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-   -   Hollong, Jaldapara National Park : A Photologue from Dooars, May 2016 (https://www.indiamike.com/india/indian-wildlife-and-national-parks-f74/hollong-jaldapara-national-park-a-photologue-from-dooars-may-2016-a-t245390/)

arupratan ghosh May 12th, 2016 16:03

Hollong, Jaldapara National Park : A Photologue from Dooars, May 2016
 
3 Attachment(s)
Recently we had a wonderful stay at Hollong in Jaldapara National Park. The park spreads over an area of more than 250 Sq Kms. Jaldapara in Alipurduar district ( West Bengal , Dooars) at the foot of Bhutan hills remains much cooler than the southern part of the state in summer. Not only the unbearable heat & crazy humidity of Kolkta , we also escaped the heat of ongoing Assembly Election in West Bengal . No doubt Bengalis have a natural passion for politics ( please include my name also in the list) . Anyway, we are not here to discuss politics or the fate of Bengal in this thread. But thanks a ton to Hollong that helped me to detach myself from this unearthly heat & tension for about five days. Here is a photologue from Jaldapara ..

Birds



View from Hollong Lodge

Attachment 81887


It's raining, in the grassland
Attachment 81888

snotty May 12th, 2016 19:29

More AG.. More!!

arupratan ghosh May 12th, 2016 22:57

Quote:

Originally Posted by snotty (Post 1959411)
More AG.. More!!

Thanks, snotty. Processing photos ! 'll post soon :)

arupratan ghosh May 13th, 2016 11:52

3 Attachment(s)
We boarded Kanchankanya express from Sealdah on 30th April & reached Hasimara next day at around 11.15 am. Kanchankanya was late by an hour on that day. Entry gate of National Park is at Madarihat, 12 Kms away from Hasimara. Hollong lodge is another 7 Kms from there. By car it takes around 45 minutes to reach Hollong from Hasiamara (it includes the time taken for forest check-post formalities ).

Road to Madarihat from Hasimara



Park entry gate at Madarihat



Road to Hollong through the forest


snotty May 13th, 2016 13:43

Whose house did you invade into to click the last snap.. ;)

arupratan ghosh May 13th, 2016 14:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by snotty (Post 1959548)
Whose house did you invade into to click the last snap.. ;)

:D :D That was through the window of forest-outpost at the entry gate, snotty (the green camp behind the signboard in the 2nd photo ). Tourists have to show their permit , put down relevant details on the register & finally stand in front of the security cameras before entering the forest. While my friend was busy completing all the formalities, I took some snaps of the forest from the outpost :)

iamsomnath May 13th, 2016 14:35

When did you go AG ?

arupratan ghosh May 13th, 2016 15:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by iamsomnath (Post 1959562)
When did you go AG ?

Exactly 12 days ago, somnathda :)

arupratan ghosh May 13th, 2016 16:18

4 Attachment(s)
Hollong is undoubtedly the best place in West Bengal to soak up the nature & experience wildlife movements throughout the day. Overlooking the salt-lick area, Hollong Tourist Lodge itself acts as a watchtower.

Hollong Tourist Lodge


It has 9 rooms and of those 7 nos can be booked by tourists. Other rooms are always reserved for forest officials & VIPs. Two rooms on the first floor are salt-lick facing . Fortunately we were allocated one of those two , 'Hornbill' (Room No 5).

Room No. 5 ( Hornbill )


Room No 8 ( 'Kingfisher') & the common room on the first floor also have similar frontal view.

Common Room on the first floor


We freshened up quickly & had our lunch. They serve both veg & non-veg items . More importantly, the dining room has a quiet ambience. All green through the windows .. Wonderful !

Dining Room, Hallong Lodge


aheli May 13th, 2016 16:55

Awesome arupda, subscribed and waiting for more :)

arupratan ghosh May 13th, 2016 18:25

6 Attachment(s)
It was 3 pm. We were waiting patiently on the lawn in front of Hollong Bungalow. A brook separates the salt-pit area from the lodge. Sometimes this brook is wrongly referred to as ' Hollong River'. When I asked one of the caretakers , he said - ' It's not Hollong River. It's 'Lodge-Jhora' .' Lodge-jhora , what a nice name !

