North Bengal is truly a treasure hunt for the nature lovers, especially for those who are looking for a periodical escape from the hectic chores of the modern city life. Lying in the Northern half of the State of West Bengal and encircled by international boundaries of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh; North Bengal offers a unique combination of varied landscape - from high mountainous region in the extreme north to the vast Gangetic plains in the extreme south. The geographical diversity blended with the cultures of different ethnic groups has placed North Bengal in the most sought after tourist Destinationss in Northeast India. North Bengal comprises of seven districts - Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, Alipurduar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda.
The landscape, history and cultures of each district have a distinguished character. While nature has showered his bountiful beauties in North Bengal encompassing great Himalayan ranges passing through it and landscape lying in the sub-Himalayan foothills that presents a rich biodiversity with dense forests, varied faunal and floral life forms.
Coochbehar is a city of old palaces of Koch kings, with temples and large water bodies. North and South Dinajpur are basically agricultural plains and Malda again is an old civilization and has its own importance from the archeological point of view for the famous ruins of Gour kingdom.
Dooars :-Dooars, the Himalayan Foothills of North Bengal is known as Dooars. The forests, tea gardens, undulating plains, people of different culture and ethnicity; all create a heady brew that has made Dooars one of the most fascinating . The Dooars region is mostly in the plains but includes some hilly areas of lower altitude. The area is crisscrossed by a large number of rivers that flows most from Bhutan in the North to Bangladesh in the South. Most of the rivers originate at lower altitude and is fed by monsoon rain. This gives a unique characteristic to the rivers with very low level of water in dry season and sudden high water and even flash floods during monsoon or sudden rain. There are however a few glacier fade large rivers in Dooars. The river Teesta that roughly forms the western boundary of Dooars is the largest river in the region, Torsha and Sankosh are also quite large. The region used to be part of a continuous stretch of dense forest. The forests were used by the elephants traditionally to migrate from Assam upto the Nepal boarder. Human habitation has decreased the overall forest cover, even then, Dooars remains home of some of the best forests of the region including several National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Forest Reserves.
Forests of Dooars :-The region used to be part of a continuous stretch of dense forest. The forests were used by the elephants traditionally to migrate from Assam upto the Nepal boarder. Human habitation has decreased the overall forest cover, even then, Dooars remains home of some of the best forests of the region including several National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Forest Reserves.
The most important and the largest forests of Dooars in terms of tourist importance are Gorumara National Park, Jaldapara National Park and Buxa Tiger Reserve. There are other forest areas including parts of Baikunthapur forest division, Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary, Neora valley National Park, Khuttimari forest, Titi forest and many others. The forests of Dooars are home to some of the largest mammals. Asiatic Elephants, Rhinos and Gaur, the Indian Bison. Their numbers are also quite impressive in the forests and are increasing steadily. Sighting is also relatively common for tourists. Other wildlife variety includes a wide array of Birds, reptiles and deer.
Traditionally Jaldapara was the favourite Destinations of Dooars for many decades with its Holong forest bungalow and Madarihat Tourist lodge. Today Gorumara forests have surpassed Jaldapara in terms of tourist visit and tourism infrastructure. The forest area of Buxa is by far the largest and the tourist movement is steadily increasing here as well.
Malda :-Malda is the district Head quarter town. There are number of places to visit at Malda which has some historical importance. The main among them are Gour, Adina, Ramkeli, Pandua, and recently explored Jagjibanpur.
Darjeeling :- It is situated at an altitude of 2134m, this hill town, with its exquisite scenic beauty, attracts travellers of varied interest. This Queen of Hill station is complete holiday Destinations to fulfil the utmost desires of holiday makers; Darjeeling has never failed to mesmerize its visitor’s expectations more often than not. The place is equally famous for its unique railway. A visit to the region is incomplete without a ride in the toy-train. Darjeeling is surrounded by the Teesta and the Mahananda Rivers and provides spectacular views of the mighty Kanchenjunga Mountain. The climate in Darjeeling stays perennially cool with frequent showers owing to the region’s close proximity to the Bay of Bengal. The best time to visit the town is between October till mid-February owing to the pleasant climate and less frequent rainfalls that help the visitors enjoy the beauty of the town and its picturesque surroundings. Darjeeling being a hill station and the erstwhile summer capital of the Calcutta is well connected to all major towns in West Bengal and the neighbouring states. Tiger Hill in Darjeeling is the highest point of this hill station. It's also famous for is magnificent view of the Mt Everest and Mt Kanchenjunga. The first shot of sunlight at dawn shading upon the twin peaks painting the snow clad mountains in pale orange, is something one just can’t miss. Darjeeling zoo is dedicated to the memory of Padmaja Naidu, the former governor of West Bengal. It is among the best zoos in the country, this is one of the only zoo which raises wild wolf in captivity. The zoo is also home to endangered species like the Red Panda, Siberian Tiger the Snow Leopard. Yiga Choeling Tibetan Monastery also known as the Ghoom Monastery is 24 km from Kurseong via Sonada. Kalimpong is about 45 km away via Lopchu. Sukhiapokhri, almost on the India-Nepal border, is 11 km on the road to Mirik. People who are religiously inclined, keep this place on their must visit list because calm ambiance of this place helps them in connecting with Buddha. The Batasia loop situated almost 5 km away from the town is a gigantic railway loop where the Toy Train makes a complete turn. Located on a hill top, this is a garden like place through which the toy train passes in a loop-like pattern. This loop like structure plays a perfect host to the famous toy train in Darjeeling. From the Batasia Loop one can get a panoramic view of Darjeeling town with the Kanchenjunga and other snowy mountains in the back - drop. A beautiful garden has been laid for the visitors to spend time in the area. At the centre of the Batasia Loop is the War Memorial. The Rock Garden is located some 10 km away from Darjeeling is thriving as popular and attractive scenic spot around Darjeeling city. Cascading waterfalls amidst the natural splendor makes it a sought after place among tourists. This beautiful place is a man made garden by cutting the hill with a natural stream cuts through it. The benches in the garden are made by cutting rocks at different levels. The place is well decorated with flowers around. The flower beds are gorgeous and the garden also has a waterfall flowing through it, which is quite a pretty sight during monsoons. Lloyd Botanical Garden has a fantastic collection of more than 50 species of orchids and many more Flora species which belong to native Darjeeling Himalayan regions.
From tourism aspect North Bengal has immense potential to cater to the needs of all kinds of travellers. For luxurious leisure tours, adventure treks, exciting jungle safari, elephant safari, daring white water rafting, remote village tourism, ethnic tourism, cultural tourism, angling tour, ornithology tour, heritage tour and much more North Bengal is just the place one needs to go.