Visit Jaldapara National Park- The Home To The Rare One-Horned Rhinoceros (2023)
Spread across an area of approximately 217 square km, Jaldapara National Park is West Bengal’s pride. Mostly known for being the home to the rare one-horned rhinoceros, Jaldapara National Park is visited by tourists across the globe. Moreover, this wildlife sanctuary’s location by the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas makes this site even more famous. It comprises a major part of the popular Dooars trip. As this wildlife reserve is home to the one-horned rhinoceros, it got a National Park status in 2012 due to the endangerment of the animal.
It has been a wildlife sanctuary since 1991. To preserve the species of faunas living there, the Government of India gave it the status of a National Park. Apart from the said animal, Jaldapara National Park is also home to other wild animals. A major reason behind the rich population of wild animals in Jaldapara National Park is its geographical location. This forest reserve is surrounded by a wide range of beautiful rivers, namely Torsa, Kalijhora, Sissamara, Malangi, Halang, Buri Torsa, and Bhaluka. Animals made this forest their habitat due to the availability of water and food. Jaldapara National Park is home to amphibians, birds, and reptiles as well.
Even though this national park is quite important to India’s forest cover, not many people have a clear idea about it. If you are a wildlife lover and plan to explore the wilderness, then planning a trip to Jaldapara National Park might be a great idea for you. Although making the right plans for this trip can get tricky, you will seldomly face problems by reading this blog. Over here, we include all necessary information regarding Jaldapara National Park. We provide you knowledge regarding the site, but we are also providing information about the accommodation and transportation available over there.
Where Is The Location Of Jaldapara National Park?
Jaldapara National Park is located in the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal. Being situated in the northern part of Bengal, this site’s nearest railway station and airport are situated in Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri. The distance between Siliguri and Jaldapara National park is 140 Km, and from Cooch Behar, it is 80 Km. If you want, you can visit there from both of the said destinations. Madarihat and Hasimara railway stations are the closest to the forest.
Gorumara National Park, Chilapata forest, and Buxa Tiger reserve are located not far away from the site. Due to its location, many people continue their Dooars trip from there.
How Can One Reach Jaldapara National Park?
Reaching Jaldapara National Park is pretty straightforward. You can visit there by availing the roads, railways, or airways. We are including all the methods of traveling over here.
By Road: If you are going to visit Jaldapara from Siliguri or other towns in the Northern part of Bengal, you are lucky. The North Bengal State Transport Corporation offers so many public and luxury buses to tourists that reaching Jaldapara National Park from any of the North Bengal towns will not be a problem. You will easily get buses from Alipurduar, Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, and others. If you are not a fan of public transportation, you could always rent a car from Siliguri or the other towns to visit the forest reserve.
By Railways: Even though the nearest railway stations from Jaldapara National Park are Hasimara and Madarihat stations, not every train travels from different parts of India. To reach there, you will have to take a train to Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri Station. From these stations, you can take local trains that will help you travel to Hasimara or Madarihat. Most people travel to Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri by trains from different parts of India and hire a car. The distances between the sanctuary of Madarihat station and Hasimara station are 7 km and 20 km, respectively.
By Air: The nearest airport to Jaldapara National Park is Bagdogra airport. This airport is located near Siliguri, and the distance between the two sites is 140 km. From Bagdogra airport, you will have to hire a car to bring you to Jaldapara National Park. As Bagdogra airport is well-connected to most cities in India, you will have no problem going there.
What are the Floras and Faunas That Can Be Seen In Jaldapara National Park?
You already know that Jaldapara National Park is home to many one-horned rhinoceros. In fact, it has the second-largest population of rhinoceros after the Kaziranga National Park. Many other wild animals are living in this forest reserve as well. Some of them include Indian elephants, hog deer, barking deer, Indian leopards, gaur, sambhar deer, etc. Wildlife lovers visit this site quite often to witness these animals right before their eyes. The visibility of these mammals depends on the weather. It is often seen that more animals can be seen during the summers. Many people believe that the animals come down to the riversides to quench their thirst more during the summer months.
Apart from mammals, a large variety of reptiles also live in the thick forests of Jaldapara. Some of the common reptiles that can be witnessed in the forest area are Pythons, geckos, cobras, monitor lizards, kraits, and different categories of water turtles. It is believed more than eight different varieties of water turtles live in the rivers surrounding Jaldapara national park. This site is quite famous among bird-watchers as well. If you visit there, you will get to see some mesmerizingly beautiful and rare species of birds, including the crested eagle, jungle fowl, partridges, pied hornbill, fishing eagle, babblers, cuckoos, orioles, woodpeckers, white egrets, green-billed Malkoha, and others.
By visiting Jaldapara, you will have the chance to see some of the mentioned wild animals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. Even though many people do not get lucky enough to see the animals, they certainly see different birds and reptiles.
What Is The Apt Time To Visit The National Park?
