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Jaldapara National Park Tourism And Travel Guide
15° C / 59° F
December to March
2 to 3 Days
Bagdogra (145 kms)
Hasimara (20 kms)
The dense forests of Jaldapara National Park have over the years attracted tourism from all over the country. Just not the thrill of jungle and wildlife, Jaldapara boasts of extremely rich and diverse vegetation, flora and fauna. The excitement of venturing deep into the jungle, spotting wild animals and large varieties of birds, of finding different forest types under the same area accounts for the popularity of Jaldapara as a travel destination. It lies in close proximity to the tea gardens of Dooars which acts as an added incentive. Wildlife enthusiasts and photographers, bird lovers, those interested in the study of flora and fauna and tea enthusiasts all find something of interest here. Here is a snippet of travel guide to see in Jaldapara National Park.
How to Reach
Surrounded by wilderness, the closest airport to Jaldapara is Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri. The airport is located 145 km from the national park and can be reached by cabs and buses. Bagdogra enjoys commendable connectivity with major airports of the country like Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. They have public and private airlines operating flights regularly in and out of Bagdogra. The latter is an important airport that helps to connect North Bengal and Northeast India with the rest of the country.
Jaldapara has a railway station located 7 km away in Madarihat and most trains do not stop here. The closest operational stations are in Hasimara and Birpara, both of which are located 20 km from the park. Most major express trains stop here. However, the most important railhead is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station in Jalpaiguri. It is one of the major railway junctions in North Bengal and north-east India. The station helps to connect the eastern states with other major cities. There is a large number of express and special trains make a stop here before heading towards the northeast.
Jaldapara is well connected by road to different parts of the state. It lies on a National Highway which allows people to reach Jaldapara from Siliguri in only 3 hours. The entry point to the park is Madarihat, which lies on NH31. There are regular bus services between Jaldapara and neighboring areas. Bhutan Government buses, North Bengal State Transport Corporation buses, and minibuses are abundantly available for ferrying people to different parts of the state like Siliguri and Alipurduar via Madarihat which gives access to the national park.
Jaldapara is a national park and for moving around the area there are no local options or cabs available. People have to depend upon jeeps and elephants for venturing deep into the jungle, for touring the forest and spotting animals. Jeep and elephant safaris are organized by forest lodges.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Summer (March to June):
Summer in Jaldapara is quite hot and humid with temperatures ranging between 32°C and 40°C. Despite the heat, it is one of the better times to visit Jaldapara if you want to spot animals. Because of the heat, they come out of their hiding to go to river banks for drinking water, particularly in the mornings and evenings. It is relatively easier to spot them during these times. As the morning grows it becomes hotter and they tend to take refuge in their shelter.
Monsoon (June to September):
Monsoon in Jaldapara brings heavy showers. The incessant rains make sightseeing difficult and the park is closed to tourists. Safaris are canceled for the entire monsoon period from June to September. Moreover, monsoon also happens to be the breeding season of the animals and they prefer to remain in their hideout and do not venture out much. It is difficult to spot them.
Winter (October to March):
The months following monsoon, in October and November, leaves are green and fresh and because of the rains, the grasses grow in height and thickness. Spotting animals during these months is tough because they hide well behind the tall grasses. These two months experience some light rainfall which makes safaris difficult. With the onset of the winter, the grasses become thinner and trees shade leaves and weather improves. Animal movement increases and is easier to spot. A visit to Jaldarapara till March is a good idea.
Things to Do
No trip to a forest can be complete without a safari that takes tourists deep into the jungle. Jaldapara is no exception. There are jeep and elephant safaris that are regularly organized by the government lodges. The safaris allow people a glimpse of the dense forests and spot animals like the world-famous Asian one-horned rhino, bison, deer, etc. Elephant safaris are conducted very early in the morning while jeep safaris take place twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon. Elephant safaris are recommended for they can venture further into a jungle and take routes that cannot be accessed by cars.
Dense jungles and rich vegetation make Jaldapara and neighboring areas the perfect natural habitat for different species of birds. It is a paradise for bird lovers and bird watchers. They will come across some truly stunning four-winged beauties. Pigeons, crested eagles, Shikra, Junglefowl, Patridge, Malabar pied hornbill, peafowl etc. Cuckoos, Drongos, Parakeets, Barbets are some of the winter visitors to the park. Bengal Florican, Shaheen falcon, Large Green-billed Malkoha, White Rumped Vultures are some only a few of the 240 species of birds that can be found here. Spending hours and watching the birds in action and identifying as many of them as possible are the best things that bird lovers can do during their stay in Jaldapara.
If you are a budding photographer or a professional wildlife photographer, Jaldapara is the place to be. Different species of wild animals, colorful beautiful birds, rich flora and fauna, varied vegetation cover, dense jungles make Jaldapara an extremely exciting destination for photographers. At different times of the day they get treated to different beauty of the forest and every moment captured is truly amazing. So if you have a camera, do remember to carry one to capture the beauty of Jaldapara in your lens.
Trip to Tea Estates of Dooars:
Dooars is sprawled across the states of West Bengal and Assam. Apart from being a dense forest housing large number of wild animals and birds, it also has sprawling tea estates producing some of the finest tea in the world. When in Jaldapara, take out some time to visit these beautiful tea gardens. They are a sight to behold. Tourists are given guided tours of the gardens and taught about the process of tea making.
Eating in Jaldapara
Deep in the wilderness, there aren’t any fine dining options. There are simple eateries and for food, tourists have to depend upon the lodges where they stay. Jaldapara Tourist Lodge has a multi-cuisine restaurant that serves reasonable varieties of food. The cuisine is essentially Bengali but influences of North Indian food have also made their way into these restaurants.