Great Himalayan Drive Day 22: Crossing into India, and discovering Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal

Image of a deer taken at the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal

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I finally crossed back into India after three weeks in Nepal as a part of the Great Himalayan Drive; I had entered the country on its western border and came out from the west into India’s North-East. The plan was to keep driving till the Himalayan roads ended in Arunachal Pradesh – a long journey requiring multiple night halts. The first of these happened at the Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary.

I never knew of this forest’s existence until I started asking around for a place to spend the night. Seems like it is quite a popular destination especially amongst Bengali travellers – the two Government run lodges were both full up. But I was lucky to get a room in the Hollong Lodge, located deep inside the forest – the management usually keep a room free should a last-minute VIP land up. My luck no one ‘important’ was passing that day. It turned out to be a gem of a property – will write about it later for sure.

The stay was only for a night – I had leave the following morning for Manas National Park in Assam. But it gave me enough time to explore the sanctuary a bit. Some things of note:

* At night, the authorities leave mounds of salt for animals like the bisons; these animals need their intake of salt just like we humans do.
* Managed an elephant safari lasting an hour early morning. The elephants were look quite under-nourished though despite the abundance of natural grass and other foods to eat. The guides did show us some varieties of deer, a rhino and some peacocks – but the ride was too rushed to get any good pictures.
* Interestingly, I was asked to park my car inside the garage at night – lest any passing by wild elephants damage it.

The sanctuary has lots more to offer – as you can see in the images attached – but like for any wildlife spotting, one needs to set aside time and be patient. Next time for sure.



  1. Is this place near Tibet? Have you been to Tibet? That’s a amazing place, the sky is so blue and pure, air is quiet clean.


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