Jaldapara National Park (formerly Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary) is located at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in Alipurduar district in West Bengal and on the bank of the Hollong River. Jaldapara is situated at an altitude of 61 m and is spread across 216.51 km2 (83.59 sq mi) of vast grassland with forests.
How to Reach
The nearest railway station is Madarihat which is only 7km from the sanctuary. All passenger trains stop here. All the mail and express trains stop at Birpara/Hasimara railway stations. Both are 20km away from the sanctuary. Jaldapara is connected by road with Siliguri and other places in North Bengal. North Bengal State Transport Corporation buses, Bhutan Government buses, minibuses are available from Siliguri to Alipurduar via Madarihat. Madarihat is the entry point for the sanctuary. It’s located on the NH 31 (Siliguri-Hasimara), 140km east from Siliguri, 80km north from Cooch Behar and 50km west from Alipurduar. Bagdogra is the nearest airport at a distance of 140km.
Places to Visit
- JALDAPARA WILD LIFE SANCTUARY:
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is the place to see one horned Rhinos, elephants, Gaurs (Indian Bison), deer and a good number of birds. The best possible way to spot wild animals is doing elephant safari. Jeep safari is another way to explore the wild. A thrilling elephant safari is organized in the early morning from Hollong 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 one horned rhinos, Asiatic elephants, Gaur (India bison), deer etc. Elephant safari charge is ₹600 per head as of Jan 2014. Tourists staying in Hollong Tourist Lodge get the first preference and priority. The service is provided on a first come – first served basis. 4 persons are accommodated on an elephant. There are 6-7 elephants operating from Hollong every morning and they make 2 round trips. If it is high season one more round trip is arranged. Recently elephant safari is also introduced from Barodabari Malangi Lodge of WBFDC. Tourists who do not get tickets from Hollong can avail of this option. The jeep safari inside the sanctuary is another main attraction. Jeeps can be hired from Madarihat for day visits. It is notable that a permit is required to visit the sanctuary.
30km 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 nearby Chilapata Forests is an elephant corridor between Jaldapara and the Buxa Tiger Reserve. Hidden deep inside the Chilapata Forests the ruins of a thousand yeas old fort of Nal King has a tremendous historical and archeological importance. On way to Cooch Behar, a trip through the deep and dark Chilapata Forest (20km from Alipurduar) is a pleasant and exciting experience. Built in the 5th century during the Gupta Empire the ruins still recall the memories of the Golden Age of India.
- BHUTAN GHAT:
85km from Madarihat, the road passes through beautiful forest and tea gardens. A picnic spot.
5.RASIK BILL SANCTUARY:
This place simply belongs to the winged beauties, the birds. The constant activity of these colourful creatures and the signature tunes of them make this waterbody a paradise for bird watchers. Boating in Rasikbil under the blue sky with birds flying everywhere or graciously swimming nearby is something beyond imagination. The bird variety includes cormorants, different varieties of storks, ibis, spoonbill, kingfisher, parrots and many others. There is also a large aquarium, a deer park and a crocodile rehabilitation centre at Rasikbil.
6.RAAS MELA (November – December):
Raas Mela is the most ancient and traditional of all fairs. The celebrations commence from the auspicious day of Purnima in the month of Kartik according to Bengali calendar. This traditional fair goes on for 15 days.