ATTRACTIONS OF DOOARS
The Dooars or Duars are the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in North-East India around Bhutan. Duar means 'door' and the region forms the gateway to Bhutan from India. There are 18 passages or gateways through which the Bhutanese people can communicate with the people living in the plains.
The Dooars region politically constitutes the plains of Darjeeling Himalayas, the whole of Jalpaiguri district and Alipurduar district. The altitude of Dooars area ranges from 90 to 1,750 m. Innumerable streams and rivers flow through these fertile plains from the mountains of Bhutan. The major river is the Teesta besides many others like the Jaldhaka, Murti, Torsa, Sankosh, Dyna, Karatoya, Raidak, and Kaljani rivers, among others. Monsoon generally starts from the middle of May and continues till the end of September. Winters are cold with foggy mornings and nights. Summer is mild and constitutes a very short period of the year. Dooars is the ideal place in Bengal for monsoon travelling.
The economy of Dooars is based on three "T"s - Tea, Tourism and Timber. The main industry of the Dooars region is the tea industry. Thousands of people are engaged in the tea estates and factories.
The area is dotted by several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries which attract a lot of tourists from all over India and abroad, making it an important contributor to the economy and also employer of a number of people.
Dooars act as a doorway to Bhutan; thus, export-import industry also flourishes in the area. The towns of Jaigaon, Siliguri and Phuntsholing are important hubs of the export-import industry.
Gorumara National Park is an important national park of North Bengal. It is situated just at the foot hills of Eastern Himalaya in Terai region, on the flood plains in Murti, Raidak. Jaldhaka a tributary of Brahmaputra flows just beside the National Park. Gorumara has mixed vegetation of forest and grassland. It is famous for its good population of One Horned Indian Rhino. Ministry of Environment and Forest has declared Gorumara as the best among the protected areas in India for the year 2009. Gorumara was declared a reserve forest in 1895. In 1949 it was given a status of a wild life sanctuary. Later on Gorumara was declared as National Park in 1994. Gorumara National Park is spread over an area of approx 80 sq km. The forest area has come up as a tourist destination during the last decade. In recent years, there has been substantial increase in tourist arrival as well as infrastructure. Today the area around the forest has the largest concentration of tourist accommodation in Dooars. The number of jungle safari options has also increased over the years.
CHUKCHUKI BIRD-WATCHING POINT
This paradise is situated on the extreme border of the Gorumara National Park. Chukchuki Watch Tower is the perfect vantage point for viewing and photographing the hundreds of birds that Gorumara National Park is known for. The Chukchuki Watch Tower is best to watch the birds of park. This spot of the Park provides clear views of the myriad birds that are native to the Gorumara National Park which is why the Forest Department set up the Chukchuki Birding Tower here. There are many migratory birds who often visit seasonally. Sitting of the Indian national bird Peacock is very common from here.
While in Gorumara, tourists go inside the forests for jungle safari. Sighting of wildlife is quite common. Elephants, Rhinos, Indian Bison (Gaur), Peacock, Deer are the most common sightings. The forest safari is organised in special vehicles meant for the purpose. You must book your forest safari from the forest department and take an authorised guide along while visiting the watchtowers. Trespassing is illegal and can be dangerous as well.
Rocky Island is a new tourist destination in Dooars. Situated on the banks of the River Murti it is about 2 km from Samsing and is a popular camping site. The view of river and surrounding forests are excellent from Rocky Island. Accommodation is arranged in small Tents for overnight visitors. The campsite provides an excellent opportunity to explore the interior parts of Neora Valley National sanctuary. This place is best suited for adventurous activities like trekking, rock climbing & rappelling. This is the must visit place for adventure loving travellers. A small enjoyable trek to nearby spots like Sherpagaon, Bhalukope, Jhandidara and Mo-chuki is an added attraction of this place. The road to Rocky Island is full of pebbles and it ends at the bridge over the Murti.
BINDU / JHALONG / JALDHAKA
A small picturesque hill village on the Indo- Bhutan border Bindu is a little known tourist destination in lower Kalimpong foothills. The journey to Bindu via Chalsa-Khunia-Jhalong is a fascinating one as the road passes through the beautiful tea gardens, high forests, river valleys and small quiet villages. Jhalong is a small village situated on the banks of river Jaldhaka, near India-Bhutan border in the Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling district in West Bengal. Bird lovers can enjoy a varied collection of hill Birds includes Kingfisher, Brown Dipper, Redstart, Laughing Thrush as well as migratory waterfowl here. Jhalong is very populous among adventure enthusiasts and those who are interested in nature vacations. Jhalong is situated on the foothills of the Himalayas and there are numerous activities that visitor can engage in. It is popular tourist destination just 12 km ahead of Bindu renowned for its Hydroelectric Project.
