Lying at the foot of the Bhutan hills ,the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary with its panoramic view covering an area of 216 sq.km has special significance by maintaining remnants of terai grassland harbouring endangered Great Indian One horned Rhinoceros. Drained by rivers Torsa, Malangi, Hollong, Chirakhawa, Kalijhora, Sissamara, Bhaluka and Budhi Torsa, the Sanctuary provides extensive grasslands to the wild animals becoming the last refuge to a wide variety of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds. The major animals seen in the sanctuary are Tiger, Leopard, Sloth bear, Sambhar, Cheetal, Hog deer, Barking deer, Wild pig, Indian Gaur, Hispid Hare and a variety of avifauna including endangered Bengal florican.The sanctuary has 33 species of mammals,240 species of birds,16 species of reptiles,8 species of turtles and 30 species of fishes.
Different vegetation types are met in the sanctuary. The major area comprises of northern dry deciduous forest, moist mixed forest, Sal, Khair-Sissoo association and alluvial Savannah. More than 30% of the total area is under grassland. This is a land of trumpet and songs. The Rhino is the flagship animal for the sanctuary which can be seen from the safety of the elephant back while driving on roads and from a top watch towers. Tigers and leopards are the main predators in this reserve though seen rarely by the tourist. Lesser cats of the reserve are Jungle cat, Leopard cat and Fishing cat. Other important animals in the park are the common otter, the small and large Indian civet, Giant squirrel, Indian Pangolin, Hispid hare and Indian porcupine.
Entry to the sanctuary is via Madarihat located on the NH 31,140 km east from Siliguri, 80km north from Coochbehar and 50 km west from Alipurduar.
Best time to visit Jaldapara:
The best time to visit is from October to March when the weather is very pleasant.
How to visit Jaldapara:
Air: The nearest airport is Bagdogra, 15 km west of Siliguri
Rail: Broad Gauge trains stop at New Jalpaiguri, New Alipurduar and New Coochbehar.
Road: You will need your own vehicle to visit the sanctuary. Bus/taxi services are available from Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar and Alipurduar.Jeeps can be hired from Madarihat for day visits.
Hollong Forest Lodge: Six double bedded rooms inside the sanctuary.
Madarihat Tourist Lodge: Ten double bedded rooms, six cottages and two dormitories at the entrance of the sanctuary.
Booking can be made from the office of the West Bengal Tourism Centre at Siliguri and Kolkata.
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