An awesome visit to western Dooars - November, 2018

#1 Jan 23rd, 2019, 21:20
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#1
Planning

The plan stared in a self arranged college re-union of four friends on 6th August, 2018. One of us started conversation about a weekend/extended weekend plan with family. We all agreed for a short Dooars trip and the responsibility of planning comes to me.

I have started exploring our beloved Indiamike for Dooars trip and have found this https://www.indiamike.com/india/west...ooars-t269804/ recent information rich TR for our base of guideline. I was thinking of western Dooars. I have come to know from this TR that the 1st preference at Murti should be WBFDC Banani, 2nd one should be WBTDCL Murti and then rest all. I have tried to understand the difference between these 1st and 2nd preferences. But unfortunately could not found much information about WBTDCL Murti.

By these few days I spent in exploration, two of our friends informed their unavailability on November 1st week. So Barun and I have started moving forward. First of all we booked train tickets as we were already running out of time. Up and down tickets got confirmed in Guwahati Garib Rath on 04-Nov and Padatik Express on 7-Nov respectively.

From one of my ex-colleague I came to know that there is a nice resort just beside Jaldhaka river bed at Jhalong named Green Island. Finally we have considered only Jhalong and Murti. We were interested about Medhla visit, elephant ride in western Dooars and hence for Kalipur eco village (WBFDC). But due to inconvenience of online booking at Kalipur we have considered Banani, Murti.

When we finally got into the WBFDC web site for booking we could not get any cottage on 05-Nov. Only Godhuli and Bhairabi was available on 06-Nov. So we booked those. Then I have called Mr. Sampat Agarwal of Green Island. Booking was done for 05-Nov and payment made through Google Pay. I have received confirmation through text sms only.
#2 Jan 25th, 2019, 10:58
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#2

More to come soon, I hope!

#3 Jan 31st, 2019, 01:50
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Day 1:

Guwahati Garib Rath Express was not good from cleanliness point of view but very punctual. We reached NJP five minutes before time. Our driver Sanjit was waiting at station. He loaded our luggage on roof of the Bolero and we started for Jhalong.

We stopped at Gajoldoba for breakfast. Option was very less. Bread, omelet, poach etc was available. There we received call from our hotel of Jhalong regarding order for lunch. After breakfast we took some snaps beside the Tista barrage and then started again. Road condition was excellent. Road was like a glowing tape in between of jungle.

Cont...













#4 Feb 1st, 2019, 01:05
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We reached Jhalong at 11:30 am. After Jhalong view point our car took a right turn and started moving downwards. Our resort was almost at the level of river Jaldhaka. Other side of the river is Bhutan. The resort had plenty of grounds and trees.

After check-in we got fresh and proceed for lunch. Lunch was of homely and ok type. After lunch we started for Bindu. Around 3 pm we reached Bindu. But honestly speaking, we were staying at a much better place at Jhalong in the lap of nature. We spent some time there. I got a Zumzin. It was awesome. Then we started return journey. We stopped in between for snaps.

At evening we had some pakora which was included in food package of the resort. After that we enjoyed the nature in cold night and roam around the place. Then we took dinner at 9:30 pm with chicken. It was much better than lunch. Thus we call it a day.

Jhalong View Point



Green Island Resort















River Jaldhaka from Resort

#5 Feb 1st, 2019, 01:09
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#5

Some more snaps

Nature during return journey from Bindu















Security guards of the resort

#6 Feb 1st, 2019, 13:35
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Nice report & photos Saikat .. following
#7 Feb 2nd, 2019, 23:36
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Day 2:

Two swans were security guards of the resort. Next morning the were very annoying. They were coming to bite everyone who comes outside of room. Children could not play adults could not walk. Finally one of them bite on Barun's jeans. Then I become furious and chased them with my belt in hand. After that they went away.

