Buxa National Park is not just a forest, it is a land full of charms. It is a land of dense woods, Bengal tigers, rarest plants and beautiful hornbills.
Nestled within the Buxa National Park is the Buxa Tiger reserve. Before Buxa became a tiger reserve in 1983, it was a hub for dolomite mining. Today it safely homes Royal Bengal tigers and it is largest only next to the Sunderbans.
Buxa is an untouched and unique hot spot of nature. You can find about 1300 species of trees, shrubs, herbs, ferns and canes. Over a hundred species of grass grow here in the national park. Finally the best part is that it is the land of around 150 species of orchids!
The forest is full of sal, champa, simul and chikrasi trees. 284 species of birds have made their habitat in these trees. One of the most beautiful birds living here are the greater pied hornbill and the ibis bill.
If you are wondering whether you can spot ‘wildlife’ here, let us enlighten you. This place is abundant with 73 species of mammals. The primary animals spotted here is the Bengal tiger, leopard cat and hordes of Indian elephant. If you are lucky you can also see the reticulated python – world’s longest snake and a competitor of the South American anaconda. We can spot numerous varieties of reptiles and rodents in Buxa.
Buxa Tiger reserve is in the district of Alipurduar and shares the boundary with Bhutan’s Phipsu Wildlife Sanctuary. On the north it has Assam. Buxa is one of the most beautiful bio-diversity spaces of North East India. Interestingly, around 60 per cent of the flora and fauna is unique – which means you can only see in Buxa and nowhere else.
Tourists can see another interesting spot in Buxa – the Buxa fort. No one truly knows who built it but it has been associated with the silk route. It has also been a place for refuge and later connected with the struggle for independence.
Amongst the thick forest, you can visit an old Shiva temple called the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga.
Buxa is a place rolling with hills, animals and beauty of nature. It will delight wildlife photographers. A nature lover will feel at home. A wanderlust will have quenched his thirst for travel. If you are none of these but just a tourist, then it will be a time well spent.
How to go
- You can get down at Bagdogra or Coochbehar airport. From there hire a car or get a bus to Alipurduar.
- By train you can come to New Alipurduar directly from Kolkata. Kolkata and Alipurduar are 723 km away.
- Buses run from Kolkata to Alipurduar. You can also drive to Siliguri and then from there to Alipurduar.
- The best time to visit is the winter period which is between October to March. You can however visit anytime except the rainy period from May to August.
Where to stay
- There are forest guesthouses inside the reserve forest. But you may have to book it beforehand. For further details you can contact The Field Director, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Alipurduar, District Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. You can also contact the Chief Wildlife Warden, West Bengal, Bikash Bhaban (North Block), 3rd Floor, Salt Lake City, Kolkata – 700091.
- There are also many private staying options available outside the reserve. Some are located at nearby destinations like Rajabhatkhawa area, Jayanti area, Santalabari area or at Raimatang. If you stay at these hotels, you can request a pick up for you from the railway station or airport.
What to see
Buxa is a place where there many things to see. Do not try to fit them all in one itinerary. You can go to the hills or go jungle-boating depending upon your trip. You can see the Jayanti area as well as Rajabhatkhawa. The Jayanti river valley is a picturesque spot which is full of wildlife. You can also trek from Santrabari to Buxaduar if you plan to stay at Buxaduar Forest Bungalow.
Another adventurous trek is to the Rover’s point situated at 4500 ft. It is called the land of unknown bird. You will also a beautiful view of the valleys of Bhutan from there.
You can also choose to take a jungle ride to see the Royal Bengal Tiger. Or you can simply spend your time lazily in the bungalow in the middle of the forest listening to the sounds of nature.
Buxa has too many things for one lifetime to see!
Image credits: indiamike.com, indianaturewatch.net, en.wikipedia.org