Buxa Tiger Reserve
Buxa National Park, in the subdivision of Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri district, was set up in the year of 1982-83 at the north eastern corner of West Bengal bordering Bhutan and Assam. It is declared a National Park in January 1992. The name "Buxa Tiger" has been derived from Buxa Fort - a fort at an altitude of 867 meters on the Sinchula Range guarding the most important of the eleven routes into Bhutan, which once was used for detainees during freedom movement of India. With an area of 759sq km this picturesque reserve with its prodigious Terai, Bhabar as well as Hilly landscape, crisscrossed by numerous rivers and their tributaries, presents a breathtaking landscape.
The Phipsu Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan is contiguous to North of BTR. Manas Tiger Reserve lies on east of BTR. BTR, thus, serves as international corridor for elephant migration between India and Bhutan. The reserve encompasses as many as eight forest types.
Buxa is rich with bio-diversity and has a great collection of rare orchids and medicinal plants. Because of inaccessible terrain some parts of Buxa hills in the Sinchula range are still unexplored. The veritable flora and fauna of these wet forests attracts tourists and nature lovers every year. The Generic diversity of mammals is second highest among all the tiger reserves of India. Astonishing bio-diversity of animals comprise of a reach avifauna of more than 230 identified species, 67 mammals and 36 species of reptiles.
Mammal: Apart from Bengal Tiger the flagship species, there are plenty of Leopard, Fishing Cat, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Indian Civet, Palm Civet, Wild Dogs, Malayan Gaint Squirrels, Mangooses, Asian Elephant, Gaur, Small Clawless Otter, Chital, Sambar, Barking Deer, Hog Deer, Wild Buffalo, 3 varieties of Pythons, Monitor Lizard and a host of land tortoises. A number of animals like Chinese Pangolin. Regal Python (reticulate) Clouded Leopard are endemic to the region.
Birds: The Avifauna is rich in both endemic as well as migratory species. The swift rivers of Rydak and Jainti are visited by Trans Himalayan Migratory Goosanders, the beautiful Ibis Bill, resident Fork-tails, varieties of Red-stars, Wag-tails, the Narathali Lake is visited by migratory Common Teal, Gargani Teal, Large Whistling Teal, White Eyed Poachared etc. The Hornbills including greater Pied Hornbill abound the area. One of the rarest birds of India the Black-necked Crane has been sighted in the Reserve during the early winter. The migratory beautiful Black Stork is a visitor of the area. The monsoon ends and beautiful Minivets, Sultan tits arrive, during summer rare Ashyminivet is also sighted.
Flora: More than 300 species of trees, 250 species of shrubs, 400 species of herbs, 9 species of cane, 10 species of bamboo, 150 species of orchids, 100 species of grass and 130 species of aquatic flora including more than 70 sedges (Cyperaceae) have been identified so far. There are more than 160 species of other monocotyledons and ferns. Main species include Sal, Champ, Gamar, Simul, Chikrasi etc.
Jayanti: A picturesque spot along the meandering Jayanti River forming a natural border with beautiful Bhutan hills Jayanti is a place to stretch your weary legs as the cool breeze brushes away all the exhaustions. Buxaduar to Jayanti is another popular trek in the region. This 13 kms trek passes through the dense forest of Buxa Tiger Reserve. The music of wilderness, the chirping of unknown birds, the song of wild streams, fragrance of nature will never allow you to feel the least stress of a long journey. The journey ends with a warm reception of an old staggering priest at the stalactite cave of Jayanti, popularly known as the Mahakal cave. It is difficult to enter into the narrow, dark, damp cave but trying the same may be another precious adventure. The downhill trek from here leads to Jayanti Forest Bungalow.
Rajabhatkhawa: Rajabhatkhawa is only 12 kms from Jayanti and approachable by both road and rail form Siliguri (153kms) and Alipurduar (17 kms). Surrounded by dense forests of Buxa tiger reserve Rajabhatkhawa is an ideal place for the wild life lovers. A watchtower deep inside the forest gives the best opportunity to view elephant, bison and even tiger. The Nature Interpretation Center at Rajabhatkhawa is another attraction. There is a small bazaar and a beautiful small rail station. Accommodation is available in forest rest house and also in a private rest house named Gracilips.
Where to stay: Naturebeyond provides accommodations
in forest rest houses of WBFDC at Rajabhatkhawa, Nimati, Barobisha, Raidak,
Raimatang/Buxaduar, Jayanti and Bhutanghat. In Rajabhatkhawa a family
run well maintained privet lodge named Garcilips provides hospitable stay
and delicious food.