“Dooars” which also means Doors because there are in total 18 passages to enter Bhutan from India. Enchanting long strech of forests, tea gardens, rivers which mostly flows from Bhutan to Bangladesh,its wildlife, flora, everything is captivating enough to make it most sought for tourist destination in Eastern India. Lying on the foothills of Himalayas, Dooars is home to some of the best Reserved Forests, Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks. West Bengal is indeed a beautiful place which offers everything that a travel lover looks upto- beaches, rivers, forests, plains, wildlife, culture and heritage. It was one of the best roadtrip I had ever taken from Guwahati. It was also our last trip of the year,2017 and thus it had to be a memorable one.
An Epic Roadtrip to Dooars in West Bengal from
It was the Christmas weekend this year and as usual we had a three day slot, my partner in crime, i.e my husband was searching for train tickets for Friday night from Guwahati to New Mal Junction, but unfortunately train timings didn’t match with our schedule and also there are fewer trains from Guwahati to New Mal Junction. It was his idea actually to take our car instead. We wanted to visit Jaldapara first but at the last moment we could not get any hotel bookings there. The best place to stay in Jaldapara is the Hollong Tourist lodge but when we contacted them they said all rooms were booked since past three months! Yes, you heard it right so you could imagine how much thrilling it could have been staying in a forest bungalow. But bad luck! . We had only three days in hand. And this is how we spent the three days exploring Dooars.
Day 1, 23rd Dec, 2017
We started at 7am in the morning, we had no idea about the roads, just we had our vehicle and GPS to show us the correct way and yes random passersby whom we asked about the exact route to follow. We crossed Srirampur which is the border between Assam and West Bengal at around 1pm, from there we drove straight to reach Telipara, tiniali. We took right turn and again drove for 60kms more untill we reached Chalsa at around 5.pm. There are lots of resorts in Chalsa, from Chalsa Sevok Road in Siliguri is just 42kms away. We stayed in a resort name Tiya Bon. It was quite a pleasant stay. Chalsa is a small town in the Dooars in the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal.
While driving we passed through reserved forests which are home to wild elephants and rhinos. The road condition is very good which is perfect for a roadtrip. With the help of an uncle my husband could manage a room in a resort in Chalsa in Lataguri. So most of our travel itenerary was planned based on Lataguri. We had The Gorumara National Park, The Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary, The Hydel Power Project in Jaldakha, Samsing and Santhaleka points, Jhallong and Bindu, The Murti River and all we had to cover in a single day.
Day 2, 24th Dec, 2017
Day 2 begin very early in the morning, first we went to the booking counter for booking a jeep safari for Gorumara National Park. Dooars is famous for its National Parks and reserved forests and I have heard a lot about the jungle safari here. You can also experience tribal dance during one of the tower visits.There are two booking counter at a distance of 1km, one for booking a jeep safari till the four towers and another one for a complete jeep safari across the forest area. You can check out this LINK for booking tariffs and other details. But we skipped jeep safari as I was not feeling so well. We went back to our resort. For booking the tickets you need to reach the booking counter really early as early as possible or else the queue gets longer. If you have prior hotel bookings than tell them to arrange safari tickets for you if you want to avoid last minute rush. Then we went to explore Jhallong, Bindu, Rocky Island in Samsing.
Jallong, Bindu and Samsing
On way to reach Jhallong we entered a Rubber Processing Unit and Smoke House, and there were lots of rubber trees all around, it was quitean interesting visit.Jhallong is a beautiful valley situated in the Indo-Bhutan border, its a famous picnic spot in the area. The Jhallong River Camp is a beautiful place to stay there. We came to know about it only when we visited North Bengal, so its in our bucket list. Dooars is indeed beautiful and to explore the entire place, you need few weeks. From trekking to jungle safari to camping on river sides, it offers everything.
The Jaldhaka river forms a boundary between Bhutan and India. From there we visited Bindu. There is the Jaldhakha Hydel Project, located on the river Jaldhaka. The Dam lies in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. The river water was chilly and shallow at certain points and there were huge boulders every where which added to the scenic beauty of the place. Don’t forget to taste momos and local Bhutanese wine there. From there we moved on to Samsing. Beautiful hills, neatly prunned tea gardens and patches of forest area is all we saw while moving towards the main spot. We felt so close to nature, everything was very beautiful and attractive.The road to famous Rocky Island was a bit rough at places, rest was very smooth. Another nearest tourist point is Sunthalekhola. The Neora Valley National Park is alos nearby and here many tourists stay overnight. It was already dark by then and we had to reach our resort. That night we stayed in Wagtail resort, it was a lovely abode for tourists. The staffs were also very good and helpful.
Day 3, 25th Dec 2017
It was the last day of our short weekend roadtrip. On way back to Guwahati we decided to visit Cooch Behar. So we started very early in the morning at around 6.30. I shall write a full detailed post on our visit to Coochbehar. Till then take care and a Very Happy New Year,2018 to everyone.
How To Reach Dooars
By road- Since we took our personal car, we followed the route the goes across Assam Bengal Border in Srirampur and enters Alipurduar in West Bengal. It is well connected with the National Highway to important places like Siliguri, Alipurduar, Cooch Behar.
The nearest airport is the Bagdogra airport in Siliguri. Bagdogra is well connected with regular flights from Guwahati, Kolkata, New Delhi and other important airports of our country.
If you are travelling by train the nearest railway station will be the New Jalpaiguri Junction (NJP), Guwahati is also well connected to NJP by trains. To reach Dooars by train it would be best if you reach New Mal Junction from Guwahati as the travelling time is only 6 to 7 hours, but for that you need to get your tickets booked early and it would also save you the travelling time from New Jalpaiguri to your destination.
But travelling by road has its unique charm with the car passing through lush green tea gardens, long stretch of dense forests, rivers with the banks full of stones and boulders, you will feel the real warmth of nature.
Where to Stay in Dooars
Almost all the resorts are pretty good, you can do your bookings via HolidayIQ , Holidify and other online hotel booking websites. The government tourist lodges and resorts are best to stay as they allow to get you the best scenic beauty, comfort and also go smooth on your pocket. While we were in Lataguri we stayed in TiyaBon resort which was quite good and next we stayed in Wagtail Resort.
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