ambience delivered an inner strength, especially inside the chanting hall.