Murti is a lovely getaway located on the banks of the meandering river of the same name. It is the perfect weekend destination for people looking to escape the din and bustle of city life. Murti the river originates from the Neora Valley National Park and flows through the main tourist attractions of Dooars before meeting the River Jaldhaka. It is along its bank stretching for 80 kilometers that the famous forests of Dooars have developed and are sustained. All the popular watchtowers of the forests are built overlooking Murti River. Murti, the place was initially a picnic spot but now with the resort it has become of the most popular getaways in North Bengal.

How to reach Murti


Murti can be reached by rail after reaching at the New Mal junction or the New Jalpaiguri junction from where you can hire cars. The nearest airport is Bagdogra and the National Highway 31 connects Murti to other cities and small towns. The distance of Murti from Siliguri is 73 kilometers while from New Mal it is 18 kilometers. From Chalsa it is a distance of only 8 kilometers which hardly takes a half an hour drive.

Accommodation in Murti


Hotels in Murti Dooars

Banani or Prakriti O Poribesh Beekshan Kendra is the nature education and wilderness resort located next to Gorumara National Park on the Nahrakata-Lataguri road. The bungalow is amidst sal forest on the bank of River Murti and is the primary choice of any tourist. It offers 12 rooms including one suite providing the best view of the river and the forest. Another excellent accommodation facility known as the Murti Tourist Lodge run by West Bengal Tourism is located near Gorumara National Park on the river bank. The rooms are tent or cottage style with a view of the river bed and animals. Other facilities include the privately run Prime Murti, Riverwood Forest Retreat, The Ca-Cur-Badi Forest Resort, Dreamland Hotel, Resort Olive Village and Dooars Nest. Food is available at all these accommodation facilities.

Attractions in Murti


Wild Bisons crossing Murti river.

Wild Bisons crossing Murti river

Murti can be visited anytime of the year because it has a pleasant climate. However, it is wise to avoid the monsoons because you will not be able to explore the forests on either side of the river. The Gorumara National Park and the Chapramari Forest are on opposite banks of Murti and are famous for the diverse flora and fauna. There is a small bridge through which you can cross the river and arrive at the jungles on either side. You can explore the jungles either on elephant back or through jeep safari depending on your choice. The beauty of nature in the region is quite a visual treat. However, roaming around the area at night is not advised because wild animals flock on the banks to quench their thirst.

Angling, camping and hiking through the trails are some of the commonest and most adventurous activities in and around Murti. If you are bird enthusiast then this is a paradise for you as you will see various local and migratory birds on the river bed. You can also spot alligators in the river. Other tourist attractions include the Panjhora River picnic spot, Chukchuki, Chalsa, Khunia, Jhalong, Bindu, Samsing and Suntalekhola.

Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Tamal Majhi, Anirban Banerjee, indiamike.com/ranjankumardey

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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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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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