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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Chukchuki Watchtower is also known as Chukchuki Birding Point inside the Gorumara National Park. It is an ideal vantage point for watching myriad birds and photographing them. Tourists visiting Gorumara are taken to the watchtower for bird watching either on elephant back or by a car. It is a bird watcher’s paradise where one can spot local as well as migratory birds. The watchtower is situated towards the end of the park and provides perfect view of the birds. It is one among many other watchtowers in the park from where visitors can spot different animals like rhinos for which the park is famous.

How to reach Chukchuki Watchtower


Chukchuki can be reached only after you have arrived at Gorumara National Park. Gorumara can be reached by air, rail or by road depending on the place you are coming from. The park is only 10 kilometers from Chalsa and 1 kilometer from Lataguri. Bagdogra is the nearest airport if you are traveling by flight and New Jalpaiguri or Maalbazar are the stations where you have to reach to arrive at Gorumara. Alternatively, you can take your car and opt for a long drive also. In that case, Highway NH-31 will be the route.

Attractions in Chukchuki Watchtower


There are 5 camps in Gorumara National Park where you can put up during your sojourn. However, you will have to book in advance in order to get rooms and guide for your elephant ride. There is a cafeteria where you can have food and snacks and also watch tribal dance in the evening.

You will be taken to the Chukchuki watchtower on the back of an elephant which is the most exciting activity in the forest or you can also opt for the four wheeler safari in which case you will ride a jeep. You will watch birds like Indian Hornbill, Spangled Drongo, Scarelet Minivet, Peafowls, Peacocks, woodpeckers, pheasants, Asian paradise suncatcher. These are all submontane forest birds and the place is also famous for migratory birds among which the rare Brahminy duck can also be spotted.

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Ramsai eco camp is basically a rhino camp located close to Kalipur eco camp in Gorumara. It happens one of the 5 camps managed by the forest department of Jalpaiguri established to promote tourism in the Gorumara region. Of course, like all the other 4 this Ramsai eco camp also provides an opportunity to experience jungle stay full of adventure and wildlife safari. An added opportunity at this camp is the vast tea estate of Ramsai. In fact, for adventure lovers visiting the place during monsoon will be a great idea because at Ramsai rhino camp tourists are allowed during this time of the year.

How to reach Ramsai Forest and Eco Camp


Ramsai (ramsay) forest and eco camp can be reached through Lataguri only because the entrance through the Gorumara forest has been closed. It only takes 1 hour to drive from Lataguri to Ramsai. You can hire a sumo for which you have to pay 1000INR if it is non AC and 1200INR if it comes with AC. If you are driving by your car, take National Highway 31 and follow the route through Chalsa and Nagrakata. Alternatively, get down at New Maal station which is 30 kilometers from Ramsai or New Maynaguri which is 20 kilometers from the same venue. If you are traveling by air, then Bagdogra is the nearest airport.

Accommodation in Ramsai Forest and Eco Camp


For accommodation, you will obviously be staying at the camp which needs to be reserved beforehand. You can also stay at the Forest Inn which has been recently acquired by Ramsai. This is a private property. The Ramsai rhino camp is a relatively new one with the same offering adventure to the tourists. The properties have basic amenities including food. Fresh local fish is used to prepare fish curries which are delicious and you must try the Puti and the Boroli fish.

Attractions in Ramsai Forest and Eco Camp


You can enjoy the elephant safari covering 1 kilometer into the jungle and a visit to the Medhla Tower and the tea garden at Ramsai. You can spot rhinos, elephants, bisons and wild boars from the watch tower. A unique bullock cart ride will cost 35 INR per person and take you through the small village inhabited by a few thousand people. As you explore the village and the Gorumara Park, you will realize that technology has not been able to take away from the simplicity of their lives. Come back and enjoy the tribal dance in the evening.

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Klaipur eco resort at Gorumara is a unique combination of jungle adventure and village lifestyle. The resort is located in the southern part of the Gorumara National Park famous for one horned rhinos which also serves as the border to Medla forest. The facility is administered by the Forest Department of Jalpaiguri Div II. Kalipur is one of the 5 such camps facilities run by the forest department of Jalpaiguri. This is an amazing facility for jungle lovers and adventure enthusiasts because this will remind you of the tree house stay. You will simply love the abundance of nature in these parts.

How to reach Klaipur Eco Resort


Gorumara is well connected with the major transport modes of the town. If you are taking the train, get down at New Jalpaiguri Station and hire a jeep/cab to travel 95 kilometers to reach Gorumara. Alternatively, the nearest airport is Bagdogra if you traveling by air which is 110 kilometers from the park.  From Jalpaiguri it is only 49 kilometers. You can either take the Maynaguri-Ramsai route about 17 kilomeetrs to Kalipur or drive through Lataguri which is 10 kilometers. The best time to visit Gorumara Kalipur Eco Resort is from the middle of October through March.  From 15th June to 15th September the park remains closed due to rain.

