Location: 10 kms from Alipurduar town, Jalpaiguri District, West Bengal
Total Area: 759 Sq. Kms.
Best time to visit: The forests remain closed for visitors between 15th June and 15th September. Rest of the year is suitable for visit. Post monsoon months between October and January witness the highest tourist movement.
Main attractions: Although the Royal Bengal Tiger is what the forests name proclaim to reserve, The elusive tiger is almost impossible to sight. It is the forests, people, nature and history that brings travellers to Buxa.
With an area of 759 Sq. Kms the Buxa Tiger Reserve was established in the year of 1982-83 to save one of the most endangered and beautiful animal species, The Royal Bengal Tiger. The park is located at the north eastern corner of Dooars plains of North Bengal bordering Bhutan and Assam. The core area of 315 sq.kms around the Buxa Duar Fort was declared a National Park in January 1992.
The forests of Buxa Tiger reserve spreads from the flood plains of Dooars to altitude of several thousand feet on the hills boardering Bhutan. The Buxa fort, a prime attraction for tourists is located at an altitude of about 2600 ft above sea level. Buxa mainly comprises of deciduous forests, which are densely wooded and is home to some of Bengal's most varied flora and fauna.
The tropical rain forests having an annual rainfall exceeding 5000mm has 150 species of plants and a variety of creepers, grasses, bamboo and cane along with some rare species of orchids. Trees like Teak, Sal, Simul, Sishu are found in great numbers. Because of its wilderness and difficult terrain most part of Buxa still remains unexplored. So far 67 species of mammals, including 23 endangered ones and 36 species of reptiles have been recorded in Buxa. The most important animal here is the Royal Bengal tiger.
The reserve has the second largest population of tiger in West Bengal after Sunderbans. Besides tiger, leopard, elephants, bears, civets, giant squirrel, Gaur, Chital, clouded leopard, wild Buffaloes, antelope and snakes including the regal Python are found here. About 230 species of birds and innumerable butterflies add colour to the forest. The rivers of Raidak and Jayanti which flow through the forest and the Narathali lake are home to migratory birds as well as endemic ones which abound the place.
Forest safari is allowed inside Buxa forest. The rules and routes have changed several times over the years. Please consult our travel experts to get latest update on the forest safari inside the forest.
A popular forest safari originates at Jayanti and crosses the Jayanti river to visit the forest on the other side. You will be taken to 3 watchtowers including the Bhutia Busty watchtower. The safari continues till the end of forest bordering Jayanti Tea Garden. From here you will return by the same route.
Another popular forest safari originates at Rajabhatkhawa and visit the Dima riverbed inside the forest. There are other options of forest safari which may open and close from time to time depending on forest department decision.
Hike to Pukhuri Hill
Pukhuri hill is a 3 km drive and a 1 km hike from Jayanti, there is a pond on top of the hill which is home to large number of large fishes and small turtles. The area is considered sacred by both Hindu and the Buddhist and killing of the fish is strictly prohibited. You can feed the fish here.
Nature Interpretation Centre
Visit the nature interpretation centre to get a glimpse of flora and fauna of the Buxa area. It is located at Rajabhatkhawa in a peaceful environment and can be a good place for evening walk.
Visit Jayanti riverbed for a glimpse of the river and Bhutan hills on the other side of the river. The spot is quite popular among tourists. A number of films have been shot on this riverbed at different times.
Buxa Fort Trek
This 4 km hike will trek you to Buxa Duar village and historic Buxa fort. For more details about Buxa fort and the trek, see our Buxa fort page.
Birdin in Buxa
The Buxa Tiger Reserve is famous for birds and a lot of birding enthusiasts visit the forests. According to Avibase, a worldwide database on birding, there are about 535 species of bird found in the reserve forest including 23 globally threatened species. The major bird species include Francolin, Quail, Partridges, Kalij Pheasant, variety of Ducks and Goose, Pintail, Pochards, Teals, Storks, Herons, Egrets, Cormorants, Darters, Eagles, Vultures, Kites, Harriers and many others.
Critically endangered species that can be found at Buxa include Indian White-backed Vulture, Indian Vulture, Red-headed Vulture, Bengal Florican, Sociable Plover, Wood Snipe. There are many other Threatened, Near threatened and Vulnerable species of bird in the Tiger Reserve.
The nearest Airport is Bagdogra in the outskirts of Siliguri town. From here Buxa is about 180 kms (3.5 hours). You will be crisscrossing Dooars West to East and pass through Gorumara, Jaldapara forests before reaching Buxa. The entire journey is dotted with tea gardens and forests along the lower Himalayan foothills.
You can either get down at New Jalpaiguri station and take a road trip to Buxa as described below. There are passenger trains and intercity express that will also take you to Rajabhatkhawa from NJP. Alternatively book you ticket till Alipurduar Junction station which is about 11 kms from Buxa entrance. Most of the trains travelling to North East India has a stoppage at Alipurduar.
Road to Buxa
There are a number of alternative routes to travel to Buxa from Siliguri. You can either travel through the Jalpaiguri route or through Sevok route. Both roads meet at a place called Telipara about 10 kms before Birpara. Soon after Birpara you will pass through Jaldapara forests. After Jaldapara you will reach Hasimara. From Hasimara you can take the left road through Hamiltonganj and Kalchini to reach Rajabhatkhawa. The alternative route leads you straight ahead and will take you to Alipurduar through the National Highway. From Alipur Rajabhatkhawa is just 10 kms.
Sightseeing around Buxa
The small village of Rajabhatkhawa about 12 kms from Alipurduar town is the main entry point to Buxa Tiger Reserve. There is a forest museum here and also tourist accommodation of West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC). Our first village tourism project has also come up at Rajabhatkhawa amongst the forest. More about Rajabhatkhawa.
Located on the banks of River Jayanti, this village deep inside the forest is more than 100 years old. The wide expanse of the Jayanti river bed, Bhutan hills on hte other side, ruins of a rail bridge in the middle of the river and forests on all sides gives this places a serene attraction. Jayanti is a further 15 kms from Rajabhatkhawa.
This fort is located on the hills and can be reached through a walk of about 4 kms from Santalabari that is about 15 kms from Rajabhatkhawa. The fort has been used during British time as a prison against the freedom fighters.
This village is further 3 kms trek from Buxa Fort. Situated on top of a hill, Lepchakha provides excellent view of surrounding plains and hills. More about Lepchakha
About 12 kms from Kalchini and about 22 kms from Rajabhatkhawa deep inside the forests of Buxa Tiger Reserve and close to the Bhutan hills, this village has come up as a tourist destination only during the recent past. More about Raimatang
It is a small stream coming out of Buxa forest. Forest department had build a small dam on the stream to enable boating inside forest from here.
There are many other places of tourist attraction and trek withing Buxa Tiger Reserve including Poro Eco Park, Rovers Point (the land of unknown birds at 4500ft), Roopam Valley in Bhutan.