Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is located at the Eastern Himalayan foothills in Alipurduar sub-division of Jalpaiguri district in the state of West Bengal.  It covers an extensive area of 216 square kilometers and is a maze of grasslands, perennial streams, woods, extensive belts of tall grass and sandy river banks. The beauty of the forest lies in the fact that it is home to an amazingly wide variety of flora and fauna with some endangered species. The one horned rhinoceros in particular is the most famed one inhabiting the forest. Jaldapara was declared to be a wildlife sanctuary in 1914 to preserve the diverse flora and fauna of this land. Rivers Torsha, Malangi, Kalijhora, Sissmara and Chirakhawa have created banks along which the wildlife sustains itself.

How to reach Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary


Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is easily accessible by air, road and railway. The nearest airport is Bagdogra which is 145 kilometers away from Jaldapara. You have to reach Siliguri which is only 13 kilometers from Bagdogra by arranging a car or hiring a taxi. Alternatively, you can take the train to arrive at New Jalpaiguri Junction which is the major station in North Bengal. However, you can also arrive at Madarihat, Birpara/Hasimpara to reach the sanctuary which is 7 and 20 kilometers from the respective stations. If you are traveling by car, then it’s a drive through the NH-31 and once you reach Siliguri it is only 3 hours drive from there. Madarihat is the entry point of the sanctuary public buses of North Bengal and Bhutan ply on the Alipurduar route via Madarihat to reach the sanctuary.

Accommodation in Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary


Accommodation facilities are a plenty in and around Jaldapara. Aranya Bhawan is the Jaldapara holiday home located in Madarihat. It is only 1.5 kilometers from the main entrance of Jaldapara and on a clear day you can see the majestic Kanchenjunga from here. It offers 1 double bed room and 2- 4 bedrooms with modern amenities. The double bedroom costs 1200 INR while the 4 bedrooms cost 1800 INR. Food at the restaurant costs 350-400 INR. The Hollong Tourist Lodge enjoys a central location with the forest which is thrilling. There are 5 double bedrooms priced at 2500 INR. This is the most preferred accommodation for adventurous tourists. The Jaldapara Tourist Lodge is situated in front of the main gate. They offer 5 double bedrooms divided into cottages and a suite priced at 2500 INR. Food is provided inside the lodge.

Attraction and activities in Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary


Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is most famous for Asiatic one horned rhinos and you will spot many while you explore the forest on elephant back. Other animals found here include barking deer, tigers, elephants, sambhar, wild boars, bisons and hog deer. This place is a bird watcher’s paradise since it offers the greatest variety of birds in Bengal. Birds like Hornbill, Racket-Tailed Drongo and Asian Paradise Fycatcher, Green Pigeons, Doves, Bee-eaters, Rollers, Hoopoe, Shrikes, Bengal Florican, Black partridge, Shaheen Falcon, Great Pied Hornbills, Forest Eagle Owl, Large Green billed Malkoha and White Rumped Vulture are spotted here.

Some other places of interest include Totapara, Chilapata, Khayerbari, Gorumara National Park, Buxa Tiger Reserve and Bhutan Ghaat.

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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.

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