Jaldhaka is a charming landscape with nature at her mystic best. At 1500 ft above sea level Jaldhaka river valley is a prospective tourist destination of Dooars. The river valley is located under Kalimpong sub-division and is cut off from the rest of the Darjeeling district by a mountain ridge descending south-east from Reche-la of Neora Valley National Park and is separated from Bhutan by the Jaldhaka River. The more important villages of Jaldhaka valley and its surrounding area includes Jhalong, Bindu, Paren, Gairibans, Godak, Todey, Tangta, Rongo, Maurey etc.
The river Torsha flows through this rain forest sanctuary and have an area of 141 sq km and altitude of 61 m Jaldapara, the vast grassland with patches of riverine forests was declared a sanctuary in 1941 for protection of the great variety flora and fauna, particularly the one-horned rhinoceros, an animal threatened with extinction. The Jaldapara Sanctuary covers 216 sq km, is a mosaic of woods, grasslands, perennial streams, sandy river banks and extensive belts of tall grass. It contains a great diversity of flora and fauna of mixed deciduous forest, grasslands and river banks.
JALDAPARA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is habitats of the rare one-horned rhinoceros, the mighty bison, leopard, spotted deer, sambar, hog deer, reptiles, huge wild tuskers, wild boars, and the rarest variety of birds, including peacocks. Elephant riding through the Jaldapara forest in search of wild animals, particularly the one-horned rhinos, is specially popular among tourists. Other places of attraction in and around the region include Jayanti, (30 km from Alipurduar) is a beautiful spot.
Chapramari is a forest in Dooars area of North Bengal. The forest is a continuation of the Gorumara forests. The two forests are separated by the Murti river which passes through the otherwise continuous forest. Whereas Gorumara is a National Park, Chapramari is only is a wildlife sanctuary. There are a number of forest safaris available that take tourists inside the forest. Sighting of elephant, spotted deer, barking deer, rhino and gaur (Indian bison) is the most common. The area close to Murti River is also quite popular as picnic spot for the locals. It provides a breathtaking view of forests against the backdrop of the Kanchenjungha and other Himalayan peaks. A huge variety of flora and fauna covers the forests. Chapramari is famous for its elephant population. It is the home to diverse avifauna and mammals like elephant, gaur, leopard etc.
Chilapata Forest is a dense forest close to Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary in Dooars, West Bengal. It is nearly 22 km from Alipurduar and just a few minutes away from Hasimara town. This forest is used by the Elephants as a corridor to migrate between Jaldapara and the Buxa Tiger Reserve and ultimately to Bhutan. Nature here is rich with wildlife and various types of flora and fauna. Angling, Birding, Safari are the few options. Main attractions are the ruined "Nalraja Garh" or fort of the Nal kings, built in the Gupta period in the fifth century. Nalrajar Garh in Chilapata Forest was supposed to be the earliest capital of Kamatapur as per some historian. Main attractions are the ruined "Nalraja Garh" or fort of the Nal kings, built in the Gupta period in the fifth century. Nalrajar Garh in Chilapata Forest was supposed to be the earliest capital of Kamatapur as per some historian. Other activities include Tonga rides through tea garden, boating on the Bania River and angling on the confluence of the Kalchini, Bania and Buri Basra.
A number of treks also originate at Buxa fort. A trek can take you to Raymatang forest through Chunabhatti area. Other trek rout will take you to Mahakal Temple on the Indo-Bhutan border before bringing you back to Jayanti. Rover's point is the heaven for bird watchers which are 3 km ahead of Buxa Fort. Hard trekkers can go ahead another 6 km to reach Roopam valley or Rupang valley bordering Bhutan.
Known for its scenic beauty it is ideal for leisure holiday and angling. Strategically located near the border with Bhutan the region is blessed by the scenic beauty and the swift flowing River Raidak. It is located in a mountainous terrain, flanked by hills covered with luxurious green forests. It also serves as the elephant corridor and is an attractive destination for wildlife lovers. It is only an extension of or is a part of the Buxar Tiger Reserve. Winters are cold with foggy mornings and nights. Summer is mild and constitutes of a very short period of the year; hence the climate is always conducive to tourism. Endangered species of animals like tiger, rhinoceros, elephant, make their habitats in the forests other animals include different types of deer, bison, birds and reptiles. Bhutan Ghat is well connected by roads and to rest of India and national highway number 31 is the main highway of the area.
