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Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary

Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary
Entrance to Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary

The Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary is among the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in the state of West Bengal. Situated along the Eastern Himalayan foothills, the Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary is extremely close to the Gorumara National Park and could be called its continuation, technically separated only by the Murti River. Chapramari first became a reserve forest in early 1895. Later it came to be known as Chapramari Wildlife Reserve in 1939. Still later the Indian government declared it as Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary in the year 1998. It has a total area of about 10 sq. kms.
The picturesque beauty of this relatively small Wildlife Sanctuary is captivating. With the rivers Murti and Jaldhaka flowing along its sides, the place has become a favourite haunt for nature and wildlife lovers. The name Chapramari seems to have been taken from the term“chapra” which is a variety of fish and “mari” meaning abundant. Thus, though the place is primarily known for its large population of Indian elephants, it has a diverse variety of flora and fauna to enthrall visitors.

Flora and Fauna in Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary

Chapramari Wildlife
Wildlife in Chapramari Forest (Source: flickr)

The Sanctuary is home to numerous species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. This protected area is undoubtedly known for its large population of Indian elephants. But they are also the natural habitat for other animals like gaur, deer, tigers, leopards and boards. Bird watching is a popular activity here with a wide range of avian species including water birds found here. This bird lover’s paradise comes with such exotic species like the green magpie, scarlet minivet, Indian treepie, thrush, white breasted kingfisher, hill mayna, hornbill, adjutant storck, and the large grey headed fishing eagle. Some of the common water birds are the darter & egret, cormorant besides migratory birds like the teal and brahminy.
Watch Tower in the Sanctuary - Chapramari has a single watch tower in front of its glade or open space from where you can get a bird’e eye view of the entire area. Mega herbivores like the gaur (bison) or the elephant is quite common here.

A large part of the Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary is covered with deciduous trees like sal, siris, teak and shishu. It also houses a rich variety of orchids of the genus names Chiloschista, Acampo, Bulbophyllum, Cymbidium, Eria, Dendrobium, Luisia, Gastrochilus and Oberonia. These elegant orchids bloom through different months and are a treat for the eyes.

Best Time to Visit Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary

Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary stays closed during the rainy season from mid-July to mid- September. So the best months to visit the region would be between October to April.

Travelling to Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary

Road connectivity in the Dooars region is excellent. Chapramari can be reached in two hours if you are travelling from Siliguri, one of the most pivotal travelling points in North Bengal. However if you have a love for adventure, you can access it from Jalpaiguri where one has to pass through dense forests of the Batabari range along the way.

Malbazar Railway Station is the nearest railway junction where an intercity express and a training which connects Kolkata stops.  New Jalpaiguri is of course the important station and is situated about 70 km from Chapramari. You can avail private cars or cab from here and drive to the sanctuary is about one and a half hours.

Bagdogra is the nearest airport and about 14 km from Siliguri in West Bengal.

Accommodation near Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary

Jalpaiguri Wildlife Sanctuary
Aranyak Ca-Cur-Badi Resort near Chapramari

The WBFDC Panjhora Camp is the best option to stay in Chapramari. The Forest Inspection Bungalow has 2rooms to accommodate 4 people while there are 4 cottages in the Wilderness Camp to house 8 people. To stay in the Chapramari Inspection Bungalow as well as the Wilderness Camp, you will have to contact: The Divisional Forest Officer, Wildlife Division – II, “Aranya Bhawan”, Jalpaiguri – 735101, Phone + Fax : 03561-220017.

There are accommodation options in W.B.F.D.C Resorts in Murti near Lataguri. Situated along the banks of the Murti River it has both double bedded rooms and dormitory to accommodate visitors.

You can also avail the private resorts near Chapramari and Gorumara National Park such as the Aranyak Ca-Cur-Badi Resort located in Dhupjhora. It has beautiful jungle lodges and eco cottages for tourists and organizes forest tours outside the resort. Some of the facilities offered here include a multi-cuisine restaurant, air conditioner in rooms, generator back up, LCD T.V., car parking, a huge banquet hall, telephone and intercom, security, doctor on call and many others.

So enjoy your stay in Jalpaiguri amidst its charming natural surroundings and watch the extraordinary beauty of its wildlife glide by you!

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