28 Mile is a small settlement within the Buxa Tiger Reserve with 110 households. The number of households has increased considerably since 1960. Homestays are available for tourists at the 28 Mile Basti as it is known in the local language. There is also a well furnished cottage at 28 Mile serving guests who visit Buxa Tiger Reserve. Buxa is one of the largest forest reserves in West Bengal and is home to Asian tigers whose population is only second to that of Sunderbans. The importance of Buxa increased manifold in the year 1992 when it was declared to be a national park.

How to reach 28 miles


Buxa Tiger Reserve is nicely interconnected with the major modes of transportation. If you are traveling by train, arrive at Alipurduar station which is 37 kilometers from Buxa forest. You can hire a taxi from the station to reach Buxa. On the other hand, you can take a flight to the Bagdogra airport and from there hire a cab to arrive at Buxa. Tourists who are traveling by their own car should take the NH-31 to reach Buxa through Rajabhatkhawa which is 25 kilometers away from the destination.

Accommodation in 28 miles


As already mentioned above 28 Mile offers accommodation facilities to the tourists. The home stays offer basic amenities while the cottage provides modern ones. The small settlement at 28 Mile within the forest offers home stays. Tourists at times prefer this spot because of its proximity to the Bala River bed which is a popular spot for bird watching; both migratory and local birds. The Leo Cottage is located within this core area of the forest. The room rents vary from 1000 INR to 1500 INR. The cottage offers 24 hours hot water, dining, camp fire, car parking facilities. You will be served with delicious Bengali dishes at 400 INR per person.

Attractions & Activities in 28 miles


Staying at 28 Mile provides an opportunity to you to explore the forest from the core area. You have to seek permission from the forest department but if you are staying at the cottage you will be able to explore the jungle through safaris and treks. Animals like tigers, elephants, squirrels, sambhar, bisons and deer can be found in the forest. Snakes and other insects can also be spotted if you keep your eyes open. The forest is vast and there are tea gardens on the fringes which you can visit. There is also a boating spot in the jungle known as Shikia Jhora which offers an exciting coat ride on the brooke.

Trek to Buxa Fort

 

 

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Jayanti is a small forest village inside the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal. Located along the banks of Jayanti River, this is the only settlement inside a forest area where you can spot tigers. This is where visitors can enjoy the thrill overnight. The river forms a natural barrier with the Bhutan hills on the other side of the forest. Known popularly as the ‘Queen of Dooars’, the Jayanti village is a pristine place with a wide variety of flora and fauna. Free from the pollution of city life, this vast green zone is bound to take your breath away. Staying in the village within the Buxa Tiger Reserve is a memorable experience for any traveler.

How to Reach Jayanti


If you are traveling by air, then Bagdogra is the only airport in the proximity although it is 195 kilometers from the destination. Alternatively, if you have taken the train, then disembark at Alipurduar station which is only 30 kilometers from Jayanti. You can hire taxis from Alipurduar station to reach Jayanti. Jayanti can also be approached from Cooch Behar and Jaldapara through Rajabhatkhawa. Jayanti can be visited any time of year because of its pleasant weather. However, it is advisable to avoid the monsoons.

Accommodation in Jayanti


Accommodation facilities in Jayanti are basic. You will be able to enjoy your sojourn in the cottages with single and double bedrooms inside the forest area which is exciting. Attached bathrooms with hot water are available 24/7. You can savor the lovely view of the Bhutan hills and the Jayanti River from the windows. The spectacular scenic beauty of the place will leave you asking for more. The owners of the homestays will arrange for guides and permits to explore the forest area and also visit the watchtower to spot animals. The food served is essentially Bengali cuisine and it is delicious.

Attractions & Activities in Jayanti


Apart from exploring the forest and spotting animals like tigers, leopards, peacocks, deer and elephants from the watchtower you can visit the other tourist attractions nearby. The ruins of Buxa Fort are a historical site located at an elevation of 2600 feet. It was built during the British reign in India and used to serve as a prison for the freedom fighters. Later it became a refugee camp area for the Tibetans and Bangladeshis flees to India. There is a lake known as pokhri by the locals close to Pokhri Hill which is a sacred place for the local population. The fun part is that you have to trek to these spots.

