Thursday, 28 February 2013

Destination India

West Bengal (PART-V)

Jalpaiguri (2)


Chalsa is a small town situated just on the foot of the Himalayas in the Duars in Jalpaiguri district. The region is famous for its wildlife sanctuaries, the most notable of which is Jaldapara. The forests in the Dooars have a large variety of deer, namely, the sambar, barking deer, spotted deer and the hog deer. Gorumara Wildlife Sanctuary, another haven for wildlife, is known for its flora and fauna, rich wild life, which includes elephants, guars, pigs, reptiles, birds and fishes. Buxa Tiger Reserve, covering an area of 761 sq. km, is a paradise for nature lovers and trekkers. While the peice-de-resistance is the Royal Bengal Tiger, the other animals also inhabit the region like Leopards, Elephants, Chital, Sambar, Barking deer and Malayan Giant Squirrel.

Chalsa is surrounded by hills, tea gardens, rivers and forests. One part of the town is surrounded by Gorumara National Park and other part with Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary. This small town was known as Queen of Duars in British India. Canvas like tea gardens and dense forest will quench the thrist of your mind. The Sinclair's retreat is located on a hillock close to Chalsa.



Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the oldest Sanctuaries in India. It situated in the Nagrakata block of Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal. The Murti River flows by the western boundary of it and the Sanctuary is totally located on the plain land of the Doors. Just 9.6 square kilometers area is bounded in this Sanctuary. It is a very small Sanctuary in India compare with others. The Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary is filled with dense greenery which provides a natural home to the animals and birds living here. With very tall trees and thick bower of greenery, this sanctuary is a wildlife heaven. In 1895, it was declared as Reserve Forest by the British Government. In 1998, it was declared as Wildlife Sanctuary.

Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for Indian Elephant. A large numbers of Elephant are there. Beside this the Royal Bengal Tiger and Indian Bison(Gaur) are very common animal in this Sanctuary. Cheetal, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wildboar, Pangolin and many more species are also available in the Sanctuary. 


Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary is paradise for bird watchers. There are more than 100 species of birds which include Green Magpie, Indian Treepie, Thrush, Scarlet Minivet, Hill Mayna, Whitr Breasted Kingfisher, Hornbill, Large Grey Headed Fishing Eagle, Adjutant Stork, Peafowl, Green pigeon, Roller, Florican, Flinch, Bee-eater, Black Partridges and many more. In winter you can find out various migratory birds like Brahminy, Teals, etc.

An observation tower is located in the front of the Glade in the Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a very beautiful bird watching point as well as elephant and Gaur.

Jalpesh Temple

Jalpesh Temple, an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located at a distance of around 15 km from Jalpaiguri town. It was built by the last successor of King Baghadatta, called Jalpash, who built the temple around 800 AD. The temple bears a long history to trace back. Bhaktiyar Khilji when invaded Kamrup destroyed this temple of Jalpesh. However, one of the Kings of Bhutan again restored it in the 12th century. But subsequently the temple was lost in the jungle. Again, in the year 1665, King Pranannarayan of the Cooch Behar dynasty excavated the temple site and re-established the temple.
Again in the year 1897, the temple was almost destroyed by an earthquake. With the unavailability of government help, funds were raised to repair the temple. A huge mela is held at the site of the temple in the month of January, which attracts bulk of people from Assam and Duars as well as the hills of the Darjeeling district.

Jogomaya Kalibari

The famous Jogomaya Kalibari in the Temple Street of Jalpaiguri is worth visiting. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. A shrine of Baba Loknath has also been constructed in the temple complex.
The idol of Goddess Kali is believed to be extreme powerful and divine. Tourists flock at the temple site mainly during the celebration of Kali puja.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Talk about India, from India with you

Hindi thriller movie - 'Koun'

Good morning/Good afternoon/Good evening my friends, wherever you are! This 11:00pm. 27th February, 2013, Wednesday in India. How are you friends? Last week, for few technical problems, I was not able to post ‘Flavors of India’ and ‘Tips from the kitchen of an Indian homemaker’. Hope this week all will be well!

Friends, you know, this year, Indian cinema has completed the journey of 1oo years! It’s a grand achievement I must say. The Hindi film industry, called Bollywood, has made some enormous films which are renowned and appreciated by the entire World. Bollywood is going through all the streams of cinema for the 100 years – Comedy, thriller, family drama, Romantic and what not! We, all Indian, are really proud of that. In this special occasion, 100th Birthday of Indian cinema, I have tried to write about 11 best thriller movies of Bollywood, directed by great directors. Here is the link of the article. Hope you all are going to enjoy it!

That’s all for today! Take care of your health and your family! Have a good day/ afternoon/evening/night! Namaskar.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Festivals of India in the month of February


Taj Mahotsav


Taj Mahotsav at Agra is a culturally vibrant platform that brings together the finest Indian Crafts and cultural nuances. Starting from mid-February every year at Shilpgram, the Taj Mahotsav is a much-awaited event. It is a festive introduction to India and Uttar Pradesh. India's extensive arts, crafts and culture are on display at this event. There are a bundle of activities like folk music, shayari (poetry) and classical dance performances that keep you intrigued. Also, there are elephant and camel rides along with games and food festival that make the event even livelier.

