Tourist Places in West bengal – Sundarbans

Sundarbans. Note: Foreign tourists require permits which can be obtained from Writer’s Building, Kolkata.Established in 1978, the Sunderbans National Park (also a Tiger Reserve) extends over 2,608 sq. km. The national park with a core area of 1,330 sq. km. has been designated as a World Heritage Site in 1985. The Sunderbans has three wildlife sanctuaries at Sajnekhali, Lothianlsland and Holiday Island.

The park has estuarine mangrove eco-system as it is located in the deltaic estuaries of the Ganga and Brahmaputra. This Biosphere Reserve supports a diversity of trees and shrubs adapted to inundation by high tides. Straddling the river Hooghly in the west and Teulia in the east the park has a number of small rivers, tiny islands and a vast stretch of mangrove swamps.

Sunderbans is home to the magnificent Royal Bengal Tiger. The park harbours the largest number of tigers among the tiger reserves of the country. The other fauna are water monitor, wild boar, fishing cat, different species of deer, rhesus monkeys, crocodiles and the Gangetic dolphin (in the Raimgangal river) and a variety of fish, olive Ridley sea turtles etc.

Another interesting place to visit in the Sunderbans is the Sajnekhali Bird Sanctuary which houses many bird species like the brown winged kingfisher, grey headed lapwing, golden backed woodpecker, white swans, swamp patridge, pallas fish eagle etc. You must also visit the crocodile pool and the mangrove Interpretation centre at Sajnekhali. The Bhagatpur Crocodile Project which is a crocodile breeding farm, is also a major attraction in the Sunderbans.

Singalila National Park

Location: Darjeeling District

Best time to visit: March to June and

September to November

Nearest Town: Darjeeling Main Attractions:

Red panda, birds, and Treks along stretches

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of flowering Rhododendron and Magnolia

forests

How to get there: Nearest railhead is Darjeeling ( 20 km). From Siliguri/Jalpaiguri one can also take the heritage toy train which takes about 7 hours and get down at Ghoom. Jeeps are available from Ghoom to Maneybhanjang. There are buses and taxis available from Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling or Maneybhanjang. Siliguri is 15 km from Bagdogra and New Jalpaiguri 4 km respectively.

Located at a high altitude of around 7,000 ft above sea level, the Singhalila National Park is the highest National Park in West Bengal. It is situated in the extreme northwestern boundary of Darjeeling District and covers an area of 78.60 sq. km.

The main tree species found are the Oak, Hemlock, Silver Fir, Juniper, Mailing Bamboo, Buk, Kawla, Rhododendron, Magnolia etc. Other flora includes primulas, aconitums, gentians, arisaemas and orchids adorning the forest clearings. The fauna found in the park are leopard, elephant, chinkara, takin, red panda, serow, pangolin, barking deer etc. The park has many bird species like pigeons, doves, sibia, minivet, magpie, cuckoo, hornbills, Kaleej pheasants and a large number of migratory birds.

The park is famous for its treks with spectacular views of the Himalayan peaks through a mist of pristine forests and mountain flowers. The most popular trek route starts at Maneybhanjang (2,134 meters). It can be reached by a one and a half hour journey by road from Darjeeling. The route extends to Tumling (2900 m) orTonglu (3,050 m) – Gairibas (1,900m) – Sandakphu ( 3,636 m) – Phalut (3,605 m) – Rimbik (2,286 m) and back to Maneybhanjang. Another

 

 

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interesting trek is Maneybhanjang to Meghma (2600 m) that takes about four hours, then to Tonglu or Tumling and from there to Gairibas through dense forests. This trek is a paradise for wild flower lovers particularly in March-April when Rhododendrons bloom.

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Gorumara National Park Location: Jalpaiguri District Best time to visit: November to April Nearest T own: Latagu ri Main Attractions: One horned rhinoceros, elephants, bison, Brahmani Duck How to get there: The nearest Railway Station is Madarihat, which is only 7 km off the Sanctuary. North Bengal State Transport Corporation Buses, Bhutan Government Buses, Mini Buses and Private Buses are available from Siliguri to Alipurduar via Madarihat. The gateway to the park is Lataguri.

The Gorumara National Park is located in the Dooars (rolling hill slopes) region of Jalpaiguri district. This small forest area is famous for the Great Indian one-horned Rhinoceros. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1949 and was established as a National Parkin 1992.

Situated at the Himalayan foothills, Dooars has awe-inspiring natural beauty and is home to some of West Bengal’s most varied flora and fauna. Gorumara Park located on the bank of rivers Murti and Raidak has a vegetation of riverine grasslands interspersed with savannah woodlands. Sal is the most common and valuable tree in this moist deciduous forest. Teak, simul, siris and khair are also found here. A visit to this park is an enjoyable experience due to its placid rivers and picturesque mountain ranges. Besides the one-horned rhinoceros, the park also houses a number of Indian elephants, Indian bisons, leopards, different species of deer, turtles, pythons, monkeys etc. and around 200 species of birds. The park is a birdwatcher’s paradise with beautiful birds

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like the Indian pied hornbill, woodpecker, sunbird, fly catcher, minivet, drongo, pheasants and many more migratory birds especially in winter. The Brahmani duck is a regular visitor here and the birds can be viewed from Suksukia, a bird watching point inside the park.

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Lataguri, a small town adjacent to the park is the entry point. There are many watch towers inside the park for viewing the animals. To name a few are the Yatraprasad Watch tower and the Old Khunia Watch Tower. The Rhino observation point is a nice point to watch wild animals like rhino, elephant, bison and deer.

iff   Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary

Location:Jalpaiguri District Best time to visit October to April Main Attractions: Rhino, bison, elephant Places to stay: Hollong Lodge, Jaldapara Tourist Lodge

How to get there: New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railhead. To reach by road from Siliguri (75 km), take the NH 31 to Dalgaon via Coronation bridge, Dam Dim, Mai Bazaar and Chalsa. From there, take the NH 31C to Madarihat via Birpara. Journey by car may take about 3 hours.

The Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the Alipurduar sub-division of North Bengal, very close to the Bhutan border. Established in 1941, the sanctuary is home to an estimated 60 to 80 mighty Indian one-horned Rhinoceros, which can be distinguished from its African counterpart, which has two horns. Other mammals found in the area are the Royal Bengal tiger, leopard, elephant, sambar, barking deer, hog deer, wild pig and bison.

Having more than 350 bird species, the place is really a birdwatcher’s paradise. The major avifaunal species of the region includes the fishing eagle, crested eagle, shikra, jungle fowl, Bengal florican, paradise flycatcher, pied hornbill, partridge, peafowl and the racket-tailed drongo. You may also spot reptiles like python, cobra, krait etc.

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