Chilapata Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the heart of Eastern Dooars at the Himalayan foothills. It serves as the corridor between Buxa Tiger Reserve National Park and Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary for Asian elephants and One Horned Rhinos. It is only 20 kilometers from Alipurduar and is an hour’s drive. Mendabari Jungle Camp is the eco tourism resort of Chilapata Forest. The camp is 2 kilometers inside the forest in Kodal basti or settlement and provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for adventure lovers to stay amidst vast jungle accompanied by wild animals 24 hours. If you wish to be thrilled to the core, this place is for you.

How to reach Chilapata


Chilapata Wildlife Sanctuary and Mendabari Camp are accessible through road, rail and air. You have to take National Highway 31 to reach Chilapata if you are driving your car. By air you have to come to Bagdogra airport from where you can hire a taxi to take you to Chilapata. The easiest is however boarding a train and disembarking at Alipurduar station from where it is only an hour’s drive to Chilapata Wildlife Sanctuary. The Mendabari Jungle Camp is 2 kilometers inside the forest.

Accommodation in Chilapata


Mendabari Jungle Camp reminds one of the rural lives of our ancestors. It is absolute bliss and also undaunted thrill that you will experience here. The Elephant cottage is made with cement, brick and wood in local style standing on concrete stilts while the Bamboo cottages are more authentic ones made from eco-friendly materials capturing the traditional architecture of the tribal houses. Food is prepared from the fresh organic local produce and offers different varieties of local the local cuisine. It is served on thatched dining tables with 4 sides open to enjoy uninterrupted view of the jungle. However, you are not allowed to go out of the cottage at night on bare foot because leopards have been noticed in the zone. The Elephant cottage cost 1500 INR and the bamboo cottage comes at 1000 INR. Food is charged separately.

Attractions & Activities in Chilapata


Chilapata Wildlife Sanctuary is home to 23 species of herbivores and carnivores and around 22 species of reptiles and 180 species of birds. Some rare orchids and trees and plants are found in the forest as well. This diverse flora and fauna is nurtured by the rivers Torsha and Bania which bring in the fresh monsoon alluvial soil. Apart from Asian elephants and one horned rhinos, sambar, barking deer, wild boar, hog deer, cheetal, leopard, and monkey can be found in the forest. You will be able to spot majority of these animals from the Mendabari watchtower on wildlife safari.

Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary and Khyerbari Leopard Rescue Center are close by. Mathura Tea Estate and Rabha Tribal community are the other tourist attractions near the forest. Deep within the forest lay the ruins of the fort of Nalraj. The historians are divided on the era of its construction and trace it back to 5th -7th century. Only the entrance of the fort is now visible. While returning back you will see the ‘bleeding treeknown as Ran Guna. Other activities include baoting on Bania River, angling and trekking the jungle trails.

Related Posts:


Ponbu is a small almost insignificant village of Eastern Himalayas. It is situated on the trek route from Samthar village to Purbikhola. Ponbu is part of adventure tourism on the eastern Himalayan range and is 8 kilometers from Samthar village. Located atop the ridge overlooking the vast Teesta River Valley and the surrounding plain lands of Terai, Ponbu is a refreshing break from the busy life in lower Kalimpong hills. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the view from Ponbu. There are numerous waterfalls cascading downstream to meet the Ponbu Khola which further flows into the mighty Teesta River. All these streams form isolated valleys which are all individual trekking spots.

How to reach Ponbu village


Reach Ponbu by trekking from Samthar and put up at the home stays due to be scarcity of hotels or other accommodation units. Take some time out to enjoy a typical village life at the home stays with the residents at their farmlands and poultry. Ponbu is home to around 100 families.

Attractions  at Ponbu


The trekking route to Ponbu is actually a bird watching trip. You can explore the Nezeok Reserve Forest which is home to around 250 species of birds. Some of them include White Browed Shrike Babbler, Greater Yellownaped, Blue Throated Barbet, Blue Winged Minla, Ashy Bulbul, Pygmy Blue Flycatcher (female), Paddy Field Pipit, Streaked Spiderhunter, Longtail Broadbill, Orange Bellied Flowerpecker, Blue Whistling Thrush. This trek is actually a bird watcher’s paradise and one that you will never forget.

Trekking at Ponbu


You can walk down to the Teesta Valley through this route if you are interested. Explore the river banks of Teesta and Rilli. While exploring you will find an exciting way to cross the river practiced by the local people. The hand pulled ropeway is one of the most thrilling ways to cross the Teesta River. Though not for the faint hearted, it is generally an attraction of this place. After you have explored enough, drive down to Kalimpong Gurudongma House for overnight stay.

The trekking trip to Ponbu is generally divided into Upper and Lower Ponbu and it is on the lower Ponbu trip you can admire the course of Teesta and its valley.

Accommodation in Ponbu


Generally, tourists do not stay overnight in Ponbu because that is outside the trekking itinerary. However, if you wish to stay there, then home stays will be available with food. Sometimes, the trekking team sets up camps at Ponbu to explore the variety of birds in the region.

Related Posts: