General Information About Chapramari
Chapramari is essentially an extension of Gorumara National Park - the two are actually divided by the Murti river. In fact, Chapramari is bounded on its west by Murti river and on its east side by Jaldhaka river. Although this is a relatively small forest (about 10 square kms in an area), it's one of the oldest in Dooars. In 1895 it was first recognized as a forest reserve due to its diversity in flora & fauna. Subsequently, in 1998 it became a wildlife sanctuary. The name Chapramari originated from a type of fish (known as 'Chopra') that are found in abundance here ('mari').
Once you reach Chalsa and move towards Nagrakata along the National Highway #17, the forests that you see after crossing Murti river on both sides of the road (for a stretch of about 7kms till Jaldhaka river) is Chapramari. Most tourists who visit Gorumara National Park, also visit Chapramari Watchtower. Access to Chapramari is easier if you are staying at Murti village area or at Lataguri.
Wildlife & Birds
Like in Gorumara, you can see a wide range of wildlife at Chapramari.... elephants, gaurs (i.e. Indian bison), leopards, different types of deer including spotted deer, chital, sambar and barking deer, wild boars etc are common sightings here. You can even see one-horned rhinos if you are lucky.
And there are many different kinds of birds at Chapramari... you can spot mynas, scarlet minivets, green magpie, Indian treepie, thrush, white-breasted kingfisher, adjutant stork etc. Around the water bodies and along the river banks you can often see egrets, darters, large & little cormorants etc. In a migratory category, you can see Brahmini ducks, teals etc. There are many flowering orchids that you can see in the forests at different times of the year.
Best time to visit
November to March is the best time to visit Chapramari forest... this is the winter time, weather is very pleasant and a possibility of animal sighting is high particularly early in the mornings and late afternoons. Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary remains closed between June 16 to September 15 because of the monsoon and this time being the animal breeding season.
Jungle Safari & Watchtower Visit
Jeep safaris are offered by the forest department to visit Chapramari Watchtower and experience the forest and its wildlife. You need to get an entry permit, pay for the guide and the vehicle (which is an open Maruti Gypsy) to visit the watchtower. We had our rooms booked in WBFDC Banani Lodge at Murti. Since the lodge is run by the forest department, a big advantage here is they arrange the safari for you including entry permit, guide and vehicle (not just for Chapramari, but Gorumara safari & watchtower visits as well). The Jeep would pick you up and drop you at the lodge.
Nearby places of tourist interest
Further North of Chapramari is the Bhutan – Dooars border villages of Jaldhaka, Paren, Bindu and Jhalong. The area has gained in prominence as a tourist destination and can be visited from Chapramari within an hour. You can also visit the beautiful tea gardens of Jiti and Hila above Nagrakata.
Gorumara in the South is easily accessible. Gorumara offers a large number of forest visit options and attracts the largest number of tourists in the Dooars.
Further east from Chapramari is Jaldapara forest about an hours drive (58 kms) from here.
To reach Chapramari Wilderness Camp by Road: Located on the National Highway 31 at a distance 65km from Siliguri visitors can reach Chapramari Wilderness Camp can be reached by taking the following mean of public transportation like North Bengal State Transport Corporation Buses, Bhutan Govt. Buses, Mini Buses and Private Buses are available from Siliguri to Chalsa and Lataguri. Visitors can also hire a car to cover the 2hrs journey to reach Chapramari Wilderness Camp.
By rail: The closest railway station from Chapramari Wilderness Camp is the railway station in Chalsa. But most of the travelers prefer to board a train for New Mal Junction due to its connectivity. The distance between New Mal Junction to Chapramari Wilderness Camp Panjhora is 15km. This distance can be covered by renting a car from New Mal Junction.
By air: Nearest airport is Bagdogra. It is a domestic airport under the Indian Army. All major air services are available from all over India. Distance between Bagdogra and Chapramari Forest Bungalow is 79 km. Visitors may hire a car to reach Chapramari Wilderness Camp from Bagdogra as it is the most convenient method.
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