a "birds" village in West Bengal...

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#1 Dec 12th, 2003, 21:28
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  • exult is offline
#1
A remote "Bird" Village in West Bengal is welcoming foreign visitors !

This is the true story of a very special village : ANGINA (on the border with Bangladesh, some 240 km south of Siliguri = near Darjeeling) has been since 1997 the rallying point for thousands of migratory birds : no less than 32,000 of them were counted last summer, far too many for a tiny village of only 1500 souls, and their numbers are still rising (among them : 16,000 open-bill storks, 3000 night herons, 1000 white egrets and cormorants, 600 barbets and woodpeckers, and about 12,000 birds of many other species : king fisher divers, adjutant martins, parrots, owls of different categories, nightingales, newts, ... plus bats, wild cats etc).

The villagers called the governor of the State for help, but he has little interest for such a remote place. An "Angina Birds and Environment Protection Samitee" (= committee) has been set up, to try to solve the many problems that those invading "feathered guests" are creating : damaged crops, big branches of venerable old trees broken under the weight of too many nests, bird droppings everywhere… The villagers are not rich and feel overwhelmed by such a burden. The birds are there in sheer numbers specially during the summer, but many of them stay all year long and last Nov. 18th when I was there, sunset was wonderful and almost deafening, with so many birds flocking back to their branches !

M. Biswajit BASAK, the secretary of the Committee, and other villagers told me that they hoped to get the visit of many foreigners and nature lovers, who could maybe help them with new ideas and contribute with a small amount of money to help them organising themselves, if they stayed there as paying guests for some days (basic accommodation can be provided, including a very warm hospitality by the extremely friendly and open-minded villagers). Despite regular articles in various newspapers (Times of India 4/9/2003, The Statesman 30/7/2003..., and many papers in other languages than English), Angina is too far for Calcuttans to spend only a short weekend there.

It is not frequent that a far-away village, which had never received any foreign visitor (they assured me I was the first !) expressly wishes to open up to the world and is formally inviting strangers to come : probably because they had to think at the new disturbance in a positive way and look at it as a potential touristic attraction. I promised M. Basak that I would write about his "birds" village on various forums for travellers on the Web : I think it is an excellent way to escape from the noise and pollution of the big Indian cities, if you are ready to spend some days there and adjust to their simple way of life. I plan to copy again the same message later on, in case none of you has come there yet. If someone knows websites specialised in nature and birds conservation, please copy parts of this post (birds are not my speciality, I had been driven there by a local NGO working in education, health, reforestation etc., based some 25km away in another remote village).

This is how you can reach the place : the village is connected by bus with the nearest town, BALURGHAT ; there is a direct bus between Kolkata and that town (9 to 10 hours), but I find it more comfortable to take one of the many night trains to MALDA and from there, take a bus to Balurghat, a 3-hours journey for some 100 km. The roads are very narrow, specially near the village, and interesting : with buffalo carts, all sorts of cattle, incredible things transported by bicycle and rickshaws and many pedestrians. In the same area, there are some adivasi settlements of Santal tribes with their special culture. "Hatts" (local markets, once or twice a week) attract big crowds of farmers from surrounding villages.

I think it would be better if visitors going there were dressed conservatively and behaved very respectfully. M. Basak has an email address (anginadd@yahoo.co.in) and you can write before coming, but do not expect a rapid answer. Otherwise, you could arrive there unannounced : other persons that you could ask for, if M. Basak is not around : M. Jogesh Mali, the school teacher, and M. Shukal Hasda, chief of the Panchayat. I really hope that beautiful and peaceful Angina will continue to live in peace and harmony, with visitors of all kind…
#2 Dec 17th, 2003, 01:26
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  • exult is offline
#2

small correction

actually, the mail address has been changed : it is now
anginabirdsep@rediffmail.com
#3 Dec 17th, 2003, 07:35
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#3
Thanks for the info. I will post a note about this on my site.

Apana
#4 Jul 9th, 2011, 23:47
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  • Archintyab is offline
#4

Want to visit the place Angina:

That Email address has been posted here this is not working. I want to visit the place. So anybody here who can guide me on how to travel there, what will be best time to visit there and where to stay?
#5 Oct 6th, 2011, 14:48
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if u r coming from kolkata, then start from sealdah by gour link express and reach balurghat by 10:00 am. transfer to a hotel adjacent to balurghat bus stand. get yourself fresh and take your breakfast or tiffin. start for angina from balurghat bustand by bus or trekkar. it will take around 45 minutes.visit angina throughout the day. have your lunch at dangarhat (4 km away from angina). return to balurghat. next morning depart from balurghat at 5:00 am by tebhaga express and arrive kolkata (kolkata station) at 3:30 pm
#6 Oct 6th, 2011, 18:04
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#6
Thanks for your reply. Did you visit this place? When Migratory birds come here? Is there any posibility to home stay?
#7 Oct 13th, 2011, 00:45
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yes i use to visit the place once a week because of my profession. i am a resident of balurghat. the birds start to come here in the month of may and return before the onset of winter season. i am very close to the members of the NGO, ANGINA BIRDS AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SAMITEE. couple of years ago the panchayat samity had built a room for the tourists in the village. once a professor of jadavpur university came and staid here but today its not in a good condition. so its better to stay at balurghat.
#8 Oct 13th, 2011, 13:47
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#8
Very interesting..not known to many. Usually migratory birds come on the onset of winter season, but in this case, birds come during summer and leave before onset of winter season. Is there any particular reason for this? I would request @namus to post a few photographs of the birds. Wish to travel Angina some day! Thanks for the input.
#9 Oct 13th, 2011, 14:12
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#9

angina village -- paradise for nature and bird lovers

i also really don't know the reason why the birds come here in the smmer season and fly back before winter. i asl want to know that. posting some photos of angina
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#10 Oct 13th, 2011, 14:21
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#10

birds of angina

angina village-- paradise for nature and bird lovers
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#11 Oct 13th, 2011, 18:36
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#11
Beautiful pictures. thanks a ton,namus! May we invite the attention of our bird watcher friends in IM to throw some light on this phenomenon? Some day, I would like to visit this place. You are from Balurghat, isn't it? I may bother you for help to visit this place.
#12 Oct 13th, 2011, 18:38
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#12

Smile

Nice Collection...
#13 Oct 13th, 2011, 23:46
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#13
ofcourse sir. it will be my pleasure to help you.
#14 Oct 14th, 2011, 00:01
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#14

angina

angina
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#15 Oct 14th, 2011, 00:09
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angina

angina
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