Explore the land of wild elephants – Chilapata Forest
Chilapata Forest has become a favourite tourist destination for many in the recent past. The Chilapata Forest is a dense rain forest, part of Jaldapara National Park in Dooars, Alipurduar district of West Bengal in India. This forest is a wild elephant corridor between Jaldapara National Park and Buxa Tiger Reserve, so it enables tourists to visit both the forests from here.
Chilapata Forest is famous for its natural population of the Great Indian one-horned Rhinoceros, wild elephants and bison. The forest is about 20-30 km from Hasimara, Alipurduar and Coochbehar railway station and 40 km from India-Bhutan Border (Jaigaon/Phuentsholing).
While travelling from Hasimara/Jaigaon/Phuentsholing, visitors can enjoy 18 km thrilling drive through the dense forest and explore the wild beauty of Chilapata. While travelling from Siliguri or Bagdogra Airport (127 km) towards Chilapata forest, the road is full of green fields and lush green tea gardens on both sides. One can experience the glimpse of Teesta River while crossing the Coronation bridge or Gajoldoba on the way to Chilapata forest. This unique journey is a visual treat for the tourist who wants to experience the closeness to Mother Nature.
Chilapata forest is a hidden treasure of biodiversity, with more than 180 species of birds, 25 species of animals and 20 species of reptiles found here. The forest is the ideal destination for the tourists who wants to learn more about tribal culture. Kodalbasti, Mendabari and Chilapata Range are the home of Rabha (Rava), Oraon and Kurukh tribe.
The guided jeep safari in Chilapata Forest is one of the major tourist attractions. Jeep Safari is available from September 15 to June 15, daily at 5.30 am, 8.30 am, 1.30 pm and 3.30 pm. The chief attraction at Chilapata is the ‘Nalraja Garh’ or the fort of the Nal kings. The fort was built during the Gupta period in the 5th century, although the fort itself is in ruins now, it has tremendous archaeological importance and reminds one of the golden age in the history of India.
Apart from forest visits, tourists can easily visit Alipurduar, Coochbehar, Buxa-Jayanti, Lataguri, Neora, Jalpaiguri and Bhutan Border city Phuentsholing just 40 km by road.