Dooars or Duars is a paradise for nature lovers which is located in North Bengal at the foothill of Eastern Himalayas far from urban chaotic noise. The name Dooars/Duars came from the word ‘Door’ which remains as a gateway to Bhutan from India. The lush green tea garden, dense forest, wildlife sanctuary, national park, streams and rivers enriched Dooars with biodiversity and beautiful landscapes. Buxa Jayanti tour is an ultimate destination for a weekend trip on a low budget to cherish the beauty of nature’s womb.
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Overview of Buxa Jayanti Budget Tour:
Speciality of Dooars:
Miles of tea garden, wildlife sanctuary, dense forest, innumerable streams are the main attraction for nature enthusiasts. It is also one of the best budget destinations in India for Wildlife Photographers. Dooars is also a place for adventure lovers who can have several treks like Choto Mahakal, Baro Mahakal, Buxa Fort, etc.
Best time to visit Dooars:
Winter(October to February) is the best time to visit Dooars for wildlife photography and jungle safaris. The temperature hovers between 10 to 23-degree centigrade.
In Summer(March to June) temperature remains between 21- 32 degree centigrade, but not extremely hot. Most of the jungle safaris and sanctuaries remain closed in Monsoon from 15th June to 15th September due to heavy rainfall. But Dooars has its own beauty(entire region transforms to green paradise) in Monsoon which is ideal for nature and adventure lovers.
How to reach Dooars:
By Train – New Mal Junction is the nearby railway station for Gorumara forest, Murti, Jhalong region. Alipurduar junction station is close to Buxa Jayanti region. Sealdah- Alipurduar Kanchankanya express(13149) is the best train to reach to Dooars from Kolkata. Also, there are several trains from New Delhi to New Jalpaiguri(NJP) which is the gateway of Dooars and well connected by road with different regions of Dooars.
By Road – There are NBSTC buses and other luxury buses(Shyamoli Paribahan, Greenline, Royal Cruiser) depart from Kolkata on a regular basis to reach to New Jalpaiguri.
By Air – There are regular flights in Kolkata-Bagdogra, New Delhi-Bagdogra route. One can reach Bagdogra by flight, then avail a cab to reach to any destination of Dooars. You can use Skyscanner to book the cheapest flight.
Things that need to be carried specially for Dooars tour:
Torch(as it is a remote area there might be power cut at any time), power bank, odomos, basic first aid kit, important hygiene product.
| DAY 1 |
We(me with my parents, uncle, aunt and niece) started for Sealdah railway station from our home on 31st May,’19(Friday) at around 6:30 pm and reached Sealdah around 7:30 pm. Kanchankanya Express(13149 from platform no 9B) started exactly on its scheduled departure at 8:30 pm. The main attraction of this train journey started once the train crossed Sivok railway station. Your eyes will be soothed when the train passes through the Jungles and beautiful landscapes of Dooars tea gardens and mountains will add more pleasure during your journey.
Ultimately, we reached our destination New Alipurduar Junction. Our ever-smiling friend Ratan was ready with his white Bolero in the parking space. We quickly loaded our luggage on the back of the vehicle and started for our first destination Jayanti Riverview Homestay in Jayanti which was a very budget-friendly accommodation.
On the way, we had to stop at Rajabhatkhawa permit office to get our entry permit for entering Buxa Tiger Reserve(BTR). The road leading from that point is very beautiful with BTR spanning on both sides of the road. The vast BTR spans around 471 sq. km area. It took around 45 minutes to reach Jayanti. We completed our lunch with Rice, Daal, Alu Sabji and Fish Curry, the quality was too good and after a long journey, it tastes like heaven.
Best Places to visit in Buxa Jayanti:
Chunia Watch Tower:
After our lunch, we went to Chunia Watch Tower, we crossed the Jayanti river bed to go to the opposite bank and within 45 minutes we reached to Chunia. The forest on this side is not that much dense rather the trees are dispersed from one another On reaching Chunia, we saw 2/3 private vehicles are already parked there and the tourists were making a mess at that place. We felt very disturbed and after waiting there for around 10 minutes we decided to go back.
While returning our guide suddenly told the driver to stop the vehicle at the sandy river bed. After inspecting around some bushes, he called me to have a look at something. I got down from gypsy and to my utter surprise, I saw some distinct pugmarks of Leopard on the river bed. The guide told me, as per his calculation, the adult leopard must be 11-12 feet in length with a tail. We waited there for around 40 minutes in anticipation of spotting some wild animals (especially the elephants), but the sighting was not in our destiny. As per our guide, Winter is the ideal season to see the migration of wild animals.
We came back to our homestay which was located just beside the Jayanti River. One can spend an hour and an hour just by watching the river, mountains and clouds from this homestay’s balcony. At around 9 pm our dinner war served with Rice/Roti, Daal, Alu Bhaja, Alu-patol Curry & Chicken Curry.
| DAY 2 |
Choto Mahakal Temple Hike:
On the next day morning completing our breakfast with Puri-Sabji we started our journey to the Choto Mahakal temple which is adjacent to Bhutan Pahar. We had to cross the Jayanti river thrice, our Bolero crossed the river first time, but for the second time, it couldn’t because of the shallowness of the river. We crossed the river by foot helping each other and then started our hike through the forest with our local guide.