The Taj Mahotsav is a non-stop 10 day carnival which is held annually at Shilpgram, near Tajmahal. The impressive festival commences with a spectacular procession inspired by Mughal splendor. Bedecked elephants and camels, drum beaters, folk artists and master craftsmen, together recreate the glorious past of the Mughals.

The Taj Mahal Mahotsav area becomes a live culture with a variety of crafts and traditions. It is a great opportunity for legendary artisans to display their exquisite work. Marble of course rules the festivities each year for obvious reasons. Besides this, crafts include wood carvings from Saharanpur, brass and other metal ware from Moradabad, handmade carpets of Badohi, pottery of Khurja, chickan-work of Lucknow, the silk of Banaras and much more.

Indian festivities can never be complete without the preparation of exotic cuisine. Some of the best and richest food items are available at the fest for all the visitors and foodies. This will be a perfect fest to treat your taste buds with lip-smacking spicy Indian-Mughal food.

Throughout the Taj Mahotsav, one can experience a profusion of folk music and dances of Dundelkhand, 'Nautanki' (Drama), 'Sapera' dance of Rajasthan, Lavani of Maharashtra performed in the old and traditional style, just the way they used to be performed centuries ago. Visitors join in with the folk dancers enjoying swinging to a different tune and dance style.
This year Taj Mahotsav started from 18 February 2013 and will continue to 27 February 2013.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Destination India

West Bengal (PART-IV)


The name Jalpaiguri came from the word "jalpai" means "olive" which grew in the town and were seen even in 1900. The suffix "guri" means a place. The name as well is associated with Jalpesh, the presiding deity (Shiva) of the entire region. The district situated in the northern part of West Bengal has international borders with Bhutan and Bagladesh in the North and South respectively and borders with Assam and Darjeeling hills in the East, West and Northwest. The entire topography is crisscrossed with rivulets, rivers and hills. The district is primarily rural with more than 80% of rural population. It has also high percentage of SC/ST population. Relatively sizeable population resides in Tea Gardens and Forest villages which are isolated and mostly inaccessible.

The narrow stretch of land – Jalpaiguri, lying between the Sikkim - Darjeeling Himalayas and Gangetic West Bengal has more than often evoked a sense of both eerie and romanticism in many a heart since the early British Rule. Veined by mighty rivers like the Teesta,Torsa, Jaldhaka, Dyna, Neora, Sankosh etc. this piece of land has been aptly named as the land of 'Tea, Timber & Tourism'. A major stretch of area is bordered in the north by Bhutan and hence the name - DOOARS/DUARS which mean - Door of Bhutan. The district is the gateway to the entire North-Eastern States and Bhutan. Having high percentage of migrated population different cultural groups (Ranjbanshi, Ravas, Totos, Metch, Santhals, Madasia and Oraons) has created a unique cultural harmony which is rarely seen in other districts of West Bengal.

Places to visit:


Gorumara National Park

Gorumara National Park is located in the Dooars region of Jalpaiguri district. It is a medium-sized park covered with forests and grasslands. This National park is highly acknowledged for nurturing a considerable population of Indian Rhinoceros.
The park has recorded 193 species of birds, 7 species of turtles, 22 species of reptiles, 27 species of fishes and other micro and macro fauna. It is also known for its bird population.  

Cradled on the bank of Murti River, Gorumara National Park has a variety of flora and fauna. The forest of Garumara is famous for the Asian one-horned rhino. There is a watchtower beside the Forest Rest House offering a view of the Murti Valley and the entire park. Tourists climb up the tower to observe wild animals especially elephant, rhino, deer and bison as they frequently visit the salt reservoir below the tower.

Gorumara Forest was first declared as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1949, later was termed National Park in the year 1992, encompassing 89 km. of diverse forest.


Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary

Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected wildlife park, nestled at the foothills of eastern Himalayas. It is located in Alipurduar Sub-Division of Jalpaiguri District in West Bengal on the bank of River Torsa. Spanning an area of 114 sq km., Jaldapara Sanctuary covers a huge expanse of Terai grasslands in North Bengal intersected with wet-forests, riverine forests and dry-mixed forests.

Single Horned Rhinos

This wildlife sanctuary was established in the year 1943 for preserving wildlife, especially single horned Rhinos. Jaldapara is primarily known for Royal Bengal Tigers and One-horned Rhinos.  It also offers shelter to migratory birds during winter. It is a heaven for bird watchers. The other wildlife inhabited in the consist’s of deer, hog deer, barking deer, elephants, wild pig and bisons. Elephant safaris and Jeep safaris are available inside the sanctuary.

Jalpaiguri Rajbari (Palace)

Palace gate

The remnants of the Jalpaiguri Rajbari (Palace) serve as a major sightseeing spot for both tourists and locals. The palace gate is a large unreinforced concrete structure. It flaunts the excellent architecture and designing of the yesteryears. The palace ground is known for its architectural buildings, well laid portico, two temples and a beautiful garden flanked by the palace pond, called the “Rajbari Dighi.” This palace was once the refuge of the Raikats, the kings of Baikunthapur estate.

Jalpaiguri Rajbari (Palace)