Buxa Tiger Reserve in Alipurduar district of West Bengal

Buxa Tiger Reserve is situated in Alipurduar Sub-division of Aliurduar District, West Bengal. It comprises of the entire erstwhile Buxa Forest Division (702.44 km2), and a part of Cooch- Behar Forest Division (58.43 km2). The Reserve lies between latitudes 26°30′ and 26°55′ North and longitudes 89°20′ and 89°55′ East.

Buxa Tiger Reserve

Location:

Buxa Tiger Reserve lies in Alipurduar district of West Bengal. Its northern boundary runs along the international border with Bhutan. The Sinchula hill range lies all along the northern side of BTR and the eastern boundary touches that of the Assam state. National Highway No.31 C roughly runs along its southern boundary. It is the eastern most extension of extreme bio-diverse North-East India and represents highly endemic Indo-Malayan region. The fragile “Terai Eco-System” constitutes a part of this reserve. The Phipsu Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan is contiguous to the north of BTR. Manas National Park lies on east of BTR. BTR, thus, serves as international corridor for Asian elephant migration between India and Bhutan. To the south-west, the Chilapata Forests form an elephant corridor to the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary. The reserve encompasses as many as eight forest types. The divisional headquarters is located at Alipurduar. The forest is divided into two divisions: East and West. The Himalayan griffon, beautiful nuthatch, four different varieties of hornbill and the red breasted Himalayan partridge are important birds in this reserve. Among the wild animals, clouded leopard, tiger, wild dog, pangolin and Himalayan black bear are rare. Buxa Fort is an important landmark for this reserve. This fort was captured by British-India in 1865 after the Bhutan War from Bhutan. Later this fort was used as a detention camp for Indian freedom fighters during the Indian freedom movement.

Buxa Tiger Reserve

Conservation history:

BUXA JUNGLE LORE was created in 1983 as the 15th tiger reserve in India. In 1986, Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary was constituted over 314.52 km2 of the reserve forests. In 1991, 54.47 km2 was added to Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary. A year later, in 1992, the Government of West Bengal declared its intentions to constitute a national park over 117.10 km2 of the Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary. State government finally declared national park with notification No.3403-For/11B-6/95 dt. 05.12.1997

Flora and fauna:

Flora:

More than 450 species of trees, 250 species of shrubs, 400 species of herbs, 9 species of cane, 10 species of bamboo, 150 species of orchids, 100 species of grass and 130 species of aquatic flora including more than 70 sedges (Cyperaceae) have been identified so far. There are more than 160 species of other monocotyledons and ferns. The main trees are sal, champa, gamar, simul and chikrasi.

BUXA JUNGLE LORE

Fauna:

There are more than 284 species of birds, 73 species of mammals, 76 species of snakes and 5 species of amphibians have been identified so far. In a recent survey (2006) it was found that Buxa Tiger Reserve has the highest number of fish species in the North Bengal region. Tigers, elephants, bears, civets, giant squirrel, gaur, chital, clouded leopard, wild buffalo, antelope and snakes including the regal python are found here

BUXA JUNGLE LORE

About 230 species of birds and innumerable butterflies add colour to the forest. The Raidak and Jayanti rivers which flow through the forest and Narathali Lake are home to migratory and endemic birds. There are greater pied hornbill, ibisbill, migratory goosander, red-stars, wagtails, the rare black necked crane, migratory common teal, black stork, large whistling teal, minivets, and ferruginous pochards. Two new species of frog were discovered in the park in 2006.

Park activities:

Buxa (2,600 ft) is a one hour fifteen minute (3.9 km) trek through picturesque surroundings from Santhalbari, the starting point. The historical Buxa Fort was coming under the British India after the 2nd Dooars War (1865) between the King of Bhutan and the British, the subsidiary alliance of princely state Cooch Behar. This was used as a detention camp by the British, because of its remoteness during the Indian freedom movement. Many freedom fighters were imprisoned here. After independence, it served as a refugee camp for Tibetans and Bangladeshis. There are a number of trekking routes through the jungle.

King of Bhutan

  • There is a 4 km further trek to Rovers’ Point or Romitey Dara (the land of beautiful birds at 4,500 ft or 1,400 m).
  • From Buxa, one can also take the 13 km trek route for Jayanti via Mahakal Cave through the dense jungle (subjected to get permission from BTR). The Mahakal Cave is a stalactite-stalagmite cave, popularly known as the Mahakal cave near Jainty.
  • The most popular route is Pagsamkha Path Trek route, which starts from Buxa Fort, Buxaduar via Aadma and ends at Raimatung.

An expert guide and entry permit are must for trekking in Buxa hills. One may visit the very beautiful village of Dukpas called Lapchakha (1.5 hour trek) from Buxa Fort. A beautiful trekkers’ hut named Dukpa’s Hut (with attached bath) is located just opposite to the Buxa Fort ground and besides of Rupang Valley Trek route. Though there are eight home stays in total, but mostly are located at Lapchakha with minimum facilities. Only Rovers’ Inn at Sadar bazar have maximum capacity of accommodations but far from Buxa Fort. Dukpas Hut is also called ‘Birders Nest’ by the bird watchers. Trekking in different short route with camping facilities arranged from the Dukpas Hut. It has a separate kitchen for trekkers also. the double storied wooden hut has two family rooms (sleeping 3) on upper floor and a dormitory with attached bath on ground floor (sleeping 6) with dining facility. Bird watching, trekking and dark sky photography tours also arrange from here.

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