The Dooars or Duars are the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in North-East India around Bhutan. Duar means ‘door’ and the region forms the gateway to Bhutan from India. There are 18 passages or gateways through which the Bhutanese people can communicate with the people living in the plains. This region is divided by the Sankosh River into the Eastern and the Western Dooars. The Western Dooars is known as the Bengal Dooars and the Eastern Dooars as the Assam Dooars. Dooars is synonymous with the term Terai used in Nepal and northern India and form the only nitrate rich plain in India.
The Dooars region politically constitutes the plains of Darjeeling Himalayas, the whole of Jalpaiguri district and Alipurduar district. The altitude of Dooars area ranges from 90 to 1,750 m. Innumerable streams and rivers flow through these fertile plains from the mountains of Bhutan. The major river is the Teesta besides many others like the Jaldhaka, Murti, Torsa, Sankosh, Dyna, Karatoya, Raidak, and Kaljani rivers, among others. Monsoon generally starts from the middle of May and continues till the end of September. Winters are cold with foggy mornings and nights. Summer is mild and constitutes a very short period of the year. Dooars is the ideal place in Bengal for monsoon travelling.
The economy of Dooars is based on three “T”s – Tea, Tourism and Timber. The main industry of the Dooars region is the tea industry. Thousands of people are engaged in the tea estates and factories. Several people are also engaged in the cultivation of betel nuts which contributes to the economy. Cultivation of other crops is done mainly for local consumption.
The area is dotted by several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries which attract a lot of tourists from all over India and abroad, making it an important contributor to the economy and also employer of a number of people. The timber industry, flourishes in this region. A number of saw mills, plywood industries and other allied business also act as an important contributor to the economy.
Dooars act as a doorway to Bhutan; thus, export-import industry also flourishes in the area. The towns of Jaigaon, Siliguri and Phuntsholing are important hubs of the export-import industry.
Jayanti is a small forest village within Buxa Tiger Reserve in Alipurduar district of West Bengal, India. It is located along the Jayanti River, forming a natural border with the Bhutan hills. It is popular with hikers for its beautiful views of the surrounding landscape and wild fountains.
Bhutanghat is situated nearly 45 km from Alipurduar and 218 km from Siliguri in West Bengal, India. It is approachable from Siliguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar by railway and roadways. Known for its scenic beauty it is ideal for leisure holiday and angling. Strategically located near the border with Bhutan the region is blessed by the scenic beauty and the swift flowing River Raidak. There is a beautiful forest bungalow built in 1904 close to the River bank and is best to stay is during monsoon or just after the rains. It is located in a mountainous terrain, flanked by hills covered with luxurious green forests. It also serves as the elephant corridor and is an attractive destination for wildlife lovers. It is only an extension of or is a part of the Buxar Tiger Reserve. West Bengal Forest Development Corporation has resort but with basic facilities only. Winters are cold with foggy mornings and nights. Summer is mild and constitutes of a very short period of the year; hence the climate is always conducive to tourism. Endangered species of animals like tiger, rhinoceros, elephant, make their habitats in the forests other animals include different types of deer, bison, birds and reptiles. Bhutan Ghat is well connected by roads and to rest of India and national highway number 31 is the main highway of the area.
At a distance of 55 km from Siliguri and 65 km from Jalpaiguri, Malbazar is one of the most important towns in Dooars. The town is strategically located on the NH31 providing close access to major tourist attractions around. The town itself does not have much to offer to the tourists except for the beautiful Mal Park. If you are planning to visit Eastern Dooars, Gorumara National Park, Chapramari Wild Life Sanctuary, Gorubathan, Jhalong, Bindu, Samsing, Suntalekhola; Malbazar can easily be your base. Kumlai is a famous picnic spot of Malbazar. The Siliguri – Alipurduar broadgauge inter city express passes through Malbazar. This is one of the most beautiful train rides anywhere. The train passes through some of the best forests of the region. Unfortunately accidents on this line are not uncommon leading to death of wildlife, mainly elephants. Malbazar is the most important town in Western Dooars area. All the tourist destinations of Western Dooars can be accessed from Malbazar within a drive of an hour or less. The town itself does not offer many tourist attractions. Mal Udyan next to the Malbazar Tourist Lodge is worth a visit. There are large numbers of tea gardens in and around Malbazar that can also be visited by tourists. The town has large population of Bengali community. There are substantial populations of Adivashis working in the Tea gardens around, Rajbanshis, the original inhabitants of the area as well as migrant Nepali, Bihari and other communities constitute the rest of the population. Tea is the backbone of the economy of Dooars including that of Malbazar.
Teesta Barrage (57 km from Siliguri) is emerging and being developed as a tourist attraction.The Teesta Barrage has been built at Doani in Lalmonirhat with an ambitious objective to bring 750,000ha of land under irrigation command area with net irrigation area of 540,000 hectares to augment agri production. It is spread over 12 upazilas — Nilphamari, Dimla, Jaldhaka, Kishoreganj, Saidpur, Rangpur, Taraganj, Badarganj, Gangachara, Parbatipur, Chirirbandar and Khanshama. The project included construction of a barrage, flood embankment, flood bypass, silt trap, main canal and part of canal system with improvement of existing drainage canal. Although the implementation of the project started in 1960, the actual construction of the barrage was taken up in 1979 and that of canal system in 1984-85. The first phase of the barrage has been completed in June, 1998 and the cost incurred is Tk. 9695.29 million.
Buxa Fort (About 30 km from Alipurduar), famous for the ruins of the Detention Camp used by the British Government for detaining freedom fighters of our country.
Buxa Fort is located at an altitude of 867 meters in the Buxa Tiger Reserve, Alipurduar. Buxa fort is about 30 km from Alipurduar town and about 18 km from Rajabhatkhawa. From Rajabhatkhawa, you have to enter the forest and drive for about 14 km to reach Suntalabari. From here a trek of about 4 km will take you to the fort.
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary
Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary is habitats of the rare one-horned rhinoceros, the mighty bison, leopard, spotted deer, sambar, hog deer, reptiles, huge wild tuskers, wild boars, and the rarest variety of birds, including peacocks. Elephant riding through the Jaldapara forest in search of wild animals, particularly the one-horned rhinos, is specially popular among tourists. Other places of attraction in and around the region include Jayanti, (30 km from Alipurduar) is a beautiful spot.
Gorumara watch tower
Jeep Safaris and Watch Towers visit are the most demanding as well as interesting part while visiting Gorumara. Tourists enjoy watch tower visits and jungle safaris by jeep to have a better chances to see wild life and feel the jungle.
Chuk-Chuki watch tower
Chukchuki Watch Tower also called Chukchuki Birding Point is located inside the Gorumara National Park. It is an ideal destination for bird watches where different spices of birds seen here. The Chuckchuki Watch Tower is situated towards the end of the park which provides perfect view of birds.
Chapramari watch tower
This tower has a water body and some salt licks where animals come to graze and drink water.Tourists enjoy watch tower visits and jungle safaris by jeep to have a better chances to see wild life and feel the jungle.
Khunia watch tower
Khunia watch tower in Gorumara is a good place to spot wild animals. One has to avail a jeep safari to reach this point inside the jungle.
Medal watch tower
It is one of the famous watch towers near Ramsai from where tourist can view lots of ravishing activities and the natural extreme beauty of the place. Tourist visiting Medla tower is completely new experience as they have to go there on bullock carts.