Jayanti is a small forest village within Buxa Tiger Reserve in Alipurduar district of West Bengal, India. It is located along the Jayanti River, forming a natural border with the Bhutan hills. It is popular with hikers for its beautiful views of the surrounding landscape and wild fountains.A picturesque place within the Buxa Tiger Reserve along the meandering Jayanti River is an ideal place to relax and rejuvenate in the midst of nature. This somewhat off-beat destination is fast becoming popular as an eco-tourism hot spot. Often referred to as the ''Queen of Dooars'', this picturesque place provides a perfect setting for a memorable tour.
Batabari is a village in Matiali Block in Jalpaiguri District of West Bengal State, India. It belongs to Jalpaiguri Division. It is located about 53 km. towards North from District head quarters Jalpaiguri and about 570 km. from State capital Kolkata. Batabari got its name from the popular Batabari Tea Estate which is located in this region. Here the structure of the houses is made of a particular bamboo species known as Bata. It’s a small village with little population located near Khunia more and it is also a part of Gorumara national Park. The main attractions of this place are Landscapes and Tea gardens. This Place is in the border of the Jalpaiguri District and Darjeeling District.
Chalsa is a small town situated just on the foot of the Himalayas in the Dooars in Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal. This small town is surrounded by hills, tea gardens, rivers and forests. One part of the town is surrounded by Gorumara National Park and other part with Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary. Nearby forests are residence of a good collection of elephants and rhinos.
Murti is a picturesque tourist spot located on the banks of the Murti River in the Dooars region of Northern Bengal. Spending few tranquil days beside the knee deep snaking Murti River is a perfect break especially for those who are looking for some serenity and peace. Murti is a great place for nature lovers and bird watchers. You can also take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Murti River or do some fishing whenever you like. Camping is the most popular activity in Murti along with hiking. The Gorumara National Park, which is home to Indian Rhinos, Wild Elephants and various bird species is just a stone's throw from Murti.
TEESTA BARRAGETeesta Barrage (57 km from Siliguri) is emerging and being developed as a tourist attraction.The Teesta Barrage has been built at Doani in Lalmonirhat with an ambitious objective to bring 750,000ha of land under irrigation command area with net irrigation area of 540,000 hectares to augment agri production. It is spread over 12 upazilas — Nilphamari, Dimla, Jaldhaka, Kishoreganj, Saidpur, Rangpur, Taraganj, Badarganj, Gangachara, Parbatipur, Chirirbandar and Khanshama.
Khayerbari is located almost 10km. away from Madarihat. Khayerbari is mainly known as ''Royal Bengal Tiger and Leopard'' rescue centre. During the ban of animals from various circuses and shows several wild animals were captured by the forest officials who included 11 tigers seized from the Olympic circus in Hooghly district. The tigers that are being shifted to Khayerbari are part of this group which was kept at Hollong temporarily. This place is highly attractive to tourists because they can get a close spot to watch. South Khayerbari Nature Park is a tiger rescue centre just 15 km away from Jaldapara. The park has been developed with the objective of treatment and rehabilitation of leopards and tigers. The leopards and tigers have been kept in a natural environment in this park. Battery operated cars are used to conduct safari tours in this nature park.
At a distance of 55 km from Siliguri and 65 km from Jalpaiguri, Malbazar is one of the most important towns in Dooars. The town is strategically located on the NH31 providing close access to major tourist attractions around. The town itself does not have much to offer to the tourists except for the beautiful Mal Park.
If you are planning to visit Eastern Dooars, Gorumara National Park, Chapramari Wild Life Sanctuary, Gorubathan, Jhalong, Bindu, Samsing, Suntalekhola; Malbazar can easily be your base. Kumlai is a famous picnic spot of Malbazar.
Phuentsholing is a border town in southern Bhutan. It is the administrative seat of Chukha District. The town occupies parts of both Phuentsholing Gewog and Sampheling Gewog. Phuentsholing lies close to the Indian border town of Jaigaon. Phuentsholling is a main commercial hub in southwest Bhutan. It is popularly known as the Gateway to Bhutan. Phuentsholling is a typical border town, which is also called Jaigaon in the Indian side in West Bengal state.
ajabhatkhawa is nearly 15 km from Jayanti. Surrounded by dense forests is an ideal place for the wild life lovers. A watchtower deep inside the forest gives the best opportunity to view elephant, bison and even tiger. The Nature Interpretation Center at Rajabhatkhawa is another attraction. It is a hamlet with a beautiful and a small rail station and a small village market.
There is an Orchidarium and leopard rescue center with a museum. Rajabhatkhawa is also a portion of the corridor which serves as international corridor for elephant migration between India and Bhutan.