Santalabari is a small village in the lap of Buxa Tiger Reserve. It is situated in the core area of the forest, providing you with the exotic scenic beauty of the place. Buxa Tiger Reserve is located in the Alipurduar district of West Bengal. Its northern boundary is very close to Bhutan which touches the Sinchula hill range and its eastern range falls on the boundary of Assam state. Apart from the forested areas and hills, Santalabari is famous for organic medicinal, nutritious wild tubers and aromatic plant species. It also offers an exciting trekking route to Buxa through the picturesque forested surroundings.
WILDLIFE AT SANTALABARI:
The place owns more than 300 species of trees, 400 species of herbs, 10 species of bamboo, 150 species of orchids, 100 species of grass, 130 species of aquatic flora, and 9 species of cane. Both Buxa Tiger Reserve and Santalabari are extremely rich in different types of flora. The main trees here are Sal, Champa, gamhar, simul, etc, which are very famous among the common people and also for trade purposes.
Leopard cat, Bengal florican, regal python, Chinese pangolin, slender-billed vulture, hog deer, great hornbill are very common in this place. Apart from that, the place is very rich with 73 types of mammal species, which also include Indian leopard, Bengal tiger, elephant, clouded leopard, giant squirrel, gaur, chital, wild boar, and so on. This is a very nice and perfect place to experience a large number of wild animals, if your luck favors, you can have a good sight of them.
THINGS TO DO AT SANTALABARI:
This is one of the most popular short trek routes to the Buxa fort. From the Rajabhatkhawa entry gate to Buxa Tiger Reserve, Santalabari is a straight 15 km drive through the forests of Buxa. From this point, there is an initial hike for 2.5 km on a flat route through the forest and you reach the place, from where the trek actually begins. Even you can take the vehicle to that point as well. The road takes you to the historic place, the Buxa Fort which continues through Sinchula Pass to the Rupam valley of Bhutan.
During the wintertime, a village market sets up here in Santalabari. Oranges are locally known as ‘santra’ and therefore the village got its name Santrabari or Santalabari. Before the Buxa Fort, you will get a viewpoint that is almost about 0.9 km from the base. You will have an amazing view of the hill and the stream flowing through the forest, from that point, which will surely refresh you after the hectic climb up.
From the foothill, Buxa Fort is almost 3-3.5 km that takes approximately one hour to reach there. This is a place with great historical values. The fort was used to imprison the communists during British rule. Having spent about 30 or 40 minutes there, you can come down to Santalabari with exciting memories in you.
HOW TO REACH SANTALABARI:
|Transport Type||Nearby Option||Distance|
The nearest railway station to Santalabari is Alipurduar Junction. From Alipurduar, the entry point to Santalabari is through Rajabhatkhawa (15 km), and from Siliguri, the distance is almost 195 km. Bagdogra is the nearest airport to Buxa Tiger Reserve forest and Santalabari. Car service is available from Alipurduar to visit the place.
The best way to reach here is to reach Alipurduar ( New Alipurduar or Alipurduar Jn railway station) and take a car from there. The car will charge Rs.1200 to reach Jayanti. 2 buses are also available, one at 7 AM and one at 2 PM from Alipurduar Court terminus. It takes 1 hour to reach Santalabari by bus.
ENTRY FEE OF BUXA TIGER RESERVE:
Entry ticket is available at Rajabhatkhawa gate, where you need to get the tickets for the vehicles, driver, and individual tourist.
|Transport Type||Entry Fee|
|Per Person||120 Rs.|
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
The winter season from October to March is the best time to visit this place. You can enjoy the forest safaris this time which may chance the sight of wild animals.
Lepchakha village (6 Km away):
On following a 3 km trek route from Buxa Fort, it’s a small village on the top of the hill. It gives you a stunning view from the top, of the hills, forests, and the streams flowing through ( like Sankosh, Raidak, Jayanti, and Bala).
Another trekking route to Rover’s point leads you to Rupam valley through Sinchula pass (12 km of trek). It also provides you with an amazing sight scene from the top.
Jayanti is the most popular place of Buxa tiger reserve. WIth the amazing view of Bhutan hills and Jayanti river in front of you, Jayanti attracts many tourists every year. Jayanti has so many places to visit like Chhota Mahakal, Bara Mahakal, Chunia basti, Bhutia basti, Pokhri Hill, Jora Pahar, Core safari etc.