The Indian state of West Bengal has been one of the less explored states in terms of tourism in the country. It has a diverse topography and with the fast development of tourism infrastructure throughout the state, it is now attracting tourists from across the country as well as the world. However, some of the wildlife destinations in West Bengal have always been popular and there are many more that are gaining popularity among tourists. Here is a list of the top 7 wildlife destinations in West Bengal, though there are many other forest destinations scattered throughout the state.
Located in the southern part of West Bengal, the Sunderbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A national park, tiger reserve and also a biosphere reserve, this vast deltaic region on the Bay of Bengal is also spread into Bangladesh. Though a much bigger part of the deltaic region now falls into Bangladesh, the Indian counterpart covering an area of 4262 sq. km. is nonetheless diverse and captivating. Famous for Royal Bengal Tiger, the moist deciduous and mangrove forests of the Sunderbans also house crocodiles, monitor lizard, olive ridley turtles, spotted deer, barking deer, snakes, rhesus macaque, wild boars, innumerable species of birds and numerous other fauna. Experience an exclusive wildlife experience on a river cruise.
Gorumara National Park
One of the most significant jungles in the Dooars region, this forest is home to bison, one horned Asiatic rhinos, elephant, deer and leopard. Peafowls are numerous along with innumerable species of resident and migratory birds including Hornbills, Scarlet Minivet, River Lapwing, etc . Groups of elephants, deers and bisons can be commonly spotted at the banks of Indong and Murti rivers and their adjacent grasslands. Gorumara National Park is also recognized as the best protected areas in India.
Located on the Singalila Ridge in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, bordered on the north by Sikkim and on the west by Nepal, Singalila National Park is also the trekking route to the most popular trek destinations of the Eastern Himalayas from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu and Phalut. Nurturing diverse biome spheres of subalpine coniferous forests, broadleaf and mixed forests and subtropical pine forests, Singalila also nurses bamboo, magnolia, oak and rhododendron forestation. Visiting the national park during March-April gives breathtaking views of various kinds of rhododendrons in bloom while visiting during October gives captivating views of various types of blooming orchids and other trees in the lower forest area. The diverse fauna in this forest include red panda, leopard cat, barking deer, wild boar, pangolin, Himalayan black bear, leopard, clouded leopard, tigers and more. Rare species of amphibians and reptiles can also be spotted along with more than 120 species of birds.
Jaldapara National Park
Spread across 216 sq. km in the Dooars region of West Bengal, Jaldapara National Park was first entitled as a wildlife sanctuary in 1941 when it covered an area of 114 sq. km. Over the years, the jungle area has graciously flourished, making this one of the top forest destinations of the state as well as of the country. There are about 160 one horned Asiatic rhinos in this forest, which is next to Kaziranga National Park in rhino population. Other than rhinos, spot elephants, Indian Gaurs, peafowls, various animals and numerous species of birds.
Neora Valley National Park
Neora Valley is one of the last remaining virgin forests in the world. Covering an area of 88 sq. km in the Rachela hills situated in the north east direction of the small hill town of Lava in Kalimpong district of West Bengal (near Darjeeling), this untouched jungle was developed into a national park in 1992. Dense forests surrounded with hills, Neora river, numerous streams, breathtaking nature and the presence of exotic and endangered animals make Neora Valley National Park a significant forest destination for wildlife lovers. The exotic Himalayan Red Panda is the main attraction of this jungle but it is also home to tiger, leopard, bison, wild boar, black bear, deer and other animals as well as various species of birds. Camping and river trekking options are also available along with jeep safari.
Situated in the Alipurduar district of West Bengal, Buxa Tiger Reserve covering an area of 760 sq. km, lies inside Buxa National Park. Lined by the foothills of Bhutan, Buxa forest has a diverse biome and a wide variety of fauna. Tiger, elephants, bison, bear, civet, clouded leopard, wild boar and more than 284 species of birds including Hornbill, Ibisbill, goosander, black stork, minivet, pochard, etc., amphibians, reptiles and various endangered animals and birds can be spotted in this wildlife destination of West Bengal.
The drive through the road that crosses through the dense forest is a memorable experience. Staying alert on this safari can provide intense encounters with leopard, bison and deer not only through the impassable green on both sides, but also in the middle of the road. Chilapata forest is significantly denser than the other forest areas in Dooars. Rare species of frogs and butterflies are also another major attraction of this forest. There is also a rare tree called “Ramgua” in this forest, which when hit even mildly, ejects juices that appear like blood. Mendabari Jungle Camp, which is a significant point of this forest, can also be visited for an outstanding wildlife experience.
There are many more wildlife destinations in West Bengal that are worth visiting. Want to plan a wildlife trip soon? Choose a wildlife destination in West Bengal and get ready to have a different kind of experience in the eastern part of India.
Madhurima is a digital marketing specialist, editor and content marketer. She is also a published writer on the web. When she is not working, she is either travelling or writing her travel stories to share to the world. She believes in inspiring people to travel and shares her travel diary on her travel blog, mangoladydiaries.com.