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)

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