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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Chatakpur Eco Resort is located on Siliguri-Darjeeling Road and is only 7 kilometers from Sonada and 18 kilometers from Jorbanglow. Enjoying an elevation of 7887 feet, this lovely little hamlet has only 90 villagers and is being developed by the forest department as an eco resort for tourists. It is an ideal destination for people seeking peace and quiet in the Himalayan Mountains. Amidst the lush greenery, wooden cottages, forest trails and the majestic Kanchenjunga, this is a paradise on earth. The best place for bird watchers, Chatakpur offers that much awaited freedom and freshness from the confined city life.

How to reach Chatakpur Eco Resort


This dreamy village is easily accessible by air, road and railway. From Bagdogra tourists can arrive at Chatakpur by hiring a car covering 80 kilometers. If you are looking for an alternative, then the toy train from Ghoom will take you to the dreamy hamlet of Chatakpur in 3-4 hours covering 87 kilometers. if you are coming by road, then NH 55 will take you to the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary of which the Chatakpur Eco Resort is a part. If you are already staying in Darjeeling, then take Hill Cart Road to reach Chatakpur Eco Resort.

Accommodation in Chatakpur Eco Resort


Accommodation is aplenty in Chatakpur. The 2 cottages constructed by the forest department offers clean lodging along with all modern facilities to the guests. All the 4 rooms have double bed accommodation. However, advance booking is recommended for the cottages. Home stay is another lovely alternative for the tourists who love to explore the land through the eyes of the local villagers. A unique feature of this village is that they indulge in organic farming and tourists can hand pick vegetables from the farm lands to be cooked and eaten by them.

Attractions in Chatakpur Eco Resort


The major attraction in Chatakpur Eco Resort is the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary within which the small settlement is found. The sprawling sanctuary covers an area of 38.88 square kilometers at an altitude of 1500-2600 meters. Beautiful waterfalls and brooks will entertain you all the way. Bird watching is the most popular activity in Chatakpur Eco Resort. Prinia, Blue Fronted Redstart, Verditer Flycatcher and Blue Magpie are some of the beautiful and colorful birds you can spot here. Apart from the birds, you might get a glimpse of the famous Red Panda if you are fortunate enough. Other animals inhabiting the forest include Leopards, Barking Deer, Antelopes and Himalayan Black Bear.

Trekking Opportunity


There is plenty of trekking opportunity for the adventure lovers. Trek to the famous Tiger Hill and you will have the greatest moment of your life when you will watch the formidable Mt. Everest, Chumbalumba is local language. Climb at the top of the watchtower and capture the panoramic view of Sandakphu and you can also visit the Pokhri for bird watching. Take guided trekking tours to the neaby Labda, Sixeen and Rimbi Village as well. If you are directly arrived at Chatakpur, then visiting Darjeeling will be a good idea. Come back and enjoy the folk dances of the local people around the fire.

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Tiffin Dara is a point from where the 360 degree view of Kanchenjungha can be seen without any interruption. Dara means point in the Lepcha language and Tiffin Dara is a point in the Eastern Himalayan range in North East India offering a breathtaking view of the world’s 3rd highest peak. 3 kilometers uphill from Rishyap, a small hamlet, Tiffin Dara can be reached by trekking on the mountainous trail. The best part of this trek is that it goes through the dense forest filled with birch, pine, fir trees and different varieties of orchids. Chirping birds and some mountainous dogs might accompany you through the journey.

How to reach Tiffin Dara


Reaching Tiffin Dara is not difficult especially for the adventure lovers because it’s only 3 kilometers uphill from Rishyap through the dense forest filled with birch, pine, fir trees and different varieties of orchids. Rishyap can be reached by train, rail and also by air. The nearest railway station is New Jalpiguri which is 116 kilometers drive from Rishyap. The nearest airport is Bagdogra from where you can hire cars, trekkers, jeeps to reach Rishyap. It is only 126 kilometers taking 4.5 hours approximately to reach the destination. If you are coming to Rishyap from Lava, then it’s a 30 minutes drive and from Kalimpong it’s a 1 hour drive.

Image guide for trek to Tiffin Dara view point from Rishyap

Attractions in Tiffin Dara


There is no accommodation available at Tiffin because it is a tourists spot. However, Rishyap has a number of private accommodation facilities including home stays.