We were really amazed by the serenity and tranquillity of nature here, birds were chirping, the stream was flowing at our right-hand side, the whole atmosphere will surely give you goosebumps. Then we crossed the stream very carefully for the third time and the current was pretty high. From here we climbed almost vertical stairs(some are bamboo made) uphill to reach the cave where locals worship an idol of Lord Shiva. There was a little waterfall also but apart from this there was nothing special in Choto Mahakal, but the journey can be thrilling for the adventure seekers.
We did not go to Baro Mahakal as the trail was harder as per our guide, so we did not take a risk. We returned to our homestay after the hike and finished our lunch with Rice, Daal, Salad, Alu Soyabeen, and Fish Curry and took a power nap for 1 hour.
Buxa Core Jungle Safari:
We were very excited for this safari and did a double-check of my camera and lenses. Our forest department-owned gypsy which we booked 15 days before coming to Jayanti came at 3:15 pm and we started for our most exciting core jungle safari which starts from 3:30 pm. This safari is carried out at the proximal bank of the Jayanti river. We had to show our permit (issued from Rajabhatkhawa Permit office previous day) at the beat office before entering into the core zone.
This side of the forest is much thicker as compared to the other bank of the river (where Chunia watchtower is situated). Our gypsy moved slowly through the trail in anticipation of sighting wild animals. We crisscrossed every possible trial on that part of the forest but could not see any animals. Then we walked on the Bala river and observed the footprints of elephant herds that crossed the dry riverbed. Suddenly at a distance, we spotted 4 wild Indian bison crossing the riverbed.
While returning it was raining cats and dogs, so we had to leave the core jungle early. I was totally disappointed and heartbroken about the experience, only one thing that gave me a pain relief is the color, smell and sound of rain-soaked core jungle-that is totally a different experience which I never expected.
Coming back to our homestay we did little chit chat with lodge people about their experiences with wild animals. At around 9 pm dinner was served with Roti, Alu Squash Sabji and Chicken Kosha.
| DAY 3 |
The next morning I woke up at 6 am. But the sky was totally cloudy from the morning. We were all set to go for another trek to Buxa fort after completing our breakfast, but all of a sudden the rain started and there was no sign of stopping it. So we had no other way except enjoying the rain with hot tea and Pakora from our balcony. This time we were not disappointed because Jayanti is totally different while it’s raining. Cloud wrapped Jayanti hill, flowing Jayanti River, non-stop Rain and Tea – I was spellbound with this deadly combination of nature and enjoyed the beauty in solitude.
Though we couldn’t go to Buxa fort but here is a brief description for your reference. The century old historic Buxa Fort is 4 km uphill trek at an elevation of 2600 ft. Previously the fort was under Bhutan king, later it was used as a deportation camp of prisoners by the East India Company. This fort was also used as the refugee camp of Tibetan monk during China-Tibet turmoil.
This offbeat place is 3km away from Buxa Fort which is called “Queen of Dooars”. You can have a panoramic view of the Buxa Tiger Reserve from here. You will get a little bit touch of Bhutan here as the people here lived are Drukpa people who are basically Bhutanese in origin. Homestays are also available for the tourists to stay at night)
The rain stopped at around 12 pm, so we started for our next destination Pokhari/Pukhri lake after our lunch at 3 pm. It was another trek but quite steep, 5-6 km away from Jayanti. Buying 2 packets of puffed rice we started our trek with a local guide. It took around 1 hr to reach the lake which is basically a sacred pond for both Hindus and Buddhists. The lake is not so spectacular but the serenity of nature will give you refreshment in your mind.
Another attraction of this lake is a large number of catfishes(magur) and turtles, we fed them puffed rice that we brought with us. Spending near about 30 minutes we returned to our homestay
This was our last night at Jayanti, we were roaming around the nearby market in the evening and tasted veg momo from a roadside stall which was very cheap, 10 pieces for Rs.20. Later completing our dinner with Roti, Alu Dom and Paneer we went to the bed at 11 pm.
| DAY 4 |
From yesterday night I was repeatedly checking Phuentsholing’s weather report which was showing a 60% chance of a thunderstorm. The sky was cloudy from the morning. We packed all our luggage and completed our breakfast with Bread, Butter and Omelette. I took some snaps of the Homestay and its surroundings which I recommend to every travelers who seek a budget hotel. For the last time, I inhaled the fresh airs of Dooars to the fullest capacity of my lungs.
Around 10:15 am we started for Phuentsholing and reached at around 11:15 am via Hasimara- Jaigaon. Bhutan was the first-ever foreign country that I have visited with just 12000 INR. There was a massive traffic jam near the Bhutan Gate at Phuentsholling. The weather was also very hot and humid. We decided not to spend much time there as the departure time of our train Padatik Express(12378) was at 5:45 pm from Alipurduar.
