Dooars, India – A Gateway to Bhutan Part 1

The first post of our SUMMER VACATION SPECIAL is dedicated to “Dooars, India – A Gateway to Bhutan”. We have kept our promise to cover places, that were recommended to us by our readers. Dooars was recommended to us by our reader Mr. Prosenjit Nath and we are really happy to write about this beautiful region.

“Dooars” which means “Doors” in Assamese, Bengali, Maithali, Bhojpuri, Magahi and Telugu, are the alluvial floodplains in northeastern India that lie south of the outer foothills of the Himalayas and north of the Brahmaputra River basin. This region is about 30 km (19 mi) wide and stretches over about 350 km (220 mi) from the Teesta River in West Bengal to the Dhanshiri River in Assam. The region forms the gateway to Bhutan. It is part of the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands ecoregion.

There are 18 passages or gateways between the hills in Bhutan and the plains in India. This region is divided by the Sankosh River into Eastern and the Western Dooars, consisting of an area of 8,800 km² (3,400 sq mi). The Western Dooars is also known as the Bengal Dooars, and the Eastern Dooars also as the Assam Dooars. Dooars is analogous with the Terai in northern India and Nepal.

– Wikipedia

Dooars is beautiful and famous for the mesmerizing Himalayan range, enthralling mountain streams and thrilling  foothills of the Himalayan forests . It is not a city or particularly a place, it’s a huge region of greenery which can make you go kooky and can rejuvenate your mind. This is a trip for people who loves excursion and adventure in the Himalayas. One most important thing about Dooars is, it needs a proper planning before you go there. It is a trip of minimum 5-6 days as there are many places to cover.

We have made a plan which may help those who wants to go for a breathtaking vacation to Dooars.

If you are traveling by train, you can get down at Mal junction (Trains to Mal junction ) . From Mal Junction you need to travel to Lataguri which will take about an hour (29.5 km) by cab. Have a stay at Lataguri. 

Day 1: Lataguri is a small town in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal and is the base of Gorumara National Park and Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • Samsing is a small village which is situated at a height of 3000 ft in the district boarder of Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling. The place is known for its exotic tea gardens, hills, forests and picnic spots.
  • Rocky Island is a newly added tourist destination in Doars and must be in your list. The view of the river and surrounding forest from here is just enchanting. One can find different colors and shapes of rocks here makes the place more beautiful. It is a perfect place for photography. The place looks more beautiful during the rainy season as the volume of water passing through the river increases.
  • Suntanekhola is also a small village situated in the Kalimpong district of West Bengal. It is located at a distance of 5 km from Samsing. Most of the trek routes originates from here which are mostly within the Neora Valley National Park which is just next to this place.
  • Neora Valley National Park, located in Kalimpong district of West Bengal covers an area of 88 sq km. The name Neora is given after the river Neora flowing through it. Another famous river which originates here is Murti. Rachela Pass is the highest point which forms a boundary with Sikkim in the North and Bhutan with the North East. The entire forest is a crisscross of large number of mountain streams.  You can find a large number of flora and fauna. As far as we know, there is no entry fee.

Note: You need permit to enter the national park. The permit is available at the forest range office at Lava and also at Samsing. During Summers and Spring they start issuing the permit from 6 am.

Day 2:

  • Gorumara National Park has been declared as the best among the protected areas in India by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for the year 2009 (source – Wikipedia). It is known for its Indian one-horned Rhinoceros. There are a lot many activities to do here like Elephant ride, Bullock cart ride, Tribal dance, Jungle safari in an open top gypsy, a number of watch towers are also there and lot more. Gorumara National Park is one of a kind.

Note: Things to keep in mind before visiting Gorumara National Park

  1. Visitors need to carry a government ID proof along with a photocopy of the same which needs to be presented at the ticket counter.
  2. The forest has a different entry time for March to September and different for October to January. The entry tickets are issued in 4 shifts.
  3. It remains closed from 15th June to 15th September every year.
  4. It remains closed on every Thursday throughout the year.
  5. Limited Entry tickets are issued per day.
  6. The forest charges includes: Gypsy Charges (A maximum of 06 persons can be accommodated in a Gypsy. One can either book the entire Gypsy by paying the cost of 06 persons or can share it with others), Guide Charges per Gypsy, Gypsy Entry Fees, Visitor’s Entry fees and Video camera charges.
  7. Elephant safari can be booked by only those staying inside the Forest Department’s accommodation at Gorumara Eco Village Kalipur, Gorumara Elephant Camp Dhupjhora and Gorumara Rhino Camp Ramsai.
  8. Entry fee of the watch tower depends on your choice of watch tower and time. 
  • Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary is next to Gorumara National Park and is famous for its Elephant. It comes under the range of Gorumara National Park so, the entry fee and timings are almost same as Gorumara.

Note: Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary remains closed from 15th June to 15th September every year.

  • Bindu is a offbeat tourist destination. It is a valley on the bank of river Jaldhaka. The place is surrounded by vegetation and its greenery is what makes it so special. The places to visit here are Bindu Dam bulit on Jaldhaka river and Jaldhaka Hydel Project which is the first hydroelectric project of India.

Leave Lataguri and have your next stay at Jaldapara. The distance between Lataguri and Jaldapara is nearly 79.5 km. It will take max one and half hour to reach.

Please continue with the next part of the plan here –  Dooars, India – A Gateway to Bhutan Part 2  .

N.B : A special thanks to Sayan Mandal who contributed those wonderful pictures. 

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