Location : From Jalpaiguri district.
Established : 1941
Park Area : 21651 sq. km.
Best Recommended time to visit : October to May and March to April. The Sanctuary remains close from October to May.
Quick Facts : The major attractions of the Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary are the Asian One horned Rhino and Elephant Safari.
Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary is a majestic land in order to experience the grand wildlife from West Bengal. It’s the home land for variety of animals, birds, amphibians and reptiles and luxuriant biomes. The Wildlife Sanctuary is located on the foothills of the East part of Himalayans near the bank of Torsa River, West Bengal. In 1943, the park was declared for the protection because of its vast grasslands on the patch of forests and with great varieties of flora and fauna. It’s the mixture of mosaic of grassland, streams, swamps and woods. The Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary is drained by rivers such as Chirakhawa, Hollong, Torsa, Kalijhora, Bhaluka, Buri Torsa and Sissamara. It’s the only wildlife sanctuary which has got a lovely paradise of immense cultural and historical significance.
The Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary shelters 33 mammals species, 240 birds species, 16 reptiles species, 8 turtles species and 30 fish species. One can even observe varieties of plants available with unique species, rarely found on any other forests.
Apart from lovely natural beauty, the Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary offers Asian one horned Rhinocers, which can be seen with the Elephant Safari. Driving on the forest roads, sitting on the back of Elephant is wonderful experience to watch one horned rhino. The rhino’s population is highest in India at the Jaldapara sanctuary after Assam’s Kaziranga National Park.
You will come across Elephants roving in open grasslands, glades and rivers frequently. The forest includes massive tuckers such as Spotted Deer, Hog Deer, Indian Bison, Hornbill, Indian Peafowl, Green Pigeon and many feathered beauties. In the early morning and in late evening, one can see herds of Indian Bison (Gaur). There are four species of Deer such as the Barking deer, the Sambar, the Hog deer and the Chital. Sambar is one of the largest Asiatic deer seen in smaller group in woodland as well as in streams. The Hog and Chital deer are solitary in nature, whereas the Barking Deer is known for its loud alarm similar like the bark of Dog. Also, wild pigs are seen in small groups near the river banks and even on the open grounds digging out bulbs and tubers. Leopards and Tigers are the major animals seen near the reserve, but are seen hardly by the visitors. Fishing cat, Leopard cat and Jungle cat are few cat species in the jungle.
Other important animals such as Indian Pangolin, Giant Squirrel, Indian Civet, Indian Porcupine, Hispid Hare, Indian Rock Python and Giant Squirrel are also found.
There are different types of vegetation available in the Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary. Most part of the forest is covered with mixed moist forest, deciduous dry forest, alluvial Savannah and Khair Sisso and Sal association. Near about 30 % of forest is covered by grassland. The dense forest are covered with grasses such as Imperata Cycliderica, Thysanolaena Maxima, Saccharum spp, T. Villosa, Themeda Arundinacea, Thusanolana Maxima, Arundo Donax, Phragmites Karke, Setaria Palmifolia and Cymbopogon spp. The forest is also interspersed in grassland with trees such as Siris, Simul, Sisso, Khair and many more. The flood plain area is interspersed with swampy and marshy land which is adjacent with raverine forests. This place is ideal habitat for one horned Rhinoceros.
Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary is blissful to watch birds. This place is rare in India, where one can see the Bengal Florican. It is an exceptional place which is rich in fauna just because of mosaic vegetation, varied terrain and different species of insect. There are more than 240 birds species that depend on variety of its habitual nature such as near the woodland, water bodies and grassland. As the forest is rich in shrubs and trees, it is the ideal place for most of the woodland birds like Hornbills, Woodpeckers, Parakeets, Babblers, Green Pigeons, Thrushes and many more. During winters, the Whistling Teals, Merganser and Brahminy Ducks are observed. The common bird such as little and large Cormorant, Egret, Indian Shag, Pied, Darter, Moorhen, White Breasted Waterhen, River Lapwing are also found in the forest of Jaldapara.
Nightjars and Owls are the hunters of Jaldapara, whereas serpent crested Eagles, a raptorial bird is commonly found. Other prey birds such as Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Pied Harrier, Sparrow Hawk, etc are found. One can see variety of birds on open or grasslands such as Rollers, Bee-eaters, Doves, Hill Mynas, Larks, Hoopoe, Finches, Bulbuls, etc. Other endangered species found in the Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary are Black Partridge, Bengal Florican, Shaheen Falcon, Forest Owl Eagle, Pied hornbills, Adjutant Stork, rumped Vulture white in color and billed Malkoha. Lucky ones can even get glimpse of the Peacock displaying his feathers, at the time of breeding.
Activities in Wild Sanctuary :
Timing : 9am to 4pm.
An elephant ride in the sanctuary is full of excitement and adventure. One can have a thrilling experience by sightseeing rhinos bathing, elephant herds, and even graciously agile deer.
One can enjoy the ethnic tourism called Totopara, the one which is endangered tribes known as Toto Tribe. This is one of the major attractions of the park and hence enjoyed by most of the tourist. The place lies adjacent to the sanctuary.
Another activity is to visit the Nal King Fort, one of the great archaeological and historical significance which lies within Chilapata forests. This forests is a hidden treasure for unique trees, which are unfound in other parts of India. One of the unique trees is like bleeds similar to humans, as it was observed that fluid comes out is same in density and color. These trees are somewhat 100 to 200 yrs and only few in number and hence no botanical name is registered.
You can also avail the Car safari as well.
In summer the climate of Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary is about 24°C to 27°C, in rainy as 27°C to 37°C and in winter is about -10°C to 21°C. The average rainfall of the place is 382 cm.
One can get excellent facilities for visiting Jaldapara sanctuary in Holong Tourist Lodge and the Madarihat Tourist bungalow. It is recommendable to book in advance as there are only few options available for staying at resorts located nearby forest areas.