Lodge-Jhora in front of Hollong Lodge



There were Peacocks, Parakeets, Yellow Footed Green Pigeon all around. A Hornbill flew away quickly. Suddenly a herd of elephants came out of the forest.Thrilling moments ! Here are few photos from that afternoon -

Peacock



Herd of Elephants



Afternoon at Hollong


arupratan ghosh May 14th, 2016 00:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by aheli (Post 1959594)
Awesome arupda, subscribed and waiting for more :)

Thanks for your comment , Aheli :)

Bias_Traveller May 14th, 2016 02:02

Thread as green as a drenched Dooars. Waiting for some more lovely snaps Arupratan da.

arupratan ghosh May 14th, 2016 10:57

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bias_Traveller (Post 1959716)
Thread as green as a drenched Dooars. Waiting for some more lovely snaps Arupratan da.

Thank you, Bias. Your comment inspired me a lot :)

sindabad May 14th, 2016 12:45

Beautiful images - the elephant herd , the rivulet or whaterver you call it , the lodge seems very well kept ..
waiting for more !!

arupratan ghosh May 14th, 2016 15:22

7 Attachment(s)
Next day we did Elephant Safari in the morning. Booking for this safari has to be done in advance (before 5 pm previous day). Safari starts from the riding-point just outside Hollong Lodge premises. 3 Trips (Max 4) are conducted by forest Deptt daily between 6 am to 10 am. We had permit for the first trip scheduled at 5.45 am. But due to rain there was a delay & the first safari for the day started around 7 am.

Elephant Safari in Jaldapara
Attachment 82092

Elephants entered the forest of north-east section after crossing Lodge-jhora. After 15 minutes of journey through dense forest we crossed Chirakhawa River and within another 5 minutes we reached the famous grassland area of the National Park. We could spot two Sambars and a barking deer in the first half an hour.

Safari continues



Chirakhawa River flowing through the park


The huge grassland of Jaldapara National Park lies between Torsha River & Chirakhawa River. All of us were hopeful to spot One-horned Rhinos there. Four elephants moved in four different directions. But still there was no success. After 15 minutes of thrilling seach we again crossed Chirakhawa River on our way back to Hollong & this time we were lucky to spot a Rhino in a waterhole near the river.

Rhino in the Waterhole
Attachment 82096


Closer view


arupratan ghosh May 15th, 2016 00:45

Quote:

Originally Posted by sindabad (Post 1959758)
Beautiful images - the elephant herd , the rivulet or whaterver you call it , the lodge seems very well kept ..
waiting for more !!

Thanks, sindabad. I'm glad, you liked this report :)

arupratan ghosh May 16th, 2016 14:08

5 Attachment(s)
We came back to Hollong at around 8.15 am, had our breakfast & then called the driver who dropped us at the lodge previous day. We had a plan to make a day trip to Sikia-Jhora, near Alipurduar , 50 Kms from Hollong. Signal on Mobile Phones is very feeble in Hollong. It's almost impossible to make any call from inside the rooms . However on the lawn signal is better. After few failed attempts , finally I could contact the driver & he said , he would be there within one & a half hours.

Map of Jaldapara



A Peacock



A Pied Hornbill far away



The car arrived at 11.30 am. We had not to pay any Exit / Entry fees at the check-post for the car since we had night stay permit at Hollong. After having our lunch at a wayside restaurant in Madarhat, we resumed our journey towards Sikia-jhora. One has to cross Torsha River while going towards Hasimara from Madarihat (or vice versa ). Jaldapara National Park is situated on the right bank of Torsha that flows through four countries China ( Tibet) , Bhutan, India ( Alipurduar & Coochbehar , West Bengal) & Bangladesh . Chilapata Forest, the elephant-corridor between Jaldapara NP & Buxa Tiger Reserve lies on the left bank of Torsha River.


Road to Alipurduar from Madarihat

Attachment 82171

Torsha River at Hasimara
Attachment 82172

Bias_Traveller May 17th, 2016 12:22

Oh Dooars!!!!!!!!!! [praiseyou

arupratan ghosh May 17th, 2016 14:59

6 Attachment(s)
On our way to Sikia Jhora , we stopped at Malangi . Banks of Malangi River ( locally known as 'Choto Nadi' ) is a paradise for bird watchers. The river flows behind Malangi Lodge run by WBFDC. Nature lovers staying at Malangi Forest Lodge can have Gypsy Safaris both in Jaldapara & Chilapata Forest. Also they can avail the Elephant Safari at Hollong . Nowadays Elephant safaris are also conducted from Malangi Lodge by forest deptt.