The Mahakal temple is a popular religious site for the Hindus located near Bhutan border. It is actually a cave dedicated to Lord Shiva and is also famous for bird watching. Also the Bala River bed is another spot for bird watching. Peacocks are easily spotted in this zone and taking a stroll along the bed will be gratifying. However, tourists are not allowed here at evening because of frequent visit from leopards. You can also visit the Bhutia Basti located 1.5 kilometers from Jayanti. Narthali Lake, Rajabhatkhawa and Santarbari are other tourist spots.

 

 

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Garuchira village eco tourism is a brilliant initiative of the government to assist development in the hilly region of north Bengal. The government bungalow as part of the tourism is located in Bandapani Bil, Dalgaon Range of Jalpaiguri Forest Division. Garuchira is located at a distance of 80 kilometers from Jalpaiguri and is a beautiful place surrounded by rivers. The eco tourism spot is a lovely one with elephants making rounds of the place. Its position in the foothills of Bhutan gives it a special place in the heart of the tourists. The peaceful ambiance and the vast greenery attract tourists to this heavenly place.

How to Reach Garuchira Village


Garuchira is around 80 kilometers from Alipurduar and you can reach the place by hiring a car from either Jalpaiguri or Alipurduar. Get down at the New Jalpaiguri railway station and take a taxi/car to Garuchira via Birpara. Dalgaon is another station where you can disembark from the train to arrive at Garuchira.

Accommodation in Garuchira Village


The eco spot at Garuchira has 3 cottages which have basic amenities for the guests. The cottages can accommodate 3 people at a time. Food is provided at the cottages. Plans for 2 more cottages and 5 tents are on the pipeline.

Attractions & Activities in Garuchira Village


Garuchira eco spot lies between the holy Supti and Reti Rivers making the land fertile and adding to the charm of the region. Fresh air, lot of greenery and peaceful atmosphere works wonders on the mind and soul of the visitors. The forest is full of Saal and Teak trees which you can explore with the guide. There is a watchtower at the eco spot from where you can frequently spot elephants. Garuchira serves as the gateway to the elephants from the neighboring land of Nepal. During the rainy season the rivers overflow and it looks extremely beautiful.

There is also a children’s park at Garuchira eco spot and also a man-made tank full of fish. You will find various species of colorful fish swimming inside the tank and holding your attention. For the adventure loving souls you can follow the trekking trail around 10 kilometers from the forest and reach Bhutan Hills. There is a monastery and a cement factory at Gomtu in Bhutan which is only 5 kilometers from Garuchira. Also visit the kali Temple in Makrapara close to Gomtu. Experience sheer bliss in these lands among the local village people and the wildlife free from your worries.

 

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Godk or Godak village in North Bengal is an upcoming tourist destination. The village is situated at a distance of 15 kilometers from Bindu at an elevated height with beautiful picturesque landscapes. It is also the seat of a tribal Goddess known as Debi sthan and is a sacred place for the tribal people. As tourists the landscape and also the tribal goddess will attract you to the place. You will get a glimpse of their religious rituals at this place. The tribal people worship the river here which they believe has originated from a rock which never dries.

How to Reach Godak village


Godk is an offbeat destination and hence is not crowded. It has also received assistance from the government in terms of the eco village tourism initiative. To reach Godk you have to reach Bindu which is well connected to the network of communication. Government buses, private buses and cars ply from Siliguri to Bindu covering a distance of 106 kilometers in 2 hours and 30 minutes. When hiring a taxi from Siliguri you will be charged per kilometer and the taxi fare is multiplied by either 12 or 15 INR per kilometers depending on the season. Bagdogra is the nearest airport which is only 16 kilometers from Siliguri and from there you have to hire a cab to arrive at Godk through Bindu. Alternatively, if you are taking the train, then get down at New Jalpaiguri and hire a taxi to Bindu.

