Rishop or also spelt as Rishyap is a Himalayan hamlet in West Bengal. 2591 m above sea-level, it's a nice quaint village away from city crowds, with picturesque views of snow-capped mountains. The sun plays vermillion through the day. At night the big sky seems to come closer. Beneath the sky the twinkling lights of Gangtok & Pedong are similar to the twinkling stars above. Tourists are attracted by the natural beauty of Neora Valley National Park (Sikkim) & Tiffindara. Both are enjoyed through trekking route which is a deep silent forest of pine, birch, fir & orchids with some soothing path following the chirps.
The nearest jeep/ bus stand is Lava. Rishop is just 4 kms uphill from Lava. The road however is rough and not paved, so trekking is the better option.
New Mal Junction is the nearest railway station from Lava. Distance 58 km & 70 km from Rishop.
The road from Siliguri is scenic with Dooars tea gardens on both sides. The most recommended way to reach Lava is by a rented cab,although buses are available. Also try to avail the route through Damdim as the road passes through beautiful tea gardens & step farming.
Combine your Stay at Rishyap with Lava, Loleygaon, Reshi Khola, Pedong as well as Aritar or Zuluk depending upon the number of days you have in hand. You can also opt for package tours conducted by India Beacons Sojourn who can customize your stay and arrange for the transportation.
If you plan to trek to Rishop from Lava, the driver will take care of parking it at Lava, which you can avail on return.
There is limited service of Zonga four wheel drive from Lava; a round-trip (or one-way) from Lava costs INR 1000 (As on 01.04.2012). The price for round trip or one way is same as the driver charges for return trip as well. Booking can be done through some operators in advance or near Lava bus stand or hotel managers.
Rishop is a small place which can be roamed around on foot itself. There is no practice of transport. The natural beauty is best experienced by taking strolls around.
Rishop is suitable for a one-day stint at best. There is no city/town life here, just a small village with spectacular views of the third largest mountain peak of the world (Kanchenjungha) and its range. So expect just that - plan your vacation keeping in mind the full moon, and reach Rishop by evening. At night with limited artificial light, the hamlet looks heavenly in moonlight - almost every lodge will have an open courtyard where you can sit in open air and relax. Lights of the small villages on the opposite hill add to the beauty at night.
If you are lucky and there is no cloud between you and Kanchenjungha, then you are in for the most memorable visual of your life! In case you happen to be an amateur astronomer, then the clear sky of Rishop will add significantly to your experience.
Get up before dawn, and back to the courtyard with camera. The best chances to see the Kanchenjungha range would be in the first hour from sunrise - later on clouds may obstruct the view.
Have breakfast and trek to Tiffindara view point (2 kms uphill). Back to Rishop, have lunch and trek downhill to Lava. You can then return to Siliguri or continue to Lolaygaon/ Kalimpong as per your itinerary.
There are no markets in Rishop. Simple grocery and stationery (like AA batteries/ films, biscuits etc.) are sold in the lodges themselves. It is recommended that you don't depend on these shops for your travel needs, buy them from Lava itself before coming up to Rishop. But travel light as you'll be hiking uphill from Lava.
Meals are served in the lodge (may be part of package or charged separately - confirm when booking), as there are no dedicated restaurants in the hamlet. But you wont need one, as you get decent food in the lodges, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Packed food like soft drinks, chips, biscuits etc. is also available in the lodges.
Tea/ Coffee is served in the lodges. Recommended: (world famous) Darjeeling tea.
Tea/ Coffee and Soft drinks are available with hotel/ lodge stationery counters.
There are liquor shops in Lava. Carry your liquor from there (no shops in Rishop), but do not drink in public places like roads or lodge courtyards to avoid unnecessary issues.
There are affordable to luxury range of homestays and lodges in Rishop, although in season period you can run out of rooms if you just land up there without booking - as number of lodges are limited. The room rents are in the range of INR 550 - INR 1500 per night. Season rates may vary.
It is better to book your stay in advance - booking can be done in WBTDC offices in Kolkata or Siliguri, or through the many tour operators in Chowringhee/ Esplanade (Kolkata), opposite Tenzing Norgay bus terminus (Siliguri). Booking can also be done from Lava, Kalimpong or Darjeeling
It is suggested to trek the way from Lava and back, as the path is just 4 kms amidst mountain forests. The road is very rough for vehicles. The trek to Lava is downhill.