Even though the chances of seeing wild animals in the national park might be more in the summer months, but your vacation at that time will be pretty uncomfortable. The entire region of Jaldapara is pretty humid for most parts of the year, and in the summers, the climate becomes extremely uncomfortable. That is why exploring Jaldapara National Park between October to February is the best idea. You will genuinely enjoy the jungle safaris and elephant safaris if you visit the park in the said months.
Things To Know Before Visiting The Wildlife Reserve
There are some important things that you need to know before visiting Jaldapara National Park. The important points are mentioned below.
This national park is closed from 15 June to 15 September in a year. Moreover, the site is also closed every Thursday throughout the year.
Throughout the day, three different Elephant Safaris are available in the forest. The first one starts at 5.30 am and ends at 6.30 am, and the second one starts at 6.30 am and ends at 7.30 am, and the last Safari begins at 9 am and 2 pm. It is always better for tourists to book the Safari at dawn as the chances of seeing wild animals are more during that time.
Unlike the Elephant Safari, the Jeep Safari is provided both during the morning and the evening. The first Jeep Safari in the morning starts at 6 am and ends at 7.30 am, and the second one starts at 8.30 am and ends at 10 am. In the evening Safari, the first one starts at 1.30 pm and ends at 3 pm, whereas the second one starts at 3.30 pm and ends at 5 pm.
The cost of Jeep Safari is approximately INR 2350 per jeep. Although for the last Safari in the evening, you will have to pay INR 2650. The extra cost of the said trip is worth it as Bodo Dance is included in that Safari.
The cost of Elephant Safari in Jaldapara National Park is INR 900 per head. Most people tend to book the Safari that starts at 5.30 am, so to secure seats, book this Safari in advance through Jaldapara National Park’s official website.
- While exploring this wildlife reserve, remember to never carry any food items with you. Also, never plan a picnic on the premises of this forest reserve.
- Never try to deviate from the permissible pathways while visiting the forest. Entering any other part of this sanctuary is punishable under the Wildlife Protection Act.
- Always make sure that you are not carrying any explosive or flammable items.
- Do not litter the forest with your belongings. Remember, it is our duty as tourists to protect our nature from destruction.
- You must know that hunting, fishing, or killing any fauna species in the forest is punishable by law.
- It is always better to avoid wearing bright-colored clothes while entering the forest premises.
What Are The Sites To See Near Jaldapara National Park?
Jaldapara National Park is located in such a fantastic location that visiting several exciting sites is pretty easy. We are mentioning some of the best places to see near Jaldapara in this travel guide section.
1. Chilapata Forest
Located pretty close to Jaldapara National Park, Chilapata forest is a mesmerizingly beautiful location. To visit this site, you will have to go with a licensed guide. As the distance between these two forests is quite less, seeing it in a day is not a big deal. A fun fact about the Chilatapata forest is that elephants use this site as the corridor between Buxa Tiger Reserve and Jaldapara National Park. So, you might be lucky enough to encounter the majestic beasts within your vicinity.
The lush greenery of the dense forests in Chilapata will genuinely make you forget about your regular life. Moreover, the Nal Raja’s Fort amid the wilderness of Chilapata forest also makes it even more alluring. Like Jaldapara, Chilapata forest is also home to a wide variety of wild animals. There are more than 20 species of animals, 22 species of reptiles, and 175 species of birds living there. Many people still do not know about this site, which is why it is devoid of massive crowds.
Distance between Jaldapara National Park to Chilapata Forest: 15 km.
Totopara is a tiny village situated at the border of India and Bhutan. Apparently, this village might not seem extraordinary to you, but you will understand its uniqueness when you explore it. As this village is located right by Jaldapara National Park, tourists often visit there. It is one of the few places in India where the Toto tribes survive. Even though the Toto tribe is one of India’s oldest tribes, very few members of that community now live in this region. You will see huts made of bamboos throughout the village, food stored in a make-shift storage space known as machas.
The lifestyle of the people living in Totopara is quite different from the rest of India. Not only is polygamy allowed in the village, but they have indigenous Gods, unlike the other Hindu community members in the world. While exploring the site, you will notice that they worship Gods named Cheima and Ishpa. As this village has become a successful tourist site, members of the tribe serve food to tourists and allow them to get a glimpse into their lives. You can easily explore this village through the Jeep Safari that would allow you to explore Jaldapara Forest.
The distance between Jaldapara National Park and Totopara is: 23 km.
3. Crocodile Zoo
The Crocodile Zoo or the Crocodile Farm is located in the Phuentsholing town of Bhutan. Even though it is not in India, we include this famous site in this list due to its proximity to Jaldapara National Park. As this site is situated only a half an hour drive from the forest, reaching there would not be an issue for you. Now, this Crocodile farm was founded in 1976, and it got a massive renovation in 2003. Right now, there 15 crocodiles living in the park.
