To the north of West Bengal stands the East Himalayas as a natural backdrop. A vast texture of dense forests teeming with wildlife, unending tea gardens, Babbling rivers, interspersed with sleepy or busy settlements, constitute a fascinating tourist destination – the Dooars.
Not so much known to the world, the Dooars valley stretching from River Teesta on the west to River Sankosh on the east, over a span of 130 km by 40 km, forms a major part of Jalpaiguri district.
Derived from the word ‘doors’ (doors to Bhutan), this region also forms a gateway to the hill stations of North Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan & the North-Eastern states. The dense natural forests interwoven with lush green tea gardens are cries-crossed by Teesta, Raidak, Torsha, Jaldhaka, Kaljani and other rivers & their innumerable tributaries trotting and rolling down from the hills. The entire region is served with a network of motor-able roads running through the deep forests and tea gardens. A meter gauge railway service connects Siliguri and Cooch Behar via Alipurduar. A journey itself by rail or on road through this region gives immense delight to both the mind and the eyes.
The Dooars valley is specially noted for its wildlife sanctuaries, the most notable of which are the National Park of Gorumara (75 km from Siliguri), Chapramari forests (68 km from Siliguri), the Buxa Tiger Reserve (200 km from Siliguri) and the Jaldapara Santuary (124 km from Siliguri).
These sanctuaries abound in a fascinating diversity of flora and fauna. The vast texture of massive trees sheltering varieties of orchids and resounded with echo of birds and wild animals make it a veritable paradise for lovers of nature and eco-tourism.
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary and Gorumara National Park are habitats of the rare one-horned rhinoceros, the mighty bison, leopard, spotted deer, sambar, hog deer, reptiles, huge wild tuskers, wild boars and the rarest variety of animals and birds including plenty of peacocks. Elephant riding through the Jaldapa forest in search of wild animals, particularly the one-horned rhinos, has become a craze among the tourists to this area.
Other places of attraction in and around the region include Jayanti (30 km from Alipurduar), a beautiful spot encircled by Jayanti River and hills around; Bhutanghat (45 km from Alipurduar), famous for scenic beauty beside River Raidak bordering Bhutan; Buxa Fort (30 km from Alipurduar), famous for the ruins of the Detention Camp used by the British Government for detaining freedom fighters of our country; Rajabhatkhawa (15 km from Alipurduar), attractive for the nature information centre; Murti (72 km from Siliguri) beside Murti River, attractive for the forest resort; Malbazar (52 km from Siliguri), attractive for tea gardens and scenic spots around and as a base of starting package tours to the hills and other places around; Chalsa (61 km from Siliguri), famous for scenic beauty and the star category resort; Teesta Barrage (57 km from Siliguri), emerging and being developed as a tourist attraction; Samsing (81 km from Siliguri via Chalsa) beside Jaldhaka River, attractive for scenic beauty, orange plantation and forest resort; Toto Para (22 km from Jaldapara), a small village on the bank of River Torsha near Bhutan border, famous for the Dooars aboriginals – the Totos; Phuntsholling (161 km from Siliguri via Jaldapara), on the Border of Bhutan, a major gateway to Bhutan.
In connection to Cooch Behar :~
On way to Cooch Behar, a trip through the deep and dark Chilapata Forest (20 km from Alipurduar) is a pleasant and exciting experience.
The ruins of the fort named Nalrajar Garh dating back to the Gupta Age (4th to 6th century A.D.) hidden in the Chilapata Forest make it an attractive destination.
Another pleasant and exciting experience is a trip through the Hasimara Forest.
A visit to the greenery of the Dooars and resting a few days and nights in the midst of forests, rivers and wildlife will definitely instill new life and inspiration in a tourist for ever.
In order to promote the enormous tourism resources and to encapsulate the spirit of the region, West Bengal Tourism in association with Sikkim Tourism and Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council has been conducting East Himalayas Tourism Festival (so far known as Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival) in December-January every year. West Bengal Tourism in association with Indian Railways is contemplating to run a special train (the Dooars on Wheels) between Siliguri and Cooch Behar on special occasions so that tourists can easily access the Dooars and enjoy the abundant natural beauty and spirit of the region.
How to reach Dooars from Cooch Behar?
Siliguri is the gateway to the Dooars. Cooch Behar being the headquarters of the North Bengal State Transport Corporation, the place is well connected by long distance bus routes to Siliguri as well as to Kolkata, Jalpaiguri and other areas of the state.
There is a broad gauge railway service connecting Cooch Behar with Kolkata via New Jalpaiguri (NJP railway station near Siliguri). The nearest airport to Siliguri is Bagdogra, connecting Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati.
Where to Stay ?
Well-equipped tourist lodges are run by WB Tourism Development Corporation / WB Forest Development Corporation at Malbazar, Jalpaiguri, Jaldapara, Hollong, Madarihat, Gorumara, Samsing and Jayanti. Besides, there are quite a good number of hotels, resorts, guest houses etc. at Malbazar, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar & Cooch Behar.