Jaldapara National Park formerly Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is a national park situated at the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in Alipurduar District of northern West Bengal and on the banks of the Torsa River. Some other rivers, Malangi, Hollong, Chirakhawa, Kalijhora, Sissamara, Bhaluka and Buri Torsa are also flowing through the Forests area. Jaldapara is situated at an altitude of 61 m and is spread across 216.51 km2 (83.59 sq mi) of vast grassland with patches of reverie forests.
Jaldapara National Park was declared a sanctuary in 1941 for protection of its great variety flora and fauna. In 2012 Jaldapara was entitled as a National Park. Today, it has the largest population of the Indian one horned rhinoceros in the state. The nearby Chilapata Forests is an elephant corridor between Jaldapara and the Buxa Tiger Reserve. The Hollong bungalow inside the forest is probably one of the most sought after tourist accommodation anywhere in India.
It contains a great diversity of flora and fauna of mixed deciduous forest, grasslands and river banks. The Sanctuary provides extensive grassland which is the last refuge to a wide variety of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds.
The park is home to Indian one horned rhinoceros, Elephants, Indian Bison, Hog Deer, Spotted Deer, Chital, Sambar, Barking deer, Wild pigs, Tigers, Leopards, Jungle cat, Leopard cat, Fishing cat, Indian civet, Giant squirrel, Indian pangolin, Hispid hare, Indian porcupine etc.
The place is a birdwatchers paradise with over 350 species of birds recorded to have been seen. Some of the prominent avocational species of the region includes the fishing eagle, crested eagle, Shikra, jungle fowl, partridge, peafowl, pied hornbill, racket-tailed drongo and paradise flycatcher etc. It is one of the most visited jungle in Dooars Package tour or Dooars tour plan.
A thrilling elephant safari is organized in the early morning from Hollong forest bungalow to offer the exquisite beauty of the vast grassland of Jaldapara. The elephant ride is the best possible way to explore the sanctuary with the rare sight of Indian rhinos and Asiatic elephants.
Where to stay in Jaldapara National Park
There is plenty of options available to the guest. There are a few hundred private accommodations on Madarihatall sides of the National Park. Guest can either choose to stay in Government Forest Bungalow(Hollong Lodge and the Jaldpara Tourist Lodge) or they can opt to stay in private hotels and resort. There is also very nice home stay available .
Best Time to visit Jaldapara
Jaldapara remains closed from 15th June to 15th september, the best time to visit the park is during the winter time between November to March. But wildlife sighting chances is very high during summer, possibility is best early in the mornings and just before dusk when animals come out to the water bodies or river banks to drink water.
How to Reach Jaldapara National Park
By Air – Nearest airport is Bagdogra airport, about 140 Km from the National Park. Bagdogra airport is well connected by road network to Jaldapara .
By Rail – Nearest railway station is Madarihat railway station, about 02 Km from the National Park. Hasimara the other important railway station where most of the express train have stoppage is only 13 Km from the national park. One can come through Falakata station also and the distance is only 23 KM. The most important railway station in the North East India is NJP. NJP is directly connected with all major stations in India. Distance between NJP and jaldapara is around 125 KM.
By Road: Jaldapara is connected by National Highway with Siliguri and can be reached by car. Madarihat is the entry point for the sanctuary. It is located on the NH 31 (Siliguri-Hasimara section). There are a number of government and privately operated vehicles that go to Jaldapara at frequent intervals are available from Siliguri to Alipurduar via Madarihat. Cars can also be hired at Siliguri to reach Jaldapara.