Situated on the banks of rivers Murti and Raidak in the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal, the Gorumara National Park is a site that you cannot miss to afford on your next trip to Dooars. Spread over an area of 80 square kilometres, this medium sized forest is situated in the foothills of the Great Himalayas and has a large variety of flora and fauna on display for the curious visitors, nature lovers and wildlife photographers, who visit the place to catch a glimpse of the miraculous workings of nature. Full of riverine grasslands and moist deciduous forests, the place is especially famous for its Asiatic one-horned rhino, but also houses many other mammals, reptiles, insects and birds, including the majestic Asian elephants, the royal Bengal tigers and the Great Indian Hornbill.
The Gorumara National Park is home to multiple species of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. The park is the most famous for its one horned Indian rhino. Other commonly found animals here include leopards, elephants, Indian Bison, Rock Python, deer and Malayan Giant Squirrel. In all, there are approximately 48 species of carnivores and herbivores in the park. The park is also the dwelling spot of 193 species of birds, 22 species of reptiles, 7 species of turtles, and 27 species of fishes. Minivets, Pheasants, Hornbills, Woodpeckers, Cuckoos, Pigeons and Mynas are some birds that you can see here. During the winter season, migratory birds such as teal, stork and ibis can also be seen here. The night hunters in Gorumara are the Nightjars and the Owls.
Without any second opinion, the most famous and fun-filled activity at the Gorumara National Park is the wildlife safari. During these safaris, you can look and marvel at the beauty and magnificence of many animals and birds from a close distance.
There are two types of Safaris that you can choose from- the Elephant Safari and the Jeep Safari, which guarantees the sighting of wildlife. You can book your forest safari from the forest department and must take an authorised guide along with you while visiting the watchtowers. Carry powerful binoculars with night vision facilities, and be prepared to witness some breathtaking scenes.
The jungle safaris lead the visitors to different watchtowers, which include:
1. Jatraprasad: The Jatraprasad watch tower is the most famous lookout, and is named after a female elephant that was legendary for her caring nature. The entry point for this watchtower is through the National Highway at the northern part of the National Park. The salt lakes just below the watchtower make it an attractive place to spot wildlife, especially during early morning or late afternoon safaris.
2. Methla Watchtower: This watchtower is located at the Kalipur eco village towards the eastern fringe of the national park. Unique bullock cart driven safaris are available here.
3. Chandrachur Watchtower: This watchtower is located in the midst of vast and open grassland. There is also a small pond and salt lake located here.
Other watchtowers located here include the Rhino Point, Chukchuki watchtower and Chapramari watchtower.
The area where the Gorumara National Park is situated is known by the name of Dooars. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the place is abundant in natural and pristine beauty. The park looks absolutely stunning with its mountain ranges and waterfalls. Much of the forest is moist deciduous. Though the main flora of the Gorumara National Park is sal; teak, Silk Cotton (simul), Rain Tree (Shirish) and khair can also be found here. One can also spot several kinds of orchids and ferns here.
The national park is open all year round, except for the following time periods:
1. Every Thursday of the year
2. 16 June to 15 September
The best time to visit the national park is from October to May. The weather is delightful and favourable during this period, and you can enjoy your stay here without having to worry about the summer heat.
If you are travelling by air, the nearest airport to the Gorumara National Park is the Bagdogra Airport, which is about 80 kilometres away from the national park. The airport is well connected to the national park via a road route. The nearest railway station is New Maynaguri railway station, about 20 kilometres away from the national park. The Gorumara National Park is well connected to major neighbouring cities by road network. Government and private run vehicles frequently ply to the National Park.
There are a plethora of options when it comes to accommodation at the Gorumara National Park, with literally over a hundred accommodations on all sides of the park that you can choose from.
The Gorumara Forest Bungalow is an old wooden cottage that overlooks the salt reservoir. Accommodation is also available in the River Wood Forest Retreats, a 4-star resort and the Gorumara Elephant Camp. The nearby small towns of Lataguri, Murti and Dhupjhora are the best places to stay at and provide options ranging from cheap hotel to luxury lodges.
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