Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary

Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is situated at the foothills of Eastern Himalayas in Alipurduar Sub-Division of Jalpaiguri District in West Bengal. The river Torsha flows through this rain forest sanctuary and have an area of 141 Sq.km and altitude of 61 m. Jaldapara, the vast grassland with patches of riverine forests was declared a sanctuary in 1941 for protection of the great variety flora and fauna, particularly the one-horned rhinoceros, an animal threatened with extinction. The Jaldapara Sanctuary covers 216 sq km, is a mosaic of woods, grasslands, perennial streams, sandy river banks and extensive belts of tall grass. It contains a great diversity of flora and fauna of mixed deciduous forest, grasslands and river banks. The Malangi River also flows nearby from east to west. Drained by rivers Torsa, Malangi, Hollong, Chirakhawa, Kalijhora, Sissamara, Bhaluka and Buri Torsa, the Sanctuary provides extensive grassland which is last refuge to a wide variety of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds.

General Information

  • Area: 100 sq. km.
    Altitude: 61 meters.
    Best season: October to May.
    Clothing: Summer- Cottons, Winter- Woolens.
    Languages spoken: Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, English.
    Entry-point to the sanctuary is at Madarihat.
    Entry fee: Rs. 25/head, Rs. 50 – Rs. 200/vehicle, Rs. 250/vedio camera
    Elephant ride charge: Rs. 240/head

How to reach

Air- Bagdogra 145kms from Jaldapara is the nearest airport from where tourist can reach Jaldapara by road-route via Siliguri.Bagdogra to Siliguri is 13 km.

Rail- The most important railway station in the North East India is NJP. NJP is directly connected with all major stations in India. The nearest railway station is Madarihat which is only 7 km from the sanctuary. All the mail and express trains stop at Birpara/Hasimara railway stations, both are 20 km. away from the sanctuary.

Road- Jaldapara is connected by National Highway with Siliguri and can be reached by car within 3hrs.Madarihat is the entry point for the sanctuary. It is located on the NH 31 (Siliguri-Hasimara), 140 km east from Siliguri, 80 km north from Cooch Behar and 50 km west from Alipurduar. North Bengal State Transport Corporation buses, Bhutan Government buses, minibuses are available from Siliguri to Alipurduar via Madarihat. Cars can also be hired at Siliguri.

Lodging

Tourist Lodge, Hollong – It has only very limited capacity but it is at the core of the forest. It is 7 km from Madarihat.
No. of rooms: (7) Seven Double Bedded rooms @ Rs.1000/- per room per day + Compulsory food @ Rs.175/- per head per day (dinner, breakfast & bed tea only). Lunch – Optional Rs.75/- per head.

Jaldapara Tourist Lodge, PO Madarihat, Dist. Jalpaiguri PIN 735 220 – It much bigger than Hollong tourist lodge and has dormitories too. Direct booking at Tourist Lodge, Telefax +91 3563 262230, +91 3563 262606. Rates Rs. 1,000 (non AC double bed), Rs. 300 (dormitory – 5 bedded), Rs. 650 (double-bedded Tourist Hut).

Malangi Nature Resort at Baradabari (West Bengal Forest Development Corporation), on the other side of the sanctuary.

Chilapata Jungle Camp – a new outfit near Chilapata Wildlife Sanctuary, run by Help Tourism. For bookings contact: info@helptourism.com.

Booking-
From Kolkata – West Bengal Tourism, 3/2 B.B.D. Bag (E), Kolkata-700029. Telephone +91 33 2225 4723, +91 33 2210 3199, e-mail: dtwbtour@vsnl.net,
From Siliguri – West Bengal Tourism, M-4 Building, Hill Cart Road, Siliguri, Telephone +91 353 2511974, +91 353 2516306.
Priority to enter Jaldapara Sanctuary is first given to those booked into the tourist lodges only if there are less people booked in the lodges, can people not staying at the lodges get a safari. There are only a limited number of safaris per day. (May 2008)

Best Time to visit

The park opens to visitors throughout the year except from 15 June to 14 September for Monsoon. During the period from October to May, and particularly March and April, new grass starts growing.  The best season to visit is Middle of October to the end of February.

Fees/Permits

A permit is required for visit to the sanctuary. (As of 2007-08) Entry Fees to visit the park (Hollong) : Rs. 25/- Per head for Indian Nationals. Rs. 50/- Per light vehicle. Rs. 200/- Per heavy vehicle. Rs. 5/- Per still camera. Rs. 250/- Per video camera.

A thrilling elephant safari is organized in the early morning from Hollong to offer the exquisite beauty of the vast grassland of Jaldapara. The elephant ride is the best possible way to explore the sanctuary with the rare sight of Indian rhinos and Asiatic elephants. The jeep safari inside the sanctuary is another main attraction. Jeeps can be hired from Madarihat for day visits.

Elephant Ride Charge (as of 2007-08): a) Adult Rs. 120/- Per head (Maximum 4 persons are allowed on each Elephant)

Flora and fauna

The forest is mainly savannah covered with tall elephant grasses. The main attraction of the sanctuary is Asiatic one-horned rhinoceros. The sanctuary holds the maximum number of rhinos population in India after Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The other animals consists of Royal Bengal Tigers, elephants, deers, sambhar, barking deer, spotted deer and hog deer, wild pig, bisons. The wild life, in addition to the famous Great Indian One Horned rhinos, consists of Royal Bengal Tigers, wild elephants, deers, swamp deers, hog deers, wild pigs, bisons. Some rare species like the hispid hare and the hog-badger are also found here. Besides wildlife viewing, there is scope for unusual holiday activities like elephant riding and leisurely strolls through the towering grass.

Jaldapara is a paradise for bird watchers. It is one of the very few places in India, where the Bengal Florican is sighted. The other birds to be found here are the Crested Eagle, Pallas’s Fishing Eagle and shikra, besides Jungle fowl, peafowl, patridges, Bengal Florican and lesser Pied Hornbill. Python, monitor lizards, kraits, cobras, geckos and about 8 species of fresh water turtles have also found sanctuary here. Many of the animals are endangered like – the Asiatic one-horned rhino and elephants in Jaldapara sanctuary.

A thrilling elephant safari is organized in the early morning from Hollong to offer the exquisite beauty of the vast grassland of Jaldapara. The elephant ride is the best possible way to explore the sanctuary with the rare sight of Indian rhinos and Asiatic elephants. The jeep safari inside the sanctuary is another main attraction.