We got nice breakfast with puri-sabji and then went to explore the Jaldhaka river bank. It was awesome. We took many snaps. After that we checked out and started for Murti.























#8 Feb 10th, 2019, 16:29
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We reached Banani at around 12 noon. At the time of entering name in register the person in charge asked us that if we want to go for any watchtower visit. We opted for Chapramari in afternoon and Jatraprasad & Rhini point next day morning. We made payment for Chapramari visit for four persons, gypsy permit and guide fees instantly. Gypsy fees had to pay after visit to the driver.



Then we checked in to our cottage Godhuli and Bhairabi. Those were most recently built. So were very clean and modern. Banani itself is very beautiful and located just beside the river Murti. We spent some time there and then proceed for a homely lunch in dining hall. Food was very testy.





















#9 Feb 10th, 2019, 17:13
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After lunch we had 30-45 minutes of time in hand. Then we had to start for Chapramari. Six person sit at rear side of Gypsy and the guide sit at front beside driver. After the Gypsy started running through highway, the air was felt chilly. We were actually not prepared for that. Because weather was pleasant and felt hot if sunlight fall on body.

We have reached to the entry gate of Chapramari soon. There we had to do some paper work formalities. Then we started moving through the jungle. It was really dense. When we reached the watchtower, other drivers said Rhino is there. We do not have to go on top of the tower. From the plain land we could see Rhino, Bison and Peacock – what a luck!!! There were few wild boars at long distance. So we could not capture them in camera.

























#10 Feb 10th, 2019, 17:31
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After the watchtower we have been taken to Chapramari wilderness camp for seeing local Gorkha cultural program with a cup of tea and two biscuits. At the time of return we requested our driver to cover the Gypsy. He did that with help of the guide. It was pitch dark in the evening and we were slowly moving inside the jungle – thrilling experience!













#11 Feb 10th, 2019, 17:44
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After reaching Banani we had some snacks and then got out for a walk. I had another thing in my mind. So first I started walking towards WBTDCL lodge. We entered there and I asked the person in reception that we are residing at Banani. I have heard that regarding jungle visit priority wise Banani comes first, this is second and rest are all common. Can you please make me understand how it is actually? The person said we cannot arrange for a watchtower visit for our residents. That can only be done at Banani. We can arrange for jungle safari. I have asked then if I book here and want to visit watchtower where I have to go for booking, is it Banani or all the way to Lataguri? He replied Lataguri. I thanked the person and left the place. The conclusion is - priority is one and only Banani and rest all are common, whether it is government or private hotel.

Then we walked by the road for some time. All hotels were decorated with lights for Diwali. We have entered one of those called Trimurti. Actually it was looking very nice from outside. We roam around for some time. Nobody put any objection. After that we came back to Banani. Dinner was also homely and testy. We have seen that some rooms have their doors at the dining hall. These rooms are probably the noisiest.

















#12 Feb 11th, 2019, 14:05
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Day 3

We woke up at 5 am and started for Jatraprasad & Rhino point at 6 pm by Gypsy. Payment and other rules were same as Chapramari visit. Only cultural program, tea and biscuit was minus. It is included in the 4th shift for all watch tower visits and hence the entry fee is higher in 4th shift.

The entry gate was not open. So we had to wait for some time there. We have seen peacock and two kunki elephants. At Jatraprasad we could see foot prints of elephants and rhino but could not see them. Then at rhino point also we could not spot anything. At the time of return we have seen a deer.

After returning at Banani we took shower and had breakfast. Check-out time was 10 am. But our return train from NJP was Padatik Express at 9 pm. So we had lot of time in hand. I asked the person in reception about Medhla visit. But he said for that we have to go to Ramsai bazaar. There we will get ticket. He instructed our driver properly. Then at 10:30 we started for Ramsai bazaar.