Malangi Lodge (Of WBFDC)



Choto-Nadi ( Malangi River)



The bridge


Sikia Jhora is around 30 Kms away from Malangi. We reached there at 4 pm. It's a small stream flowing through Damanpur Range of Buxa Tiger Reserve. Local villagers has set up an eco-tourism committee to conduct boat-trips inside the forest. There is a watchtower also overlooking Bhutan Hills. We had a wonderful boat-ride in Sikia-jhora . Cost for a 30-Mintue ride is Rs 50 Per head.

Sikia-Jhora Watchtower



Sikia-Jhora



Boat-ride along Sikia Jhora


arupratan ghosh May 17th, 2016 18:32

3 Attachment(s)
On our way back to Madarihat, we saw a woman selling Hadia near Sikia-jhora . In Dooars Hadia ( Rice Beer ) is a popular local drink. This is a variant of 'Chhaang' (sold in Sikkim / Darjeeling ) Or 'Rassi' ( as they call it in Jharkhand ). A few people gathered around her & were having a drink. I told our driver to stop the car & asked the price. It was Rs 10/- per bowl. She was also selling chicken- kasha , Rs 8 /- per piece.

The woman selling Hadia
Attachment 82193


By the time we returned back to Hollong, it was dark enough. Night safari or walking outside the lodge after 6 pm is strictly prohibited in Hollong. But Search-light is flashed by the staffs around the salt-pit area at regular intervals. So tourists staying at Hollong can experience wildlife movements even after sunset. A Barking Deer & a few Bison almost came up to lodge that night. That was a thrilling experience indeed !

Night Visitor I



Night Visitor II


goutamsanyal May 18th, 2016 16:53

Hollong, may only few lucky peoples are able to stay there. :) Nicely elaborated. Snaps are too good. :ThumbsUp

arupratan ghosh May 18th, 2016 23:37

Quote:

Originally Posted by goutamsanyal (Post 1960659)
Hollong, may only few lucky peoples are able to stay there. :) Nicely elaborated. Snaps are too good. :ThumbsUp

Thanks Goutam & a hearty welcome to India Mike :)

Suparna Acharya May 20th, 2016 12:35

Awesome TR Arup Da. Crisp as always!! And great pictures!! :D

BTW can you please brief about the procedure to book Hollong? I heard it's very tough and needs luck to get a booking at Hollong?

arupratan ghosh May 20th, 2016 12:52

Quote:

Originally Posted by Suparna Acharya (Post 1961060)
Awesome TR Arup Da. Crisp as always!! And great pictures!! :D

BTW can you please brief about the procedure to book Hollong? I heard it's very tough and needs luck to get a booking at Hollong?

Thanks Suparna :) Yes, it's tough to get booking at Hollong Bungalow. The best way is to book rooms 120 days in advance through WBTDC online-portal, as soon as booking for a particular day opens at midnight .

Suparna Acharya May 20th, 2016 13:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by arupratan ghosh (Post 1961067)
Thanks Suparna :) Yes, it's tough to get booking at Hollong Bungalow. The best way is to book rooms 120 days in advance through WBTDC online-portal, as soon as booking for a particular day opens at midnight .

Got it!! One just need to book at right time and plan a bit ahead :P

life1style1 May 20th, 2016 14:07

Another AG Magic unleashed..:)..Late but subscribed..

arupratan ghosh May 20th, 2016 17:42

6 Attachment(s)
Our day 3 began with this -

Morning at Hollong, 5.30 am



A Gaur




More photos clicked in the morning session ..



Peacocks



The Marching Dove



A Red Stink Bug


snotty May 20th, 2016 18:39

BTW AG.. Was the stink bug really as bad as feared? ;)

arupratan ghosh May 21st, 2016 11:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by life1style1 (Post 1961083)
Another AG Magic unleashed..:)..Late but subscribed..

