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West Bengal: Dooars
Dooars, lies at the border of Jalpaiguri and cooch behar, is famous for its rich biodiversities and tropical forests. The most remarkable of which are Gorumara National Park, Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary and Buxa tiger reserve. Tourists visiting Dooars should not miss out a drive through the plains of Dooars to enjoy the scenic beauty of innumerable hill streams along with the green carpet of Tea gardens and timber around the area. The name Dooars is derived from 'doors', as the region is the gateway to the Bhutan. The Dooars valley (also called Duars), stretching from River Sankosh on the east to River Teesta on the west, an area covering roughly 4750 square Km, has 1250 square km of lash green forest. Quiet ethnic villages of backward communities (Oraon, Munda, Rava and Toto) in between the forest make dooars even more beautiful. However, 720 different species of birds among 1100 present in India and 850 present in West Bengal, are adding another flavor to the attractiveness of Dooars forest.
Mongpong: Mongpong, the heavenly forest, a 25 km away destination from Siliguri towards Dooars, is just a half an hour drive on NH-31 via Sevok hill and Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. Mongpong looks wonderful with the elegant Tista River which is breaking the quietness of the forest. Even though the place is small in area but still Mongpong has everything to satisfy you with its astonishing natural beauty.
The well planned and delightfully built forest rest house among the Sal forests of Mongpong, situated on the banks of the Tista River, is an ideal place for spending a relaxed day seeing wild animals like Harial, Titir, Elephants, deer, Bison and different kinds of birds in the natural surroundings. The WBFDC rest house is the only place to stay here. Get the details at http://www.wbfdc.com (Check ‘Our Nature Resorts’ Link)
You will not be able to restrain yourself to enjoy a game of cricket while having a picnic in the middle of the mystic forest. Tourists can also stay in Log Hut, situated near to the Mongpong check post or in Mongpong Nature resort in the plains, at the banks of Teesta River.
Chuikhim village: chuikham village, about 54 km off Siliguri, is popularly known as an alcohol free village of backward communities. You can experience the charm of the nature along with the warmness of the backward communities staying in SHARE (Support Himalayan Agro Rural Enterprises), built by Mr. prasanta Mallick.
MaalBazar: If you like to get pleasure from the beauty of the long spreading tea gardens and narrow lanes dividing the tea gardens, then you must visit MalBazar and take a walk to the tea gardens, situated at a distance of one and half km from MalBazar.
MalBazar tourists lodge, Hotel Benfish, Hotel Kasturi are options for you, if you plan for a night stay in Malbazar. Malbazar can be reached directly by bus from Kolkata, or from Siliguri.
Gorumara: Visiting Gorumara, the forest spreading over a 79 square km, is one of the big reasons why you should come to Dooars. A journey on NH-31 from Siliguri/ NJP through tea gardens and twisting streets takes you into the deep and dark Gorumara National park which has got the status of the 5th national sanctuary of West Bengal. The grassland of Gorumara is renowned for Asiatic one-horned rhino. Gorumara national park has a large variety of wild animals and flora. Apart from rhino, elephants (more than 50), Baison (300), leopard (25), Gaur (400), Sambar and deer are showing the diversities of wild animals in the park. In view of its great diversity of plants and animals it was declared as a National Park in 1994. Winter is the best time to come to Gorumara national park. Nature interpretation centre of the forest authority and the museum are the additional attractions for tourists.
The specialty of Gorumara is its various watch towers, each of which made with a different purpose and with a different name. The tower is the best place to observe wild animals. The Yatraprasad watchtower (named in the memory of an elephant named Kunik), about one and half km away from the Forest Rest House, gives a panoramic view of the entire park and the Murti Valley. The Girati watchtower, 3 km off the rest house, is the best possible place where from you can see and enjoy rhino. Spending a night at the Girati watch tower is altogether a different adventurous experience for forest lovers. Another attraction of Gorumara is ChukChuki bird observatory point, situated at 9 km away from Gorumara towards the northern side of Lataguri. The watchtower here is made of woods and looks almost like a Pagoda. Bird watchers can enjoy watching different kinds of native and migratory birds from this tower. Medlabari watch tower, situated at Kalipur forest in south Gorumara is an ideal destination for watching wild animals but for that you need to pay 100 rupees per head. However, going inside the forest for a safari ina jeep is not common here and requires special permission. This mars the enjoyment of a typical Jungle safari. The watch towers are quite far off from the core area, and hence it requires luck to see Rhinos or deers. Seeing leopards or tigers is out of question.
Gorumara forest bungalow situated near to the River Engdong, is the best place to stay in Gorumara national park. Gorumara Eco village, at a distance of 1 km from Medlabari watchtower, has a package which includes foods, elephant ride, night stay and the dancing of backward communities. Mahadev temple on the banks of Bamnijhora River, Chowdhurani temple in Baikunthapur and Matia dam are other sought after destinations for tourists.
Lataguri: Lataguri, about 17 km away from Gorumara and 50 km from Jalpaiguri, another forest which is attracting tourists now days for its initiative of Eco tourism. Lataguri forest is very rich with its well stretched forest of Odal, Simul, Orchid, Panisaj and flora and fauna. Lataguri also has a "Nature Interpretation Center", which gives information about the flora and fauna of the area.
