Have you ever seen a rhinoceros grazing in your garden?
I am sure not many would say yes.
Well! We met a rhino grazing in the garden of our bungalow in Jaldapara National Park in West Bengal. We were scared and overwhelmed. However, we also knew it was a lifetime experience to see a wild rhino at such close proximity.
Jaldapara was not in our initial itinerary. We went there rather unexpectedly. When we were unable to procure our Bhutan permit we had to reluctantly stay back at Jaigaon (Bhutan border). We had an entire day to our disposal. We didn’t want to waste the day so embarked on a trip to Jaldapara which was only an hour’s drive from our hotel in Jaigaon.
We reached Jaldapara after lunch. Post lunch is not really a good time for jungle safari. Ideally early morning is when one should go on a safari. Nevertheless we decided to go on a safari. We were lucky in a way to get the last batch of safari. In this batch the tourists are also entertained with a dance performed by the local Bodo tribe.
Describing the ethereal beauty of Jaldapara is difficult. The calmness and the serenity were so engrossing that we felt like getting lost in it. The chirping of birds, the shrill cry of peacock, the noise of elephants trumpeting from a distant corner of the jungle, wild rhino grazing grass inside the guest house garden, bison eating salt kept by forest officials as a trap, the murmuring of leaves and ripples of the Holong river all added to our rich experience.
Trivia: In Jaldapara jungle safari is conducted in four batches. The first batch resumes at 6 am and the last one at 3 pm. The charges are Rs.800/pp and to get the tickets you need to provide photocopies of your Adhar Card.
Nearest Station: Hasimara (Train from Kolkata are available)
Nearest Airport: Bagdogra
If you wish to stay in Jaldapara you can book the Holong Bungalow online.