DOOARS - THE VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
Dooars valley is not so much known to the world. Politically it constitutes the plains of the Darjeeling District, the whole of Jalpaiguri District and the upper region of Cooch Behar District in West Bengal and the districts of Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Goalpara and Bongaigaon in the state of Assam. It stretches from River Teesta on the west to River Sankosh on the east, over a span of 130 km by 40 km. Duar means door in Nepali and Bengali languages, and the region forms the gateway to Bhutan from India Dooars is basically famous for three "T"s – Tea, Tourism and Timbe The Dooars are famous for the tea gardens which were planted by the British. For working in the gardens, they imported labour from Nepal and the Chota Nagpur and Santhal Parganas. The Oraons, Mundas, Kharia, Mahali, Lohara and Chik Baraik are the tribals from these areas. The tribal of Chotanagpur origin are employed in tea gardens, which started production during the 1870s. Before the settlement of other communities, these people converted the forests into villages, so these tribal people form a majority of the population in Western Dooars. 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 are abundant with fascinating diversity of flora and fauna. There are massive trees which shelter the orchids and the sounds birds and other wild animals make the ambience that will give you goose bumps. 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. The best way to get close with the wild is to tour the forests on the back of an elephant. Dooars tourism offers multitude options to visitors like trekking, adventure sports A visit to the greenery of the Dooars and resting a few days and nights in the midst of forests, rivers and wildlife should definitely make it to your itinerary. The timber industry, flourishes both legally and illegally in this region. A number of saw mills, plywood industries and other allied business form an important contributor to the economy.
The culture of Dooars is fascinating and captivating. The original habitants of this region are considered as ancient as the Mongolians. The Mongoloid features are still visible on the natives composed of numerous tribes, including the Bodo in Assam, and the Rabha, the Mech, the Toto, the Koch Rajbongshi, the Tamang/Murmi, the Limbu, the Lepcha in Bengal...Most of the people found here are Nepali community. Apart from the tribal population, a large Bengali population, who were mostly displaced from Bangladesh by the Partition of Bengal also populate the Dooars and their culture emerged with local people. Their staple food consists of rice, milk, yogurt and different forms of meat. They drink a form of liquor called Eu, which is served warm in Poipa, a wooden glasses.
TOURISM SPOTS IN DOOARS
Dooars is one of the very few places left in the country where nature is so lavishly green. The virgin forests stretches endlessly cress-crossed by the river Teesta her innumerable tributaries ie. Torsa, Jaldhaka, Dyna,Raydak and many other rivers. The motorable roads look absolutely stunning and beautiful cutting through the deep forests, against the setting Sun. The lush green numerous tea gardens - rich with wildlife, mauve hills stand at the end of graceful plains. The melody of the grooves forces you to surrender the sophistries you so carefully cultivated in the City. Some of the must visit places here are,
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is about 124 km from Siliguri, constituted in the year of 1941 for the protection of wild life, particularly Great Indian one-horned Rhinos. The forest is mainly savannah covered with tall elephant grass. River Torsa runs through this forest sanctuary. The major floras are Sal, Simul, Khair, Sisoo, Sidha, Gamar, Mallotus, Kawla, Dilenia and Ficus. In addition to the famous single horned Rhinos, the wildlife also has tigers, leopards, wild elephants, sambar, wild pigs, swamp deer, hog deer, spotted deer, barking deer, gaurs or indian bisons, bengal florican, jungle fowl, peafowl, Quail etc. The Sanctuary is home for some rare and endemic species like the hispid hare, hog badger etc, wild boar and sloth bears. Python, monitor lizards, krates, king cobras, geckos and about 8 species of fresh water turtles enrich the reptilian diversity. Elephant riding facility is available in the sanctuary.
Gorumara National Park
Gorumara is situated beside the National Highway 31, connecting Siliguri and Guwahati. This is the other park to have the Great Indian One horned Rhinoceros. Elephants and bison's are also found here. It was declared a sanctuary in 1976. It is also one of the recent introductions to the National Parks map of India.
Mahanada Wildlife Sanctuary
It is located at the foothills of Himalayas in the Terai region, it is spread across the lower catchment area of river Mahanada. Its thick forest cover, homes rare species of animals like one horn Rhino, Bison, Elephants, Tigers, Leopards, Sambar and Cheetals.
Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary
It is located 30 km from Chalsa and Lataguri, Chapra Wildlife Sanctuary is extremely rich in bio diversity and is known to home species of Elephants and Bisons. There is watch tower in the premises that provides a magnificent view of the entire sanctuary. It is an absolute bliss.
Sumsing and Suntalekhola
Located at 81km from Siliguri, this place is considered heaven for Nature lovers. The two forest bungalows in the middle of a forest, with hills in the backdrop and the constant splashing noise of the numerous streams as they flow will sweep you off your feet and will carry you to a place which exists only in your fantasy.
This is a small village at the top of a hill top on the Mahanada Wildlife Sanctuary, surrounded by forest and is rich in the Cinchona plantation. There is a British bungalow in the middle of this, which now serves as a forest bungalow. It is a whole new experience to be here. Trekkers trek from here up to Namthing Pokhri.
Buxa Tiger Reserve (B.T.R.)
The reserve is situated in Alipurduar Sub-division of Jalpaiguri District, West Bengal. A sanctuary set up to preserve the Royal Bengal Tiger; it is the crown gem of Dooars.
Chilapata Nal Rajar Garh
The main attraction at Chilapata is the "Nalraja Garh". On the east bank of the Torsa river a few miles south of the Indo-Bhutan border, there exist the ruins of an old fort in the dense forests at Chilapata, popularly known as "Nal Rajar Garh". The Britishers called it "the Mendabari ruins". After excavations at this place by the archaeological department it was found out that those brick constructions belonged to the "Gupta Age".