Accommodation in Godak village


Godk does not offer any place to stay. You have to stay at Bindu to visit Godk village. There are private accommodations as well as government bungalow for tourists to stay. Making reservation for the government bungalow is recommended. The private accommodation facilities will suit every pocket.

Attractions & Activities in Godak village


The road leading to Bindu is wonderful with mountains, forests and rivulets. The beauty of nature will unfurl gradually in front of your eyes in its glory. Apart from the tribal goddess, Godk is also famous for cardamom plantation. There is a Cardamom Curing Center set up here by the government where cardamom is dyed and processed prior to delivery. This is the source of income for the tribal people settled here. You can also watch the process if you wish to.

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The Jhalong river camp on the banks of river Jaldhaka is a natural resort in the wilderness of Himalayan foothills known as Dooars. Jhalong is a small village which has been included in the eco tourism initiative taken up by West Bengal Forest Development Corporation. Visitors seeking peace amidst nature will find this place attractive with its pristine beauty. It is actually located on the Indo-Bhutan border which adds to the thrill of the visitors. The place is full of orange orchards, small houses amidst rolling hills and lush greenery. The Jaldhaka hydel power project of phase 2 is the highlight of the region.

How to Reach Jhalong River Camp


Jhallong is around 103 kilometers from Siliguri which is considered to be the gateway of North Bengal. It takes more or less 3 hours to arrive at Jhallong from SIliguri in bus or by a car. From Chalsa Jhallong is 55 kilometers and if you are travelling by train, you have to reach at New Mal junction. The nearest airport is Bagdogra. The route leading to Bindu-Jhallong is beautiful with forests, villages, hills and elephant corridors. This zone is famous for animal viewing where you can find leopards, bison, deer and of course elephants. The first glimpse of Jhallong from a hilltop is absolutely out of the world.

Accommodation in Jhallong River Camp


The best option for accommodation is the Jhallong river camp along the banks of Jaldhaka River. You have to leave your camp at the check post before entering the charming river camp. A small wooden footbridge over the meandering Jaldhaka and massive boulders will take you to the camps developed by WBFDC. There are 10 tents in the area and all are well facilitated and insulated to provide protection from the cold outside. The bed inside the tent is huge and the bathroom is attached to the room. They also have a small dressing unit for the visitors and a camp cot outside tents. The cost for the river camps is 1200-1500 INR depending on the bedrooms.

Attractions & Activities in Jhalong River Camp


Apart from the pollution free mesmerizing weather, there is another advantage of living in the camp; the performance of the local people. In the evening you can witness a lovely song and dance performance by the local people while feasting on hot momos and barbecued chicken. For dinner the Hakka noodles and Chilli chicken is highly recommended. In the morning and also during the evening you will be served with high quality fragrant tea to calm your taste buds.

They can arrange Barbeque and Camp Fire with extra cost. Camp Fire costs around 500/- and Barbeque depends on the amount of Chicken you’d take. Chicken cost cost may vary 400/ – to 500/- per KG.

Wake up to the gushing sound of the Jaldhaka in the morning and admiring the sunrise over the mountains while sipping a cup of hot tea. Once you have finished the breakfast start the day with a village tour followed by a visit to the hydel power station. If you love the river most, then you can angel in it for sometime or go bird watching. Brown Dipper, Little Fortail, Crested Kingfisher, Slaty-backed Forktail, Eurasian Wryneck, Laughing Thrush are some the species you will notice. Since the entire region is full of trekking trails you can take one to reach Todey and Tagta points to admire the panoramic view.

Photo Courtesy: krishnandusarkar.com

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Murshidabad is a place of historic importance situated on the southern bank of River Bhagirathi. It was the last capital of Independent Bengal from 1717 to 1773 when the East India Company shifted its capital to Kolkata. The present city is renowned for its silks and places of historical interest. It also serves as the district head quarters of Murshidabad district.

Attractions & Activities in Murshidabad


Murshidabad is renowned for its places of historical importance. The tale of Bengal’s golden era prior to the British rule comes alive in Murshidabad.

