Buxa Tiger Reserve

If you want a glimpse of Bengal and Bhutan together this is the place to be in: Buxa Tiger Reserve, set up in 1983.

It is a 760-square-kilometre reserve in the Buxa National Park, West Bengal, India. As the name suggests it is flanked by Buxa, the southern hill-scape of Bhutan. Its northern boundary runs along the international border with Bhutan.

In 1986, Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary spread over more than 300 square kilometers of the Reserve forests. In the year 1991, around 55 square kilometers area was added to it. A year later, the Government declared to constitute a National Park over 117 square kilometers of the Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary.



Landscape of Buxa Tiger Reserve

Buxa Tiger Reserve is in Jalpaiguri district of the Himalayan foothills. It has mix of a fertile savannah vegetation and reverine Terai eco system with many tea gardens.

It is marked by the National Highway No.31 C, Buxa-Jainti Hills, the Rohabal ridge, Sinchula hill range, Sankis River, Jainti River and other smaller rivers as well.

This is an alluvial floodplain strewn with a mix of pebbles, hill boulders, river clay and sand. You will find slate, quartzite and dolomite, carbonaceous shale, coal deposits, phyllites, schist and limestone here.

You also have Phipsu Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan, Manas National Park, the Chilapata Forests nearby. The reserve encompasses as many as 8 forest types.



Fauna at Buxa Tiger Reserve

Buxa is home to birds, mammals, snakes and amphibians. Main animals are Asian elephant, tiger, gaur, wild boar and sambar, bears, civets, squirrel, chital, clouded leopard, wild buffalo, antelope and python.

This reserve also has a good number of fish species. There are over 230 species of birds, include migrant as well as resident species. Not to miss the big number of butterflies.

The Himalayan griffon, beautiful Nutuch, four different varieties of hornbill and the red brested Himalayan partridge are most common here. Raidak and Jayanti Rivers and Narathali Lake witness migratory and endemic birds: greater pied hornbill, ibisbill, migratory goosander, red-stars, wagtails, the rare black necked crane, migratory common teal, black stork, large whistling teal, minivets, and ferruginous pochards.

The peafowl Pavo cristatus, Red Jungle Fowl Gallus gallus and the Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis, the Black Stork, rare Ashy Minivet some others.

Endangered species include the Indian tiger, Asian elephant, leopard cat, Bengal florican, regal python, Chinese pangolin, hispid hare, Hog deer lesser adjutant, white-rumped vulture, slender-billed vulture, chestnut-breasted partridge, rufous necked hornbill, ferruginous pochard and great hornbill, clouded leopard, wild dog, pangolin, Himalayan black bear. Two new species of frog were discovered in the park in 2006.



Flora at Buxa Tiger Reserve

More than 400 species of trees, 250 species of shrubs, 400 species of herbs, 9 species of cane, 10 species of bamboo, 150 species of orchids, 100 species of grass and 130 species of aquatic flora including more than 70 sedges (Cyperaceae) have been identified so far. There are more than 160 species of other monocotyledons and ferns. The main trees are sal, champa, gamar, simul and chikrasi.
Tall grasses are also very common as also many Sal trees.



Things to do at Buxa Tiger Reserve

It takes around 1 hour (3.9 km) to trek Buxa from Santhalbari.
Expert guides and entry permit are must for trekking in Buxa hills. There are many other trekking routes to different points.

  • Additional 4 km to Rovers’ Point or Romitey Dara, birds watchers paradise at 4500 ft.
  • 13 km trek route is via Mahakal Cave (stalactite-stalagmite rich) and dense forests (subjected to permission from B.T.R.) reaches Jayanti.
  • Most common: “Pagsamkha Path Trek”, starting from Buxa Fort via Aadma to Raimatung.
  • 1.5 hours trek to village called Lapchakha from Buxa Fort.
  • Another entry point Rajabhatkhawa (17 km from Alipurduar) has an orchidarium, and a Nature Interpretation Center.
  • 8 hrs tough trek from Buxaduar via Chunabhati-Adma to Raimatang. Can make it as a 3-day comfortable trek with local guides providing tents and other materials to stay.
  • Trek to “Pukri Mai”, a small sacred pond.


Park safari at Buxa Tiger Reserve

If you prefer not to trek by foot, you can have a park safari by car or jeep with permits from the Forest Office at Rajabhatkhawa or Jayanti.

Festivals are many: Buddhist, Hindu and of the locals like Dukpas, the ancient ethnic group among the other inhabitants of Buxa Tiger Reserve.



Things to see at Buxa Tiger Reserve

Historic Buxa Fort: The fort is 2600 feet above m.s.l. It was a detention camp for freedom fighters during the Indian freedom movement. Ironically after independence, it was refugee camp for Tibetans and Bangladeshis.

Sacred temple, Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga: Around 10,000 devotees of Lord Shiva offer their prayers here during Shiva Chouturdoshi.



How to reach Buxa Tiger Reserve

Coochbehar, 25 km. away is the nearest airport and Bagdogra – 195 km away.
Rail Station: Alipurduar Junction / New Alipurduar – 37 km
Nearest Town/ City: Alipurduar – 35 km
By Road: NH 31 is 25 km away. Hire a car from Alipurduar or Rajabhatkhawa, 20 km away. Buxa is connected by road to Siliguri, 187 km. away. Bus service from Calcutta to Alipurduar (723 km.)



Special attractions of Buxa Tiger Reserve

  1. Pokhri Lake is a popular site for rare wildlife vists.
  2. The Rydak and Jainti rivers are a favourite site of rare species as well.
  3. The Narathali Lake attracts migrant species.



Accommodation available near Buxa Tiger Reserve