“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”Ibn Battuta
All my life I had been travelling to places. Sometimes, I consider myself a traveller, who is in constant search to explore new places. Travelling is the fuel for my soul. I am a huge believer in road trips. When I was a child, we used to go for long journeys. The trips lasted for 2 to 3 weeks. And most were covered by trains. Recently, we took the chance for road trips. I also have a blog post on that, “Satkosia Roadtrip” turned out to be a huge success. After a few months of Satkosia trip, I visited the “Jaldapara National Park”.
Why I am always looking for road trips is quite fascinating. We travel through road the whole day, the journey starts to feel more interesting. Sometimes, the journey seems more significant than the destination itself. You’ll observe different places, different people & their culture. I just love staring at the passing scenery. I wish that the journey becomes a never-ending one. No one knows when the time will be over. So I’ll cherish the moment while the road trip lasts.
This time we visited another jungle. Road trips become awesome through a forest. And when the forest is none other than “Jaldapara National park”, you are going to be surprised to encounter the varieties of flora and fauna found here. Situated at the foothills of eastern Himalaya, Jaldapara National Park is famous for the Indian one-horned Rhinoceros.
How to reach:
Jaldapara is about 682 km away from Kolkata. The national park covers about 216 square km of area, which is itself a huge landscape full of forests and grasslands. One can reach Jaldarapara by cars, buses & trains. You can book a cab or bus from Kolkata. Or you have to take a train up to NJP station, then you need to reach Jaldapara by car. Nearest town & railway stations are Madarihat & Hasimara respectively.
Jaldapara is situated in Alipurduar district of northern West Bengal. Jaldapara is one of the foremost places to visit if you are planning for a trip in the Dooars region of West Bengal. Though the main attraction of the park is Rhinoceros, the national park also beholds a huge number of other animals like elephants, leopards, wild boars, barking deers, spotted deers, pythons, cobras, lizards etc. There is also a numerous number of species of birds. It is a heaven for a bird watcher. The vast grass fields, the deep greenery is just treating your eyes.
We started in the morning, it was a long journey. Jaldapara is 682 km from Kolkata. The whole day was spent in the car. The road was never-ending. I kept looking at the window, we passed the crowded city of Kolkata and entered the rural Bengal. The view changed, I left hectic city lifestyle behind. It was time for a holiday. We crossed the Malda Town. We drove all the way through the NH34 & reached Islampur at night. Islampur is a city in the North Dinajpur district of West Bengal. The traffic was so congested at times, so it took much longer to reach Islampur. After the tiring day, we took a halt at Islampur city.
Next day, we started towards Siliguri. It took about 6 hours to reach Jaldapara National park from Islampur. The scenery of the road from Siliguri to Jaldapara is just charming. On the way, the villages, the rivers and the greenery will blow your mind. There are tea estates on both sides of the road. The road passes through Malbazar, Binnaguri and finally reaches Jaldapara National Park. So, on the second day, we reached Jaldapara.
The Jungle Safari:
Our next task was to book for a safari, we took an afternoon jungle safari. They take you on safari by Maruti Gypsy cars. One car was enough for us. Each car comes with a guide. On the way to the forest, the guide was telling us about the animals found in the national park. The safari through the jungle was mesmerizing. Birds are chirping in the background, elephants are crossing the road, a rhino is just giving you glimpses from behind the trees. The ambience is just enchanting. It just feels so adventurous after our busy life in the city.
There is a famous bungalow called “Hollong Bungalow” just inside the premises of Jaldapara. People are always rushing to get a booking for Hollong Bungalow. The surrounding of the bungalow is unbelievable. Just outside the bungalow, you could see a rhinoceros grazing. If you are lucky, you’ll get a chance to get a glance of leopard or Elephant. A vast majority of elephants are seen in Jaldapara. According to the natives, frequently the elephants are entering the local villages and they are destroying the crops. It has become a part of their lives. Both villages and jungle are residing together. Luckily, we got the chance to see elephants, rhinoceros, deers and bison. The best view was where the jungle merges with the eastern Himalaya. The view is just breathtaking.
The safari was over afterwards, we booked a resort right in the midst of the jungle. The resort was surrounded by deep forest. Birds were continuously chirping from outside.
In the morning I woke up listening to the birds. The place was tranquil. The calmness felt like bliss. I took a walk around the resort. All I could see was uninterrupted greenery. All the distress, the agony was gone. I could feel all the senses. Despite all the luxuries & electronic gadgets, I felt alive and unconditionally happy. I went one step closer to serenity. The scenic beauty was more than enough to make me happy.
On the following day, we went to look for a few nearby spots like Chilapata Forest, Khairbari. At places, tea gardens are just occupying both sides of the roads. Tea estates are a significant part of the economy in North Bengal. Dooars is famous for its tea estates. The tea gardens, situated just at the foothills of the Himalayas behold the majestic view. You just can’t ignore the natural beauty. You would love to come back again and again. Just like we came back again to visit “the Dooars”.
Now it was time to go back. Finally, the amazing trip was over. All the colours, the scenic beauty of North Bengal stole my heart. I don’t know whether I’ll ever come to visit again, but these memories will go no with me. The universe has a tendency to bring you to the right place, at the right moment. Let’s see where does the universe lead me for the next adventure!