If your passion is to explore wildlife and photography, Dooars forest is the perfect place for you. Amidst many forested areas, the major parts are undoubtedly Jaldapara, Gorumara National Park, and Buxa Tiger Reserve. The jeep safaris or elephant safaris in these places indeed meet you to the exciting wildlife right here. With unspoiled terrain and the mighty Himalayas forming a stunning backdrop, Dooars is a paradise for nature lovers. Dooars is very well connected with most of the places of West Bengal and also the entire India. Tourists can avail preferable ways to reach here, whether by flight or train or by road.
Bagdogra (IXB) is the closest airport to almost every place of Dooars. Flights from different areas of India land at Bagdogra airport. Once you reach here, you just need to hire a reserved pre-paid taxi from the pre-paid taxi counter located at the arrival area. There is no shared taxi or bus service available at the airport area.
If you want to take a bus, you need to go down to Siliguri at the PC Mittal bus stand, where buses leave for Dooars via Sevoke road. You can also go to Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminal in Siliguri, where buses are available for Jalpaiguri.
Tour operators from Dooars and private hotels in Dooars can also arrange for a pick-up and drop at the airport. They may also offer you a dedicated vehicle for your Dooars tour. The road route from Bagdogra by car goes past the NJP area. It takes about 45 minutes to reach NJP from here.
There are a lot of trains that can directly reach you to Dooars from various places across India. One such popular train is the Kanchankanya express which leaves daily from Kolkata (Sealdah Station). It departs from Sealdah at 8.30 PM and reaches New Jalpaiguri at 8 AM the next morning. New Mal junction at around 9.20 AM and Alipurduar Jn at around 12:30 PM.
If you plan to visit Gorumara first, you can get off at New Mal junction. Murti is just at a stone throw distance from here (17 km), and it takes 15 minutes only to reach the place.
Suppose you want to visit Buxa Tiger Reserve. In that case, you have to get off at Alipurduar junction station, which is the terminal station of the Kanchankanya Exp, Teesta Torsa Exp and Padatik Exp.
But if you don’t find a direct train to a location in Dooars, your best option will be NJP, a central railway hub, and many trains pass through the station. There is a pre-paid taxi counter just outside the station premises. You can get pre-paid taxis for Lataguri, Murti, Jaldapara and Buxa here; the counters remain open from 7 am to 7 pm. If you find it closed after you reach there, you will get other private taxis at NJP station, where you may negotiate the fare a little bit. It’s better to know that there is generally no shared taxi service available from NJP to Gorumara or Jaldapara of Dooars.
The Trains that are available from Sealdah, Kolkata and Howrah are Padatik, Janasatabdi, Teesta Torsa, Kanchankanya, Kanchanjungha, Saraighat, Garib rath, Rajdhani etc.
Bus service is also available from NJP station, Siliguri Terminus, Coochbehar, Malbajar and Alipurduar terminus, which goes to various locations of Dooars.
The bus that leaves NJP at 8.30 am, goes via Sevoke road in Siliguri (Siliguri Tourism Centre, 8.50 am), through Mongpong forest area and reaches Malbazar at 10:30 am, Birpara at 12 pm (Birpara to Coochbehar 1 hour 30 mins), Jaldapara at 12:30 pm, Hasimara at 1 pm and Alipurduar at 2 pm (Alipurduar to Coochbehar 1 hour). This timeline is given to you to give you an idea about the time it takes to reach several places. Buses are available on that route all the time.
You can go to PC Mittal bus terminus on Sevoke road to get buses that leave for Malbazar and Chalsa through Sevoke road, from where you can change the bus to reach Murti or Lataguri. You can also reach Tenzing Norgay Central Bus Terminal on Hill Cart Road at Siliguri and take a bus for Jalpaiguri and then another one for Lataguri.
Most importantly, you should know that from Bagdogra, you can take only a reserved taxi to Siliguri that takes a maximum of 30 minutes, whereas from NJP station you can take a taxi, auto or even a rickshaw to reach the bus stands in Siliguri. By taxi or auto, it takes just 10 minutes to reach Siliguri from NJP.
There are basically three routes to reach Dooars from Bagdogra and NJP railway station. The first place which takes the least time to reach and is quite scenic is Gajoldoba. The second one is through Sevoke road, which is equally popular and scenic. Both these routes meet at Odlabari and continue through Malbazar and Chalsa along National Highway 17. Near Chalsa one route, NH-717 goes south towards Gorumara National Park.
In contrast, the original route NH 17 continues towards Jaldapara and leads to roads for Buxa Tiger Reserve.
The third route from NJP goes through Jalpaiguri and then enters Gorumara National Park and goes north towards Murti and next to Chalsa. The bus services generally use this route from Siliguri to Jalpaiguri. From Bagdogra, if you want to go to Siliguri, you can connect via Sevoke road. For the following two routes, the route from Bagdogra passes through NJP station. Bagdogra to NJP it’s just 18 km, and it takes around 45 minutes by taxi.
It is about 40 minutes from NJP station; the famous Teesta barrage is located here. The route passes over the barrage, and it’s worthy of taking a halt for some time and enjoy the scenic beauty of the place along with the gushing water of Teesta flowing through the barrage. This route meets NH-17 in about 25 minutes.
From Odlabari, the highway NH17 runs through Malbazar and then to Chalsa. Chalsa to Murti in Gorumara National Park is 8 km along NH 717 and takes 12 minutes to drive. In comparison, Lataguri is 20 km and takes about 30minutes by car. Chalsa to Jaldapara National Park is 64 km and takes 1 hour 15 minutes by car. From Jaldapara, the route to Rajabhatkhawa via Hasimara and Hamilton Ganj is 37 km. and takes 1 hour 10 minutes. Another route from Hasimara is via Naxalbari Tea Estate, which can be used for Rajabhatkhawa (49 km).
It’s another popular route taken by tourists towards Dooars from Bagdogra or NJP. Just after Sevokeshwari Kali Temple, you will cross the Teesta River over the Coronation Bridge. The route passes through the Mongpong forest area and goes all the way to Odlabari. Malbazar and Chalsa. The distance between NJP and Chalsa through this Sevoke route is 67 km. and usually takes about 1 hour 50 minutes by car.
You can also have private cars and cabs to various places. The best way to travel Dooars is to book a car rental with or without a driver. Self-driven cars and zoom cars are available in Siliguri, which you can book online. You get various choices of cars along with insurance and fuel at reasonable prices.
Another option is to hire a car through a travel agency in Siliguri or Dooars. A vehicle like Bolero, Scorpio, or Innova with a driver would rent for approximately Rs. 3500-4000/- per night with petrol.
Taxi and Bus Fare (Jan 2020 rates):
Reserved small taxi fare from NJP to Gorumara (Murti) Rs. 1100/-
Reserved small taxi fare from Bagdogra airport to Gorumara (Murti) Rs. 1200/-
Reserved small taxi fare from Bagdogra to Siliguri: Rs. 450-500
Reserved Taxi from Alipurduar to Jayanti: Rs. 1200-1400.
Bus fare from NJP to Gorumara: Rs. 70/- per person
Bus fare from NJP to Jaldapara: Rs. 100/- per person
Bus fare from NJP to Rajabhatkhawa: Rs. 120/- per person