Hazaar Duaari, Murshidabad, West-Bengal

Hazarduari
Named after the 1000 doors it contains, this palace was built by Duncan McLeod in 1837 for the ruling Nawab. It showcases the European architecture of yesteryears a nd has been converted into a museum at present. It has been named as the largest site museum by the, ‘Archaeological Survey of India.’ Continue Reading →

Imambara A hallmark of Islamic architecture in Murshidabad, West Bengal

Imambara
A revered site of Shia Muslims, the Imambara was built on the ruins of the wooden one, which had been gutted by fire. It is 680 feet long and is situated on the banks of the River Bhagirathi and is divided into three distinct sections. Continue Reading →

Wasef Manzil
The palace resembles a castle in some ways and was used as a residence by Nawab Wasaf Ali Mirza. It has been converted into a museum now and is maintained by the ‘Archaeological Survey of India.’ There are several marble statues and a fountain in the garden in front of the building. Continue Reading →

Mursidabad Katra Mosque A Must See for History Buffs inside, West Bengal

Katra Mosque
This historical mosque was believed to have been commissioned by Nawab Murshid Quli Khan in 1723. It could accommodate around 2000 people who offered Namaz, at the same time. The famous canon Jahan Kosha (Destroyer of World) can be seen here. Some parts of the mosque had been damaged in the earthquake of 1897. Continue Reading →

 

Sholapith Devi Durga, Murshidabad

Art and Craft
Ivory, wood, Indian Cork (Sholapith) and Silk industry was very rich culture when the Nawabs of Bengal were the rulers of Bengal at Murshidabad. But it had to face a crisis when the Nawabs lost their kingdom and independence during the time of British Empire.  But the art of silk sari has maintained its quality till now. Now a day’s Murshidabad Silk production is going down because of the low earnings of the sari makers. Continue Reading →

 

Jahankosha Canon, Murshidabad

Jahankosha Canon
Jahankosha canon weighing 16,880 lb is 17.5 feet long with a girth of 5 feet at the touch hole end. The diameter of the touch hole is 1.5 inches and the diameter of the orifice is 6 inches.  Continue Reading →

Moti Jheel
Moti Jheel is a charming horseshoe shaped lake located 1 kilometer south of Lalbagh. The land adjoining Moti Jheel witnessed the celebration of Lord Clive after he acquired Bengal, Bihar and Orissa in 1765.  Continue Reading →

Cemetery of Siraj-Ud-Daula
The cemetery of Siraj-ud-Daulah or Khoshbag as it is popularly known as is located at the Bhagirathi River bank in the west. The tomb is also shared by his wife, Lutf-un-nisa and his grandfather, Alivardi Khan. Continue Reading →

Mosque at Khoshbag Cemetary
This mosque is located inside the premises of Khoshbag which is the final resting place of the Nawabs belonging to the Afshar dynasty ruling Bengal. It has the tombs of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah, his wife, grandfather and grandfather’s mother. Continue Reading →

War Memorial at the Battle of Plassey Ground, Murshidabad

War Memorial at the Battle of Plassey Ground
The battle ground of Plassey lying on the banks of the Bhagirathi River holds lot of historical significance. The British East India Company defeated the last independent Nawab of Bengal Siraj-ud-Daulah in the Battle of Plassey in 1757 which decided the fate of Calcutta and India. Continue Reading →

Nimak Haram Deori Inner Side, Murshidabad

Nimak Haram Deori
Nimak Haram Deori is the main gate leading to Mir Jafar, the traitor’s palace Jafargunj. It is located at a distance of only 1 kilometer from the magnificent Hazarduari. Visitors cannot enter into the palace as it is well guarded. Continue Reading →

Nasipur Palace
Nasipur Palace - Nasipur Raj Bari, Murshidabad According to Holiday HotSpot, Nasipur Palace is one of the primary attractions of Murshidabad which generally brims with visitors. Constructed in 1723-24 by Murshi Quli Khan this imposing structure has high minarets. Continue Reading →

