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


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.

Wild Bisons crossing Murti river.

Wild Bisons crossing Murti river.

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, ghumakkar.com

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The Chapramari wilderness camp on the fringes of Chapramari wildlife sanctuary in Panjhora is a unique place to stay during the sojourn for wildlife enthusiasts. Camping in the traditional cottages and savoring the view of the vast sanctuary is a dreamy stuff. The camp is maintained by West Bengal Government Forest Department and it is indeed the best option for visitors to stay. It enjoys a fantastic location within the forest. When you drive to reach the camp which is only a kilometer off the NH-31 highway you might spot wild animals enroute because the road runs through the middle of the forest cutting it into halves. Moreover, its location beside the Murti River offers various interesting sights for the visitor.

Accomodation in Chapramari wilderness camp


Facilities inside the camp are basic with few furniture and traditionally decorated interior. This camp is basically a part of eco-tourism initiative which is directed towards developing the underdeveloped regions maintaining the ecological balance of the environment. The basic amenities may remind you of the lifestyle of our ancestors.

There are 2 types of cottages available for visitors which require advance booking from the office of forest department. The rent for 2 bedroom cottage is 2500 INR and 3 bedroom cottage is 3000 INR including food and a safari to the Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary. The food is prepared with local agricultural produce and fish/chicken. You will be served with tea also which is of high quality due to the presence of sprawling tea gardens in the region producing top class tea. In the evening you can enjoy the tribal dance near the camp.

Attractions in Chapramari wilderness camp


The most exciting part of living in the camp is the safari to Chapramari watchtower exploring the wildlife sanctuary in general. Since Chapramari is a part of Gorumara, it shares the variety in flora and fauna. Elephants, bisons, rhinos, deers, boars, leopards and various species of birds and reptiles can be spotted here. Green pigeons, parakeet, hornbill, snipe, wild fowl, kingfishers and parrots are abundant in the region. If you are lucky enough you may spot a tiger as well since this sanctuary also preserves a small number of Bengal tigers. The watchtower is the vantage point from where you will be able to view the vast stretch of deep forest and occasionally the animals also.

The forest is full of trees like Sal, kawla, Chilauni, Jarul and Lali. Hila and Jiti tea gardens are also visible from the watchtower.

How to reach Chapramari wilderness camp


If you are traveling by train, get down at New Jalpaiguri, or Mal station and hire a jeep/cab to reach Chapramari. Bagdogra is the nearest airport. However, tourists visiting Dooars prefer to drive through the NH-31 Highway to reach Chapramari enjoying the natural abundance throughout the road. From Khunia crossing you have to travel another 4 kilometers towards Jhalong to arrive at Chapramari. Accessing the camp from Siliguri is only 2 hours drive. Chapramari is only 10 kilometers from Chalsa and 35 kilometers from Gorumara National Park. The sanctuary and the camp remain closed from15th June through 15th September.

Photo Courtesy: tripadvisor.in; flickr/Mousam Samanta,somenath_photography, debanjan_das28, Alan Jha

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South Khayerbari is famous for Tiger and Leopard Rescue Center located around 10 kilometers from Madarihat. During the ban of using wild animals in circuses around 11 tigers were rescued and kept at Khayerbari. The tigers were rescued from Olympic circus in Hooghly district and were initially kept at Hollong and later shifted to Khayerbari Rescue Center. The center comprises of 5 units each consisting of 3 cells which are capable of accommodating 15 tigers at the most. The forest officials are of the opinion that this is a unique endeavor in the entire north east to rescue and rehabilitate tigers and leopards which were used in circuses.

Attractions in South Khayerbari


inside-leopard-safari-park-at-south-khayerbari-nature-parkTourists will also find cubs and grown up leopards which were rescued from illicit animal smugglers on the hills. They are providing rehab facility to all the animals suffering from various kinds of torture and danger. There are 18 leopards in this center. The environment of the place is serene and tourists will find it interesting to watch the animals enjoying themselves in their home. River Buri Torsha flows through the forest which can be spotted by tourists on jeep safari.

How to reach South Khayerbari Tiger and Leopard Rescue Center


South Khayerbari Tiger and Leopard Rescue Center can be reached by train, road or air service. Tourists will have to get down at Hasimara and travel to Madarihat which is 12 kilometers from the Hasimara station to arrive at South Khayerbari. You can reach the center by car through NH-31 which connects entire forests of Dooars to Kolkata metro city in West Bengal and also to Guwahati in Assam. Alternatively, if you are traveling by air, then Bagdogra is the nearest airport from where you can hire cars, taxis and even buses to arrive at Madarihat and finally reach South Khayerbari.

Accomodation in South Khayerbari


3 forest cottages are available for the tourists to stay near South Khayerbari Rescue Center. All of these cottages are set up on the bank of Buri Torsha River and food is served inside the cottage only. You must book the cottages from West Bengal Forest Development Offices before visit.

