Visit Buxa Tiger Reserve: A Travel Guide For a Unique Trip (2021)
Spread over an area of 760 square km, Buxa Tiger Reserve is located in the Alipurduar district of West Bengal. Surrounded by the enthralling Buxa hills, this wildlife reserve is situated quite close to Bhutan. Precisely, Buxa Tiger Reserve shares its Northern boundary with Bhutan. It is one of the few forests in West Bengal that is well-known for its tiger population. Throughout the vast expanse of this forest reserve, the alluring beasts hide competently. Even though the chances of actually encountering a tiger in this forest cover are slim, wildlife lovers visit there from different parts of the world.
Apart from tigers, Buxa Tiger and Wildlife Reserve is a habitat for different wild animals and birds. That is why so many nature lovers across the globe visit this forest. Apart from the wildlife population, Buxa Tiger Reserve is quite famous due to its spectacular natural beauty. As this site is located at the foothills of the Himalayas, beautiful mountain ranges surround it. The view of the forest amid the mesmerizing beautiful hills makes it a surreal place. Once upon a time, Dolomit mining was quite popular in this forest, but now that activity has been suspended. Buxa Tiger Reserve is immensely blessed with natural resources. That is one of the main reasons why so many wild animals prefer it as their habitat. Image Source
Apart from natural splendor and rich wildlife, this tiger reserve is also historically famous. While exploring this region, people visit the famous Buxa fort. This fort encountered a variety of important historical events in India. If you are a nature lover and are looking for a trip that would satisfy your thirst for wildlife and lush greenery, Buxa Tiger Reserve is the perfect option for you. This site might not be one of the most popular tourist sites in West Bengal, but it is undoubtedly gorgeous. On arriving there, you will be in awe of its distinct natural characteristic and rustic ambiance. In this blog, we are going to provide all the necessary information regarding Buxa Tiger Reserve. Apart from this forest, you will also get many details about its surrounding sites that are equally beautiful.
History and Location of the Buxa Tiger & Wildlife Reserve
In 1983, Buxa forest got the acclamation of a tiger reserve. At that time, the wildlife reserve had an area spanning over 314 square km. It was not until 1992 that the Government of West Bengal added 117 square km to make it larger. This forest is the fifteenth tiger reserve in India. Apart from Buxa Tiger Reserve, the Sundarbans is the only site that recognizes a tiger reserve. The Tiger Reserve got the accreditation of a National park to exemplify the bio-diversity in India.
Even though the creation of this wildlife reserve might not have been done in ancient times, the Buxa fort that is located inside the forest premises is exceptionally old. Handed over to the British government in 1865, nobody knows when the fort was initially constructed. The entire region was deeply influenced by the Coch dynasty, which had its headquarter in the Cooch Behar district of Bengal. Rajabhatkhawa, the nearest town to Buxa, was also one of the most favorite sites for the Coch King. He used to hunt in the Buxa forest and rest in Rajabhatkhawa.
Apart from sharing its boundary with Bhutan, Buxa National Park also shares its border with the Manas National Park of Assam and the Chilapata forest of West Bengal. These sites share the Eastern and South-Western boundaries of the tiger reserve, respectively. As the Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan is located in the Northern part of this forest reserve, it works as the international corridor for the migrations of Asian elephants. That is why many tourists have encountered herds of elephants while exploring this beautiful tiger reserve. The bio-diversity of this region is Indo-Malayan in nature, and hence it is incredibly fragile. “Terai Eco-system” is the popular name of this eco-system. The entire area is surrounded by the Sinchula hill range and the Lower Himalayan ranges. Due to its geographical positioning, the forest is divided into two sections: the Eastern and Western ones. Tourists are allowed to explore certain parts of both of these divisions.
Located pretty close to the forest cover is the breathtakingly beautiful Jayanti river. Often the Jeep safaris that allow you to explore the region start from Jayanti. Inside the premises of Buxa Tiger Reserve, 38 tribal villages are located. Some of the residents of those hamlets have converted their homes into homestays. One of the main features of this forest’s location is that National Highway Number 31 runs along with it. That is why this region is so easy to locate while traveling by personal vehicle.
