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Dooars, that literally translates to “doors” is a strip of alluvial floodplains almost 30 km wide and 350 km long, to the south of outer foothills of Eastern Himalayas and north of Brahmaputra river basin. It begins from Teesta river in West Bengal and stretches till the Dhanshiri river in Assam. The area has 18 passages or gateways from the plains in India to the larger hills in Bhutan and thus the name. The ecosystem is that of Indian grasslands similar to the Terai region between southern Nepal and Northern India, divided majorly into Western Dooars(or Bengal Dooars), Central Dooars and the Eastern Dooars(Assam Dooars). The Western Dooars, stretching till the Sankosh river in the east and containing the famous Jalpaiguri, Alipurdar and Coochbehar districts are usually the most frequented ones in terms of tourism. The lush green tea farms, meandering river streams, simple villages and their people and animals, and the Himalayan ranges on one side while the sky stretching endlessly on another are the characteristic features of this region. The region has been blessed by a huge diversity of flora and fauna and there are plenty of famous Wildlife reserves throughout the region here. Gorumara National Park, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary, Chapramari Wildlife Park and Buxa Tiger Reserve are few of the notable forest regions of the place which offer a wide variety of wildlife on display. Manas National Park and Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary are other notable ones. Alipurduar also has a feast to offer to the eyes and the soul by taking a dip in its calm waters gazing at the beautiful blue hues of the Himalayas. The climate in the region is mostly pleasant throughout the year, except the monsoons that can turn out to be a little too heavy for comfort during peak, and frequent rains are observed almost half the year. Summers are short and winters are foggy and cold during early mornings and nights.
Flora and fauna:
As mentioned above, the place is an abode to a huge wildlife as the conditions are perfectly suitable for a big biodiversity to thrive. Many species of wild animals like rhinoceros, tigers and elephants have become endangered due to unfair human practices. Jaldapara is home to the famous one- horned rhinoceros after Kaziranga. The restorations are being looked upon seriously already though. A lot of other animals like deers, bisons and a lot of birds and reptiles can also be found in plenty here. The Neora Valley National Park is also the home to one of the most endangered species today, the little Red Panda, known for its bushy ringed tail and a cute little reddish brown body. A wide variety of butterflies feeding on the orchids throng the place too. While the wildlife of the place is hidden to no one all around the world with thousands of memoirs of the experiences of the place since British times and continuing, the flora of the place is second to none. While the tea plantations can be found throughout the region as one of the major sources of its economy, the flowers and other plantations are also not uncommon. The little village of Dalgon is always covered with flowers and beautiful step-farms extending forever. Suntalekhola has extensive plantations of orange and cardamom too.
People and Culture:
People of Dooars mostly comprise of the local tribes, including the Bodo from Assam, and Toto, Rabha, Mech, Koch Rajbongshi, Tamang, Limbu and Lepcha in Bengal. The culture is very different and unique and they are very rich in their music and dance forms too. The famous houses built on bamboo poles to counter floods are also a trademark of the region. The Lava monastery and the Kharbandi Gompa, a monastery built by Bhutan’s Queen Mother on the way to Phuntsholing, are other major attractions of the place apart from the wildlife sanctuaries. Bird enthusiasts will have their hearts filled with joy at the Lava monastery and a little trek leads to Lolaygaon, the fabulous sunrise from where is a visual treat.
Things to do:
While wildlife safari is the major interest in the Dooars, photography, bird watching, adventure sports like white water rafting, etc. are also very popular here. The food here might not suit the taste of all, but the tea is sure to enter your soul. Malbazar, a central town with a big market allows for shopping opportunities and is home to a large population of Bengali community. The place has a comfortable lodge for accommodation and functions as the central connection to all the nearby locations via both rail and road. So if you’re looking for that wild adventure in the nature with jungle, hills, rivers and animals all at one place, this is the place to explore!
How to reach:
By road: The region is most well connected by the roads, with good bus services provided by both the North Bengal State Transport Corporation as well as the Assam State Transport Corporation. Jeeps and maxi-taxis are also very popular here. NH 31 is the major highway in the area. By rail: There are a few prominent railway stations in the area too like New Jalpaiguri, New Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, New Bongaigaon, Hasimara and others and the railways too almost stretch throughout the Dooars. By air: Two important airports of the region are Bagdogra(near Siliguri) and Guwahati.
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