Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary
is situated in the Alipurduar sub-division of Jalpaiguri district in north Bengal, very close to the Bhutan border.
The sanctuary, established in 1941, is home to an estimated 60 to 80 mighty Indian one horned Rhinoceros, which can be distinguished from its African counterpart, known for its two horns.
Besides the fauna, the jungle presents an amazing sight with dense trees that rise up to the skies and allow very little sunlight to penetrate through. All this gives an eerie feeling to the place and a sense of excitement and uncertainty to the visitors.
The park remains open from September 15 to June 15 and closes down during the monsoons. The best time to visit the park, however, are the months from October to April when the weather remains excellent and animals can also be spotted quite easily.
Wildlife Attractions in Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary
The park is home to a myriad variety of flora and fauna. The place teems with plants and beautiful flowers, especially after the monsoons. Some of the prominent tree species found in the park include tall Sal and Shishu trees. Other variety of ferns, shrubs and tall grass can also be seen.
The place is a birdwatchers paradise with over 350 species of birds recorded to have been seen. Some of the prominent avifaunal species of the region includes the fishing eagle, crested eagle, shikra, jungle fowl, partridge, peafowl, Bengal florican, pied hornbill, racket-tailed drongo and paradise flycatcher.
Besides the star residents of the park, the one horned Rhino, other mammals found in the area are the royal Bengal tiger, leopard, elephant, sambar, barking deer, hog deer, wild pig, bison and hispid hare. The creepy crawlie reptiles such as python, cobra, krait,
The one hour Elephant safari is the best way to explore the sanctuary. The safari, which begins early in the morning should be booked early in the morning, as during high times, its availability can not be guaranteed. Timings for elephant safari are 6-8 AM (6:30 inn winters). The forest department does not offer jeep safaris but these are available for hire from the tourist lodges. It is essential to take along a forest guard. Jeeps are allowed inside the park from 6-8AM & 3-5PM.
Gorumara National Park
The national park, situated just 62 km from Jaldapara can act as a convenient stopover, particularly if you want some extra dose of wildlife to whet your appetite. The park offers excellent bird watching opportunities as well as a chance to spot the Rhino.
It is a small village situated just 30 km from the sanctuary. Located on the Bhutan border, the place is the only habitat for the Totos, an aboriginal tribe.
How to Get There
By Air :
Bagdogra is the nearest airport. Indian Airlines flies to Bagdora from Delhi (8:00, Tue, Thu, Sat), (10:25, Mon, Fri) and from Kolkata (14:30, Tue, Sat).
By Rail :
New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railhead. Some of the convenient daily rail connections to the place are from Delhi : North East Exp. (6:40), Brahmaputra Mail (20:55), Mahananda Exp. (6:35) & Avadh Assam Exp. (8:25), from Mumbai : Guwahati Exp. (7:45, Wed, Fri, Sat), from Bangalore : Guwahati Exp. (23:45, Wed, Thu, Fri) and from Chennai : Guwahati Exp. (6:30, Thu, Fri, Sat).
By Road :
To reach by road from Siliguri, take the NH31 to Dalgaon via Coronation bridge, Dam Dim, Mal Bazaar and Chalsa. From there, take the NH31C to Madarihat via Birpara.
Distances from Major Cities
New Jalpaiguri :
133 km (E)/3 hrs.
135 km/3 hrs.
Travel Tips/Important Information
- Park charges include Elephant safari : Rs. 140/head, Jeep Safari : Rs. 450, Vehicle : Rs. 50-200, Guide : Rs. 100/vehicle, Entry fee : Rs. 25 (Indians) & Rs. 100 (foreigners), Camera : Rs. 25 (still) & Rs. 250 (video)
- While in the area, a recommended trip is to the Phaksowa Tea Estate.
- The assistant wildlife warden's office at Madarihat arranges permits and bookings for elephant and jeep safaris.
- Watchtowers built along the water bodies provide the best wildlife viewing opportunities.
- Sanctuary timings are 9AM to 3 PM