Enjoy an exciting elephant safari in the early morning and meet the Indian rhino “Up, Close and Personal.” Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is one of India’s best forests renowned for its growing population of Indian One-Horned Rhinos. This 216 square kilometers forest of grasslands, woods, sandy river banks, flowing streams and lines of tall trees was founded in 1941 to protect the Indian One-Horned Rhino. The sanctuary is located in Jalpaiguri district, in the Alipurduar sub-division. The Torsa River flows through this forest. Apart from Rhinos and elephants, Jaldapara is also famous for the healthy population of birds it supports like Bengal Florican, paradise flycatcher, hornbill and racket-tailed Drongo here.
In and Around
Attractions in Jaldapara
A thrilling elephant safari is organized in the early morning from Hollong forest bungalow to offer the exquisite beauty of the vast grassland of Jaldapara. The elephant ride is the best possible way to explore the sanctuary with the rare sight of Indian rhinos and Asiatic elephants. However please note that elephant rides are always in high demand and they cannot be booked in advance. Tourists has to book the Elephant ride on the spot and a ride cannot be guranteed.
The jeep safari inside the sanctuary is another major attraction. There are multiple Jeep safari being organised both in the morning and in the evening. The number of watchtowers where the Jeep safari takes tourists has increased during recent year. Tourists must travel in the forest department approved Jeep accompanied by a tourist guide.
Birding at Jaldapara
Jaldapara is a paradise for bird watchers. It is one of the very few places in India, where the Bengal Florican was sighted. Set out with a binocular and see the majestic flight of hornbill, racket-tailed drongo and paradise flycatcher.
Local excursions may be arranged to visit tea gardens to see the manufacturing of tea in the nearby tea gardens by prior arrangement with naturebeyond. Anthropological excursion in nearby Tribal village, Totopara, can be arranged.
30 km from Jaldapara, a small village on the banks of River Torsha bordering Bhutan is the only habitation of Toto, a primitive tribe in Dooars. Their number has dwindled to less than 1000. The aboriginal lifestyle of the Totos attracts tourists from many parts of the world to visit here.
Forests on the eastern part of river Torsha is known as Chilapata forests. Hidden deep inside Chilapata is the ruin of a thousand year old fort of Nal King. It has tremendous historical and archaeological importance. Built in the 5th century during the Gupta Empire the ruins still recall the memories of the Golden Age of India. There are a number of forest safaris available in Chilapata as well which can easily be accessed from Jaldapara.
Khayerbari Tiger Rescue Centre
When the show of Tigers in Indian Circus was banned in 1998, many tigers were rescued and brought to this rescue centre. Leopards captured from the whole of Dooars area also find shelter here. The Tiger Rescue centre has a watchtower from where you can see the animals. There is also a battery operated small car which takes tourists on a ride inside the leopard area of the park. The rescue centre is about 15 kms from Jaldapara town.
Garumara National Park
Located at a distance of 80 kms from Jaldapara, Gorumara National Park is situated on the bank of rivers Murti and Raidak in the terai region of Dooars on the foothills of Eastern Himalayas. Gorumara is famous for its Asiatic one horned Rhino, Asian Elephants, Bisons, Peacocks. This was a reserve forest since 1895. In the year 1949, the park was declared as Wildlife Sanctuary for its breeding population of one horned Indian Rhinoceros. On January 31, 1994, it was declared as a National Park. The 80 sq. km area of the Gorumara National Park is famous for its rich variety of flora & fauna. The park is located in the Malbazar subdivision of Jalpaiguri district, in the state of West Bengal in India. The Murti, Jaldhaka, and Indong rivers flow through the Park on the foothills of the Himalayan ranges in the North making the whole region picturesque. The park offers breathtaking landscape with its rivers and mountain ranges. Lataguri a small town adjacent to the park is the entry point.
The Buxa Tiger Reserve
It was established in the year of 1982-83 to save the most important species of North Bengal The Royal Bengal Tiger. The park is located at the north eastern corner of Dooars plains of North Bengal bordering Bhutan and Assam. The core area of 315sq.kms around the Buxa Duar Fort was declared a National Park in January 1992.
It is 85 kms from Madarihat, the road passes through beautiful forest and tea gardens. and a picnic spot.
Best time to visit this place is between October to May.
How to Reach
Bagdogra 145kms from Jaldapara is the nearest airport from where tourist can reach Jaldapara by road-route via Siliguri. Bagdogra to Siliguri is 13 km.
The most important railway station in the North East India is NJP about 140 kms away. NJP is directly connected with all major stations in India. The nearest station is at Madarihat (5 kms) and Hasimara (10 kms) where some trains have stoppage.
Jaldapara is connected by National Highway with Siliguri and can be reached by car within 3hrs.Madarihat is the entry point for the sanctuary. It is located on the NH 31 (Siliguri-Hasimara), 140 km east from Siliguri, 80 km north from Cooch Behar and 50 km west from Alipurduar. North Bengal State Transport Corporation buses, Bhutan Government buses, minibuses are available from Siliguri to Alipurduar via Madarihat. Cars can also be hired at Siliguri.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
In the recent years several options have come up for tourists to stay at Jaldapara. Holong bungalow is the best and the most expensive. However rooms are booked months in advance and its difficult to plan a tour depending on its availability.
Madarihat Tourist lodge of West Bengal Tourism is a good choice. From a complete wooden structure in the past, the tourist lodge has come a long way with air conditioned deluxe rooms. However service standards here may be questionable.