On 24th December 2019, my family and I visited a place called Dooars, which is located in the northern part of West Bengal. We had a bus at 8:10 pm in the evening. We were going by bus since our train was cancelled due to some political issues. We had dinner in the bus itself and then we went to sleep. Next morning we woke up at 8:00 am but since there was no proper break, we had biscuits for breakfast. The bus reached Siliguri depot at 11:00 am. My father had already booked a car but before the driver called us to inform where he was waiting , we already sat in another car thinking it was the one reserved for us. Then there was a whole lot of confusion. We had to take our luggage and move out of that car and go into the right one. After that, we stopped at a place called Gajoldoba to have our lunch. After one and a half hours, we reached our destination, Murti Tourist Lodge. Since we were supposed to come by train, we had planned to go for Gorumara Jeep Safari in the afternoon, but now there was no time left to do so. My father suddenly entered our room and told me and my mother to get ready in ten minutes as we were going for the evening safari.
We fell in time pressure and unfortunately we were unable to take a bath that day. On our way to Gorumara National Park, we were feeling very cold as the driver was driving the jeep very fast. My father, who was not carrying any muffler or something to cover his ears, was feeling colder than all of us. On the way, we saw a shop where many things were being sold. My father got down of the car and went to that shop to buy a woolen cap. I saw that some showpieces were being displayed in that shop. Immediately, I got down the car and went with my father to buy some of those showpieces for my friends. We again resumed our journey to the forest after that. As soon as we entered the forest, I began feeling extremely excited and thrilled. I half-expected to see a leopard jumping out at me any moment. It was a dense forest and a little scary. Suddenly we saw a bison running into the forest. I clicked its pictures but they were a little hazy as the bison was running at full speed. Other than this, we only got to see a few peacocks and nothing else. We had hoped to see a rhinoceros also as this forest is famous for that. We came back to our lodge at 4:30 pm and then took some rest. In the evening my father and I played ludo and after that, me, my father and mother watched a movie in the phone. Afterwards we went to have dinner and then we went to sleep.
Next morning we set out for sightseeing. We went to the Jaldhaka river in Jhalon, Paren, Bindu, Samsing, Rocky Island, Chalsa View Point and Laliguras and all these places were very beautiful. On our way to Jhalon, we also saw a huge and very peculiar structure, known in that area as Apple Stone. While we were sightseeing, we had chicken momo for lunch at a roadside restaurant, and it was really horrible with several chicken bones in it. In the evening, we returned to our lodge and spent our time by watching TV. Next morning at 9:00am we set out for Jaldapara. On our way, we visited Cooch Bihar, wherewe saw the Cooch Bihar Rajbari, Madanmohan Temple and Sagardighi. The Cooch Bihar Rajbari was very beautiful and took us back to history, when the kings used to rule over our country. Over there, we saw many ancient objects like dresses, armchairs, letters, crowns, etc. I was very thrilled as I was being able to relate all these things with the history chapter we were being taught in school a few days ago. The Madanmohan Temple as the name suggests, was a beautiful temple. The Sagardighi was a small lake; there was nothing much to see in it. Again, we had our lunch in a roadside restaurant, as we had not yet reached Jaldapara. We entered Jaldapara Tourist Lodge at 2:00pm. The room in which we were staying was extraordinarily big and beautiful. It was just as if earlier it was the staying place for kings and queens. There were two TVs in two rooms, the bed was very big, there were two ACs, and there was also a very big bath tub in the washroom. I was extremely excited to stay over here. In the evening, my mother and I stayed in the hotel only because it was very cold outside. My father went to the ticket counter as he had to book three tickets for the morning safari of Jaldapara National Park for the next day.
Next morning, we woke up at 5:00am as our safari was supposed to start at 6:00am, and we went to the spot from where the jeep was supposed to pick us up. As soon as we entered the Jaldapara National Park, we again saw a bison, but this time I couldn’t click its picture. There was a very thick fog in the forest and that is why we were not being able to see anything very clearly. Our driver told us that leopards were also found in this forest. When the speed of f the car slowed down a bit (as the road was full of rocks), I saw something I the mist, which ran away as soon as the jeep came in sight. Nobody believed me but I’m sure that I had seen a leopard, next, we stopped at a watch tower in the forest itself from where we could get a good view of the forest. At a distance, my dad and I saw a rhinoceros (Jaldapara is famous for one-horned rhinoceros), but the fog was so thick that my mother could not see it. After we resumed our safari once again, our guide told us that he would let the jeeps of the other tourists pass by at first but he did not tell us the reason behind it. After some time, suddenly the jeep in front of us stopped and we came to know that another rhinoceros was standing in the forest. However, that jeep soon passed by and we, being the last jeep, stood over there for a long time. After waiting patiently for nearly forty-five minutes, at last we saw that the rhinoceros slowly came forward. This is the first time I saw a one-horned rhinoceros and I was really spellbound.
After looking at the rhino and all its features very carefully, we resumed our journey. Before ending our safari, we got to see a baby dear and two kites. Later that day, we went for sightseeing to Phuentsholing, which is a monastery in Bhutan. We also went to the ‘Gharial Breeding Centre’ over there, where we saw three spectacular species of crocodile. Although they were unique, I didn’t like them at all. On our way we bought a box of delicious Bhutan chocolates. After finishing the sightseeing, when we were returning to India from Bhutan, we faced a very heavy traffic on our way. We passed through a dense forest known as the Bauxa Forest. We had our lunch in a restaurant beside the Jayanti river. We had heard that the Jayanti river was very beautiful during the monsoon season, but since we had gone there during winter, all the water in the river was dried up and we couldn’t even get a trace of the beautiful blue water that we had seen in images. After lunch, we went to a nearby museum which was based on the animal kingdom, with the fetus of dead animal babies like elephants. They were very cute. We also saw different species f insects and some samples. It was the best museum I have ever gone to. After we returned, we started packing our bags as we were going to return the next day. On 29th December, our train was scheduled to come at 8:00pm at NJP. Thankfully this train wasn’t cancelled. We thought of spending our whole day at Gajoldoba, from where we could see the River Teesta. We did boating over there, had lunch, roamed around the place and felt exactly like we had come to a picnic. By 4:30pm we had packed up and set out for NJP. We entered NJP at about 5:30pm and we waited over there for two and a half hours. My father bought sandwiches and beverages for dinner. At last the train arrived and next morning we reached Sealdah station at 6:00am and went home by a taxi.
I observed that it was colder in Kolkata than in Dooars. This was my first trip to a forest and I really loved its pleasant environment. I feel that Dooars displays Mother Nature at her best.
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