Gorumara National Park
You cannot afford to miss Gorumara on your trip to Dooars. Located on the floodplains of the Murti and Jaldhaka rivers, the Gorumara National Park offers a large variety of flora and fauna. The grassland of Gorumara is famous for the Asiatic one-horned rhino. In view of its great diversity of plants and animals, it was declared a National Park in 1994. The National Park has a total area of about 80 sq. km.
The forest area has come up as a tourist destination during the 1990s. In recent years, there has been a substantial increase in tourist arrival as well as infrastructure. Today the area around the forest has the largest concentration of tourist accommodation in Dooars. The number of Jungle safari options has also increased over the years.
Gorumara can be reached from Bagdogra / NJP in just 1.5 to two hours through winding roads and tea gardens. The traditional route is to travel through Siliguri - Sevok - Malbazar - Chalsa and then to Gorumara. An alternative route has been developed through Gajaldoba which has proved to be more popular and shorter. Through this route, Bagdogra Airport to Lataguri (on the outskirts of the forest) is less than 70 km in distance and takes about 1.5 hours. From NJP station, the distance is a little over 50 km and the travel time is just above an hour or so.
Although this is the most convenient option for most tourists, there are a few other options for tourists travelling by rail or road. There are a number of smaller rail stations around Gorumara but the nearest station with stoppage of important trains is Malbazar about 20 km away. If you are travelling by road you can reach here either through National Highway 31 which passes through Malbazar and turns right at Chalsa before reaching Gorumara. There is another highway through Jalpaiguri and Maynaguri.
Gorumara Safari Options
While in Gorumara, tourists go inside the forests for a Jungle safari. Sighting of wildlife is quite common. Elephants, Rhinos, Indian Bison (Gaur), Peacocks, and Deer are the most common sightings.
The forest safari is organized in special vehicles meant for the purpose. You must book your forest safari from the forest department and take an authorized guide along while visiting the watchtowers. Trespassing is illegal and can be dangerous as well. The common forest safaris include the following.
Jatraprasad – The watchtower is named after a female elephant which was legendary for its caring nature. The elephant Jatraprasad saved the lives of numerous orphaned baby elephants by acting as their surrogate mother. The Jatraprasad watchtower is also the most popular. The entry point is through the National Highway at the northern part of Gorumara National Park. You have to travel through the forest for about 6 km before reaching the Gorumara forest bungalow. The Jatraprasad watchtower is 100 meters away from the Bungalow on the bank of the Murti river. There are a couple of salt leaks just below the Watchtower making it an attractive place for sighting wildlife, especially during early morning and late afternoon safaris. There is another watchtower in the vicinity known as Rhino point.
Methla Watchtower is located at Kalipur eco-village near Ramsai on the eastern fringe of Gorumara National Park. There is a unique Bullock cart-driven forest safari available here.
Chukchuki Watchtower is inside the Gorumara forest between Ramsai and Lataguri.
Chandrachur watchtower – If you drive from Murti River towards Khunia through the Chapramari forest, you will come across a road crossing. The road ahead goes towards Eastern Dooars and the road to your left will go to Khunia. If you take the forest road on your right and drive through for about a kilometre you will suddenly find yourself facing large open grassland and a watchtower in the middle of it. This is Chandrachur watchtower of Chapramari forest. There are a small pond and a salt leak. The open ground was originally the location of a forest village named Khunia Basti. The village was shifted outside the forest and the location slowly turned wild again as is evident from the games sighted here.
Chapramari Watchtower – This is another watchtower inside the Chapramari forest. From Khunia you have to drive about 4 km towards the Jhalong – Bindu hills and then take a left road through the forests to reach Chapramari forest bungalow. The Watchtower is located just in front of the Bungalow.
Wild Life in Gorumara
The most common animals in the area are one-horned Indian rhino, Elephant, Indian Bison (commonly known as Gaur), Leopards (locally known as Chitabagh), Rock Python, Malayan Giant Squirrel, and deer. Visitors need to obtain special permission to enter the core area of the park. The Gorumara national park has approximately 48 species of carnivores and herbivores, 193 species of birds, 22 species of reptiles, 7 species of turtles, 27 species of fishes and other macro and microfauna.
Major bird species seen in Gorumara include Minivets, Pheasants, Hornbills, Woodpeckers, Cuckoos, cormorants, Orioles, Pigeons, and Mynas. During the winter months, migratory birds including the Brahminy duck, Ibis, teals, Stork and other varieties can also be seen here. Other birds include Corporate, Indian Shag, Darter, Egrets, Lesser Adjutant Stork, and Lapwing. The night hunters in Gorumara are the Owls and the Nightjars.
Where to Stay
There are a plethora of options for accommodation around Gorumara. There are a few hundred private accommodations on all sides of the National Park. The largest concentration of Resorts is in Lataguri on the southern side of Gorumara and on the Murti - Dhupjhora side on the Northern side. The private accommodations vary from budget tourist accommodations to Deluxe 3 or 4-star equivalent properties.
Government tourist accommodations around the forest include
Kalipur Ecovillage with 4 cottages on the eastern side of the forest.
The Rhino Camp at Ramsai with 4 cottages is located close to Kalipur.
Hornbill Nest at Lataguri has 4 cottages
Dhupjhora Elephant Camp has 7 cottages near the Murti river including the famous Gachbari or the tree house.
The Murti tourist lodge of West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation has several cottages close to the river Murti.
Panjhora eco-resort inside Chapramari forest has 4 cottages.
There is a WBFDC forest lodge near the Murti river named Banani.
For booking of these private and government tourist accommodations, please fill out the form below and the HUMRO TOURS guest service executive will get back to you soon.
Places Around Gorumara
Day visit to the park and to the Chapramari Wild Life Sanctuary is arranged by HUMRO TOURS. You can make your base in Murti to explore the less tourist-trodden wonders of Dooars and lower Kalimpong hills like Chapramari Wild Life Sanctuary, Jaldhaka, Jhalong, Bindu, Paren, Caron, Diana, Jaldapara and even Bhutan.