An amazing tiger and leopard safari will take you through the forest where you will be able to spot the majestic animals busy in their lives. The highlight of this safari is that you can see these animals up close. Apart from the safari, you can also visit the forests nearby like Chilapata, Buxa Tiger Reserve, and Jaldapara. Boating on the River Buri Torsha is also available inside the rescue center.

Photo Courtesy: longjourney.in, flickr/jaybee50

 

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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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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


Lapard at jungle

Lapard at jaldapara National Park in west bengal

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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Sikia Jhora is a rivulet flowing through the famous Buxa Tiger Reserve surrounded by Damanpur Range. Sikia Jhora stream can be found in North Panialguri in Alipurduar subdivision. Taking into account the eco village tourism development initiative and the increasing number of tourists flocking the region, government had built a dam and an embankment along the stream a few years back. Sikia Jhora is one of the major tourist highlights apart from the tigers inside the Buxa reserve. Boating is allowed on the brooke and it also a famous bird watching spot. However, the rivulet swells up during rainy season and hence it is not a good idea to visit the place during monsoons.

How to reach Sikia Jhora


Sikia Jhora is well connected with the other parts of the country through air, road and rail. Several trains from metro cities arrive at New Alipurduar station or the New Jalpaiguri junction from where you can hire taxis to arrive at the spot. Kamrup and Saraighata are some of the express trains of the region. Buses also ply between Alipurduar and Sikia Jhora. Bagdogra is the nearest airport. Alternatively, if you are traveling in your own car, then Buxa is only 25 kilometers from Rajabhatkhawa which is at a short distance from Alipurduar.

Accomodation in Sikia Jhora


Both homestays and government bungalows are available for tourists at various spots in and around the Buxa Tiger Reserve. South Ridak, Raimatung, Jayanti and Kumargram are some of the places where you can stay and go on a day’s visit to Sikia Jhora.

Attractions & Activities in Sikia Jhora


This beautiful tourist destination is maintained by the eco tourism development committee constituting local villagers. They take care of the tourists visiting the region. Opposite to Sikia Jhora is the Kalkut forest which is also a popular picnic spot. Jaydevpur, Sahibbandh and Hatipota are some more picnic spots being developed close by for tourists. There is also a watchtower from where you can view the diverse flora and fauna of the region.

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Singalila National Park located at the Singalila Ridge is a popular tourist destination in Darjeeling District West Bengal. Sitting at an altitude between 7,900 feet and 12,000 feet, it is a unique national park situated at the highest point in West Bengal. The Singalila National Park covers an area of 78.6 square kilometers and is popular for its wide range of flora, fauna and also because of the trekking route to Sandakphu and Phalut, two of the highest peaks in Singalila Range. Originally it was a wildlife sanctuary which has now been transformed into a national park where tourists are allowed to undertake jeep safari on the gravel road winding through the park starting from Manebhanjan.

How to reach Singalila National Park


Singalila National Park can be reached by road, railway and air. However, the easiest route is by road for which you have to travel from Siliguri to Manebhanjan where you will find the first sign of entrance to the park. The actual entry point is at Tumling which is a few kilometers from Manebhanjan. Another entry point of the park is through Rimbik which is another small settlement at the Singalila Ridge. The best time to visit the Singalila National Park is from March through May and again from October through early December. During the former months you will be able to see thick blossoms of orchids and rhododendrons covering the park. In the later months the snow capped peaks will dazzle you with their pristine beauty and color play during day and night in clear skies.

Accommodation in Singalila National Park


There are plenty of accommodation facilities available in and around the park. Gorkhaland Territorial Administration lodges and trekkers’ hut are available at various points like Gairibas, Tonglu, Sandakphu and Phalut. Online booking service is available. For non trekkers private lodges and huts galore at Tumling, Jhaubari, Meghma, Gairibas and Kalpokhri. One of the cheapest, well facilitated and best positioned accommodation units is the Shikhar Lodge near Singalila National Park.

Attractions in Singalila National Park


The Singalila National Park offers loads of attractions to the tourists which include its diverse and beautiful flora and fauna and the mesmerizing and enchanting view of Kanchenjunga and Everest. The forest is full of oak, ferns, silver firs, bamboo, primula, Bistort, Geranium, orchids, rhododendrons and magnolias. The rich fragrance and color of the trees and their blossoms fill the air during spring time. There are over 600 varieties of wild orchids in the Singalila National Park. This feature makes the park a unique destination in the world.

Amidst this beautiful environment live a large number of animals and birds which can be spotted during the jeep safari or trekking tour through the forest. The Red Panda, barking deers, pangolins, Pika, Takin, Clouded Leopard and birds like Satyr Tragopan, Old World Babblers and Golden-breasted Fulvetta can be spotted throughout the forest. A large number of reptiles and amphibians can be found near the Jore Pokhri and Sukhiapokhri Lakes.

The view from Sandakphu, the highest point of Singalila is enthralling. All the major peaks of Eastern Himalaya can be seen enveloped in a vast stretch of snow where time stands still.

Entry fee to the park is 100 INR and foreigners need to show their ID proof to enter the forest. Permission to enter the core area can be obtained from the forest department at Manebhanjan or Tumling.

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