Jalpaiguri is a district in the northern part of West Bengal which shares its borders with two countries, namely Bhutan in the north and Bangladesh in the south. During the partition of India, after independence, a part of Jalpaiguri district went into East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. Jalpaiguri also has a significant Nepalese population being very close to the country. Jalpaiguri experiences a huge exodus of tourists each year owing to its exquisite landscapes, serene river banks, rolling tea gardens and for housing two of India's popular wildlife sanctuaries - Gorumara National Park and the Chapramari wildlife sanctuary. Several tourists come to Jalpaiguri just to wade through the dense forested lands on elephant back and view the wide variety of flora and fauna here. 

In fact, Jalpaiguri ranks second in the list of popular places to visit in West Bengal. This picturesque place has small villages which offer unique scenery depending on their strategic location. Chalsa is one such village which is ethereal and looks like a painting on canvas. It is the place from where the beautiful tea gardens in Dooars can be viewed. In order to enjoy sightseeing in Jalpaiguri, winters are the best time. Between October to March the temperature is pleasant, slightly on the cooler side but that makes it ideal for trekking, do a safari, or simply to rest in the river-studded valley. Temperatures here rarely drop below 5 degrees and it is also the best time to view the animals in the wilderness.

Those who come to Jalpaiguri to view several exotic species of birds, must not miss these months, as the winged friends are at their resplendent best in the season. Bagdogra International Airport is the closest airport to Jalpaiguri and there are a number of taxis and reserved cars available from the airport to reach Jalpaiguri. There are multiple trains from Kolkata and other nearby cities which run daily to the Jalpaiguri Road Station. Siliguri, also an important city in North Bengal, is well connected to Jalpaiguri through multiple buses plying at regular intervals in the day between them.
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  1. What are the best places to visit in Jalpaiguri?

    1. Gorumara Wildlife sanctuary
    The Gorumara National Park is the key attraction for those visiting Jalpaiguri. It is home to many Indian species of animals such as the rhinos, elephants, bisons, sloths, and even leopards. The Gorumara National Park is a birdwatcher's paradise as it has a little over 264 species of birds which can be found in this place including some rare ones such as Abbott's Bablar, Asian Bluebird, Black crowned heron and the racket tailed drongo. 

    The safaris organised here are either on jeep or on elephant back. Tourists are taken to the heart of the forest and also to the numerous watchtowers built for viewing the animals. It is easier to spot the animals during winters as they come out of their resting areas. There are quite a few hotels, resorts and bungalows in the areas overlooking the forest where booking is required in advance, especially in the winter months. 

    2. Chapramari wildlife sanctuary
    The place is fed mainly by the Teesta and Murti rivers and the "chapra" fish is found in abundance here. This is the reason why the place is known as Chapramari. Chapramari is known for the herds of elephants that reside here but occasionally wander off to the nearby villages for a feast.

    It is an experience of a lifetime for any tourist to spot these wild animals in their natural habitat. The Indian railways have set a limit for the trains crossing this forested land mainly because of past incidents of elephants being hit by speeding trains. 

    The sanctuary is inaccessible during the monsoons because the heavy rainfall wreaks havoc. Temperatures are pretty high during the summers, therefore winter is a good time to visit here. The Chapramari sanctuary is situated in Malbazar, northern Jalpaiguri very close to the Gorumara National Park. 

    3. Dooars
    The Dooars is a popular tourist location in the north of West Bengal located mainly in the Jalpaiguri district. This is the fertile river plains at the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range. Being very close to several wildlife sanctuaries in and around Jalpaiguri makes it a popular tourist spot.

    The Jaldapara National Park, Buxa Tiger Reserve, Manas National Park and Mahananda Wildlife sanctuary are some of the protected regions here. Dooars being at the border of Bhutan, share many cultural similarities with the nation.

    Located just above the Brahmaputra River basin, Dooars has a network of rivers that criss cross through the valleys, making this place so picturesque. In fact, Chalsa is a small village in Dooars where tourists prefer to stay just to enjoy some quietude in the lap of the Himalayas. Dooars is a good place to buy export quality tea for home without paying an exorbitant price.

    4. Malbazar
    Malbazar is one of the most prominent towns in Dooars. Many tourists visit this place to seek blessings at the famous Hanuman temple which is highly revered among the pilgrims. The temple's beautiful architecture is another reason why tourists come to pay a visit here. Especially in the months of March, the entire town of Malbazar celebrates the Hanuman Festival with great pomp and splendour at the temple.