Kathgola Palace
Kathgola Palace - Katgola Bagan The Kathgola Palace built in the garden premises of Raja Dhanpat Singh Dugar and Lakshmipath Singh Dugar is located in the southern part of Nasipur. It is an impressive structure constituting a central drawing room, a library, billiard room, bedroom and dining room. Continue Reading →

Footi Mosque
Footi Mosque or masjid as it called in Urdu is an unfinished work of Nawab Sarafaraz Khan. It is located at a distance of a mile from Hazarduari Palace. Continue Reading →

Ghari Minar
The Ghari Minar or the Clock Tower of Murshidabad, West Bengal is located on coordinates 24°11′15″N 88°16′10″E / 24.187381°N 88.269315°E is a famous tourists spot. It is located to the south of Hazarduari Palace in the Nizamat Fort premises. Continue Reading →

Chalk Masjid
The Chalk Masjid or Mosque in Murshidabad is quite a popular tourist attraction. It was constructed by Mirjafar, the infamous traitor who killed the last Independent Nawab of Bengal, Siraj-ud-Daulah in 1767. The Chalk Masjid stands tall at 125 feet and is quite an imposing structure. Continue Reading →

Jafraganj Muqbara
Jafarganj Muqbara or cemetery was built on an area of 3.51 acres by Mir Jafar. It is located approximately half a mile north to the Nizamat Fort premises inside the bigger campus of Namak Haram Deuri. Continue Reading →

Dutch Cemetery
The Dutch Cemetery is located next to the Cossimbazar railway station at Kalkapur where the Dutch owned huge factories in the historical times. The grandeur of the Dutch has been ruined and small tombs of 43 in number remain to this day.  Continue Reading →

Cossimbazar Kuthi
Cossimbazar Kuthi is a relatively less popular tourist spot in Murshidabad. The bazaar area used to be famous due to its silk production which has reduced these days. However, the Cossimbazar Kuthi stall stands at present. Continue Reading →

Adinathji Mandir - Pareshnath Temple, Kathgola Palace Garden, Murshidabad

Adinathji Mandir or Pareshnath Temple
Adinathji Mandir is situated in the premises of Kathgola gardens which also houses the famous Kathgola Palace. Adinathji Mandir is also known as Pareshnath Temple dedicated to Bhagwan Adishvar. Continue Reading →

Char bangla Mandir
The Char Bangla Mandir or temple is located in Azimganj, Baranagore of Murshidabad district. It was built by Rani Bhavani, the Queen of Natore in 18th century. Continue Reading →

Jain temples of Azimganj
Azimganj small town in Murshidabad is home to 7 Jain temples of immense historical, architectural and spiritual value are located. Continue Reading →

Roshni Bag
Roshni Bag is the mausoleum or muqbara of Suja-ud-Daulah located in Murshidabad district. Suja-ud-Daulah dies in 1739 and was buried in this spot. When translated in English it means ‘garden of lights’. Continue Reading →

Farah Bag
Farah Bag is the third of the garden trio in Lalbagh which means ‘garden of pleasure’. Farah Bagh is the smallest among the garden trio and is located on the banks of Bhagirath River. Dahapara, the famous settlement of the Qanungo is situated on the south-western part of Farah Bagh. Continue Reading →

Bhubaneshwari Mandir

Nearby Places in Murshidabad


Cossimbazar Palace, MurshidabadCossimbazar Palace
This is a census town in Murshidabad, renowned for its historical importance. It is believed to have been a great trading center before Calcutta came up as the primary hub of commercial activities. Continue Reading →

Saidabad
This town is situated in between Murshidabad and Berhampur and had been an Armenian stronghold in the 17th and 18th centuries. Continue Reading →

Baranagore
This riverside palace was constructed by the Zamindars of Natore ( now in Bangladesh). The place is linked with the tales of the famous Rani Bhavani and her efficiency in managing the zamindari. Continue Reading →

Berhampur
Also known as Baharampur, it is the best urban town of west Bengal. It is famous for Karna Subarna, the ancient capital of King Shashank of Bengal and the remnants of the British army which includes the four canons located at four corners of the Barrack Square. Continue Reading →

How to Reach Murshidabad


Murshidabad is well connected to Kolkata and the North of Bengal by road and railways.

