If you are travelling in north-east India, and you didn’t plan to have Dooars tours, you are going to regret in later life to miss such an opportunity to explore this kind of excellent place. The mysterious dense forests, raging rivers, rolling hill slopes, historical spots, temples and many more interesting things are going to fill up your list of places to visit in Dooars. The freshness of being amidst the jungle, watching the birds and animals in their home, meet the local tribal people, being introduced to different kind of life-style and feel the historical chill in the old ruins and palaces are magnificent part of Dooars trip.
Dooars is a plain and hill area in the foot of the eastern Himalayas around Bhutan. The name sounds like the word ‘duar’ which in Assamese, Bengali, Nepali, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Magahi and Telugu languages means ‘door’. It is absolutely excellent to name it like that, because genuinely this place is a door or gateway from India to Bhutan with 18 passages. The river Sankosh divides this place into Eastern and Western Dooars. The whole jungle is spread as different national parks, sanctuaries or wildlife reserve, preserving a wide range of flora and fauna, some endangered too. These places are very much nationally and internationally important, not only for sightseeing tours in Dooars, but also for research work, educational trips, adventurous activities etc.
While you are making a Dooars tour plan and thinking about where to go, what to do, what should be the cost and many such things, you will find several tour operators who offer complete Dooars package tours that includes exotic sites, rental car, activities etc in a reasonable price. But if you are thinking of experiencing and exploring the real sublime beauty of Dooar, do not miss any of these wildlife sanctuaries and national parks vastly lying in the Dooars.
1. Manas National Park
image credit: tripto
The Indian state of Assam contains a national park or wildlife sanctuary which has been announced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Biosphere Reserve, Project Tiger Reserve and an Elephant Reserve, named as Manas National Park. It is named after River Manas, a major tributary of River Brahmaputra. Five districts of Assam including Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Udalguri, and Darrang comes under this national park area.
Wide range of pygmy hog, Indian rhinoceros, Asian wild buffalo, capped langur, Malayan and black giant squirrel, sambar, gaurs, Asian water buffaloes, barasingha, Indian tigers, Indian leopards, clouded leopards, Asian golden cats, dholes capped langurs, golden langurs, , great hornbill, bulbuls, brahminy ducks, Kalij pheasants, egrets, pelicans and many more endangered animals and migratory birds are seen in the forests and grasslands of this park.
The semi-evergreen eco-region contains variety of fauna including Aphanamixis polystachya, Anthocephalus chinensis, Syzygium cumini, Syzygium formosum, Syzygium oblatum, Bauhinia purpurea, Mallotus philippensis, Cinnamomum tamala, Phragmites karka, Arundo donax, Dillenia pentagyna, Phyllanthus emblica, Bombax ceiba, and species of Leea, Grewia, Premna, Clerodendrum and Mussaenda etc.
2. Jaldapara National Park
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The Alipurduar district of West Bengal sees a wide variety of flora and fauna in the eastern Himalayan foothills on the bank of River Teesta. It was formerly a wildlife sanctuary, announced in 1941, and the wide land has grassland with dense forests. Later in 2012 it was declared as national park.
Jaldapara National Park is the very home to Indian one-horned rhinoceros, which was about to be extinct. It is among those places that holds a huge population of this endangered species. Besides, it is a safe home to Indian leopard, Indian elephants, sambar, barking deer, spotted deer, hog deer, wild pigs, bison and many more animals. Bird lovers find this place a complete paradise. Crested eagle, Pallas’s fish eagle, shikra, Finn’s weaver, jungle fowl, peafowl (peacock), partridge, and lesser pied hornbill. Pythons, monitor lizards, kraits, cobras, geckos etc can be frequently seen here. Bengal florican is found in very few places of India including Jaldapara.
More than 30% of this national park actually a savanna with tall elephant grasses. Themeda arundinacea, T. villosa, Setaria Palmifolia, Cymbopogon spp., Thysanolaena maxima, Phragmites Karka, Arundo donax and Imperata cycliderica etc can be seen here. Other than the grassland, the forests contain trees like saal, sissoo, khair, simul, shiris etc.