Tiffin Dara is located at an altitude of around 2,360 meters; it could a little higher than that. The magnificent view of the snow capped Kanchenjunga during sunrise is a mind blowing treat to the eyes. The other peaks of Himalayan range can also be seen from here and some parts of Jalep La and Nathula Pass as well. It feels paradise on earth when you see the skyline on top of the mountain. You can also feel like being on the top of the world once you reach the point and savor the panoramic view.

Back to Rishyap

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Koro Hill is quite a popular tourist attraction in Bankura. The hill is 400 feet high with a hamlet called Amarkanan at its foothills. This scenic location is only 19 kilometers away from Bankura and is a favored picnic and trekking spot for tourists and locals alike. Do avoid the months of May, June and July if you wish to trek the mountain due to heavy rainfall. Visit during the other 9 months and enjoy the surroundings and the village.

Like every other tourist spot in Bankura, this place also has a beautiful and old temple of Devi Ashtabhuja or Durga also known as Savitri situated atop the hill behind which you will notice a Shivalinga along with his pet the Bull. There is also Badrinath Hill close by which is an established center of Jainism. The diversity in the flora of this hill is mesmerizing. Amarkanan village derives its name from the famous freedom fighter Amar Chattopadhyay. The Ram Krishna Seva Dal Ashram situated in this village has realized the mission of the freedom fighter helping the people become independent. This Ashram which has now become one of the supreme attractions of the village was established by Dri Gobinda Prasad Singha, who was a zamindar and a Gandhian freedom fighter himself.

The ashram has a formidable history and was visited by the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Satish Dasgupta and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose among others. In fact, the prolific poet Kazi Nazrul had composed a song “Amarkanan moder Amarkanan” during his stay at the ashram.

How to Reach


It is easy to reach the Koro Hills and Amarkanan from Bankura by boarding a bus. The journey is quite smooth through the village roads. If you are coming from Durgapur, board the Durgapur-Bankura bus from SBSTC and you can reach the spot. Private minibuses are also available from Durgapur (39 km) or Bankura (22 km) via Amarkanan.

Koro Hills is a beautiful tourist destination and standing at the temple you can view the Gangdua Dam on Shali River and also the famous Susunia hills within 12 kilometers distance from Koro Hills. The Amarkanan is a lovely getaway from the din and bustle of city life where you can savor the simple and easygoing lifestyle of the ashramites. The breathtaking scenery has a tranquilizing effect on tired nerves and you will enjoy nature’s abundance at the Koro Hills.

 Where to stay at Koro Hills


For people willing to enjoy a night’s stay or two at the Koro Hills in Bankura there are plenty of options. The Ramkrishna Sebadal Ashram authority has in fact constructed a guest house for that purpose. It is known as the Ramkrishna Sebadal Ashram Guest House and Mandir Guest House. In addition, there is a forest bungalow as well for the ones willing to take that route.

In order to book the bungalow you can contact or get in touch with the DFO of the northern Division. Here are the details:

DFO- North Division, Bankura
PC- 722101

Back to Bankura

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Not very far from Kolkata, is Ayodhya Hills in Purulia district of Kolkata fast gaining popularity as a weekend tourist destination. Standing at an altitude of 610 meters, the beautiful Ayodhya Hills is a part of Dalma hills in Jharkhand and extended part of the Eastern Ghats. The natural beauty of the hills lies in its lush green forests, roaring waterfalls and different species of flora and fauna found here. Visitors come here to enjoy a weekend of tranquility and serenity in the lap of nature.

According to Hindu mythology Ram along with Sita had stayed in Ayodhya Hills during their exile. During their stay, Ram is said to have pierced the earth’s crust with his arrow to bring out water to quench Sita’s thirst. The place is known as Sita-kunda.

Reaching Ayodhya Hills


 Ayodhya hills can be reached from Kolkata very easily. Several buses are available. You can also take a train from Howrah and reach Purulia town. From there Ayodhya Hills is just 42 kilometers. Durgapur Expressway connects Kolkata to Ayodhya. Regular buses ply from the main town to the top of Ayodhya hill.

Attractions & Activities


Adventure enthusiasts can come to Ayodhya Hill and try out mountaineering and rock climbing. Gangabaru is the highest peak of Ayodhya towering at a height of 2,220 ft above the sea level. The place is surrounded by rocky cliffs and to climb them one must really be adept in rock climbing. Trekkers can enjoy hiking from Sirkabad to Ayodhya. The 13 kilometer trail cuts through the dense jungle of Shimul and Palash. When the flowers are in full bloom it seems that the forest is in flame. It is a sight to behold.

