ï»¿The Chilapata Forest is a dense forest located near Jaldapara National Park in Dooars, Alipurduar district near Siliguri in West Bengal. The place was known to be prone for dacoity (banditry) but now is safe for tourists. It is located at a distance of 165 kms from Siliguri.
The Chilapata Forest is rich in wildlife and forms an elephant corridor between Jaldapara National Park and Buxa Tiger Reserve. New species are still being unveiled here. The forest used to house many populations of Rhinoceros but are rarely seen now-a-days. Leopards are common in the area. Other species which can be seen in the forest include peacock, cheetah, sambhar, wild boar, barking deer, monkeys and bisons. The forest is a home to more than 175 types of birds, 22 species of reptiles and many ore wild animals. Many tribes including Munda, Rajbongshi and Rabha have made the forest there home. The Jaldapara National Park and Chilapata Forest are seperated by the river Torsha which flows west of Chilapata Forest and east of Jaldapara National Park. The river Torsha enhances the beauty of the green and clean Chilapata Forest with its scenic view. The visit to the forest is approved by the forest department along with a suitable guide.
One of the main attractions here include the âNalraja Garhâ or the âFort of Nal Kingsâ. it was built in 5th century (Gupta period), the Golden Age of India. The fort is not well-maintained but still has been of great interest to the archaeological department. The other activities include Tonga rides through Mathura Tea Gardens and boating on the Bania river. Jeep safaris are also available twice a day â once in the morning 5:00 AM and the other afternoon 3:00 PM. The safari is arranged towards Mendabari watch tower and Kodalbasti forest. It takes about two hours to explore the entire forest. The native people welcome or bid farewell to the tourists by performing Rabha folk dance. Tourists can visit both the Buxa and Jaldapara forests. The Chilapata Jungle Camp is a major abode for the people who appreciate an educative, peaceful and inspiring experience with the nature and culture. Along with the cement concrete cottages (Elephant cottages), the traditional and eco-friendly bamboo cottages are also built replicarting the forest architectural design of indegenous tribal houses.
A government resort at Kodalbasti run by the West Bengal State Forest Department Agency (WBSFDA) provides basic accomodation to the tourists and visitors. The cottages are spacious and clean. The nearest railway station is at Alipurduar from where taxi or cab can be hired directly to the Chilapata Forest. Best time to visit the forest is during summer and winter (from October to May) as the forest area remains dry and cool. The rainy season makes travel through forest messy.