Are you someone who is into wildlife photography? or someone who loves wildlife or animal in general? Well, you may or may not fall under any of the above-mentioned categories but you will surely love the scenic beauty of Jaldapara National Park which is situated in Alipuduar district in west Bengal.
Jaldapara National park, which was formerly known as Jaldapara Wildlife sanctuary is situated in the foothills of Himalaya. River Torsa flows through the national park and makes the place even better. The sanctuary has many one-horned rhinoceros and other animal species which are threatened to be extinct in the near future.
Speaking about the sanctuary, let’s know about its history as well. Primarily the national park was habitat for Toto tribes and Mech tribes before the 1880s. The place was then known as ‘Totopara’. The national park was formed with the motive of protecting the limited number of one-horned rhinoceros present in the country. The wildlife sanctuary was established in the year 1941. In 2012, the wildlife sanctuary was declared a national park. The forest is mostly covered with grass and has fewer trees. All over the national park, you will notice tall elephant grasses. Until now you can clearly guess that the main attraction of the national park is one-horned rhinoceros, but apart from them, there are some other animals present in the park as well. The other animals that are present in the park include Indian leopard, sambar, elephants, spotted deer, barking deer, guars, wild boars and hog deer.
Apart from animals, different varieties of birds are also noticed here which makes it a visual treat for all the bird watchers. More than 240 species of birds are present here. Bengal florican, which is a very rare bird is often found here. Other birds which you can notice in the national park are the crested eagle, shikra, jungle fowl, Pallas’s fish eagle, Finn’s weaver, peafowl, partridge and lesser pied hornbill. You can even spot eight different species of turtle there.
There are few hotels around the edge of the national park and staying in one of them will give you an amazing experience. Though you cannot step inside the national park without any guide but the guides there are very good and are ready to help always. You can either take a jeep or you can also go for the elephant ride for visiting prominent landmarks inside the forest. If you want authentic enjoyment you must choose the elephant rides.
Going on an early morning trip to the forest will surely be fruitful as there are chances that you can spot the endangered rhinoceros. Inside the forest, there are few watch towers as well.
You will notice that the weather is warm and humid and it stays almost same throughout the year. The park remains closed during the monsoon season and remains open from the month of September to June. For the best experience, one must try to visit the park during October to February. Accommodation facilities are available inside the park. The accommodation facility inside the national park is under government and the cost per night is near about Rs1500. Apart from this, there are also many places where people can stay and the rates are nearly same.
A person can either take road, air or railway to reach the national park. Bagdogra is the nearest airport and is only 140 Km away from the national park. Madarihat railway station is only 7 km away and is perfect for people who prefer railway. Well, for people who love roadways can always have some extra fun as the area is connected to Siliguri and many other places of North Bengal via roads.
So now that we have gathered much information about this hidden paradise for animal and wildlife lovers, what are you waiting for? Visit this place for a heavenly experience inside the jungle and make some memories.