If you want to experience the beauty of the Dooars forest along with a sparkling Himalayan river, and with that delicious food and awesome hospitality, without any doubt pick WBFDC’s Murti Banani  bungalow!

WBFDC (West Bengal Development Corporation Limited) has more than 20 resorts and bungalows nestled among nature in the various districts of West Bengal. Among all those, till date Murti Banani remains as one of the best rated.

Why Murti Banani?

WBFDC Murti Banani gate

  • Location – WBFDC Murti Banani is situated on a spot in the midpoint of the forest area and from here the Chapramari and Gorumara sanctuaries are very close. In fact, if you cross the Murti River you can see the edge of the Chapramari Forest and it is common for smaller wild animals like fox and wolves to wander out to give you a glimpse.
  • Murti River – The Murti Banani bungalow lays just beside the flowing Murti River, hence the name. From the balcony of the rooms you can get a beautiful view of the river. The Murti River is visited by many wild animals for drinking fresh water. Many tourists have heard or spotted wild elephants from the bungalow. The Murti River is also a wonderful photography spot and from Murti Banani there is a small gate that leads you straight to the river bed.

WBFDC Murti Banani murti river gate

  • Safari Tickets – You do not have to go anywhere else to get safari tickets as those can be bought from the reception. When you check-in just tell the manager to book the Safari slots you want.
  • Food – Food served is delicious Bengali dishes. The food is very nicely prepared; most of the vegetables are brought fresh from the market and served in hotpots in the dining area. Food service is run by a canteen and its service starts at 6 am till 10 pm. Enjoy hot luchi and alur dom for breakfast and deshi murgir jhol and polau for dinner. Breakfast is complimentary.

WBFDC Murti Banani main building

  • Rooms – Murti Banani has different kinds of rooms which are given below in detail and in pictures. Each room has its own charm.
  • Organic products – From the reception you can buy genuine and organic forest produce like 100% Sunderban honey, tulsi and neem oil, trifala, ginger, amla powder and many other products at quite reasonable rates.

WBFDC Murti Banani forest products banaja

  • Total peace – There is a total absence of noise and pollution. Experience the call of numerous birds. Every morning you will be woken by the call of peacocks roosting around the Murti River. The ambience inside the bungalow is equally memorable with beautiful lawns and well maintained gardens. And if you want, you can just get out of the gate and take a walk beside the Murti River. Staying at Murti Banani will be more like rejuvenation for your tired nerves.

 

Related: 15+ less explored weekend destinations from Kolkata – Part 1

How to go

  • The nearest airport is Bagdogra. From there take a prepaid or rented car till Murti Banani bungalow.
  • The nearest railway station is New Mal junction. From there you can take a car (should cost around Rs. 500) or a local van to Murti Banani. You can also ask the manager at the bungalow to arrange for a pick-up. It takes about 30 minutes at the most.

WBFDC Murti Banani forest road

  • You can also go from New Jalpaiguri. From the station itself, get a prepaid taxi which should cost you around Rs. 1500 to Rs. 1700. You can also rent a car (Rs. 1800- Rs. 2000) or go on a sharing basis. Note that it may cost more (around Rs. 2500) during the peak seasons like Durga Puja holidays. On the way, you can stop at Teesta Barrage for tea and snacks.
  • The ride from NJP to Murti Banani is majestic with a canal of Teesta on the left and forest on the right. The water is a beautiful shade of light green special to the Teesta. A ride on this road will make you speechless.

How to book

WBFDC Murti Banani forest bungalow back view

Booking for Murti Banani has to be done beforehand from Kolkata or through online reservation. For online booking, go to this link – http://www.wbfdc.com/availability.html and choose Murti. Put in the date and check the status of the room availability. Check the rooms that you want to stay and see the rates.

Then in the same page http://www.wbfdc.com/availability.html click BOOK ONLINE. It will take you to this page where you have to register – https://wbfdc.net/onlineguestlogin.aspx

Choose the rooms and pay the amount in full including tax for lodging. Details of all rooms and pictures are given below.

Here you can find all the WBFDC resorts and the Kolkata address for booking – https://www.wbfdc.com/murti.html

Dining rate is not included and has to be paid separately while check out. Safari rate is extra depending on the safari you take.

