Alipurduar is the name of a town as well as a district in the Dooars area of West Bengal. This is the northeast corner of the state boarding Assam on the East, Bhutan on the North and Bangladesh on the south. In 2014 Alipurduar town and its surrounding area became the 20th district of West Bengal.
Alipurduar is a major railway junction in the area, it is the headquarter of the Alipurduar division of the North East Frontier Railway.
The area has tremendous tourism potential. Two major forests Buxa Tiger Reserve and Jaldapara Jaldapara National Park are in the district. The district is bestowed with innumerable rivers, forests and rich diversity of cultural heritage as well.
Origin of the name
The name Alipurduar has three parts. The first part “Ali” is derived from the name of Col Hedayat Ali Khan who lived here and fought a war with Bhutan. “Pur” means residence and the word “Duar” has its origin in the name of the region “Dooars”. The original name was Alipur meaning the place where Ali lived, the Duar was added to distinguish it from the Alipore of Calcutta. The subdivision is located in the extreme east of West Bengal bordering the state of Assam.
Tourism in Alipurduar
The municipal town is important from a tourism perspective mainly due to its critical location at a junction.
Buxa Tiger Reserve is by far the most important tourist attraction. From the railway station, the Rajabhatkhawa forest check post is just 10 km away. Jayanti and Santarabari are about 25 km and Buxa fort is about 30 km. Upcoming destinations inside Buxa such as Raimatang can be reached within an hour or so.
Jaldapara National Park is also within the Alipurduar district. The forests of Jaldapara are 46 km (about an hour's drive) from Alipurduar Junction rail station. The forests of Jaldapara are famous for their population of one-horned rhinos.
Chilapata forests are also in the same district. The forests of Chilapata are just 23 km from Alipurduar junction.
The Bhutan border of Phuentsholing is about 60 km through Hasimara town. This is the main road entry point to Bhutan. If you are not travelling to Bhutan, you may also go for a day trip to the border and return to Alipurduar in the evening.
Coochbehar, the erstwhile capital of the Cooch dynasty is just 26 km away. The Coochbehar palace and the Madam Mohan temple are important sightseeing points here.