#13 Feb 11th, 2019, 21:43
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We have reached the ticket counter in an hour. It was then closed. The next shift was 3rd shift at 1:00 pm. So we roam around the place. There is a very big tea garden called Jadabpur Tea Garden. We took many snaps there. My son has spotted a baby goat. He along with my friend’s son played with it a lot. After almost one hour WBFDC stuffs came and opened the counter at 12:30. We bought tickets. Complimentary jute bags were gifted.

Our guide came and we have boarded in our Bolero. The road was through the tea estate. We have reached WBFDC Kalipur eco village. Our car was parked inside it and buffalo cart started getting ready for a ride. Then we ride on the cart and travelled for some time. Then we had to walk up to the watchtower. Medla watchtower is located just beside the core area of Gorumara. So chances of viewing wildlife are always high here.

The guide told us this is the wrong time to visit jungle. March first/second week is the best time. Also in 3rd shift there is very less chance to get anything. I know that 1:00 pm is not a suitable time for any jungle watchtower visit. But as we have plenty of time in hand, it was always better to visit Medla rather waiting for hours at NJP station or shopping at Hong Kong market.

We were the only group visiting at that time. On reaching at the top of the tower we could locate one elephant at a short distance from the tower and two others on the other side of Murti river. After sometime one Rhino came out of the jungle and started drink water from river. Then it crossed the river. We really were not expecting this and were amazed by the incident. We then started returning to the buffalo cart. On the way the guide showed Mimosa plant (lojjaboti) to my son and he was very excited to see such a plant.





Kalipur Eco Village









































#14 Feb 11th, 2019, 21:46
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We started from Kalipur around 2:30 pm. Road was excellent throughout our tour. We finally stopped at Mal bazaar for a late lunch with Pabda fish. Then we started again. Our driver suggested visiting Bhorer Alo on the way. It is a resort newly created by WBTDCL at Gajoldoba. We reached there. But security guards did not allowed us inside as we did not have a booking there. So we started from there for NJP and reached at 6:45 pm.





Bhorer Alo





Last time we were not satisfied with the food at Subhankar hotel. So this time we tried Annapurna Hotel in the same row behind the taxi stand. Train was on time and the journey to Sealdah was uneventful. Thus a beautiful small trip comes to the end.

#15 Feb 11th, 2019, 21:51
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#15
Useful Informations:

Hotel:

Jhalong – Green Island, Sampat Agarwal, Ph 9474391835, 9434171710, 9531740818, 9735361740
Rs 1760/night for Leopard and Kingfisher. Lower and higher range rooms are there also.

Murti – Banani (WBFDC), Online booking https://wbfdc.net/index.aspx. Rs 3068/night for Godhuli and Bhairabi. Lots of other cottage and rooms are there. Cottages are preferable Booking starts 90 days in advance.

Car: Biswajit is very dependable agent, Ph 9733141091, Bolero, Rs 2400/day. Driver was Sanjit. Very nice guy.

Watchtower visit:

Chapramari, Jatra Prasad & Rhini Point, Chuk Chuki and Chandrachur watchtower visits can be arranged from Banani if you are booked there. Else you have to go to Lataguri and in season it becomes chaotic, like queue start from previous night and local boys keeps your line for some money. In my opinion our time of visit was very good. There was not excessive crowd and we could have seen enough wildlife.

Medla visit can be done directly from Kalipur if you stay there. Else you have to book at Ramsai bazaar.

There are four shifts for all watchtowers. Fourth shift always costs extra as it includes local cultural program, tea and biscuits.



Summer
6:00 am to 7:30 am
8:30 am to 10:00 am
2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
4:30 pm to 6:00 pm

Oct to Feb
6:30 am to 8:00 am
9:00 am to 10:30 am
1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Ticket counter opens 30 minutes before the shift. But at Medla practically we have found it 60 minutes before.

Except Medla all safaris are done by Gypsy. Six tourists can sit at the backside. Guide sit at front side. At Medla private car goes upto Kalipur eco village and from there buffalo cart starts.

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