Murti is a lovely getaway located on the banks of the meandering river of the same name. It is the perfect weekend destination for people looking to escape the din and bustle of city life. Murti the river originates from the Neora Valley National Park and flows through the main tourist attractions of Dooars before meeting the River Jaldhaka. It is along its bank stretching for 80 kilometers that the famous forests of Dooars have developed and are sustained. All the popular watchtowers of the forests are built overlooking Murti River. Murti, the place was initially a picnic spot but now with the resort it has become of the most popular getaways in North Bengal.

How to reach Murti


Murti can be reached by rail after reaching at the New Mal junction or the New Jalpaiguri junction from where you can hire cars. The nearest airport is Bagdogra and the National Highway 31 connects Murti to other cities and small towns. The distance of Murti from Siliguri is 73 kilometers while from New Mal it is 18 kilometers. From Chalsa it is a distance of only 8 kilometers which hardly takes a half an hour drive.

Accommodation in Murti


Hotels in Murti Dooars

Banani or Prakriti O Poribesh Beekshan Kendra is the nature education and wilderness resort located next to Gorumara National Park on the Nahrakata-Lataguri road. The bungalow is amidst sal forest on the bank of River Murti and is the primary choice of any tourist. It offers 12 rooms including one suite providing the best view of the river and the forest. Another excellent accommodation facility known as the Murti Tourist Lodge run by West Bengal Tourism is located near Gorumara National Park on the river bank. The rooms are tent or cottage style with a view of the river bed and animals. Other facilities include the privately run Prime Murti, Riverwood Forest Retreat, The Ca-Cur-Badi Forest Resort, Dreamland Hotel, Resort Olive Village and Dooars Nest. Food is available at all these accommodation facilities.

Attractions in Murti


Murti can be visited anytime of the year because it has a pleasant climate. However, it is wise to avoid the monsoons because you will not be able to explore the forests on either side of the river. The Gorumara National Park and the Chapramari Forest are on opposite banks of Murti and are famous for the diverse flora and fauna. There is a small bridge through which you can cross the river and arrive at the jungles on either side. You can explore the jungles either on elephant back or through jeep safari depending on your choice. The beauty of nature in the region is quite a visual treat. However, roaming around the area at night is not advised because wild animals flock on the banks to quench their thirst.

Wild Bisons crossing Murti river.

Wild Bisons crossing Murti river.

Angling, camping and hiking through the trails are some of the commonest and most adventurous activities in and around Murti. If you are bird enthusiast then this is a paradise for you as you will see various local and migratory birds on the river bed. You can also spot alligators in the river. Other tourist attractions include the Panjhora River picnic spot, Chukchuki, Chalsa, Khunia, Jhalong, Bindu, Samsing and Suntalekhola.

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Tamal Majhi, Anirban Banerjee, indiamike.com/ranjankumardey, ghumakkar.com

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Sikia Jhora is a rivulet flowing through the famous Buxa Tiger Reserve surrounded by Damanpur Range. Sikia Jhora stream can be found in North Panialguri in Alipurduar subdivision. Taking into account the eco village tourism development initiative and the increasing number of tourists flocking the region, government had built a dam and an embankment along the stream a few years back. Sikia Jhora is one of the major tourist highlights apart from the tigers inside the Buxa reserve. Boating is allowed on the brooke and it also a famous bird watching spot. However, the rivulet swells up during rainy season and hence it is not a good idea to visit the place during monsoons.

How to reach Sikia Jhora


Sikia Jhora is well connected with the other parts of the country through air, road and rail. Several trains from metro cities arrive at New Alipurduar station or the New Jalpaiguri junction from where you can hire taxis to arrive at the spot. Kamrup and Saraighata are some of the express trains of the region. Buses also ply between Alipurduar and Sikia Jhora. Bagdogra is the nearest airport. Alternatively, if you are traveling in your own car, then Buxa is only 25 kilometers from Rajabhatkhawa which is at a short distance from Alipurduar.