If you are interested in wildlife, you will find this zoo pretty fascinating. Seeing all these majestic beasts in this park will definitely awe you.
The distance between Jaldapara National Park and Crocodile Zoo is: 28 km.
What Are The Top Activities To Do In This National Park?
Jaldapara National Park is such a site that allows you to get lost in the wilderness of nature. Apart from enjoying this region’s unparalleled beauty, there are some major activities that people participate in while visiting there. The most popular ones are mentioned below.
a. Bird Watching
Even though Jaldapara National Park is mostly famous for being the habitat of one-horned Rhinos, and other wild animals, it is also a paradise for bird-watchers. You will be surprised to know that this site is home to more than 240 species of endangered birds. As there is a vast density of trees in this lush forest, birds get ample space to built their nests. Some of the common woodland birds that can be witnessed in this area are Pied Wagtail, White Breasted Waterhen, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Indian Shag, etc. If you are lucky, you can also see beautiful peacocks throughout Jaldapara National Park.
That is why it is always better to bring a good pair of rhinoceros while visiting Jaldapara. The watchtowers in the forest reserve allow you to catch the wild animals in action and enable you to do bird-watching without any hindrance.
b. Elephant Safari
One of the best ways to explore Jaldapara National Park’s alluring nature is by participating in an elephant safari. The elephant ride is not only exciting but also efficient. By availing of this ride, you will have more chances of seeing different species of fauna. This Safari starts from the Hollong Bungalow inside the forest premises. Right from the moment, you will ride the majestic elephant, and you will get transported to another world.
The early morning breeze on your face, along with the chirping of birds and babbling of nearby rivers, will make the elephant Safari worth it to you. You will have to travel to the Hollong bungalow to avail the elephant Safari by your vehicle. The distance between the cabin and the main entry point of Jaldapara National Park is 7 km.
c. Jeep Safari
Jeep Safari is the most popular activity that tourists participate in while visiting Jaldapara National Park. Unlike Elephant Safari, this trip lasts for one and a half hours.
Moreover, as the starting point of this trip is located pretty close to the national park’s main entry point, reaching it is pretty easy. The experience of exploring the forest while riding an open jeep will stay in your mind for a long time. This Safari comes with an expert forest guide who provides you all the necessary information regarding the forest.
The guide will help you stay safe and offer you all the dos and don’ts while riding an open jeep in detail. Many tourists witnessed one-horned rhinoceros, hog deer, peacocks, and other animals while participating in the Safari. During your trip, you will be brought to the watcher towers to see the animals better. The entirety of the Safari is extremely fun, and people tend to book its slots repeatedly.
What Are The Best Places To Stay Near This Wildlife Reserve?
There are some beautiful resorts and hotels located in and around Jaldapara National Park that allow you to enjoy the surroundings’ natural ambiance more effectively. Some of the popular ones are provided below.
Hollong Tourist Lodge
Located amid Jaldapara National Park’s vast wilderness, Hollong Tourist Lodge is the most popular place to stay in the region. The popularity of this hotel is not because of its amenities but because of its location. Constructed by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation, this lodge is located 7 km into the forest cover. This lodge site is used as the starting point for the Elephant Safari that several tourists book.
The lodge is unique with its rustic settings. You will notice that a salt pit is situated right in front of the lodge if you go there. Several animals go there for the salt pit, and tourists staying there get to witness the majestic animals right in front of them. An added advantage of staying in this lodge is that you will be prioritized while considering elephant safety bookings. By staying in this cozy lodge, you will have one of the most exquisite experiences in your life.
Address: Jaldapara National Park, Uttar Barajhar Forest, West Bengal 735213.
Cost of a room per night: INR 2500.
Phone Number: 097341 16034.
- Jaldapara Tourist Lodge
Maintained by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Limited, Jaldapara Tourist Lodge is a great place to stay while exploring the national park. Even though this resort is not located inside the forest premises, it is situated pretty close to the region. You will notice the lush greenery of the dense Jaldapara forest from the comfort of your room. With several amenities, this tourist lodge is pretty luxurious. As this site offers meals along with spaces, people prefer staying there a lot.
There are multiple cottages available inside the premises of this lodge that helps you maintain your privacy. The lodge also allows you to book the Jeep Safaris and Elephant Safaris without any issues.
Address: Madhya Madarihat, West Bengal 735220.
Phone Number: 074308 09428.
Price of a room per night: INR 8500.
Jaldapara National Park is an enthralling place that offers tourists the chance to spend a few days devoid of daily stress and urban conglomeration. Even if you do not get that much opportunity to witness rhinos or leopards, you will have a phenomenal time. The lush greenery of the North Bengal forests will rejuvenate you and help you relax. It is a paradise for wildlife lovers and a great place to have a unique vacation. We hope you got all the important information you need to plan a trip to Jaldapara National Park by reading this blog.