Kulik Bird Sanctuary, also known as the Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the biggest bird sanctuaries, not only in India but also in Asia. Although Kulik is not widespread in area compared to other sanctuaries, measuring just 1.3 square kilometers but it hosts around 80,000 birds a year! And that is what makes it a nature lover’s paradise.
How it started
Kulik Bird Sanctuary, named after the Kulik river is situated in the town of Raigunj in Uttar Dinajpur district. What is today a sanctuary – was nothing of importance before. The forest area was bare and there were hardly any trees along the Kulik river. In 1970, the forest department with the help of the state government started to plant trees there.
As the trees grew and nature restored her balance, the place was blessed. Hundreds of species of birds made it their home. More than that, every winter the migratory birds started visiting and every year the numbers grew. Within 15 years, it became an ecological hot spot so in 1985 it was officially declared as a bird sanctuary.
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What you will experience
Birds, birds everywhere. You can see the birds even before you enter the forest. They will come to your hotel and you will see beside the ponds on the way. It is a photographer’s dream destination and nature lover’s home.
Kulik has become very special because it is one of the most crucial heronries in the world. It is believed that about 40% of the world’s Asian openbill stork visit here every year and make nests.
So many amazing birds make it their home that it is difficult to even name all of these. There are the permanent residents like the Indian roller, hornbill, woodpecker, and flycatcher and on top of that as winter arrives, come thousands of storks, herons, cormorants and egrets.
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What to do there
Apart from bird watching you can spend time beside the Kulik river and explore its beautiful U shaped landscape. Go to the watchtower and spend your time in tranquil nature. You may also get to see the wild animals of the forest like snakes, wild cat, fox, mongoose and deer.
Visit the Nature Interpretation Centre to get a good understanding of the area. It has a vast base of information.
Nearby is the popular Sap Nikla forest visited by many tourists. The deciduous forest is famous for its beauty and its lake.
If you want more activity, you can visit the historical Bhairabi Kali temple some distance away from Kulik. Malda is also not very far from here.
When to go
October to March is considered the ideal time for travelers. But November to January looks the best with the migratory birds from Sibaria fly around and make their nests.
How to go
Raiganj is well connected by road and train. You can take a bus or car ride through NH 34. By road it is about 420 km from Kolkata.
Trains are available from Sealdah to Raiganj. You can also come to Kulik via Malda or Siliguri. Bagdogra is the nearest airport, about 170 km away.
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Where to stay
The most popular lodging at Kulik Bird Sanctuary is the Raiganj Tourist Lodge run by WBTDC. Food is good and it is very near to the sanctuary. The rooms have to be booked beforehand.
There are some private hotel options nearby and a PWD run lodge. You can also stay at Raiganj.
Note that there is a nominal fee to enter the bird sanctuary.
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Image credits: Wikipedia, www.wbtourismgov.in/tourist_place/place/north_dinajpur_bird_sanctuary#tab-3, holidayiq.com, dnaindia.com, Atreya Nath at Tripoto