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Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary
Jaldapara : A Majestic Wildlife Experience
 
Established in 1941 for the protection of the Indian one-horned rhino, the Jaldapara Sanctuary covers 216 sq km, is a mosaic of woods, grasslands, perennial streams, sandy river banks and extensive belts of tall grass. It contains a great diversity of flora and fauna of mixed deciduous forest, grasslands and river banks. Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary, situated in Alipurduar Sub-Division of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal, is home to a wide variety of wild life, particularly the Great Indian One Horned Rhinos. 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 is the only way to move inside this forest. The birds to be found here are the Crested bEagle, Pallas’s Fishing Eagle and shikra, besides Jungle fowl, peafowl, patridges, Bengal Florican and lesser Pied Hornbill. Python, monitor lizards, krates, cobras, geckos and about 8 species of fresh water turtles have also found. The wild life, in addition to the famous Great Indian One Horned rhinos, consists of Royal Bengal Tigers, wild elephants, deers, swamp deers, hog deers, wild pigs, bisons. Some rare species like the hispid hare and the hog-badger are also found here. Besides wildlife viewing, there is scope for unusual holiday activities like elephant riding and leisurely strolls through the towering grass.  

Anthropological & Cultural Heritage

This is the land where the primitive “Toto” tribe holds its last stand – refusing to be swamped by the main stream of civilisation. Toto have their home in “Totopara ” – a village that lies to the north of the sanctuary. Their customs and culture have been the subject matter of great anthropological interest. This remote village has a small population of 950 . Bania ruins , the remains of an old fort and a big lake in Bania block, speak of the existence of an ancient settlement and culture. Locals believe that “Nala Raja” of the Epic lived here and the fort is called the “Nala Rajar Garh”.
Besides, local excursions may be arranged to visit tea gardens to see the manufacturing of tea in the nearby tea gardens by prior arrangement with the authority.

General Information

● Total Area 216.51 sq km.
● Forest Division Coochbehar (Total Forest Area = 294.09 sq.km.)
● Civil District Jalpaiguri
● Sub-Division Alipurduar
● Nearest Town Madarihat (Nearest Bus Stop)
● Nearest Road National Highway 31 (Siliguri- Hasimara)
● Nearest Railway Station - Falakata Broad gauge (22 km.)
● Madarihat Meter gauge (9 km.)
● Sanctuary Headquarters Coochbehar
● Main Rivers Torsa, Malangi, Hollong, Buribasra, Sissamara, Sukta, Gorumara
● Altitude 61 metres (200 ft.)
● Latitude 25° 58″ and 27° 45″ North
● Longitude 89°08″ and 89°55″ East
● Temperature November to February – 10°C to 21°C
● March to April – 24°C to 27°C
● May to October – 27°C to 37°C
● Average Rainfall 382 cm.
● Best Season Oct. to May, Particularly March & April, when new grass is growing
● Off Season 15th June to 15th Sept. (Sanctuary Closed)
● Languages spoken Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, English.
 
One Horned Rhino

Lying at the foot of the Bhutan hills (Eastern Himalayas), the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary with its panoramic view, covering an area of 216 sq. km., has special significance by maintaining remnants of terai grasslands harbouring endangered Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). In the last few decades duars grassland and chaurs, which were abode of several animals, has decreased due to increase in cultivation area, expansion of Tea Estates and human habitation. As a result, wild buffalo, Gharial, Swamp partridge, Swamp deer (Barasingha) and Pink-headed Duck have became extinct in this region.
Drained by rivers Torsa, Malangi, Hollong, Chirakhawa, Kalijhora, Sissamara, Bhaluka and Budhi Torsa, the Sanctuary provides extensive grasslands to the wild animals, becoming
  the last refuge to a wide variety of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds. The major animals seen in the Sanctuary are Tiger, Leopard,        Sloth Bear, Sambhar, Cheetal, Hog Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Indian Gaur, Hispid Hare and a variety of avifauna including endangered Bengal florican. The sanctuary has 33 species of mammals, 240 species of birds, 16 species of reptiles, 8 species of turtles and 30 species of fishes.

Park Ethics

● Obtain entry permit before entering the sanctuary.
Visiting time- 9.00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
● Keep Silence. Watch and observe nature in all its glory and let  it  speak for you. Please  do  not  shout,  play  music  or  blow horns while in  the Sanctuary.

● Keep fire away. This is the most destructive of all forces. Please do  not kindle fires, throw lighted matches, cigarettes, bidis etc.
● Keep the forest clean. Do not litter with plastic, paper, cellophane etc.
● Keep pets at home.
● Do not carry firearms, explosives, etc. These are prohibited as per law.
● Keep sober.Do not consume alcoholic drinks within the Sanctuary.
● Entering inside the forest prohibited. Follow the specific road/ path   only.
● Picnics are not permitted inside the sanctuary.
● Don’t tease the wild animals. Watch and observe nature silently. ● ● Drive slowly. (Permissible speed is 20 km./hr.)
● Disorderly conduct is not permitted.
● No person shall hunt,  destroy  or  remove  or collect any forest  produce or wildlife. Fishing prohibited.
● 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.

Thrilling Animals

This is a land of trumpet and songs. The Rhino is the flagship animals for the Sanctuary, which can be seen from the safety of the elephant back, while driving on roads and from a top watchtowers. Besides, one can find elephants wandering in the woodland and frequenting the open grasslands, rivers and glades. Loner tuskers and  maknas often come close to Hollong lodge. Herds of Gaur (Indian bison) are easily sighted during early morning and late evening. Deer are well represented here with four species, the chital, the hog deer, the sambar and the barking deer (Muntjac). Sambar, the largest of Asiatic deer, is usually seen in a small family group in the woodland and along streams. Unlike chital, hog deer are basically solitary in nature and prefer tall grass cover. The muntjac is small deer of tree forests and specially notable for its loud alarm call- like the bark of a dog. Wild pigs can be seen in small parties around river banks and open grounds engaged in digging out tubers and bulbs. Tigers and Leopards are the main predators in this reserve, though seen rarely by the tourist. Lesser cats of the reserve are Jungle cat, Leopard cat and Fishing cat.

Bird Watching

 Jaldapara is exceptionally rich in avifauna because of varied terrain, mosaic of vegetation and rich insect life. More than 240 species of birds are found in variety of habitat- Grassland, water bodies, woodland. The varied tree forests and rich shrub growth on the forest floor provide ideal setting for many woodland birds, such as Green Pigeons, Hornbills, Barbets, Parakeets, Woodpeckers, Cuckoos, Orioles, Drongos, Babblers, Thrushes etc. Brahminy ducks, whistling teals and Goosanders are winter visitors.The most common water birds are the large and little cormorant, Indian Shag, Darter, Egrets, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Pied Wagtail, Spur Winged Lapwing, Moorhen, White Breasted Waterhen etc The night hunters in Jaldapara are the owls and the nightjars. Crested Serpent Eagle is common raptorial bird. The other main hunter birds are Palla’s Fishing Eagle, Pariah Kite, Pied Harrier, common Buzzard, the Kestrel, Sparrow Hawk etc. A variety of birds, typical of grassland and open country, can be seen form watch towers viz. Doves, Bee-eaters, Rollers, Hoopoe, Shrikes, Harks, Hill Mynas, Bulbuls, Rollers Finches.
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