Accomodation in Sikia Jhora


Both homestays and government bungalows are available for tourists at various spots in and around the Buxa Tiger Reserve. South Ridak, Raimatung, Jayanti and Kumargram are some of the places where you can stay and go on a day’s visit to Sikia Jhora.

Attractions & Activities in Sikia Jhora


This beautiful tourist destination is maintained by the eco tourism development committee constituting local villagers. They take care of the tourists visiting the region. Opposite to Sikia Jhora is the Kalkut forest which is also a popular picnic spot. Jaydevpur, Sahibbandh and Hatipota are some more picnic spots being developed close by for tourists. There is also a watchtower from where you can view the diverse flora and fauna of the region.

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Buxa Tiger Reserve is located in the foothills of Bhutan covering an area of 790 square kilometers and is of course famous for tigers, civet and red jungle fowl. The forest was declared as a tiger reserve in 1983 and received the title of National Park in 1992. Buxa Tiger Reserve forest is the largest in North Bengal and is home to second largest tiger population in entire West Bengal after Sunderbans. There are many species of mammals, reptiles, birds and an amazing collection of medicinal plants and orchids. It is only 24 kilometers from Alipurduar and about 180 kilometers from Siliguri, reckoned as the gateway of Bengal. Certain parts of the forest have still remained unexplored due to inaccessible terrain.

How to reach Buxa Fort and Tiger Reserve Forest


way to buxa fort through buxa tiger reserve forest

way to buxa fort through buxa tiger reserve forest

Buxa Tiger Reserve is well connected to the major modes of conveyance. If you are traveling by train, you have to reach Alipurduar station which is 37 kilometers from Buxa forest. You can hire a taxi from the station. Alternatively, you can fly by air for which the only airport is Bagdogra. People who are traveling by their own car should take the NH-31 to reach Bux through Rajabhatkhawa which is 25 kilometers away from the spot.

Accommodation in Buxa Fort and Tiger Reserve Forest


Both homestays and government bungalows are available for tourist accommodation. Buxa Duar, Nimati/Range, South Ridak, Raimatung, Jayanti and Kumargram are some of the places where bungalow accommodation maintained by West Bengal Forest Development Corporation is available. The one at south Raidak has been renovated of late and the Jayanti and Buxa Duar bungalows offer 16 bed dormitories. Rajabhatkhawa offers government rest houses for tourists. Homestays are available at Jayanti, Raimatung and BuxaDuar. The houses are nice with warm hospitality of the village folks. There is also arrangement for food in the bungalows.

Attractions & Activities in Buxa Fort and Tiger Reserve Forest


Buxa Tiger Reserve Forest is home to over 400 species of trees, 400 species of herbs, 150 species of orchids, 250 species of shrubs, 100 species of grass, and about 130 species of aquatic flora. The forest is full of Champa, Simul, Chikrasi, Gamar and Sal trees. Even the fauna has wide variety in it. Asian Tiger, elephant, bison, sambar, giant squirrel, antelopes and wild boar can be spotted in the jungle. The forest is also a bird watcher’s paradise boasting 284 species of birds. Beautifully colored butterflies can also be found here. The Narthali Lake and the banks of Raidak and Jayanti Rivers are popular spots for watching migratory birds. It is home to some endangered species of animals as well.

Buxa Fort lies about 4 kilometers from the forest. Now only the ruins can be seen which used to be a major seat of the British administration once. Since it sits at an altitude of 2600 feet you have to trek through the forest to reach it. The fort used to serve as a prison for the British at one point and therefore even the ruins have lot of historical significance. Number of trekking routes originates from here which include Santrabari, Rover’s Point, Rupam Valley and Jayanti village to fulfill your dose for adventure.

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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


Joyanti resort

Joyanti resort

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.

Photo CourtesySubhadip Chowdhury, Weekend Destinations, Pranab K De and santanu1977

 

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