The Buxa Tiger Reserve was set up at the northeastern corner of West Bengal, bordering Bhutan and Assam, on 16th February 1983 and was the 15th tiger reserve of the country. The forest constituting of the Buxa Tiger Reserve is the largest in the Dooars. Spanning over a whopping 759 sq. kms, this tiger reserve is crossed by several rivers and their tributaries and is proud of a diverse and breathtaking landscape. In fact, because of the rocky terrain, many parts of the forest in the Buxa hills that lie in the Sinchula Range are inaccessible by the authorities, and hence remain unexplored even after so many years!
Flora: With over 300 species of trees, 250 species of shrubs, 130 species of aquatic flora, 100 species of grass and 400 species of herbs; this forest is a perfect abode for all the mammals and birds that seek its comfort. It has a rich collection of various medicinal herbs and different species of orchids.
Mammals: The majestic Bengal Tiger, an endangered species, has made the Buxa Tiger Reserve its home. This tiger is an illustration of one of the most beautiful creations of nature; witnessing the flaming orange fur with jet black stripes walk through dense grasslands as if they own the land, is bound to leave you in awe. Apart from the Bengal Tiger, there are other members of the cat family here too- Leopards, Fishing Cats, Jungle Cats and the Leopard Cats.
One of the most beautiful and extremely rare mammals that is endemic to this reserve is the Clouded Leopard. These are very shy members of the cat family and can rarely ever be spotted, but you never know; they just might grace you with their royal presence! The Chinese Pangolin and the Regal Python are also endemic to the region.
The reserve is also host to other mammals like Indian Civet, Palm Civet, Wild Dogs, Malayan Giant Squirrel, Asian Elephant, Mongoose, Small Clawless Otter, Wild Buffalo, Chital, Sambhar, etc. The land is also the abode of three types of pythons, the Monitor Lizard and many species of tortoises.
Birds: The avifauna here is both endemic and migratory. The rivers Rydak and Jainti that flow through the reserve welcome many birds like The Himalayan Migratory Goosanders, Ibis Bill, Fork-Tails, Whistling Teal, White-eyed Poachared, etc. During the early winter, when the west gets unbearably cold, the extremely rare Black-necked Crane often migrates to the reserve. The Black Stork is also a frequent visitor to this region. The shy Ashy Minivet prances around as summer approaches and The Pied Hornbill, Minivets and Sultan Tits arrive as the monsoon ends.
The Buxa Tiger Reserve constitutes a total of 38 forest villages, 49 fringe villages and four fixed demand holdings. A majority of the population in the interiors of the forests consists of tribes such as Garo, Mechia, Madesia, Rava, Rajbanshi and Bhutia to name a few. Their profession mostly includes farming or labourers in farm or tea gardens. The tribes share a good relationship amongst themselves.
A safari through this deep, dense jungle will be the adventure of a lifetime! Going deeper into the raw forest, away from the noise of the city, surrounded by the peace of nature and being caressed by the gentle touch of the cool breeze is a feeling you must let yourself be taken over with.
You can opt for morning or evening safaris that last 3-4 hours each. Morning safaris start from 6:00 AM and evening safaris start from 3:00 PM. A jeep safari will cost about INR 800.
The Buxa Tiger Reserve remains closed to visitors from 15th June - 15th September every year because the region experiences heavy rains.
A 5 km long trek through the dense forest leads to the Buxaduar Forest Bungalow. Here, accommodation is made available to trekkers. Another 4 km into the forest will bring us to the Rover's Point -a point that is 4500 ft in the sky and known as the land of unknown birds. One is blown away by the lure of the beauty in the Rupam Valley in Bhutan, which is another 12 km from Rover's Point. The journey through the entire forest is full of excitement and thrill, and gives some mesmerising glimpses of the Jayanti River Valley, evergreen forest canopy and with luck, some rare animals and birds too.
Buxa is one of the oldest settlements in North Bengal and is only 14 km from Alipurduar, and 180 kms from the popular tourist spot, Siliguri.
The closest railway station is Alipurduar Junction or New Alipur Railway Station at a distance of 37 kms. Rajabhatkhawa is only 15 km away from the entry of the reserve. Taxis can be hailed to the reserve, and the NH 31 highway is the fastest way to get there.
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Which time of the year is the best for visiting and staying in Buxa Forest Lodge?
Answer: Winter season From October to March is the best time to visit Buxa Tiger reserve and Buxa Forest Lodge.