Accommodation in Kalipur Eco Resort


The cottages at Gorumara Kalipur Eco Resort are beautiful and furnished. The 4 cottages have bamboo finish and traditional built. You will get a feel of how our ancient forefathers used to live inside tree houses. The balcony offers a panoramic view of the lush green grasslands and the adjoining tea garden. The cottages providing accommodation for 2 people come at 3900 INR while the ones offering 3 bedrooms come at 5100 INR. The room charges also include food which consists of fish in lunch and chicken at dinner. The elephant trip charge is also included in this but for a bullock ride you will have to pay 35INR per head.

For  booking:

Divisional Forest Officer,
Wildlife Division – II
“Aranya Bhawan”, Jalpaiguri – 735101
Tel. + Fax : 03561-220017

Attractions in Kalipur Eco Resort


While enjoying your sojourn at Gorumara Kalipur Eco Resort you can explore the park through an elephant ride. You will be taken deep into the park to the Medhla watch tower where you will spot one horned rhinos which are only found in Gorumara in the entire country. Besides, you will also find elephants, bisons and leopards sharing space with rhinos. It is also a popular place for bird watchers where you will notice rufous treepiesserpent eaglesdrongospeacockshornbillfowls and black ibis. These birds are mostly found around the plains of Murti and Jaldhaka rivers.

Once the elephant safari is over, you can visit the Ramsai tea garden adjoining the park. The manager will arrange a visit for you on request. During the evening you can watch the tribal dance with the beatings of ‘madol’, drums creating an enchanting atmosphere. Also do not forget to visit the local shrines and seek blessings from them. You can enjoy a film on the wildlife to enhance the mystery pervading the atmosphere in the jungle.

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Dhupjhora is located on the southern part of the Gorumara forest and is famously known for the Elephant Camp. The Pilkhana or the elephant stables are located on the western banks of Murti River and therefore the elephant camp. This zone is also known as the Gachbari because of the Tree House accommodation offered to the tourists who visit this area with an excitement to watch elephants and also take a ride on their back into the forest. This unique eco-friendly tourism has won the hearts of many wild life enthusiasts.

How to reach Dhupjhora Elephant Camp


reaching-dhupjhora-elephant-campDhupjhora is accessible by flight, train as well as by road. Flight arrives at Bagdogra and from there you have to reach Siliguri to arrive at Gorumara or Dhupjhora. Alternatively, you can board a train and reach New Jalpaiguri station. From here hire a jeep/cab traveling through the Sevak Bridge to reach Dhupjhora. The road is wonderful with the first half offering you the view of majestic hills and the second half mesmerizing you with the pure greenery of the forest. Gorumara is 80 kilometers from Siliguri and the journey is quite smooth in most parts. From Lataguri the entrance to the camp is only 10 kilometers.

Accommodation in Dhupjhora Elephant Camp


dhupjhora-elephant-camp-1For accommodation the tree houses and cottages are available which you have to book previously. You can either draft 3,500 INR to the address of the forest department for booking or ask your travel agent to do it. The tree house of course made of wood has basic amenities inside and a balcony to enjoy the view of the jungle from atop. The charge includes boarding and food as well. You will be served 4 meals a day with deliciously cooked food. However, the menu is quite strict in terms of variety which is fish in lunch and chicken for dinner and also room service is not available. You have to come to the cafeteria to have food or snack on anything.

Attractions in Dhupjhora Elephant Camp


Gorumara is a thick forest with dense tropical vegetation. Birds and different types of animals like rhinos can be spotted here frequently. So, while you anticipate seeing an elephant you could just confront a rhino. The most striking activity at the camp is the bathing of the elephants in Murti River. The bathing episode lasts for 20 minutes. Next you can see them having lunch. These elephants are not wild; hence they are served rice and pulses for lunch. The special attraction at the camp is the elephant ride which begins at 6:30 and you will be taken deeper into the jungle to explore it. The mahut of the elephant will be your guide. The tour takes 1 hour.

During the evening you can either sit at the balcony marveling at the woods or visit the community center for local song dance program enjoying your snack. You may have a chance encounter with a peacock as well. The tea is particularly very tasty. You can also take a stroll through the tea garden adjacent to the forest. The best time to visit Dhupjhora is during summers. Enjoy the wilderness from ‘Chandrachur Watch Tower’. (except 15th June to 15th September).

Photo Courtesy: ghumakkar.com

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