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Tourist Places To Visit In Jaldapara National Park
An extension of the Dooars in North Bengal, Jaldapara National Park is a wildlife sanctuary. Located at the foothills of eastern Himalayas and on the banks of River Torsa, the national park is an extremely popular tourist destination in the state and is also frequented by wildlife enthusiasts, bird lovers, and photographers from different parts of the country. Well accessible by road, rail, and air, Jaldapara can be visited from November to February and again from March to June when animal spotting is easier. Apart from the national park, there are a number of other attractions in and around Jaldapara.
Jaldapara National Park
When in Jaldapara, the biggest attraction is, of course, the national park. Spread across a sprawling 216 km, the national park is vast grassland with patches of riverine forests. Boasting of a variety of species of flora and fauna and home to the largest population of Indian one-horned rhinoceros, Jaldapara National Park was declared a sanctuary in 1941 for the protection of flora, fauna and the rhinos who are threatened with extinction. Apart from rhinos, tiger, elephant, sambhar, deer, barking, spotted and hog deer, bison are also popularly found here. It is also home to a large number of birds like eagle, jungle fowl, peafowl, partridge, hornbill, etc. Tourists can take jeep and elephant safari to venture deep into the jungle to spot animals.
South Khairbari National Park
A Nature Park and a Leopard Rehabilitation Center, South Khairbari National Park are located a mere 11 km away from Jaldapara. The park has a beautiful setting with River Boori Torsa River flowing through it. Battery-driven cars take tourists through the park and it is an interesting place to be. Tigers that are released from the circus are brought here for rehabilitation. A left turn from the road leading from Madarihat towards Birpara takes tourists to Khairbari and is a route where elephants are frequently spotted. There is also a Watch Tower near the river from where tourists can spot leopards.
This dense forest is located close to Jaldapara National Park on the fringes of the Jalpaiguri district. It is located about 20 km from Alipurduar and a few minutes from Hasimara town. There is an eco-tourism resort here at Kodalbasti that is operated by The West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC). The dense forest and the wild ambiance are perfect for a hideout and it is definitely worth a visit. Spending some solitary moments in the wilderness with the chirping of birds breaking the silence now and then for is therapeutic for the soul and the mind.
Gorumara National Forest
This is another fascinating place in the Dooars area of West Bengal and a frequently visited tourist destination. It is located about 80 km from Jaldapara National Park and is located on the banks of rivers Raidak and Murti. Gorumara is also popular for the Asiatic one-horned rhino, bison, and Asiatic elephants. It was declared a reserve forest in 1895 and became a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1949. The National Park is spread across 80 sq.km. Rivers Indong, Jaldhaka and Murti flow through the park and offers a breathtaking view of the landscape.
Buxa Tiger Reserve
Buxa Tiger Reserve located in the Alipurduar district of north Bengal is bound by the Gangetic plains and the Himalayas. Tourists can spot animals like Sambar Deer, Asiatic elephants, gaur, Indian leopard, and Bengal tiger and is home to more than 284 species of birds. Created in 1983, this was the 15th tiger reserve in the country. The reserve encompasses eight types of forests like northern dry deciduous, low alluvium, northern tropical evergreen forest, etc. There is a Buxa Fort which is an important landmark here which was captured by British-India from Bhutan after the Bhutan War. A trip to Buxa Reserve is worth a visit.
Kunja Nagar Eco Park
There is an eco-tourism park that is located very close to Jaldapara Park. It is a popular picnic spot where tourists can come across animals like deer, gharial, parakeet, and some rhinos and elephants too. Wild animal sighting is rare here but there is a Watch Tower sitting where tourists can get a feel of being very close to nature. Evenings are beautiful here and watching the sun setting over the wilderness is an experience indeed. There is a Forest Bungalow for those who wish to stay back for the night. On a full-moon night, it is stunning to sit up there in the Watch Tower.
Gajoldoba and Apalchand Forest
An hour’s drive from Jaldapara will take tourists to Gajoldoba reservoir which was formed by Teesta Barrage for irrigational purposes. It is enveloped by the Baikunthapur Forest. For bird lovers and photographers this is a must-visit destination from Jaldapara. This is because, owing to the reservoir and the thick forests surrounding it, it has become a home to several species of birds, some of which are quite rare. These birds come from as far as Central Asia and Ladakh. Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Greylag Goose, Bar-Headed Goose, Common Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Common Teal, Spot-billed duck, Indian Cormorant an Indian Pond Heron are only a few of the many species that can be spotted here.
There are a number of villages inside Buxa Tiger Reserve and Jayanti is one of them. The small forest village is situated along the banks of River Jayanti that forms a border with Bhutan hills. The picturesque village offers visitors a charming view of the surroundings and the unadulterated beauty is captivating. The peace and calmness of the place are extremely soothing and one can spend hours near the river listening to the silence. Jayanti is quite popular among hikers. There is a 13 km trek Jayanti to Buxaduar and the trail passes through the dense forests of the Tiger Reserve. The thrilling trekking trail attracts enthusiasts and is a memorable experience.
Tourists traveling to Jaldpara can drive down to Cooch Behar if they have time to spare. It is located 60 km from the national park. A princely state before the independence of India, Cooch Behar was later integrated into Indian Union. The biggest attraction here is the Cooch Behar Palace or Rajbari that was constructed in 1887 during the rule of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan. Modeled on the Buckingham Palace of London, the palace is a stunner. An intimidating structure sprawled across a huge area, the palace attracts a large number of people. Apart from the palace, there are many famous temples here like the Madan Mohan Temple, Siddheswari Kali Temple, etc.
Alipurduar is an important district in north Bengal and lies en route to the northeast states of India and Bhutan. A major part of the Dooars now falls under Alipurduar district and is only 50 km Jaldapara. Dooars is undoubtedly the biggest attraction in Alipurduar and tourists drive down frequently from Jaldapara for a tour of the forest area. The art and craft of Alipurduar is also an attraction for tourists. There are influences of multiple cultures which accounts for their rich cultural heritage. There are a number of carnivals that are celebrated here throughout the year like Lossar, Theugap, and Karam.