Best Seasons to Visit Buxa Tiger Reserve
Among all the months of the year, it will be most convenient for you if you travel to the Buxa Tiger reserve between December and February. The temperature at that time in the region varies from 12 degrees to 21 degree-Celcius. Although October and November are months that would allow you to explore the forest comfortably, yet the chances of viewing the wild animals in their natural habitat would be low during this time. The main reason for the viewing hindrance is that the trees get larger after the monsoon during October and November. During the winter season, the trees shed many leaves and allow you to get an unhindered view of the mammals and birds.
Animal visibility is pretty high from March to May, but the climatic condition is extremely uncomfortable. The monsoon is the worst season to visit any wildlife reserve.
Moreover, the park remains closed from June to September.
Types of Flora and Fauna That Can be Found in Buxa Tiger Reserve
The Buxa Tiger Reserve is not merely a tiger reserve, and it is a site where several species of wild animals, reptiles, and birds live. It has been found in the official survey that this forest is home to more than 73 species of mammals, including the Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard Cat, Giant Squirrel, Gaur, Clouded Leopard, Hyenas, Jackals, Wild dogs, Fishing Cats, Chital deer, Asiatic Golden Cats, etc. The chance of seeing these animals while exploring the forest is comparatively lower in October or November, but during the winters, you might be lucky enough to see more than one of them. Till now, 15 Royal Bengal Tigers are known to be living in the Buxa forest.
Apart from mammals, this forest is home to more than 41 species of reptiles and amphibians, including regal python, Chinese pangolin, cobras, land tortoises, etc. Apart from wildlife enthusiasts, the Buxa forest is a paradise for bird-lovers. According to the 2000-survey, more than 284 species of birds live on this forest reserve’s premises. Some of the most beautiful birds that you might witness on your trip over include Amur Falcon, Eurasian Griffon, Heron, Rufous-Necked Hornbill, Chestnut-Breasted Partridge, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, and others. Due to the Raidak, Narathali, and Jayanti rivers’ proximity, many migratory birds have chosen this forest to be their home.
Some of the most beautiful migratory birds you will see in this region include Black-Necked Crane, Black Stork, Common Merganser, Ferruginous Pochard, etc. Among these species of birds, there are some endangered ones. Some of these rare and endangered birds include Rufous Necked Hornbill, White-Rumped Vulture, Great Hornbill, Slender-Billed Vulture, etc. To protect a wide variety of vultures, Rajabhatkhawa Vulture Breeding Centre was created in the Buxa Tiger Reserve. The globally acknowledged Indian vultures are protected and bred in this center for a long time.
Buxa Forest is one of the few forests in India that has such a rich bio-diversity. With more than 450 categories of trees, this forest is vibrant. While exploring it, you will genuinely be mesmerized by its lush greenery. Apart from large trees, this forest is quite famous for the 400 species of spices available. As this site is home to more than 150 species of orchids, tourists get to see the fully bloomed flowers during the spring season while visiting there. Due to its tremendously enriched bio-diversity, the entire region has been divided into eight groups. Even if you do not witness wild animals, you will not regret visiting Buxa due to its massive varieties of flora.
Important Information Regarding the Wildlife Reserve
Visiting any national park or wildlife reserve in India can get tricky. That is why we are summarizing some vital points for you in the following part of this guide.
- The primary entry point of Buxa Tiger Reserve is located in Rajabhatkhawa. This tiny settlement is the spot where you would rent Jeeps for exploring the forest.
- You will get to buy entry tickets to the wildlife reserve from Rajabhatkhawa only. The forest’s entry fee is INR 250 per person (this price includes the cost of a guide and your vehicle to explore the woods). In case you want to book the entire jeep, it would cost you INR 1200.
- After starting your journey from Rajabhatkhawa, you will see a commonly known crossing known as Buxa more. This point is located 10 km from the said town and is the starting point of many trekking trails. Spots like Buxa fort and Sinchula Pass can be hiked from this point. So, if you are interested in trekking, you will have to get off at Buxa more to start your hike.