Thanks L1S1 , I'm humbled :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by snotty (Post 1961160)
BTW AG.. Was the stink bug really as bad as feared? ;)

Please don't believe all the rumors , snotty ;) Particularly , this little creature was sweet-natured & it posed for me about 10/12 seconds before disappearing into the grass :)

iamsomnath May 21st, 2016 12:35

Snotty , AG , stink-bugs are not to be underestimated. A few years back, one discharged it's lethal concoction upon my shoulder. The infection took about 7 days to cure and I still bear a mark there. They really stink.
:-(

saptashwo May 21st, 2016 13:36

@Arupratan
The evergreen Dooars continue to mesmerise us all. On top of that your snaps are just mind-blowing.
Can you just tell what DSLR are you using? I am a novice and dream to buy a good but not too expensive camera before visiting these places.
And one more query: While booking online on WBTDC website how can I specify a particular room or rooms with salt-pit view on 1st floor?

arupratan ghosh May 21st, 2016 15:34

Quote:

Originally Posted by iamsomnath (Post 1961258)
Snotty , AG , stink-bugs are not to be underestimated. A few years back, one discharged it's lethal concoction upon my shoulder. The infection took about 7 days to cure and I still bear a mark there. They really stink.
:-(

Sorry to hear that, somnathda. I was just joking.

Quote:

Originally Posted by saptashwo (Post 1961265)
@Arupratan
The evergreen Dooars continue to mesmerise us all. On top of that your snaps are just mind-blowing.
Can you just tell what DSLR are you using? I am a novice and dream to buy a good but not too expensive camera before visiting these places.
And one more query: While booking online on WBTDC website how can I specify a particular room or rooms with salt-pit view on 1st floor?

Thanks saptashwo for your comments. I use my old Nikon D40 ( a 2007 Model). For entry level DSLRs please check this thread : http://www.indiamike.com/india/photo...and-s-t226124/ :)

Rooms at Hollong Bungalow are allotted on spot & on 'first come first served' basis. No option for mentioning preferences while booking your stay online.

arupratan ghosh May 23rd, 2016 12:41

7 Attachment(s)
More from Day 3 ..

At around 10 am, the sky became overcast. It was about to rain. A herd of Bison & a Barking Deer were at the salt-lick. Light was not favorable at all . Clicked a few shots before it started raining heavily.


Waiting for the rain
Attachment 82304


A Barking Deer with a Peacock
Attachment 82305


Alone
Attachment 82306


Heavy lunch made us a bit sleepy. Someone knocked at our door It's afternoon at Hollong & the herd of Elephants were there again.


The herd



Two more to join



Slowly



A Fight


snotty May 23rd, 2016 12:52

A fight does elicit more interest invariably.. ;)

sovanscribe May 23rd, 2016 13:23

would I call the pics good,or should I call the pics surprisingly superb? I don't know. But I felt the smell of wilderness, the green,the warmth of nature from these pics.

should I say thanks,AG?

arupratan ghosh May 23rd, 2016 18:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by snotty (Post 1961524)
A fight does elicit more interest invariably.. ;)

Hmmm ;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by sovanscribe (Post 1961532)
would I call the pics good,or should I call the pics surprisingly superb? I don't know. But I felt the smell of wilderness, the green,the warmth of nature from these pics.

Thanks , sovanscribe :)

arupratan ghosh May 25th, 2016 14:00

9 Attachment(s)
Our last night at Hollong was mostly uneventful. It was drizzling every now & then. Next day we left the park after breakfast and headed towards Phuntsholing, Bhutan ( around 35 Kms from Hollong & 17 Kms from Hasimara ) for a day visit before boarding the train to Kolkata from Hasimara in the afternoon.


Road to Jaigaon through Dalsinghpara Tea Estate
Attachment 82329


Torsha Tea Estate , Dalsinghpara near Jaigaon
Attachment 82330


Bhutan Hills
Attachment 82331


Bhutan Gate at Jaigaon- Phuntsholing Border
Attachment 82332


No permit is required for Indian citizens for a day visit to Phuntsholing & one can go up to Phuntsholing Monastery (i.e up to 4 Kms inside Bhutan). Permit is required for night-stay at Phuntsholing Or if anyone wants to proceed further towards Thimpu.


Market area, Phuntsholing



A lane in Phuntsholing



Road to the Monastery



Phuntsholing Monastery



Photography is prohibited inside the monastery. Coincidentally my camera also stopped working as the battery was fully exhausted ! One can have a splendid view of the border area from the Monastery. Fortunately my mobile phone was alive. This photologue comes to end with that photo clicked using my phone camera ..


View of Indo-Bhutan Border from the Monastery

Attachment 82337

[End of Photologue]


* I'll provide some relevant information in a separate post.

sovanscribe May 25th, 2016 14:16

mind-boggling snaps.take me to a unforgotten memory lane . thank ag. your clicks along with narrations are simply superb

saikatbabai May 25th, 2016 14:44

Superb pictures Arupda...!!! :)


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