It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1991 and a national park in 2012.
Jaldapara is 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 jeep safari is the only way to move inside this forest. Elephant safari is preferred by the people staying at Jaldapara (in Holong Forest Guest House or Tourist Lodge) overnight. The jeep safari is available in the morning and in 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 is sighted. The other birds to be found here are the crested eagle, Pallas's fishing eagle and shikra, besides jungle fowl, peafowl, patridges, 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 from the middle of October to the end of February.
Bagdogra in Siliguri is the nearest airport, 140 km away.
The nearest railway station is Madarihat which is 7 km from the sanctuary. All passenger trains stop here.
Jaldapara Tourist Lodge is in a walkable distance from this railway station. All the mail and express trains stop at Birpara/Hasimara railway stations, both are 20 km 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. Cars can also be hired at Siliguri.
- 1 Jaldapara National Park.
- 2 Chilapata Forest. The forest forms an elephant corridor between Jaldapara and the Buxa Tiger Reserve and is rich in wildlife. There is a watch tower at Mandabari. One of the main attractions is the ruined "Nalraja Garh", or fort of the Nal kings, built in the Gupta period in the fifth century AD. Although poorly maintained, the site has considerable archaeological value.
- 3 Madarihat railway station.
- 4 Hasimara railway station. It serves Hasimara
- 5 Torsha River.
Fees and permits
A permit is required for visit to the sanctuary. (As of 2007-08) Entry fees to visit the park (Hollong) : ₹25/- per head for Indian Nationals. ₹50/- per light vehicle. ₹200/- per heavy vehicle. ₹5/- per still camera. ₹250/- per video camera.
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 Indian rhinos and Asiatic elephants. The jeep safari inside the sanctuary is another main attraction. Jeeps can be hired from Madarihat for day visits.
Elephant ride charge (as of 2007-08): per adult: ₹120 (maximum 4 persons allowed on each elephant).
On an elephant ride you can see so many animals, like rhino, various types of deer, elephants, bisons, peacocks, etc.
See the view from Hollong Rest House (govt.)
Bar & restaurant attached with good facilities. Jaldapara family tourism and restaurant is a cheap rated lodge which is very close to the ticket counter for car & elephant safari.
No drinks inside the sanctuary. For consumption in the lodge, it is better to carry one’s own choice.
- 1 Hotel Royal Green, NH 31C, Kharibari Forest, Madarihat, ☎ .
- Jaldapara Jungle Camp, Madarihat (Near Reliance Petrol Pump), ☎ , . Jaladapara Jungle Camp have 02 Attic Cottages, 02 Wooden Cottages, 02 Cottages and 01 Triple Bedded Cottage with attach toilets & baths. ₹1,000 - 2,000.
- Chilapata Jungle Camp (near Chilapata Wildlife Sanctuary), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Run by Help Tourism. Cottages ₹1000-1500.
- Hollong Tourist Lodge. It is maintained by WBTDC. There are only 7 rooms available for tourists. Booking has to be done 120 days in advance. The lodge is 7-8 km deep inside the forest from the entry gate on the high way at Madarihat. All rooms are double bedded at ₹2,500 per day. If you want to have food, the package is ₹400 per head per day which includes breakfast with tea or coffee, evening snacks with tea or coffee and dinner. Lunch is an optional ₹150 per meal.
- 2 Jaldapara Tourist Lodge, PO Madarihat, Dist. Jalpaiguri PIN 735 220, ☎ (Telefax), . It much bigger than Hollong Tourist Lodge and has dormitories too. Direct booking at Tourist Lodge. ₹1,000 (non AC double bed), ₹300 (dormitory - 5 bedded), ₹650 (double-bedded Tourist Hut)..
- Malangi Nature Resort (West Bengal Forest Development Corporation), Baradabari, ☎ . On the other side of the sanctuary.
- Booking can be done for all:
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 is only a limited number of safaris each day (May 2008).
- 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.
- 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.
- Do not 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.
- Bhutan Ghat (85 km from Madarihat). The road passes through beautiful forest and tea gardens. A picnic spot.
- Buxa Duar (60 kilometres from Madarihat). A fort at an altitude of 867 metres on the Sinchula Range guarding the most important of the eleven routes into Bhutan, the Buxa Duar. The Fort used as a detention camp for freedom fighters during British rule.
- Chilapata (20 km from Alipurduar). Hidden deep inside the Chilapata Forests the ruins of a thousand yeas old fort of Nal King has a tremendous historical and archeological importance. On way to Cooch Behar, a trip through the deep and dark Chilapata Forest is a pleasant and exciting experience. Built in the 5th century during the Gupta Empire the ruins still recall the memories of the Golden Age of India.
- Jayanti (75 km from Madarihat). A beautiful picnic spot on the bank of Jayanti river.It provides an excelletn view of the hills of Bhutan. Attraction:- 1) Flora and fauna of the region, 2) Pukhri Pahar, 3) Mahakal Cave, 4) Buxaduar (12 km trek through forest)
- Totopara (30 km from Jaldapara). A small village on the banks of River Torsha bordering Bhutan is the only habitation of Toto, a primitive tribe in the Dooars. Their number has dwindled to fewer than 1000.