Tourists going to Lataguri have to change their bus at Domohani or Mainaguri which can be accessed by bus from Kolkata directly. Goyerkata, the first tea garden of Dooars can also be reached from Mainaguri.
Hotels in Lataguri are situated around the sanctuary. Among private hotels, Jungle neer, Aranya Gorumara jungle resort, Silver ridge resort are noteworthy ones.
Bamnijhora: This is a destination for them who enjoy the quietness of nature. Orchid of different kinds and Murti River along with the elephants of the area are the attractions which add a different flavor to the prettiness of the nature.
Jalpesh Shiva temple, lies 3 km from Mainaguri market and about 15 km from Jalpaiguri, depicts Muslim architectural brilliance.
Chapramari: Chapramari forest, positioned near to the NH31, at a distance of 78 km from Siliguri can be reached crossing the river Tista on your way into Dooars. A huge range of flora and fauna covers the forests. Chapramari, has its arms spread wide over an area of 9.60 square km, is prominent for its elephant population.
Gaur (usually known as Indian Bison) is quite familiar around this region. Different other varieties of deer, more than 78 species of reptiles and other animals can also be seen around the beautiful forest area. Chapramari is very rich with its hundreds of Orchids and more than 83 different grasses. The place is also considered as a heaven for bird watchers.
Chapramari and Gorumara sanctuary both are closed during 16th June and 15th September every year along with a weekly off on Thursdays.
If you avail NBSTC bus from Kolkata at 7 am, it will take to Khunia junction which is just 7 km away from Chapramari. There is a nice forest bungalow which is situated at a distance of one and half km inside the forest from Chapramari point. From this bungalow you can see elephants and other animals during the early morning and evening hours and the view of the Kanchanjangha in moonlight is really an extraordinary feeling. Even though Chapramari wilderness camp is little expensive but the view from the hotel is also very impressive.
Chalsa: Chalsa, about 64 km from Siliguri, on the twisted way to Dooars, atop hills, is the tourist junction of Dooars.
At the end way of the forest, there is a small village of Gorkha community, named as Gairibas. Diogine factory here manufactures medicines directly from Sinkona, Epicock and Sarpagandha. Gairibas, is meeting Jhalang, at the border of Bhutan in the middle of prolific green nature. Jhalang is a place where the River Jholung and Jaldhaka confluence. Jhalang looks even more delightful as it is surrounded by hilly mountains and deep forests. You can take a look at the Jaldhaka Hydel project, a water power plant which was the first of its kind in India. Buddhist math, China restaurant and the Wednesday market are also very colorful attractions of Jhalang.
There are private accommodations available near Chalsa from where you can visit the Gorumara National Park as well.
Bindu is a valley encircled with hills of Bhutan. It is another beautiful spot where the River Bindu meets the River Jaldhaka. Bindu has a water power plant, named as Jaldhaka water power plant, which is the oldest hydel power plant of the country. Jaldhaka barrage here has given lives of the people around a new dimension.
Interested tourists can go to Lava, Bhutan and tode to see Nathula peak from Bindu. Trekkers can enjoy the road to Rocky Island, which still doesn’t have any electricity connection or modern facilities. So, meticulous attention should be given by the trekkers on their belongings and trekking equipments.
Paren, the village of orange is one of your destinations mainly because of the passive and beautiful range of Hialalaya on one side of the road and Bhutan hill on the other side.
Murti: Murti is situated on the banks of the river Murti. Murti is about 15 km from Lataguri town and about 18 km from Chalsa.
Murti has a lot to offer to the nature lovers. If you are lucky you can see Gharials in the river. Elephants can also be seen very frequently around the bungalow and in the adjoining deep forest of Shal, shirish and Simul. As a result staying outside the bungalow after dark is not advisable. From your room you can see many wildlife animals including Gaur (Indian Bison) and Deer. The nature and environment observation centre, which is an initiative of WBFDC, has also come up here in Murti.
The place is being promoted as a tourist destination by the forest department (WBFDC). More details at http://www.wbfdc.com . There is a nice forest bungalow available for tourist accommodation too.
A private accommodation has also come up near Murti in the recent past.
Samsing: Samsing is situated at a distance of 82 km from Siliguri. It takes about 3 hours to reach Samsing from Siliguri and you have to traverse all the way through the most pleasing landscape of Dooars. Samsing, placed at an elevation of 3000ft, is a nice cool shaded place for trekkers. Samsing is perfect for the nature and forest lovers who enjoy the peace and calmness. The journey to Samsing is definitely going to be an unforgettable and tantalizing experience for you, as you slowly travel uphill through the most charming Dooars tea gardens on the gentle hilly slopes.
Suntalekhola, a small valley, is a place where many tourists stay overnight. The place, surrounded by hills and rippling river Suntaley Khola, is about four kilometers further up the road from Samsing. The road ends here close to the small stream of the river Khola (`Suntaley` = Orange and `Khola` = Stream). Trek lovers can trek to Jorpukuri of Naora Valley national park. It will take 2 days of trekking to reach Jorpukuri.
There are romantic WBFDC cottages and a bicameral bungalow in Samsing, as well as in Suntaleykhola river camp