Important things to note

 

WBFDC Murti Banani murti river

  • All members should carry ID card in original. Photocopy of those have to be submitted during check in. For each safari also, one photocopy of ID card has to be submitted. So if you want to have 2 safaris, carry at least 3 photocopies. Also carry a printout of your booking if done online.
  • After booking you will be given the number of the dining and the manager. Definitely call the dining before you check-in. Call at least a few hours before and let them know your order so that they can keep it arranged. There are hardly any food shops around and you have to depend on the dining service for your meals.
  • Always plan ahead and book beforehand. Avoid last minute plans.
  • In the safari do not wear bright clothes like red or yellow. Best is to wear light or dull tones of green, olive, brown or camouflage printed clothes.

WBFDC Murti Banani safari chart

 

  • In the jungle and during safari, stay absolutely quiet. That will increase your chance to spot animals. Even at the watchtower, do not talk.
  • Listen to your guide and ask him about the jungle. He will surely tell you many thrilling stories.

See travelogue: A pleasing trip to Bakkhali – Frasergunj – Henry island over the weekend

Rooms of WBFDC Murti Banani bungalow

WBFDC Murti Banani has various kinds of rooms varying from stand alone cottages to bunk beds. All rooms have attached bathrooms and geyser. Except for Lees, all rooms have double occupancy and AC (subject to change). One more can be accommodated with extra charge, consult manager before booking.

WBFDC Murti Banani room map

During check in, a welcome kit is provided by WBFDC. In a handmade jute bag are toiletries (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste etc) and a small bottle of all natural honey.

See travelogue: My trip to Chapramari, Gorumara, Medla, Jatraprasad & Bindu Jhalong during Durga Puja holidays

Main building

The main building has reception, dining room, lounge, kitchen and 4 rooms in the ground floor. Kurti and Indong are adjacent and on the opposite side of the lounge is Garati. Near the reception is the Lees room which is a family bunk room with 4 beds. Just a few steps away from the lounge flows the Murti River.

WBFDC Murti Banani room map kurti indong ground floor

There are five first floor rooms and are most premium. The decoration of this floor is classy. Teesta is a deluxe room and is most expensive. It has a big balcony that faces the lawn and garden and has a separate dining area and table.

WBFDC Murti Banani room map sukti murti teesta first floor

On the left are the rooms Sukti and Murti and on the right Jaldhaka and Torsha. Each has its own balcony. Jaldhaka and Murti are nearer to the Murti River and from the balcony you can listen to its gurgling waters.

WBFDC Murti Banani room map sukti murti first floor

These four rooms Jaldhaka, Torsha, Sukti and Murti share one big dining area and lounge with first class furniture. There is a common balcony that faces the length of the river. You can sit in the balcony with a cup of tea and listen to the music of birds overhead. It is flanked by a huge shimul tree on the right which is more than 100 years old and is home to hundreds of birds. A small spiral staircase leads a shortcut for you to go down.

WBFDC Murti Banani room map first floor balcony river view

Moyna Munia Koyel Doyel

WBFDC Murti Banani room map moyna munia

This is a cottage with two floors. Moyna and Munia are in the first floor. The rooms Koyel and Doyel are in the ground floor. Dining is served in the main building or upon request of service if available, in the rooms.

Bhairabi and Godhuli

These are the newest cottages made. Godhuli and Bhairabi are twin cottages situated at the far end of the lawn. Dining is served in the main building or upon request of service if available, in the rooms.

Diana and Rethi

WBFDC Murti Banani room map diana rethi

If you want privacy and the place to yourself, go for Diana or Rethi. Both are standalone cottages. Each cottage is on a raised platform with beautiful surrounding balconies. Situated at the end of the garden areas it is secluded. From the balcony, you can get the view of the Murti River and listen to the music of the trees and leaves. Get woken up by peacock calls and enjoy the morning sun sipping on to a cup of hot tea.

WBFDC Murti Banani beautiful garden

What to do

  • Go to Gorumara. Medla and Chapramari safaris and more. A list of all safaris and watch towers is given at the reception.
  • Enjoy the Murti River. The water level is low most of the year and it is safe to go and frolic in the river.
  • You can also plan a trip to Paren, Bindu and Jhalong. Have lunch at Applestone restaurant.

WBFDC Murti Banani main building back view playground

 

If you have any questions, please post below. We will try to answer and guide you.

Related: 15+ less explored weekend destinations from Kolkata – Part 2

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