If you love the forest and wildlife, you are not alone, I do too. Our recent trip to Buxa Reserve Forest in Alipur Duar, proved to be a real treat, and a well deserved respite from the noise of Kolkata. The National Parks in North Bengal are some of mine and my husband’s favorite getaways, especially when our time off is short.
The Bengal Government formed a National park here in 1992, turning what was a Tiger reserve created in 1983. Buxa us now known as one of the most popular places for city dwellers to get and and commune with nature. Located in the Buxa hills, the park is close to the Indo-Bhutan border. Buxa Forest is actually still the largest tiger reserve in North Bengal – you know BENGAL tigers?
If you have never seen one in the wild, and chances are you have not, these tigers are one of nature’s most awesome creatures.
We reached New Jalpaiguri (Siliguri) overnight via the train from Kolkata in the previous day. On arrival at the station we hired a car and headed to AlipurDuar. After lunch in a local restaurant, we stopped over in a government rest hour until the following morning, and reached Buxa before noon. A local guide escorted us along the high path in about an hour. Then we entered the forest (above), which is more like a jungle for people coming from the city, I can tell you.
Road to Adventure
Down the 5 km road that winds through the forest, our guide took us along a densely wooded and shrouded road toward Buxaduar Forest Bungalow. As I said, being used to the city, the surroundings tended to play at the imagination – giant tigers leaping at our throats – figuratively at least. What a special and exhilarating experience. The hilly landscape being crisscrossed with small streams and larger tributaries, lending to the wildness of the place. The breathtaking view of the marvelous Jaxanti River Valley (Below) along the way provided us with a special and unforgettable memory this day.
Along our trek, we were continuously surrounded by wild animals, birds, and the most stunning array of wild orchids you can imagine. The symphony of sounds and smells along our way made the rather difficult walk seem all too short actually. Finally we ended the day’s adventure, arriving at the government house just before dusk. A lovely dinner capped off a memorable day of surreal contentment actually. There is no sleeping pill better than physical exertion added to a little excitement and a full belly. We slept like we had not ever slept before. The image below shows a bit of the magic of this place, at the right time of day, the place comes alive.
What a rare yet alien experience we were having. Excitement and wonder wrapped neatly wrapped up not so far from our home in the city. Dangerous? You bet it can be here. But, what trip does not hold the chance of danger really? For those of an adventurous spirit, water skiing can lead to tragedy. For the next full day we ambled about the reserve, taking in the wealth of nature so foreign to our senses. The wild places of India require their own brand of caution too, but you would be surprised how uneventful and calming such excursions can be.
The 80 some odd wildlife parks of India offer a special brand of vacation pleasure to visitors. The diversity and bounty of these places being almost unbelievable. Of course being prepared is a necessity too. The right shoes, clothes, gear, and especially information – these are what separate a great time from a potentially disastrous memory. Lions,and tigers, and bears – oh my.
Well, treating nature with respect is the first order of business in these wild places. A good guide, and studying up before your trip is the best advice. Every trip we take to the forest we discover things we never saw before.
For people visiting India, these wild areas are something you do not want to miss. They are actually a part of the country’s heritage as much, or more, than anything else. Think about it, the Bengal Tiger! What better symbol of the strength and character of our great country.
I know you will want to study up on this aspect of India travel, so I will research the latest and most useful news in the coming weeks. For us, it’s back to another type of jungle, home in Kolkata.