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Top 5 National Parks in West Bengal

West Bengal is known for its fertile lands and beautiful landscape along with delicious Bengali cuisine and a diverse range of flora and fauna. It is filled with marshy lands, rice fields, hillocks and hill stations as well as the Sunderbans. Let us look at the top 5 National Parks in West Bengal.

1. Sunderbans National Park

Tiger, Photo by Dibyendu Ash, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Sunderbans National Park is also a tiger reserve and a Biosphere reserve that is home to the world famous Bengal Tiger. It is located on the Sunderban delta that is covered in dense forests and water bodies at the mouth of the river Ganges. Due to the delta formation, the only way to travel through the park is on boats through various rivers and rivulets formed by the water.

These boat safaris are one of a kind as they flow through the crocodile breeding farms, various islands and tiger projects. Once extinct dolphins have reportedly been found here again as well. The Sunderbans National Park is world famous for being a one of a kind natural habitat for various mammals and endangered aqua animals.

2. Gorumara National Park

Photo by Matthias Rosenkranz, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Gorumara National Park is located in the Northern part of the state near the Himalayan foothills. The small park has grasslands and forests that house the rhinoceros and has been declared amongst the best national parks of India. Initially the park was named as a reserve forest but later it was declared as a wildlife sanctuary by 1949.

The park has watch towers where wild elephants can be seen in their natural habitat. The park also has a separate Rhino Observation Point. The park is closed during the season of monsoon but is open from June to September.

The villages nearby offer a great glimpse into the lifestyle of local people. Ethnic tribal dances are performed in the Budhuram forest village that one can witness while trekking through the park. The park is great for a quick getaway from city life into the wilderness!

3. Jaldapara National Park

Elephant Safari, Photo (cropped) by Jayanta Debnath, CC BY 2.0

Jaldapara National Park is located near the foothills of the Himalayas and on the banks of the river Torsa. The park was declared as a wildlife sanctuary for the various flora and fauna it was home to. It has the largest population of one horned rhinoceros in the entire state and is regarded as a habitat management area.

The park also has an elephant corridor that connects the Jaldapara park with the Buxa tiger reserve. The park is also known for the birds that come here especially the famous Bengal Floricon that can only be found here. This peaceful place is known for its elephant safaris and rhino sightings.

4. Buxa Tiger Reserve

Photo by Kaustav Dutta, CC BY-SA 4.0

Buxa Tiger Reserve is spread over 260 sq.km. and is located along the international boundary of Bhutan and India. The reserve is part of the “Terai eco-system” which is considered to be very fragile. It was created in 1983 as the country’s 15th tiger reserve. It also has the historically significant Buxa fort that has been associated with the Indian freedom struggle. Trekking and camping is allowed within the park and treks are known for leading to the Mahakal cave.

There are huts for bird watchers and photography tours are organised here regularly. Known for the beautiful birds that visit the park, this place is relatively untouched by the tourism sector allowing visitors to thoroughly engage with the flora and fauna.

5. Neora Valley National Park

Red Panda, Photo by Soumyadeep Chatterjee., CC BY-SA 2.0

Neora Valley National Park is located in the Kalimpong area of the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. The biological zone of this park is one of the richest in the country and is also home to the unique red panda. The park has forests and rivers running through the hilly terrain that makes it a wonderful place for trekkers and adventure junkies.

The park is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lovely flowers. Tourists can stay in Bamboo huts and visit the streams while spending a whole day bird-watching near the foothills. This place is a gem hidden amongst mountains as it provides the perfect blend of scenery as well as a glimpse into the wildlife. Easily accessible through state transport, this national park is a must visit for anyone who likes pristine streams and lush green mountains.

West Bengal has a very diverse geographical area that covers various forests and flora. The unique tribal culture and a sneak-peak into the wilderness are worth the visit to West Bengal. Grab your backpack and set out on an adventure filled journey into the wild.

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