Railways: Lalgola Passenger, Hazar Duari Express and Bhagirathi Express are some of the trains plying from Kolkata to Murshidababad. The duration of journey is about 4:30 to 5 hours with the fare ranging from Rs 0-Rs 150 per passenger.

Road: A number of State Transport buses as well as private buses are available regularly for travelling between Kolkata and Murshidabad. It is also possible to rent a luxury taxi and travel by road. Car rentals cost around Rs 4500 for a round trip.

When to Visit  Murshidabad


Murshidabad is accessible all through the year. However, the months of September- February are particularly pleasant due to the mild weather.

Accommodation in Murshidabad


Murshidabad offers a large number of mid to cheap range hotels and lodges including youth hostels. Accomodation at WBTDC’s ‘Berhampore Tourist Lodge’ can be confirmed from Kolkata as well.

Baharampur Tourist Lodge
34 KN Road, Baharampur, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 600 – 1,200
Phone: 250439

Paramount Hotel
Hazi Abdul Kader NTPC, Murishidabad
Tariff: Rs. 700 – 1,000

Sunshine Hotel
Panchanantala, Berhampore
Tariff: Rs. 1,000 – 2,000
Telephone: +91-3482-277322/257798/277670

Hotel Sangam
Near to Berhampore port, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 800

Sonar Tary Lodge
SDO More, Dumkal, Murshidabad
Tariff Rs. 400 – 600

The Fame Hotel
Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 1,000 – 5,000

Manjusha Hotel
Lalbagh, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 700

Indrajit Hotel
Station Road, Murishidabad
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 800

Bhagirathi Hotel
49/1,K.N.Road, Berhampore, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 900

Hotel Sabar Proyo
Lalkgola Bazar, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 600

Hotel Indigo, Raghunathganj
Murshidabad Road, Jangipur
Tariff: Rs. 800 – 1,050

Hotel Anwesha, Hazarduary, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 500 – 1,000
Telephone: +91 9434115470

Maa Tara Hindu Hotel, Nagar, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 200 – 250

Niranjan Nibas, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 600

New Mayur Hotel
92/8, Pilkhana Road Post, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 500

Hotel Sagnik
77-Omrahaganj (Lalbagh), PO-Murshidabad, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 450 – 1,500

White House Hotel
Near Bus Stand, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 560 – 760

Prince Hotel, Omarpur Post
Ghorshala, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 800

Hotel Samrat, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 1,000 – 2,000

Provath Hotel, Nagar, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 250 – 300

Sourav Lodge, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 400 – 600

Hotel Asha, Murshidabad
Tariff: Rs. 300 – 600

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Tarun Pradhan

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The Sundarbans is a mangrove forest extending from Bangladesh into the hinterlands of West Bengal, India. It has been named as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The forest is thick and the area, covered with marshy swamps and salt water. It is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, of which only 400 are left here. Crocodiles, spotted deers, snakes, primates and many different species of birds can be seen here. Tourists need to have a permit to visit the Sunderbans especially the Tiger Reserve.

How to Reach

The Sunderbans are easily accessible from Kolkata. The popular means of reaching there include:-

Railways– It is possible to take the local train from Kolkata to Canning and travel by boat thereafter.

Road– Travelling by bus to various locations like Namkhana, Canning, Raidighi, Najat, and Sonakhali, is mandatory as the riverine waterways are accessible only from these areas.

Motoboat– A number of motorboat routes operates in the Sunderbans. The most popular routes are:-

  • From Namkhana – Bhagabatpur Crocodile Project- Sagar Island to Jambudwip
  • From Sajnekhali – Sudhanyakhali-Buridabri- Netidhopan to Holiday Island
  • From Sonakhali  to Gosaba
  • From Raidighi to Kalas

It is also possible to hire private boats along with an experienced guide. The prices range from Rs 1500-Rs 2000 per day for a boat.

