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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Samsing is a small hamlet located on the border of Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in the foothills. Enjoying an elevation of 3,000 feet, Samsing is beautiful in its natural glory. The vast landscape, forests, hills, tea gardens add to the charm of this hamlet which is increasingly becoming a popular tourist destination. The village is divided into two sections- the tea garden area and the basti that is the settlement zone which is inhabited by around 2500 people. Samsing is 8 kilometers from Meteli, 15 kilometers from Chalsa, 19 kilometers from Malbazar, 50 kilometers from Mongpong, 80 kilometers from Siliguri and 26 kilometers from Gorumara. The land experiences mild weather throughout the year which is another reason for its popularity as a tourist destination.

How to reach Samsing


Reaching Samsing is easy because it’s accessible by road. It’s a 3 hour drive from Siliguri and the route is most rewarding. It has visually stunning and picturesque landscape which seems like the backdrop of a romantic film. On the National Highway-31 you have to cross Malbazar to reach Chalsa from where its 15 minutes drive to Meteli by taking the left turn. These 8 kilometers is the most rewarding because the road is flanked by sprawling tea gardens- the Samsing and Zurantee tea gardens making the route enchanting. However, the road leading to Samsing is quite narrow so one must drive carefully.

Accommodation facilities in Samsing


Samsing provides plenty of accommodation facilities to the tourists. Suntalekhola is the ideal place to stay and most of the tourists put up at the cottages here. Suntalekhola is about 4 kilometers uphill from Samsing and has well facilitated cottages and bungalows maintained by West Bengal Forest Department. Cross a small hanging bridge to arrive at the government resort at Suntalekhola. Alternatively, you can stay at the Rocky Island Nature Resort which is located on the banks of Murti River. You will be provided tents for overnight stay to enjoy the beautiful and mysterious atmosphere of the region. If you wish to see the lifestyle of the local people, then Faribasti homestay will be the best option for you. Experience their hospitality and also their love for nature.

Attractions in Samsing


Staying at any of these places will be a treat for your eyes because of the pristine nature and of course the meandering Murti River. The river turbulently flows from Neora Valley National Park through Samsing to reach Jaldhaka near Gorumara National Park. You can also hear the sound of the water splashing against the rocks. At Suntalekhola you will notice a beautiful orange stream flowing through the land and making it picturesque. Suntalekhola and Rocky Island also serve as picnic spots for local people along with Laliguras which is again a beautiful place with lush greenery amidst mountains.

For adventure take the trek routes originating from Suntalekhola leading to Neora Valley national Park. But you must seek permission from the forest department to enter the park. Other trekking routes lead to Tree Fern Point and Mo or Mo Chaki from where the Himalayan Mountains are visible on one side. The snow covered Jalep La pass is also visible from here.

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