Rajabhatkhawa

If you wish to experience the idyllic mix of village and wild life in the Dooars of North Bengal, India, this is a place you must visit. Rajabhatkhawa, just 17 kms from Alipurduar is the gateway to Buxa Tiger Reserve. Entry to Rajabhatkhawa does not require any special permit, as it is on the fringes the main Buxa forest. Entry to forests nearby and beyond Rajabhatkhawa requires registration and entry fee at the forest check post.

Rajabhatkhawa is a small town famous for its natural beauty and local cultural diversity. This area is fed by rivers Raidak and Jayanti. The territory here is of dense, dark forests with endless nature trails where you can hear and see a variety of flora and fauna.

Many areas in Buxa Tiger Reserve are not open to tourists or have restricted access based on latest forest department regulation. Do check for them before you undertake any tourist activity here.

 

Things to do at Rajabhatkhawa

Jeep Safaris in Buxa Tiger Reserve are most common here. They take you deep into the forest. You can also enjoy a day’s jungle safari by boat at Sikiajhora. This is a thrilling experience and the boat ride is totally organized by the woman self help group of the area. You will never forget their local music bhaoiya, as they swing you on their boats.

Bird watching is another popular activity here and birdwatchers can even spot some rare species of resident as well as migratory birds. Short treks and village walks are few other activities to be enjoyed here. Some popular treks include the 5 km long Santlabari to Buxa Fort trek, the Rover’s Point trek and further to the scenic Rupam Valley in Bhutan.

Buxadar to Jayanti another very popular 13 km trail via thick forest of Buxa Tiger Reserve. Here you can visit and ancient stalactite cave, the Mahakal Cave. You can also visit the surrounding areas like Chilapata, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Raimatang, Lepchakha, Hatipota and more.

 

Rajabhatkhawa sightseeing

You can visit the Jayanti riverbed which is 16 kms through forest road from Rajabhatkhawa. Sikiajhora picnic spot near Panialguri is about half-an-hour drive from Rajabhatkhawa. Here you can find a small dam and a watchtower. The Nature interpretation center of Rajabhatkhawa showcases the natural flora and fauna of the area. Another 10 kms from Sikiajhora is the River Poro. This place is known for its jute handicraft made by the women of the self-help groups here. The river banks of Jayanti surrounded by the lush Jayanti Hills and a village of the same name is also located close by. You can also get to see the Bhutan hills on the other side. Bhutan boarder is about 30 kms and can be a day trip.

Jaldapara forests can be reached by an hour’s drive from Rajabhatkhawa. The Mahakal Cave in Bhutan but it is not restricted to Indian tourists. The adventure starts when you have to cross Jayanti River by foot to reach the cave, so it is best to have a guide with you. Tourists are not allowed during the monsoons. The cave is rich in stalactites and stalagmites.

The Narathali Lake is a natural lake right in the middle of the Buxa forest and is a bird watchers’ haven. Before you visit, be aware of the latest rules of visiting this lake issued by the Forest Department. Generally, it is open to tourists mostly during winters. Pukhuri Hill near Jayanti perched on a hill top teeming with fish and turtles is a trek through green Sal forests and rock beds. You need to also check the permit regulations to the Pukhuri hill.

Of course Buxa Tiger Reserve is a place you must visit from here. It is famous for its ruined Fort, wild elephants, leopards, tigers, bisons and its variety of other wildlife. All necessary entry permits to this reserve are issued from Rajabhatkhawa Nature Interpretation Centre.

 

How to reach Rajabhatkhawa

Alipurduar Railway Station, just 17 kms away is the nearest railhead of Rajabhatkhawa. You will get vehicles at regular intervals from Alipurduar Station. Taxis are more regular than buses. New Jalpaiguri Railway Station is 115 kms from Rajabhatkhawa. Private vehicles are easily available from here.

Rajabhatkhawa also has a railway station of its own on the New Jalpaiguri-Alipurduar-Samuktala route but trains are a bit rare. You can also take the road. National Highway 31C passes through Rajabhatkhawa. You can travel from Hasimara through Hamiltonganj and Kalchini to reach here. If you are travelling from Eastern Dooars, this is the fastest option.

Then there are routes that connect Rajabhatkhawa to the interiors of Buxa forest.

 

Best time to visit Rajabhatkhawa

You can visit Rajabhatkhawa any time of the year but the forests remain closed from mid-June to mid-September.

 

Homestay accommodation at Rajabhatkhawa

LOCATION: In village

FACILITIES: Garden, Gazebo, Parking, Campfire arrangement, Driver’s accommodation, Attached western bathroom, Geyser,  Dining Hall.

ROOM TYPES: Double Bed rooms.