The Dooars or Duars
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 forms the only nitrate-rich plain in India.
The name ‘Dooars’ is derived from ‘doors’ or ‘Dwar’ as the region is the gateway to north-east India and Bhutan. There are said to be 18 gates or Dwars from Dooars to Bhutan. Many of which are still actively used. All road connections of Bhutan with India are through the Dooars region.
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.
Dooars comprises of several towns and districts in this region including Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar , Darjeeling, Siliguri, etc. Geographically, Dooars is blessed with such brilliance in its relief, imagine, the mighty range of mountains of the Eastern Himalayas in the backdrop, a band of thick forests, rich in species of Flora and Fauna, continued with tea gardens, and cut here and there by water body. Somewhere in the middle of all this is Dooars. The gateway you wouldn’t want to cross heartlessly.
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 an employer of a number of people. The timber industry flourishes in this region. A number of sawmills, plywood industries and other allied business also act as an important contributor to the economy.
Dooars act as a doorway to Bhutan; thus, the export-import industry also flourishes in the area. The towns of Jaigaon, Siliguri, Alipurduar and Phuntsholing are important hubs of the export-import industry.
Laying in the Himalayan foothills, Dooars has great natural beauty. The wildlife-rich tropical forests, innumerable hill streams cutting across the green carpet of tea gardens and undulating plains, low hills rising up from the rivers. A drive through the Dooars plains, the gateway of Bhutan and the entire North East of India can be the experience of a lifetime.