Attractions & Activities

The rich animal life along with the unique mangrove forest are the main attractions of the place. Some of the ‘must see’ attractions of the Sunderbans include:-

  • Holiday Island famous for the Barking Deers.
  • Sudhanyakhali Watch Tower – An ideal place for tiger sighting. Other wildlife like deers and crocodiles may also be observed.
  • Sajnekhali Pakiralaya – Bird watching center containing 248 species of birds.
  • Sajnekhali Watch Tower – This watch tower also contains a museum, a crocodile park and a Bonobibi Temple within its premises.
  • Bhagbatpur crocodile project – This is a crocodile-breeding farm and the hatchery of the largest estuarine crocodile.
  • Netidhopani – It has a 400-year-old temple.
  • Kanak – Olive Ridley Turtles can be sighted here.

It is also possible to visit the nearby villages and chat to the local people about the hardships of living in the Sunderbans.

Accommodation

There are a few private resorts apart from the Government lodging facilities like the Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge, available in the Sunderbans. Bookings need to be made from Kolkata and most of them include a sightseeing trip as well.

When to Visit

The best season for visiting the Sunderbans is between September and February. The monsoon season is best avoided as the rainwater gets trapped by the trees making it impossible to get around. However, a few International tourists insist on visiting the area in April-may during the peak norwester season.

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Rocky Island is an upcoming tourist destination in the Samsing hills of Dooars region in northern Bengal. The name Rocky Island promises lot of adventure and the place actually fulfills them. The name not only promises adventure but also evokes images of big and small rocks making an interesting trail for the tourists to follow. Well, the place has it all and once you reach there you will know that it has lived up to your expectations. You will spot massive rocks on the island named as Bhimsen, Hansdunga, Pathar Kailas, and Neel Kanta. Rocky Island is about 3 kilometers uphill from Suntalekhola and is an enchanting place away from the crowds amidst the sound of the flowing Murti River.

How to reach Rocky Island


how-to-reach-rocky-island-state-of-west-bengalRocky Island is only 3 kilometers from Suntalekhola and can be travelled on foot only. You can arrive at Suntalekhola by getting down at New Mal junction if you are traveling by train and rent a trekker to reach Samsing which is only 34 kilometers from the junction. Do not forget to bargain the charge with the driver. Suntalekhola is uphill about 3 kilometers from Samsing. The entire route is charming with lush tea gardens, mountains and small brooks. You will see and feel nature bounty in this place and breathe some fresh air. The Bagdogra airport is around 75 kilometers from Suntalekhola.

Accommodation in Rocky Island


rocky-island-state_of_west_bengal3Visitors can stay overnight at Rocky Island. The Rocky Island Adventure Camp is the perfect place for adventure enthusiasts. The best part about the eco resort is that the owners haven’t fallen prey to commercialization of the place. It still holds its natural charm which enthralls and allures tourists. Accommodation is available in the form of tents to provide the real feel of camping. The double and single bed rooms with attached baths cost between 800 and 1200 INR while the ones with unattached facility costs 800 INR. The dome rent facility is available at 400 INR and for food you have to spend 250 INR which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Attractions in Rocky Island


The camp provides a great opportunity to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the lower Neora Valley Valley Park. There are caves adjacent to the massive rocks which can be explored by the adventure lovers. Since a number of trekking trails originate from this zone, you can take them to reach different points like Bhalukope, Mouchuki, Jhandidara and Sherpagaon. You can also indulge in rappelling in Rocky Island which is generally not facilitated on hills in India. If you are visiting during summer season, enjoy a bath in the river.

Photo Courtesy: northbengaltourism.com, virtualtourist.com and indiamike.com

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Suntalekhola is a small hamlet located at an altitude of around 750 meters in the Dooars Himalayan foothills of West Bengal. Suntalekhola when translated in English means ‘orange stream’ and is quite a beautiful and peaceful tourist destination. It lies about 4 kilometers from Samsing and is also the south eastern entry point of Neora Valley National Park. The WBFDC cottages or river camp is the best place to stay in Suntalekhola because it offers unhindered view of the beautiful green landscape and the high mountains. A number of trekking routes originate from Suntalekhola most of which lead to the National Valley National Park. This is an added attraction for the adventurous souls.