    5. Buxa Fort
    This old fort is an important remnant from the history of time. Those who love history, or find a tingle in exploring must visit the place. This fort is one of the largest forts in eastern India in the Dooars region and was built in the 7th century to protect Bhutan from the traffic through the Silk Route.

    Trekkers find many routes to trek all the way up to the Buxa fort (at 867 m) from the Assembly of God's church in the Santalbari region in Dooars. The Buxa Tiger Reserve in which the fort is located is another site for safari.
  2. Which Hill lies in the border of Jalpaiguri and Bhutan?

    The Dooars region of Jalpaiguri lies between this Indian district and Bhutan. "Dooar" means "door" in Bengali , Assamese and other local languages spoken around Jalpaiguri. The Dooars in Jalpaiguri is the "door" to Bhutan through the Himalayan range and is an important hub for import-export. There are 18 passes from Dooars to reach Bhutan through the Himalayas and they are manned by the BSF (Border Security Force) and the Indian Army.
  3. Why is Jalpaiguri famous?

    Jalpaiguri is famous for its picturesque landscape, wildlife, its flora and definitely for tea. Jalpaiguri is flanked by the outer Himalayan range and multiple rivers flow tranquilly through this peaceful land such as Teesta, Torsa, Jaldhaka, Dyna, making this place a heavenly refuge for those seeking a getaway.  

    Jalpaiguri houses two of India's famous wildlife sanctuaries - the Gorumara National Park and the Chapramari wildlife sanctuary. While the first one is known for the Indian rhinos, the second one is famous for the elephants. Many tourists visit Jalpaiguri only to view the wildlife here.

    The rolling tea plantations in Dooars is a sight to behold in the backdrop of the Himalayas. The tea is as famous as the landscape. Dooars in Jalpaiguri, is at the border of Bhutan and is a tourists' paradise in so many ways.
  4. How far is Jalpaiguri from Siliguri?

    By road, Siliguri is about 57 kms from Jalpaiguri and is at a distance of an hour and a half's drive. However the easiest way to travel between the two places is by railway as the distance between the Siliguri Railway Station (known as the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station) and the Jalpaiguri Railway station (known as Jalpaiguri Road Railway station) is only 35 kms.
  5. What is the meaning of Jalpaiguri?

    'Jalpaiguri' is believed to have come from the Bengali word "jalpai" meaning olives. Indian olive trees are found in abundance here hence the place is called Jalpaiguri meaning the "region of olives". There is a difference in opinion among various sources about the origin of the name "Jalpaiguri" though.

    Some believe that the name originated from the Dzongkha language in Bhutan, the word jelepegori means a marketplace for woolen garments. Jalpaiguri being so close to the Himalayas and experiencing cold winters, it is not impossible to be named this way.  

    There is a third school of thought which believes in a religious connotation assigned to the name. The place has many devout worshippers of Lord Shiva or Jalpesh. In fact the Jalpesh temple in Maynaguri, a town in Jalpaiguri is a famous spot for pilgrims. It is believed that the district is named after Lord Jalpesh, the presiding deity of the region.
  6. Which are the best places to stay in Jalpaiguri?

    1. Sinclairs Retreat, Dooars
    This is a luxury resort with 60+ individual cottages in Chalsa, Dooars. Located on a hilltop, the resort provides a breathtaking view of the lush greenery of the meadows in Chalsa. It is very close to the Chapramari Wildlife sanctuary and is connected through well built roads. It has all modern amenities including swimming pool, spa, gym and a scrumptious breakfast buffet is complimentary with the stay. 

    2. Saraswatipur Tea resort
    This resort is ideal for those who wish to enjoy nature and spend a quiet time with family. In the heart of the tea gardens, the Saraswatipur resort stands on the bank of river Teesta. The best thing about this resort is that it is adjacent to the Gajoldoba view point on the Teesta river from where the sunrise, sunset among the chirping of hundreds of migratory birds seem magical.

    There are also a number of shanties near the viewpoint where tourists enjoy fresh and delicious fried fish. 

    3. Aranya Jungle Resort
    This resort at the border of the Gorumara National Park has the authentic ambience of comfort stay within the jungle. The starting point of the Jeep Safari of the forest is a mere ten minutes walking distance from the resort. Well equipped, clean rooms with internet, terrace dining and wonderful food are a speciality of this place.
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