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West Bengal Buxa Tiger Reserve
|Location||West Bengal, India|
|Governing body||Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India|
Located in the Alipurduar Sub Division in West Bengal state’s Jalpaiguri district, the Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) is known for many known reasons. Tiny country Bhutan share border with it in the north besides Sinchula hill ranges in that side. The Assam state borders it from the Eastern border. The southern boundary of BTR touches the National Highway No.31 C up to certain extent. Its geographic identity is of eastern most extension of highly bio-diversed portion of India’s northeastern portion too much endemic Indo-Malayan area. The reserve also houses Terai Eco-System up to certain extent. Neighboring Phipsu Wildlife Sanctuary from Bhutan is located at the North to BTR reserve. The eastern border has Manas National Park. In fact BTR is recognized for its international corridor identity seeing Asian Elephant migrating to and from India and Bhutan respectively.
Chilapata Forests to its southwestern border make an elephant corridor especially for Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary nearby. Peculiarity of this reserve is through the eight forest categories it possesses. Alipurduar is the Divisional Head Quarters from where it operates with its East and West forest divisions. Some prominent birds here are Himalayan Griffon, pretty Nutuch and four types of Hornbill & the Red B besides Himalayan Partridge making good choice. Clouded leopard, tiger, wild dog and rare pangolin Himalayan black beer are some good collection of wild animals. This reserve’s major landmark is Buxa Fort which was captured by the British during 1865 post Dooars War in Bhutan. The fort was transformed into detention camp during India’s freedom struggle.
Being developed the 15th tiger reserve, Buxa Tiger Reserve came into existence in the year 1983. An area of 314.52 km² was chosen in 1986 to develop the Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary and reserve forests for that purpose. Addition of 54.47 km² in 1991 further increased the area of this Wildlife Sanctuary to develop more. The West Bengal government attempted and achieved success in declaring a national park in 1992 with the area covering 117.10 km² from the Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary and achieved success in it.
Weather And Best Time To Visit
Those planning to visit here should choose October to April month which remains best time for such purposes.
Place To Visit
Many trek routes have their origin from Buxa itself. The 914ft famous trek begins from Santrabari until Buxaduar here. Densely forested 5 kilometers trek reaches up to Buxaduar Forest Bungalow and makes good attraction. Trackers are facilitated accommodation at this place. Reaching till the Rover’s Point by trekking for 4 more kilometers is an attraction at 4500ft where countless unknown birds are found. One proceeds further to Bhutan’s Rupam Valley if treks 12 kilometers more. Several unknown adventures are witnessed in this whole trekking journey so are the many excitements especially with excellent Jayanti River Valley view one gets. Green forestry regions and looking at many rare animals especially birds and orchids offer seething impression.
Twisty Jayanti River nearby it makes Jayanti attractive location and more importantly highly appealing international natural border alongside Bhutan where ills are major attractions. The cool breeze here offers total rejuvenation so you don’t feel any tiredness. Trekkers enjoy adventurous journey from Buxaduar to Jayanti to make best use of the place. With a length of 13 kilometers this trek looks seething while Buxa Tiger Reserve dense forests cover it. Typical enjoyment is felt especially due to the wasteland music because of birds chirping continuously and sound created by the wild streams. Notable is the natural fragrance which refreshes you and hence hardly is any tiredness feeling. Many old staggering priests welcome you once the journey ends and you are received by them upon reaching Jayanti’s stalactite cave famously called Mahakal cave here. Although it’s not easy to enter inside such narrow and dark cave that is also damp but once entered you feel true adventure. Upon reaching follow the downhill trek that takes you to Jayanti Forest Bungalow thereafter.
Distance between Rajabhatkhawa and Jayanti is 12 kilometers only hence it can be reached easily through road and railways from nearest Siliguri and Alipurduar towns at 153 and 17 kilometers respectively. The Buxa Tiger Reserve dense forests surround Rajabhatkhawa that is sought after location for those loving nature and wildlife. One can view elephants, bison and tiger from the watchtower located inside the forest. One more attraction Nature Interpretation Center keeps Rajabhatkhawa into limelight. The tiny railways station and pretty market add more value to its beauty. Forest rest house facilitates accommodation to the visitors so is Gracilips private rest house offering staying options.
How To Reach
Its southern boundary touches the National Highway No.31C. Visitors may get private cars to start from Alipurduar and go to Buxa Tiger Reserve Forest easily. The proper road connectivity of Alipurduar with nearby cities Darjeeling, Siliguri and various other North Bengal cities is a good option.
Alipurduar Junction / New Alipurduar in the nearest railway station at a distance of 17 Kilometers. Check for the trains as all not stop or arrive at this station. This area’s main railway station is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station from where trains can be changed or road journey started to reach this place.
Bagdogra is the nearest airport which is mainly a domestic one meant for the air force with limited operation for private airlines. This airport connects the area with the major Indian cities. Both Bagdogra and Siliguri cities are located at a distance of 13 kilometers. Many cab services are available from Siliguri to connect to the road route to reach here.
Flora And Fauna
Collection of more than 300 tree species, shrub species consisting of 250 in number besides 400 herb species make a good collection. So are notable 9 cane species, 10 bamboo species and orchids of 150 kinds. 100 grass species besides aquatic flora species going 130 in number are notable. Number of sedges or Cyperaceae are 70 while monocotyledons and ferns species are more than 160. Its major species groups are Sal, Champa, Gamar, Simul and Chikrasi amongst others.
In fauna major species are Asian elephants, tigers, gaurs, wild boars and sambars et al. In total this reserve accommodates more than 284 bird species besides 73, 76 and 5 species of mammals, snakes and amphibians respectively. A survey held in 2006 noticed that Buxa Tiger Reserve distinguishes with maximum fish species found in entire North Bengal state. Some more animals besides tigers include clouded leopard, elephants, civets, giant squirrel, bears,gaur, chital, wild buffaloes, antelope and snakes so are regal python abundantly found.
Good number of bird species at 230 and countless butterflies keep forest one to be explored well. Both Raidak and Jayanti rivers flowing through the forest are known for being home to countless migratory birds. Narathali lake too attracts such birds so are widespread common ones. Some of the notable hornbills are greater pied hornbill, red-stars, trans Himalayan migratory goosanders, ibis bill, wagtails and many black necked cranes considered rare are found there. Some of the migratory birds are teals, black storks, large whistling teals, minivets, white eyed Poachared etc whose species make good choice. The 2006 survey has found two new frog species as well.
A few notable vanishing species in this reserve are collection of tiger species and mainly those elephants that are unique in the Asian region besides florican from Bengal and pythons as well as leopards that make good collection. A few pangolins from China and hispid hare are rarest so are collection of hog deer here. Presence of several other wildlife species from vultures to typical animals make remarkable option here. Multiple varieties of hornbills are made available in this reserve for the visitors who spend great time watching them.
Where To Stay
Wonderful houses maintained by WBFDC at Rajabhatkhawa, Nimati, Barobisha, Raidak, Raimatang/Buxaduar, Jayanti and Bhutanghat are best options for the accommodation purpose to enjoy nature nearby forest. Enjoy excellent warm stay in Garcilips privately run by a family at Rajabhatkhawa. Enjoy its delicious food too.