We directly went to visit the “Gompha Monastery” or Karbandi Monastery. It is a very beautiful place to take some breathtaking snap. Some young monks were playing football in front of the main gate of the monastery. The view of the Jaigaon town is really mesmerizing from here. The entire valley of Torsha river could be seen from there. And the blue hills of Bhutan is a breathtaking spectacle to behold.
We then started our journey towards Alipurduar Junction Railway Station, on the way we stopped at a restaurant named “16 Ana” located near Alipurduar Court. We had our lunch from this famous restaurant. There is a total of 16 Bengali food items that are served in a brass made thala or dish. Additionally one can order any special fish, chicken, mutton or paneer item. We tasted aar fish, prawn and mutton kosha. Each and every item was so tasty that you will always remember the name of the restaurant.
At last, we reached the station at 5 pm and bought some food for dinner. The return train journey started exactly at its scheduled time of 5:45 pm. The next day at around 7 am we reached Sealdah station.
Buxa Jayanti Tour Tips and Information:
- Winter is the best and peak season for Buxa Jayanti. Try to visit this place in May or June(Up to 15th), so that you can avoid the crowd and also will get the best deals from accommodation-transportation-fooding which will help you to plan Buxa Jayanti tour at low cost from Kolkata
- You must have a permit to visit Jayanti which can be availed from the counter in Rajabhatkhawa, the gateway of Buxa-Jayanti. The permit is valid for three days only if u wish to stay more than three days you need to do the same permit again, but three days are enough for covering full Buxa-Jayanti.
- You must take a guide at Core Jungle Safari, Chunia Watch Tower, Choto Mahakal and Buxa Fort. If you are caught without any guide at these places by Forest Department members you might have to give a fine.
- If you wish to do Cor Jungle Safari at Buxa Tiger Reserve you have to book seats minimum 1-2 months before the journey as total gypsy cars are limited per day.
- Don’t miss the chance to take a bath at Jayanti river, it was really fun.
Review & Expenditure Breakup of Buxa-Jayanti Budget Trip:
Please note we went in a group of 6 people.
Accommodation review and fare:
Jayanti Riverview Homestay, we took 2 rooms(Rs.1100/Night for 3 Nights): (1100*2*3)/6= Rs.1100/Person
This homestay is located just beside Jayanti river. You will have a spellbound view of Jayanti river and mountain from your room.
- It was very clean and spacious with a balcony at the front side.
- No television is there. Toilets with western style and Geyser.
- No AC room is available.
- Ideal stay for nature lovers.
- Behaviour of the owner and other staff is very polite and friendly.
- A dormitory is also available(Rs.500/Bed)
Fooding Cost: Average Rs.400/Day(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Bed Tea 2 times included): Rs.400 for 3 days+Others(snacks, water, lunch at 16 Ana, dinner at the train):(400*3)+500= Rs.1700/Person(Approx.)
READ ALSO: 10 Best Ways to Eat Cheap While Traveling
Transport Fare: Kanchankanya Express(Sealdah <>Alipurduar) round trip: Rs.405*2= Rs.810/Person
Permit Cost for Entering Buxa Tiger Reserve (from Rajabhatkahawa)
Vehicle Entry Fee for Buxa Tiger Reserve: Rs. 300(for Light & Medium vehicle) Rs. 25 for Two-Wheeler
Entry Fee per person (age > 5 yrs): Rs. 50*6= Rs.300
This permit will be required in all safaris anywhere in BTR. Permit valid for 3 days.
Alipurduar station to Jayanti Riverview Homestay: Rs.1100
Chunia Watchtower Safari:
Bolero Charge: Rs. 850
Guide Charge: Rs. 250
Core Jungle Safari:
Gypsy Hire Charge(fixed): Rs. 1200
Guide Charge: Rs. 300
Chota Mahakaal Hike:
Bolero Charge: Rs. 800
Guide Charge: Rs. 300
Pokhari Lake Trek:
Bolero Charge: Rs. 700
Guide Charge: Rs. 300
Total Transportation Cost:(1100+300+300+1100+1500+1100+1000+2000)/6+810= Rs.2210/Person(Approx.)
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Important Contact Number:
Jayanti Riverview Homestay
- Manoj Prasad(Owner) :9547000693
- Bappa(Caretaker) :8972076205
- Choton(Driver) :8945946531
Please note: We went to this Budget Buxa Jayanti tour on 1st June,’19 which is not Peak season. The above listed price may vary on time to time. Manoj Prasad is the main key person who owns the Homestay and Bolero and Fooding was prepared by Manoj’s wife, so we did a li’l bit bargaining and was successful to keep the Budget under 5000 INR and for the budget traveler I will recommend Trabee Pocket Travel App which helped me a lot to track all my budget in a single place.
I hope this blog will help you to plan and execute your Bhutan trip successfully within a low budget.
If you have any queries or want me to cover any other places within budget then put your comment, I will try my best to do so.
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