- The beautiful settlement of Jayanti is located en route to Buxa Tiger Reserve. If you want, you can stay at the lodges located at Jayanti. This is a relatively popular tourist location that offers comfortable accommodations and meals.
- Most Jeep Safaris start from Jayanti. You can get permits for your Safari from the range office in this region as well.
- The entire Jeep Safari comprises a distance of 17 km. The Safaris are available in the morning as well as in the afternoon.
Timings: 6 am to 11 am and 2 pm to 6 pm.
- As the Safaris are limited, it is always advisable to book them beforehand. There is a chance of not getting any spot while visiting Buxa during peak season.
- Like Safaris, it is also a better idea for you to make your hotel reservations in advance.
- If you plan on trekking from Buxa, do not forget to bring your required gear with you. You will not find any shop throughout the entire region that will allow you to buy trekking equipment.
- Do not forget to bring a nice pair of binoculars, a high-quality camera, and comfortable covered shoes with you on your trip to Buxa Tiger Reserve.
Must-Visit Places Near Buxa Tiger Reserve
Unlike most wildlife reserves in India, Buxa Tiger Reserve has many different sightseeing spots located around it. Most of these sites are situated pretty close to the forest. Visiting these regions will not take much of your time. In one day only, you will get to cover these sites.
Buxa Fort: Located at an altitude of 2844 feet, Buxa Fort is the best place to see near the tiger reserve. To reach this site, you will have to trek uphill for approximately 2.5 km from Santalabari. Now, going to Santalabari from Buxa forest is easy as the road connecting them is quite motorable. But if you are not that physically fit, you should skip this site as the uphill trek can get challenging for people with physical shortcomings.
Once used as a cellular jail by the British government, this fort has witnessed many historical events. Prominent freedom fighters, including Krishnapada Chakraborty and Amar Prasad Chakraborty, were imprisoned in the 1930s. After India’s independence, this site acted as the Tibetan refugee center in 1959. The area surrounding the fort is quite enchanting. When you reach this point, you will be in awe of its uniqueness. If you want, you can continue your trekking expedition towards other spots from this fort, including Rovers point, Lepchakha, Chubhati, and others.
The distance from Buxa Tiger Reserve to Buxa Fort is: 2 km.
Jayanti: Jayanti is a tiny settlement located pretty close to Buxa Tiger Reserve. Located right by the breathtakingly beautiful river by the same name, this town is too rustic and spectacular. Surrounded by the hill ranges and the lush greenery of the adjacent Buxa forest, this town is perfect for spending some time. As most of the decent lodges are located in Jayanti, most tourists prefer to stay there.
The beautiful ambiance of this settlement is perfect to lose yourself in the coziness of nature. By spending some time by the bank of the Jayanti river, you will genuinely feel rejuvenated. While staying there, you might even witness wild animals by your lodge. It is the perfect place to get connected to nature.
The distance from Buxa Tiger Reserve to Jayanti is: 11 km.
Raimatang: Located at a 40 minutes-drive from Rajabhatkhawa, Raimatang is a tribal village situated on Buxa forest premises. This village is the perfect place for witnessing wild animals in their habitat and get a glimpse into the life of the local people of the region. As the entire village is surrounded by thick green forest, you will truly understand the meaning of beautiful silence by visiting there. While traveling towards Raimatang, you will come across some mesmerizingly beautiful tea gardens, including the Kalchini tea garden, Gangutia tea garden, Chuapara tea garden, and others.
The journey itself will make you internally happy. Places like Raimatang truly make us realize the real meaning of life.
The distance from Buxa Tiger Reserve to Raimatang is: 20 km.
Top Things To Do In The Buxa Tiger Reserve
Things to do in Buxa Tiger Reserve might be limited, but they are lovely. We are including the top things you could do in Buxa in the following.
Trekking: Many trekking trails start from Buxa Tiger Reserve, that there will be no shortage of options for you. Most of these trails begin from Jayanti, and the pathway lies along the enchanting river. The trek towards Mahakal cave will stay with you for a long time. The walk towards Lepchakha and Sadar Village is also breathtakingly beautiful.