How to reach Suntalekhola River Camp


Disembark at New Mal junction if you are traveling by train and hire a car to arrive at Samsing which is only 34 kilometers from the junction. Do not forget to negotiate the fare with the driver. Suntalekhola is uphill about 4 kilometers from Samsing. The entire route is charming with lush tea gardens, mountains and small streams. You can feel the nature here and breathe some fresh air. The Bagdogra airport is around 75 kilometers from Suntalekhola.

Accommodation in Suntalekhola River Camp


You will find the deluxe cottages as soon as you cross the check post. There are 4 tents which are names Cruiser, Popinjay, Windmill and Swiss Spangle. The tents are well facilitated for camping. There are attached bathrooms with geysers and also mini steel wardrobe along with dressing units. They also provide fan and light inside the tents. They serve to the guests as well and you can have chicken at dinner. A plastic table and chairs are furnished inside the tent for the guests to use. The Swiss Luxury tent comes at 1200-1400 INR and the Nature Education and Wilderness Resort with 2 bedrooms come at 1100 INR and the suite at 1500 INR. The reservation can be done at the forest department office.

Attractions in Suntalekhola River Camp


You will have a close contact with nature and explore it at your freewill. There is a suspended footbridge in front of the camp area which leads to the Suntalekhola Nature Resort. Here, you can spend time amidst beautiful and colorful flowers and enjoy the sight. Coming so close to nature also provides an opportunity to bird watching. This place is famous for that and you will find Golden-spectacled and Chestnut-crowned Warblers, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Grey Nightjar, White-naped and Black-chinned Yuhinas, Long-tailed Sibia and many more. Apart from bird watching you can trek to the entry point of Neora Valley National Park known as Mouchuki which is 6 kilometers trek from Suntalekhola.

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Khunia forest is basically a vast stretch of grassland with a huge watchtower standing almost in the middle of it. It is a part of the vast expanse of jungle covering the banks of Murti River from Latagur-Chalsa-Murti-Dhupjhora-Batabri-Ramsai-Kalipur and Neora river bed. Khunia lies on the way to Chapramari from Gorumara. The distance of Chapramari from Khunia is only 1 kilometer. The watchtower inside the forest is known as the Chandrachur watchtower which was formerly known as Khunia watchtower. This watchtower is famous for offering views of the entire expanse of the forest and also animals like bisons and elephants.

How to reach Khunia forest


Khunia forest can be reached by driving on the NH-31 Highway because the Khunia junction just outside the forest interconnects eastern and western Dooars. Khunia lies on the western part of the jungle. You will have to drive straight from Gorumara National Park from Murti River to reach Khunia forest. You will reach a crossing from where you have to take the left diversion to arrive at Khunia.

Attractions in Khunia forest


Formerly, there used to be a small settlement known as the Khunia Basti inside the forest only. However, the settlement was cleared and shifted outside the forest to keep the vast stretch of forest intact. Now, the Chandrachur watchtower (Khunia formerly) provides uninterrupted view of animals. The watchtower is also a vantage point offering panoramic view of the wilderness with the meandering Murti River. Unfortunately, there is no lodging facility in the forest. It is an open wilderness with a watchtower for the visitors to enjoy the panoramic view of the sprawling forest.

Just outside the Khunia forest is the Khunia More which is a significant junction. Near the Khunia More is the Batabari forest with the Batabari settlement. The Batabari is a part of the Gorumara Park but is a less significant one. From the Khunia junction one road extends towards Bindu which is the Indo-Bhutan border area and the other leads to Batabari, Murti and Lataguri which is also the entrance of Gorumara. A third extension goes towards Malbazar and the 4th one towards Jaldapara.

While you can find out which road leads where, pay a short visit to the Khunia Park just off the road. This is also a beautiful example of natural abundance in North Bengal. The best time to drive through the forest is of course in the morning. Start early and drive safely and you may spot an elephant crossing the road.

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