Jaldapara National Park
It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1941 with the aim of protecting the Indian one-horned rhinoceros. In May 2012, its status was upgraded to that of a national park.
Jaldapara is situated in the foothills of eastern Himalayas
The river Torsha flows through this rain forest sanctuary which is mostly covered with tall grasses, the sanctuary encompasses a luxuriant vegetation and a rich variety of wildife. The Malangi River also flows nearby from east to west. Riding elephants and 4x4 safaris are the only ways to move inside this forest. An elephant safari is preferred by most people staying at Jaldapara (in holong lodge or tourism lodge) overnight. The 4x4 safari is available both in the morning and in the afternoon.
Flora and fauna
The forest is mainly savannah covered with tall elephant grasses. The main attraction of the sanctuary is Asiatic one-horned rhinoceros. The sanctuary holds the highest rhino population in India after Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The other animals found are tigers, elephants, deers, sambhar, barking deer, spotted deer, hog deer, wild pig and bisons. Jaldapara is a paradise for bird watchers. It is one of the very few places in India, where the Bengal florican (Houbaropsis bengalensis also called the Bengal Bustard) is sighted. The other birds to be found here are the crested eagle, Pallas's fishing eagle and shikra, besides jungle fowl, peafowl, partridges, and lesser pied hornbill. Python, monitor lizards, krates, cobras, geckos and about 8 species of fresh water turtles have also found sanctuary here.
Warm and humid all the year long. The best season to visit is the middle of October to the end of February. Summer temperatures ranges from 22-35 degrees C while winter temperature ranges from 6-19 degrees C.Monsoon starts as early as mid May & continues upto late September.This region experiences heavy to very heavt rainfall during June-August.
Bagdogra is the nearest airport at a distance of 140km.
The nearest railway station is Madarihat which is only 7km from the sanctuary. All passenger trains stop here. Jaldapara Tourist Lodge is a walkable distance from this railway station.
All the mail and express trains stop at Birpara/Hasimara railway stations; both are 20km away from the sanctuary.
Jaldapara is connected by road with Siliguri and other places in North Bengal. North Bengal State Transport Corporation buses, Bhutan Government buses, minibuses are available from Siliguri to Alipurduar via Madarihat.
A permit is required to visit the sanctuary. As of 2007-08, entry fees to visit the park (Hollong) were:
A thrilling elephant safari is organized in the early morning from Hollong to offer the exquisite beauty of the vast grassland of Jaldapara. The elephant ride is the best possible way to explore the sanctuary with the rare sight of one horned rhinos, Asiatic elephants, Gaur (India bison), deer etc. Elephant safari charge is ₹600 per head as of Jan 2014. Tourists staying in Hollong Tourist Lodge get the first preference and priority. The service is provided on a first come - first served basis. 4 persons are accommodated on an elephant. There are 6-7 elephants operating from Hollong every morning and they make 2 round trips. If it is high season one more round trip is arranged.
Recently elephant safari is also introduced from Barodabari Malangi Lodge of WBFDC. Tourists who do not get tickets from Hollong can avail of this option.
The jeep safari inside the sanctuary is another main attraction. Jeeps can be hired from Madarihat for day visits.
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is the place to see one horned Rhinos, elephants, Gaurs (Indian Bison), deer and a good number of birds.
The best possible way to spot wild animals is doing elephant safari. Elephant safari is done from Hollong Tourist Lodge and Barodabari Malangi Lodge.
Jeep safari is another way to explore the wild. Jeep safari can be done from Madarihat Jaldapara Tourist Lodge and Kodalbasti Point on way to Chilapata range.
Bar and restaurant attached with good facilities
No drinks inside the sanctuary. For consumption in the lodge, it is better to carry one’s own choice.
Priority to enter Jaldapara Sanctuary is first given to those booked into the tourist lodges only if there are less people booked in the lodges, can people not staying at the lodges get a safari. There are only a limited number of safaris per day. (May 2008)
Acacia Eco Resort- paschim Madarihat, this beautiful eco-resort is located between Duncans Tea Garden Nursery or Madarihat Land Project and Aryaman Tea Estate owned by Birla Group, this resort also borders South Khayerbari Rescue Center. A huge property with 12 nicely furnished rooms and lawn with nice foods and well maintained resort. Its owner Ashis Chakraborty a gentleman truly who out of love for forests owned this nice eco-resort and a person with huge knowledge of forests and wildlife. This resort also shares an Elephant corridor from Jaldapara to Khayerbari. Acacia is located a few kilometres away from Madarihat towards Falakata road, take right turn from Salukmondal then follow the roads heading towards the resort after crossing the tea-estates, a school, a church and culverts.
Violations of any provisions as mentioned above or any rules shall be punishable under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and rules made thereunder and Indian Forest Act,1927.
A Fort at an altitude of 867m in the Sinchula Range guarding the most important of the eleven routes into Bhutan, the Buxa Duar. Only 60 kilometres from Madarihat, the fort was used as a detention camp for freedom fighters during British rule.