TOURISM: All USPs under one green glade

Reasons enough to visit Gorumara - but do be cautious of Darjeeling, at least for this year ?!!

TOURISM: All USPs under one green glade – in Gorumara while Darjeeling Hills to be conveniently bypassed due to Bengal’s political uncertainty ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, Aug. 25: Gorumara has reworked its tour package, stringing together its USPs like bathing pet elephants, bullock-cart rides and tree house stays for Puja visitors.

This time, tourists can enjoy a comprehensive stay in Gorumara availing themselves of all facilities at one go, unlike in the past when they used to visit the jungle piecemeal, and only on a car safari.

The tourists have the chance to move from one place to another in the forest and can plan their trip. “They can stay at different locations of the national park as well, as we have the sites spread over the area. They can also visit the Nature Interpretation Centre in Lataguri before moving to a select location in Gorumara,” a forester said.

“We will offer an array of facilities to people visiting Gorumara and Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary during the coming Puja,” said Sumita Ghatak, the divisional forest officer (wildlife-II). “Right from basic services like boarding and food, tourists will be offered ride on elephants, can visit watch towers and have a taste of local ethnic culture.”

Bookings have already started and the department is running almost full for the festival season. “With the core forest area reopening on September 15 after three months’ closure, we expect a full house,” Ghatak said.

Those interested in elephant rides can go to Ramsai or Kalipur, both on the fringes of Gorumara.

“In most of these sites, we offer 24-hour package with varying rates, depending on the number of tourists. Those visiting Dhupjhora can book the tree house, which is a unique experience. Also, the chance to help our mahouts in bathing and feeding the pet elephants will be an exclusive opportunity. These factors will definitely pull people from different age groups to Gorumara,” she said. The bullock cart ride from Kalipur to Medla watch tower is another experience. Unlike vehicles that tour the forest, riding a bullock cart can give an exotic feel of rural life.

From each site, the department makes arrangements to take tourists to nearby watch towers like Jatraprasad, Medla, Chandrachur and Eagle in Chapramari. “Most of the visitors can sight wild animals from the watch towers located in ideal locations,” Ghatak said.

The forester, however, asked the tourists not to disturb the environment. “We welcome tourists but will request them that they should not indulge in any act that may affect the ambience of the forest,” Ghatak said.

Travel tips

• Nearest railway station: New Jalpaiguri
• Nearest airport: Bagdogra
• How to reach:
• Cars from NJP/Bagdogra/ Siliguri
• Trains from Siliguri Junction to Chulsa station and then a car to Gorumara (8-9km away)
• Buses from PCM Terminus in Siliguri to Chulsa (two-hour drive)

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