3. Buxa Tiger Reserve
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Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal spread in the Alipurduar district along the international border of Bhutan. The ‘Terai Eco-System’ is a continued part of this reserve. Technically it serves the purpose of an elephant corridor for the Asian elephants between India and Bhutan. Beside the trips in the jungle and experiencing flora and fauna, people gather to watch the historical Buxa Fort and to worship Lord Shiva in the temple of Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga.
Including the Asian elephant, wild boar, sambar, tigers, elephants, bears, civets, giant squirrel, gaur, chital, clouded leopard, wild buffalo, antelope, greater pied hornbill, ibisbill, migratory goosander, red-stars, wagtails, the rare black necked crane, migratory common teal, black stork, large whistling teal, minivets, and ferruginous pochards, you can find more than 284 species of birds, 73 species of mammals, 76 species of snakes and 5 species of amphibians in Buxa Tiger Reserve.
Undoubtedly such a land of tropical and semi-tropical forest holds a large number of trees and plants of various types. Over 400 species of trees, 250 species of shrubs, 400 species of herbs, 9 species of cane, 10 species of bamboo, 150 species of orchids, 100 species of grass and 130 species of aquatic flora are found in the whole forest area.
4. Gorumara National Park
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In the year of 2009, Ministry of Environment and Forests announced the Gorumara National Park as the best among the protected areas in India. This park is a medium sized one and was declared a national park on 1994. The area with rolling forest and wide grassland is spread in the Malbazar sub-division of Jalpaiguri district.
The park shelters around 50 species of mammals like Indian rhinoceros, gaur, Asian elephant, sloth bear, chital, and sambar deer, barking deer, hog deer and wild boar, Bengal tigers, Indian wild dogs, Indian wolves, pygmy hog, giant squirrel etc. Over 194 species of birds including scarlet minivet, sunbird, Asian paradise flycatchers, spangled drongo, Indian hornbill, woodpeckers, pheasants, brahminy duck and several migratory birds create perfect atmosphere for bird watching. Besides, 22 species of reptiles, 7 species of turtles, 27 species of fish can be found here.
As the park falls in the Indomalaya ecozone, trees like sal, teak, rain tree or shirish, Bombax or shimul, bamboo groves and tropical orchids fill up the forest.
5. Chapramari Wildlife Reserve
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Covering an area of 960 hectares, Chapramari was declared a wildlife sanctuary in the year of 1998 by the Government of India. Teesta, Murti and Neora rivers keep watering the area. The words ‘Chapra’, a small fish of Northern Bengal and ‘Mari’, meaning abundance together were used to form the name.
Elephant, gaur, Royal Bengal Tiger, deer, boar, and leopard are commonly found in this reserve. Gaur is an Indian Bison found in Dooars mostly. Bird watchers can find this place amazing because of several parrots, green pegions, kingfisher and other birds.
The forest is a semi-evergreen land as it is a part of Dooars. Common trees found here are sal, shishu, shirish, khair, segun and many more.
6. Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
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Situated in the middle of the Teesta and Mahananda rivers, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is spread from riverine forest of 500 ft to higher elevation of 4500 ft of Kurseong hills. In the year of 1959, this forest area received the status of sanctuary for protecting endangered animals.
This wildlife sanctuary provides shelter to wide range of gaur or Indian bison and royal Bengal tiger as well as many more mammals and reptile. Birds of endangered species like Rufous-necked Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Great Hornbill etc. are seen here along with thrush, swallow, roller, minivet, swift, babbler, sunbird, warbler etc.
Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forest holds wide range of Rhododendron arboreum, Rhododendron falconeri, Rhododendron thomsonii, Michelia excelsa, Alnus nepalensis, Betula alnoides, Betula utilis etc. Chir pine, Themeda anathera, Dodonaea scrub, Siwalik sal etc are seen in the subtropical pine and broadleaf forests.