There are some hidden hamlets at the Himalayan foot hills which will surprise you with what it has to offer. Gajoldoba, in the Jalpaiguri District of West Bengal is one such place. It is only 30 kilometers’ drive from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station and 50 kilometers from Bagdogra Airport. It is slowly gaining attention of tourists and the state tourism department is developing the idea.
Let us decipher the secrets behind the popularity of Gajoldoba.
Teesta Barrage and Pakhibitan Sanctuary
Teesta Barrage Project is one of the largest irrigation projects in the entire eastern India. On the East of Gajoldoba flows the River Teesta and River Mahananda flows to its west. The Teesta Barrage has resulted into formation of a huge reservoir. This is the reason why Gajoldoba is bird lovers’ paradise. The foreshore of Teesta Barrage reservoir is a Bird Watching Centre, the Pakhibitan Sanctuary. Varieties of water fowls, teals, geese, mallards, herons, cormorants, kingfishers and many other birds are seen.
Slow boat ride on canoe like boats is a beautiful experience. The boatmen are generally guides and are good enough to spot and tell about the different birds. People interested in bird photography must carry a telephoto lens. November to March is the best time for birding. The weather is cool and comfortable; varying from 5 degrees to 15 degrees centigrade. Thousands of migratory birds flock together during this season from even far across borders. Birds fly from Russia, Mongolia, Siberia, Central Asia, Central Europe and Ladakh.
“Bhorer Alo” Resort
‘Bhorer Alo’ at Gajoldoba is a Mega Tourism Project by the West Bengal Tourism Department. It is situated on the outskirts of Pakhibitan Wild Life Sanctuary and Baikuntapur Forest. The area around is scenic and serene. It is spread over 200 acres. You can have a grand view of the snowcapped Kanchenjunga on a sunny day. One can book their stay at ‘Bhorer Alo’ resort itself. They have an amazing kitchen too. Boroli fish is a local delicacy.
Gajoldoba is surrounded by the Terai forest of the Himalayan foothills of Dooars. This forest is called Baikuntha Forest. One should not be surprised by a sudden encounter with wild elephants here and there around Gajoldoba. This forest is of mythological importance. It is believed that Lord Krishna and his wife Rukmini took refuge here.
Temple of Devi Chowdhurani & Bhabani Pathak
Eminent Indian novelist, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s ‘Devi Chowdhurani’ is still alive here in the minds of the people in Gajoldoba. She was a bandit queen and Bhabani Pathak was her mentor. They led a gang of dacoits who protected the poor villagers from the tyranny of East India Company and the evil zamindars (feudal lords). They even looted them to nourish the poverty stricken villagers. The temple is unique. Here in this temple Goddess Kali is the chief deity. The reason being Devi Chowdhurani used to offer prayers to Goddess Kali. The temple also houses idols of Devi Chowdhurany and Bhabani Pathak. They were revered figures to the poor villagers. I remember how the women of the villages were celebrating the first birthday of someone’s daughter at the temple. We were invited to join them in the dance.
Saraswatipur Tea Estate
Plantation tourism, especially, tea tourism is booming today. I found it extremely refreshing to spend some time amidst the lust tea gardens. Saraswatipur Tea Estate, 3 kilometers from Teesta Barrage provides such wonderful experience. One can even stay at their luxurious resort. Walking or cycling through the narrow lanes of the plantation is rejuvenating.
Shri Bhramari Devi Temple and Bodaganj Forest at Trishrota
On the banks of River Teesta and amidst the Bodaganj forests stands the significant Shakti Peeth, Shri Bhramari Devi Temple. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. It is believed that the left leg of Hindu Goddess Sati fell at this place. The temple complex is simple. It is spread over a neat spot under the shade of Sal, Peepal and Banyan trees. It is at the outskirts of Bodaganj Forest. Bodaganj Eco Tourism Centre is a good place to spend time.
There are many interesting and popular places to see around Gajoldoba. Within 100 kilometers from Gajoldoba one can reach the serene mountains. You can also visit Dooars; the deep forest areas to enjoy the thrill of enchanting wildlife. The lower Himalayas, lust tea gardens, various waterbodies (streams, lakes and rivers) and the forests (Sanctuaries and National Parks) can be experienced together in and around Gajoldoba. The reason for its rising popularity and prominence.
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.