Unplanned North Bengal

We, two friends, were planning for a trip to Jayanti in North Bengal from the day we had seen the film 'Abar Aranye'. Ultimately we decided to start last week.

The Kanchankanya Express started on time. Next morning we woke up at New Jalpaiguri Station, the railway track goes inside deep elephant infested forest after Siliguri station. This journey is no less than a safari itself. We saw 3 peacocks, quite few elephant footprints, and some elephant corridor sign beside the railway track. It should be noted that on this track the train speed is limited to 20kmph to avoid accident with the with animals. At noon we reached Alipurduar Jn. Station. We had a very good Bengali lunch there in a nearby small hotel, and then after some bargaining took an auto to Jayanti. After just 20 minutes we are again inside a forest. The road is in pretty good condition compared to other forest roads.

We reached Jayanti in an hour, and dropping the luggages inside the hotel room (not that a luxury arrangement, but clean rooms and toilets) we rushed to the bank of the river. But what we found was big lorrys/cars taking the stones of the river, plastic scattered everywhere, a totally polluted river bank, added to that there were some tourists playing loud music, disturbing nature in every respect. The February river looked dead, and only things that we could enjoy were many birds and the landscape of forests in every direction. But those were very common in the whole Dooars.

We made up mind, we should be in another place next day, not in that polluted riverbank. However, we enjoyed the evening in the riverbank, when it was dark, and the tourists went inside the rooms and there were only a very few local people, we went again to the river bank, seated on a log. Hours ago locals told us elephants visited these places very often to drink water. So we were tasting our luck, but all gone in vain. Dinner was good with rotis and chicken. We talked to the hotel manager and he sent a guide to take us to the kalipokhri(lake) nearby to show sacred catfishes next morning.
In the morning we woke up early, and on 5 am we started for the pokhri. As we had heard previous evening from the forest guards, there was a good chance to find elephants or deers in the morning trip inside the forest. The trek is not that hard, mostly(60%) through plain forest. But we had to be careful for the animal's presence. Unfortunately(or, fortunately) though we did not find any animal while reaching the lake. It was a nature wonder, because the water always remained at the same level and that was too clean, no leaf, no dirt. I liked that. And then the guide throw some food in the water and we were thrilled with the size of the fishes. 
We stayed there about half an hour, feeding the fishes. We spotted an eagle, but could not id. 
We found some fresh elephant footprints in one side of the lake and while we were leaving the place we found a glimpse of a barking deer. My friend first found it and told “what the goat is doing here”.

We reached the hotel, and packed the luggage and started for Alipurduar Jn. We planned for the day, we were visiting Jaldapara Sanctuary. We reached Madarihat, the entrance point to Jaldapara forest and booked a room in Madarihat Tourist Lodge. Immediately after taking lunch we went to the Gypsy Booking counter for the afternoon safari, which produced a sambar deer and an one horned rhinoceros

In the last visit to that forest I watched fight of two male one horned rhinos, but that time I was in Hollong Lodge, in the heart of the forest. We decided for Chilapata, not a very wellknown forest among tourists, but having a good density of elephants, in the next morning.

The weather is too cold and way too much foggy to enter the dense forest of Chilapata. The car was moving very slowly, and I could not express the thrilling safari. Soon the car stopped after the guide heard some noise. We looked around but found nothing. But the guide told us to wait at that place which seemed to be fruitful, as we found a young tusker eating alone just few meters away. 
We could stay there for the whole day, but the guide and the driver were insisting for the watchtower, as that was the good time to see the Indian one horned rhinoceros. So we moved forward and found a fresh footprint of rhino which went inside the left hand forest after walking throught the road few meters. 

However, we did not find any animals from the watchtowers, but spotted a pair of ducks

Next we went to see the remaining of Nall King's fort, which has huge archaeological values.

After lunch we checked out from the hotel and put our luggages in the car. We were again visiting Chilapata in the afternoon. The afternoon safari was way more thrilling as we went in a part of forest, where the road squished to make room for a bicycle and eventually we heard the sound of herd of elephant's eating. It should be noted that a single elephant is way too dangerous than a family. We waited there for more than an hour hoping the herd crossed the road. But they were going into deeper forest. We had no time, we had to catch the train at 5pm, we had change planned for the next day, Gorumara National Park
That night we stayed at Malbazar, and in the morning we rushed for Lataguri to book the safari in Gorumara. Gaur or Indian Byson, Elephants and the one horned rhinoceros are what make this forest famous. Unfortunately though, we could only get a glimpse of  deer and many peacocks and some rare green pigeons
We understood that the winter is not good season to spot wildlife in this part of the country. But altogether the rtip was enjoyable with the tusker, the narrowest forest road, the sound of elephants, the goat and the dark river bank. We enjoyed the foods as well in every places during the trip.

No comments:

Post a Comment