Early morning is the perfect time to take a brisk walk to the Bamni Falls. After spending the morning you can then return for lunch. Then there is Mayur Pahar or the Peacock Hills. You can get a beautiful view of the Ayodhdhya Hills and the lush forests below. Watching the sun set from this point is a memorable experience. The nearby Pakhi Hill is a perfect spot for bird watchers. The dense forests are home to many wild animals like leopards, pangolin and Madras Tree Shrew. Herds of elephants form adjoining jungles also migrate to these forests seasonally.

Spending a day just loitering in the forests amongst the mahua trees can be a good experience. You can even wander to the small tribal villages spread over the area. Tribals in this area are known for their hospitality. They invite visitors to their house and offer a cup of tea. Tribal villages are fascinating. They are small picturesque mud huts cuddled together in an area.  The mud hut walls are decorated with simple yet beautiful paintings

 Accommodation


 Finding an accommodation is easy. With the growing popularity of Ayodhya hills as a tourist destination many new places have come up suiting all tastes and budget. West Bengal Comprehensive Area Development Corporation has guest houses. Forest rest house is also available. Most of the hotels have dining facilities. Roadside eateries are also available.

Kumari Kannan, at its foothills, Run by WBCADC
Tamalika DAB: Rs. 300, Dormitory: Rs. 100
Kolkata Booking: 22377041-43

The best time to visit Ayodhya Hills is between March to September. So get your backpacks ready as your next weekend destination maybe the exotic Ayodhya Hills.

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Purulia district in West Bengal is an excellent weekend getaway for people who want to enjoy a few days in the lap of nature. There are many tourist attractions in Purulia. Sirkabad is one of them. It is a small village in the Arsha block in Purulia. It is located in Burdwan district in West Bengal.

Attractions


There are different tourist destinations in and around Sirkabad. Travelers come here to enjoy the beautiful forests, spectacular waterfalls, undulating hills, the variety of flora and fauna. Beautiful dams, exotic picnic spots and heritage buildings are scattered in and around Sirkabad.

To reach the famous Ayodhya Hills, you have to travel via Sirkabad. Ayodhya Hills have always been an attraction for rock climbers and mountaineers who love adventure sports. Sirkabad is the base camp for rock climbing. The village is surrounded by steep cliffs and to conquer them is an adrenalin rushing experience for most adventure enthusiasts. One has to be adept in rock climbing to climb Gajabaru, the highest mountain peak of Ayodhya Hills. The starting point of this challenging rock climb starts from Sirkabad.

Dams surrounding Ayodhya hills are potential places tourist destinations with picturesque views. These are not very far from Sirkabad. Murguma, Pardi, Ramudah, Gopalpur are a few dam sites frequented by tourists. These are places where you can spend your day leisurely without any worry. Pakhi Pahar is another tourist hotspot in the vicinity of Parda Dam. It is a paradise for bird watchers. Different species of seasonal birds can be seen here. The water body with lush green forests surrounding it makes an ideal stop for migratory birds.

Activities


Trekking is a popular outdoor activity enjoyed by tourists in Purulia. Most of the trekking trails are via Sirkabad. The trails cut through the Shimul and Palash forests. It is a sight to behold when these trees are in full bloom.

While in Purulia, one can also visit the small tribal villages scattered in and around Ayodhya Hills and Sirkabad. Tribals living in these villages are known for their hospitality to the tourists.  If by any chance you happen to wander to near their house they will welcome you and greet you and offer you tea. These small villages look like picture postcard.

There is a Nature Interpretation Center at Ayodhya Hills. This was a project undertaken by the Forest Department which aims in representing the Ayodhya Eco System and the tribal culture.

How to Reach


Regular buses from Kolkata ply to Sirkabad. Several trains connect Sealdah and Purulia station. From there, Sirkabad can be reached by road. The driving distance from Purulia to Sirkabad is 27 kilometers and it takes around 40 minutes to reach. Bokaro and Jamshedpur railway station are also nearby.

There are many budget hotels along the highway for accommodation. A forest rest house is also available in Ayodhya Hills. These hotels also serve food for their guests. Small eateries along the road also serve hot and fresh food.

Adjoining areas of Sirkabad are known for their natural beauty and is definitely work spending a quiet weekend with family or friends.

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