Time stands still in Rajabhatkhawa. That’s what is felt when one reaches this quaint village surrounded by the Buxa Tiger Reserve in Jalpaiguri district.
Miles of deep forest, swift brooks and hills dotting the horizon greet us with a placidness that seems almost otherworldly.
There is a story behind the name of the village. It is said that in 1800, the king of Cooch Behar vowed to never eat rice if he did not manage to dethrone the ruler of Bhutan from the area where the village thrives now.
After some time, the monarch of Bhutan himself agreed to leave and as a gesture of amity, the kings met and had a feast of rice in the dense forest. That gave the village its name.
Located about 15km from Alipurduar, Rajabhatkhawa serves as the entry point to the tiger reserve. Entry permits to the reserve are available from the village.
It is a sanctuary for wildlife lovers. There is an orchidorium and a leopard rescue centre with a museum. The nature interpretation centre is a must watch.
Migratory birds like goosanders, ibis bill and fork-tails and local ones like pheasants, cuckoos, minivets, mynahs, parakeets and partridges are easy to spot in the area, even for amateurs.
The 1997 census recorded as many as 32 tigers, 100 leopards, 125 elephants, 360 bison and 234 species of birds in the Buxa area.
Wildlife safaris, bird watching and trekking are the prime attractions for tourists.
According to officials of the forest department, 32 types of creepers and herbs, 112 breeds of orchids and more than 150 species of trees are found in the emerald green woods.
Rajabhatkhawa at night is a unique experience. A mysterious silence broken only by the hoots of owls and calls of animal from the depths of the forest casts a spell that remain till the first rays of the sun kiss the foliage.
Places of attraction nearby include Chilapata, Jayanti and the Buxa fort.
Winter is the best time to visit Rajabhatkhawa. It is better to avoid the monsoon. The forests remain closed from June 15 to September 15 every year.
How to go?
Taxis and cars are available from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Railway station to Rajabhatkhawa. You can also take a train from NJP to the Siliguri-Hansimara section and get down at Rajabhatkhawa. Another way is to get down at the Alipurduar junction and reach Rajabhatkhawa by road via Damanpur.
Where to stay?
There are many hotels and lodges at Rajabhatkhawa. Buxa Tiger Reserve guest house (WBTDC) is a good option.
Contact details: 033-22437260, 22488271, 22370060/61, 03564-255129, 256005.
You can also avail further information from this website: www.wbtourism.gov.in
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.