Throughout your trek, you will get to enjoy the enthralling splendor of nature. Surrounded by the lush Buxa forest and the ever-babbling Jayanti river, these trails are some of India’s most beautiful trekking routes.
Camping: Due to its immense natural beauty, camping is one of the best things to do in Buxa Tiger Reserve. Most people prefer to camp by the Jayanti Riverbank, while others love to camp in the Lepchakha Jungle. You can bring your camping gear with you, or you can book a retreat from the different tour operators that help you in camping.
Everywhere you visit in and around Buxa is extremely beautiful. By camping amid the vast wilderness, you will feel connected to nature like never before.
Ways to Reach the Tiger Reserve
First of all, to enter the Buxa Tiger Reserve, you will have to go to the tiny Alipurduar town of Rajabhatkhawa. No matter how you decide to travel, reaching Rajabhatkhawa is the only way to hire the Jeeps to take you inside the forest. There are some easy ways to get Rajabhatkhawa that are mentioned in the following.
- By Air: The nearest airport from Buxa Tiger Reserve is located in Siliguri. Bagdogra Airport’s distance from the wildlife reserve is approximately 206 km. Finding flights to take you to Bagdogra from different parts of India is pretty straightforward. After reaching there, you will have to rent a car to transfer you to Rajabhatkhawa. The entire trip would take you approximately four hours. It is pretty easy to find cars for rent to take you to the forest.
- By Railways: The nearest railway station from Buxa Tiger Reserve is Alipurduar Railway Junction. As this station is located only 13 km from Rajabhatkhawa, you will have no problem reaching there. Usually, tourists rent an auto-rickshaw to get to their destination. Most trains that transfer tourists to Assam pass through the Alipur Railway Junction.
- By Road: If you are planning on visiting Buxa Tiger Reserve by road, it will not be a problem. As this site is located right by NH 31, reaching there via cars is pretty straightforward. In case you want to take the public transportation system of the region to get there, that is also possible. North Bengal Surface Transport is pretty convenient and would allow you to reach Rajabhatkhawa from different adjacent towns and cities.
Best Places to Stay In and Around Buxa Tiger Reserve
There are different places to stay in and around Buxa Tiger Reserve. Most of these sites are operated by West Bengal Forest Development Corporation. Some of the popular ones are provided below.
Buxa Jungle Lodge: Located in Rajabhatkhawa, Buxa Jungle Lodge is the most popular property located near Buxa Forest. This property is maintained by WBFDC and comes with a wide variety of rooms. It not only provides private spaces but also offers dormitories. Most people who visit Buxa stay in this lodge due to its comfy rooms and warm hospitality.
As this property is located amid the wilderness of Buxa forest, you will be able to spend a few days in its lush greenery. As this lodge offers delicious meals, tourists do not have to worry about them.
Address: Buxa Forest, Duar, Alipore, Jayanti Tea Garden, West Bengal 735227.
Phone Number: 085093 18985.
Price of a room per night: Not available.
Jayanti Govt Tourist Lodge: Apart from Rajabhatkhawa, Jayanti is the most popular place to stay while exploring Buxa Tiger Reserve. The Jayanti Govt Tourist Lodge is a fantastic place located by the bank of the beautiful Jayanti river. By visiting there, you not only get to stay too close to the core Buxa forest but also get to witness the mesmerizing beauty of the region.
This lodge is also run by WBFDC and is pretty humble. It has cozy rooms that are perfect for staying a day or two. Do not expect this lodge to be luxurious. The food prepared by the cooks of this lodge is quite good, and guests seem to love staying there.
Address: Jayanti Rd, Jayanti, West Bengal 735227.
Phone Number: 098743 39000.
Buxa Tiger Reserve is the pride of Bengal. In the past few decades, it has helped in preserving tigers and providing them a safe habitat. If you are genuinely planning on visiting there, we suggest you bookmark this webpage. By studying this, all of your confusion surrounding the trip will diminish. We hope you have a safe and happy journey.