Buxa Tiger Reserve
About the reserve
Once famous for dolomite mining, Buxa was declared a tiger reserve in 1983 and got the status of a National park in 1992. Located on the Assam-Bhutan border, Buxa has an area of 745 sq km, the largest forest in North Bengal.
The park holds the maximum number of elephants, Indian bison, leopard, many species of deer and many smaller mammals, and innumerable species of birds and reptiles. Buxa is rich in biodiversity and has a great collection of rare orchids and medicinal plants. Because of inaccessible terrain, some parts of Buxa hills in the Sinchula range are still unexplored.
Buxa is one of the oldest settlements in North Bengal. It is 24 km from Alipurduar and 180 km from Siliguri, well connected by both motorable roads and railways.
The Tiger of Buxa
The Tiger here is a very elusive animal. Although the forest is called Buxa Tiger Reserve, do not come with the expectation of Tiger Sighting. Even the local villagers who visit the forest on a regular basis have not seen any tiger in recent memory. There are some claims of tiger sightings occasionally but there has been no concrete proof. Many believe that there are tigers in the neighbouring Bhutanese forests who occasionally visit Buxa but the forests of Buxa do not have any Tigers left. Though the forest department refuses to accept this argument, there has not been any proof on the contrary either.
Most tourists visiting Buxa come either through NJP or Alipurduar rail station. From NJP to Rajabhatkhawa is a distance of about 160 km and takes close to 4 hours. Alipurduar is much nearer and the Junction rail station is just 10 km from the forest check post at Rajabhatkhawa. There are several small and big vehicles including shared vehicles available at Alipurduar station to reach Rajabhatkhawa.
Forest Safari is a common tourist activity here. The Safari here is organized in specially designated jeeps. There are two main points where the forest safari originates. One is Jayanti and the other is Rajabhatkhawa. From Jayanti, you can visit Pukhuri hill nearby, or go for a forest safari to the watchtower near Phaskhawa tea garden. The forest safaris originating in Rajabhatkhawa take tourists inside the forest to the Dima riverbed where wildlife sighting is relatively common.
Wildlife sighting in Buxa is relatively less frequent compared to Gorumara or Jaldapara forests. The primary reason is that the Buxa forest is much larger than the other forests, hence the wildlife is spread over a much larger area. Also, Buxa forests lack grassland, most of the forest area is covered with large trees which makes it more difficult for tourists to sight wildlife.
Rajabhatkhawa is only 10 km from Alipurduar and is the main entrance to Buxa Tiger Reserve. It is approachable by both road and rail from Siliguri (153kms) and Alipurduar (17 km). It is an ideal place for wildlife lovers. Rajabhatkhawa has a watchtower inside the forest that gives the best opportunity to view elephants, bison and other wildlife. The Nature Interpretation Centre at Rajabhatkhawa is another attraction.
This is a small village deep inside the forests. Jayanti can be visited during your sightseeing day trip inside the forest. You may also stay here at one of the homestays or small resorts. The main attraction here is the wide expanse of the Jayanti riverbed and the Bhutan hills on the other side of the river. You can also go inside the forest with the forest's permission and accompanied by a guide. Jayanti riverbed is the site for a number of Bengali and Hindi movies. Several forest safaris including a visit to Pukhuri Hill originate here.
Buxa Fort / Buxa Duar
The ruin of the fort is on a hill that can be approached after a trek of about 4 km from Santalabari. The fort was used by the British to keep the leaders of India's Independence movement in secluded confinement. The fort is mostly in ruins but its historical significance is hard to miss once you are here. There are a couple of small accommodations for overnight stay. You can visit here on a sightseeing trip or you may plan to stay here overnight.
This is a small village with great views of Dooars further 2 km trek from Buxa Fort. The village is on top of a hill overlooking Dooars plains and the forest. There are 3 / 4 Dukpa home stays available here.
Raimatang is a small village on the western fringe of Buxa Tiger Reserve. To reach here you have to travel through Kalchini and then through some of the largest tea gardens of Dooars such as Kalchini Tea Garden and Chuapara Tea Garden. At the last stage of your journey, you have to drive through the riverbed and cross the river, small vehicles would find it difficult to negotiate the riverbed which is full of boulders. During the rainy season, the vehicles cannot cross the river and Raimatang may remain disconnected from the rest of the world for months. Raimatang is as secluded as it gets, it is surrounded by deep forests where you can go on foot as well as on vehicle safari. There are watchtowers and elephant sighting apart from other animals is quite common. The area is also popular for butterflies which can be seen in thousands on the riverbed.
This is a tourist spot on the eastern side of Buxa, there is a small rivulet originating from the forests of Buxa. Sikiajhora stream is where you are taken inside the forest on a country boat through a narrow channel. It is an exciting and thrilling experience. Sighting of birds, reptiles and occasional larger wildlife is also common. Sikiajhora is about 15 km from Rajabhatkhawa.
Treks in Buxa
The most popular trek starts from Santrabari (914ft) to Buxaduar A 4 km trek through the densely forested hills leads to Buxaduar Forest Bungalow. Accommodation is available here for the trekkers.
Another 4 km trek through the forest track leads to Rover's Point-the land of unknown birds (4500ft). It is difficult to ignore the lure of Rupam Valley in Bhutan, another 12 km from there.
The journey through the entire region is full of unknown adventure and excitement and gives some breathtaking views of Jayanti River Valley far below, an evergreen forest canopy and a glimpse of rare animals, a flight of birds and colourful orchids.
Buxaduar to Jayanti is another popular trek in the region. This 13 km trek passes through the dense forest of Buxa Tiger Reserve. The music of the wilderness, the chirping of unknown birds, the song of wild streams, and the fragrance of nature will never allow you to feel the least stress of a long journey. The journey ends with a warm reception from an old staggering priest at the stalactite cave of Jayanti, popularly known as the Mahakal cave. It is difficult to enter the narrow, dark, damp cave but trying the same may be another precious adventure. The downhill trek from here leads to Jayanti Forest Bungalow. Lying by the riverside and surrounded by century-old Sal forests and hills-Jayanti is a place to stretch your weary legs as the cool breeze brushes away all the exhaustion.
If none of the packages suits your need, just fill out the form below and let us know what you want, we will provide you with a customized tour soon.
Where to Stay
There are a number of tourist accommodations available at Rajabhatkhawa including both private lodges and homestays, our home lodge accommodation Humro Home, is also situated close to Rajabhatkhawa.
Throughout the forests of Buxa, there are several clusters of small lodges and homestays. We highly recommend Humro Home Buxa located in a forest village named Garobusty, the village is located about 1 km from Rajabhatkhawa Rail Station and can be easily accessed from Alipurduar Junction. For more information on the accommodation, you may visit the Humro Home Buxa website, or contact our helpdesk team.
We also organize transport for guests from both NJP as well as Alipurduar Junction to the Buxa area. HUMRO TOURS owns one of the largest fleets of tourist vehicles in the region. Please contact our helpdesk team by filling up the inquiry form for further details.