Dooars refers to the foothills of the Himalaya in North Bengal. The vast undulating plains is famous for its forests, wild life, multiplicity of ethnic groups and natural scenic beauty. The region is also famous as one of the largest tea producing area in the world.
The Dooars originates from the word “Duar” which in local languages such as Assamese, Bengali and Rajbanshi mean Door. The region is considered gateway to Bhutan and the entire North East.
The most common tourist destinations in Dooars include the Gorumara National Park in Western Dooars and Jaldapara Wild Life Sanctuary in Central Dooars area. The Jaldapara WLS is famous for one horned rhinos. There is an elephant ride and jeep safari that takes tourists inside the forest. Jaldapara is also one of the earliest wild life tourism destinations of North East. Gorumara on the other hand came into prominence only during the last couple of decades. The sighting of wild life such as Elephants, Gaur (Indian Bison) etc is quite common here. The Gorumara and its surrounding area also have the largest number of accommodation options among the forests of Dooars.
Apart from the two major forests a travel agent can send its guests to a number of small hamlets that have come up strongly as offbeat tourist destinations in Dooars. The Buxa Tiger reserve in the easternmost part of Dooars is one of the largest forests in the area is also quite close to Manas National Park of Assam, Bhutan is also adjacent. Even within Buxa you can choose from a number of destination options such as Raimatang, Jayanti, Buxa fort, Lepchakha and several other places. The common entry point to Bhutan from India known as Jaigaon, is also in this area.
The other destinations in Eastern Dooars include Coochbehar town, Nal Kings fort, the Rasikbil etc.
The Western Dooars offers a number of smaller tourist destinations. Jhalong – Bindu area close to the Bhutan boarder is an attractive option. These places can be visited as part of a day tour or a travel agent may accommodate its guests in one of the smaller lodges in the area.
Across the river Murti lies another tourist destination Samsing, which is famous for its tea gardens, beautiful river and proximity to Neora Valley National Park. Other tourist destinations in Dooars such as Gajaldoba, Odlabari and Malbazar is still in a formative stage.
Combining with other circuits
Although Dooars can well be a destination of its own, its central location makes it an attractive proposition for tour operators to combine Dooars with other neighboring tourist circuits.
Dooars tour can be nicely clubbed with a tour to Bhutan. Almost tourists traveling to Bhutan by road has to travel through Dooars. Hence a Dooars – Bhutan package combination works very well.
Darjeeling and Sikkim is also in close proximity. Tour combining Darjeeling with Dooars is quite common. Specially the Kalimpong area of Darjeeling hills can be easily combined with Dooars as the travel time between these places is quite less.
Dooars tour can also be combined with a tour to Assam, especially to Manas.
Typical Tour Duration in Dooars
Typical Duration of a tour to Dooars would be between 5 to 8 nights. Tripsy organizes weekend trips to Dooars on a regular basis for people from neighboring area such as Siliguri and Kolkata. Some of the longer duration tours, especially of special interest groups may continue for a fortnight or even longer.
The New Jalpaiguri Rail Station is the most important rail junction in North East, any place in Dooars can be reached within a drive time of 30 minutes to four hours from this station. All trains traveling to North East passes through the Dooars and there are a few dozens of other railway stations of lesser significance in Dooars.
The only airport in the area is Bagdogra. Coochbehar town also has a smaller airport although flights there are quite irregular as of date.
The road network in Dooars is very strong with National Highway 31 being the most important road with several branches fanning out in all directions. There are two main roads in Dooars that connect Siliguri Town with Alipurduar, one traveling through the immediate foothills of Himalaya and the other traveling through Jalpaiguri town. Local travel within Dooars is mostly through these all terrain road network.