Rasikbil Bird Sanctuary is located on the foothill of Sintura Range of the Eastern Himalayas. It falls in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal and is basically a marshland or swamp which is famous for birds. The place is flocked by a large variety of birds and is therefore known as a bird sanctuary. It is spread across an area of 175 hector and also includes Aviary & Tortoise rescue center, python house, leopard house, crocodile rehabilitation center and deer park. The sanctuary can be visited throughout the year and is at a distance of 34 kilometers from Alipurduar; 45 kilometers from Cooch Behar and 212 kilometers from Siliguri.

How to reach Rasikbil Bird Sanctuary


Rasikbil Bird Sanctuary can be approached by road, air and rail. If you are traveling by your own vehicle then National Highway is the connector for you to reach either Alipurduar or Cooch Behar. Otherwise, government buses of Bhutan, North Bengal State Transport and private buses and taxis are available to arrive at Rasikbil. If you take the bus from Cooch Behar then you will arrive at Rasikbil within 2 hours via Toofanganj. Alternatively, disembark at Kamaskshaguri station which is only 6 kilometers from Rasikbil Bird Sanctuary. Other than this particular station, you can get off at New Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar station as well and hire cabs from there. Flight travelers will arrive at Bagdogra airport and hire cars/taxis to arrive at Rasikbil.

Accommodation in Rasikbil Bird Sanctuary


Rasikbil Nature Resort maintained by the forest development corporation of West Bengal is the best place to stay. It offers cottages and dormitory accommodation facilities. The rate is 900 INR and you must reserve the place prior to your arrival. Food is also available here and the price is included in the rent.

Attractions in Rasikbil Bird Sanctuary


birds-spotted-in-rasikbil-coochbehar-west-bengalRasikbil Bird Sanctuary offers a serene environment to the visitors. Expect for the chirping of birds which will ring like music in your ears no other sound will disturb the blissful peace. Both local and migratory birds can be viewed at Rasikbil Bird Sanctuary. Usually birds like ibis, kingfisher, owl, storks of different verities, cormorants and spoonbill can be found in and around the lake. Apart from these famous water birds like Wigeon duck, Grey Headed Lapwing, Shoveler, Pintail, Red Crested Pochard, Lesser Whistling Teal, White Eyed Pochard and Common Teal can also be spotted here. This is a bird lover’s heaven and you must be ready with your camera.

Apart from bird watching you can also visit the Cooch Behar Palace and Madan Mohan Temple and also Alipurduar and Buxa Tiger Reserve which is a short drive away.

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Snehasis Sinha, dooarsecoviillege.blogspot.in

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Raas Mela or the Raas fair is a grand celebration dedicated to the deity Madan Mohan of Cooch Behar. In fact, its grandness makes it a festival and is basically observed during the month of November according to English calendar and in the month of Kartik as per Bengali calendar. It is one of the most popular festivals of Cooch Behar which attracts people from in and around the district and also from the neighboring state of Assam. It is conducted on the Parade Ground by the local municipal corporation and holds a special significance for the people of Cooch Behar.

History of Raas Mela


cooch-behar-raas-melaThe Madan Mohan temple was built by Maharaja Bripendra Narayan of Cooch Behar during the 18th century and he is also the pioneer of Raas Mela. Raas Mela was initially held at Vetaguri by the kings and subsequently on the temple premises beside Bairagi Dighi. Presently, the venue has been shifted to the Parade Ground to accommodate more people. The idol of Madan Mohan is a unique one made from 8 metallic compounds and the original one was stolen in 1994. However, the shrine was not kept vacant for long and there was another idol of the same stature.

Madan Mohan is another name for Lord Krishna and was worshipped as the family deity by the Koch Kings. In keeping with the tradition the same idol is worshipped by the followers now. The only difference between the idol at Nabadwip another famous religious place of Hindus and the one in Cooch Behar is that here Madan Mohan is worshipped without his consort Sri Radha. The main attraction of the fair is the Raas Chakra standing tall in the center of the fair. The Raas Chakra is made out of bamboo or posts and paper into a semi-cylindrical structure revolving around a pivot. It is found on the temple premises and signifies secularism in the state of West Bengal. The Raas Chakra is decorated by a Muslim family since ages and has floral patterns on paper and pictures of Lord Madan Mohan all over. It is 30 feet tall and is considered to be a source of bliss by the devotees.

How to reach Cooch Behar Raas Mela


The Mela continues for 18 days and is inaugurated by the District Magistrate of Cooch Behar. You can arrive at the Raas Mela by air, road or rail. Reach at Cooch Behar station and take a rickshaw to arrive at the Parade Ground. Alternatively, you can take the National Highway to reach Cooch Behar by your own vehicle. Flight travelers will arrive at the Cooch Behar airport or Bagdogra airport and from there hire rickshaws and taxis to reach the Parade Ground. The North Bengal State Transport Corporation also provides special buses from all parts of the district upto 11 pm to arrive at the fair ground.

Accomodation in Cooch Behar


Cooch Behar is dotted with hotels of all budgets and you can put up at anyone. There are some guest houses near the ground like Prabas, Chilarai Abasan and Pantha Niwas maintained by the municipality. If you wish to stay at hotels advance booking is recommended.

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Amartya Bag

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