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West Bengal: Jaldapara
Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary
The Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary is situated at the foothills of Eastern Himalayas. The sanctuary, covering an area of 216.51 sq km, at the bank of river Torsa, has its entrance from Madarihat side.
Surrounded by the large lash forests and rivers like Torsha and Malangi, Jaldapara sanctuary is a must visit for everyone. Apart from its exquisite natural beauty, the main attraction of Jaldapara is the Asiatic one horned rhino. A safari drive into the forest bungalow, situated 6 km inside the forest from Madarihat, will show you elephants, Bison, peacocks and Sambar wandering in the woodland. If you are lucky enough you can see tigers (13) and leopards (107) from the watchtower of the forest. Wild animals coming to drink salted water of the River Torsha is also a delightful sight.
The Jaldapara sanctuary holds the maximum number of rhino population in India after Kaziranga National Park in Assam.
Visit Jaldapara sanctuary during 15th June to 15th September and don’t forget to visit the interpretation centre and the museum at Madarihat.
Bardabari, near to Madarihat is famous for its military airbase apart from the green forests. Tea garden on the rolling slopes is a pleasure to watch.
Totapahar, located 22 km away from Jaldapara, amidst nature, is well known for the homes of the very rare Tota community. Madarihat is connected with totapara by bus.
Rest house of the welfare society of the backward community is the only place here to stay overnight.
How to reach: Buses from siliguri are going to Madarihat (sanctuary is 6 km from Madarihat and can be reached by hiring a car) from Netaji bus terminus, Siliguri. Siliguri is well connected by bus and by train from Kolkata. A direct bus to Madrihat from Kolkata starts at 7 pm from Esplanade, Kolkata.
Where to stay: Jaldapara tourist lodge and Hollong forest lodge, both are situated inside the sanctuary and both of them will be the best options for tourists to enjoy the forest and sanctuary.