Do you want to see Rhinos in Dooars? If your answer is a convincing ‘Yes’ then you should convincingly choose ‘Jatrapasad Watchtower Safari’ of Gorumara National Park. Jatraprasad is famous for its Rhinos and it never disappoints the tourists. No doubt it is the most sought after and coveted safari in Gorumara National Park.
Do you know how Jatraprasad Watchtower was named? You must have got a feeling that Jatraprasad is the cynosure of Gorumara. Well its history is not less legendry. It is the oldest watchtower of Gorumara and is named after the legendry kunki elephant ‘Jatraprasad’. Rhino at Jatraprasad
How to Book Jatraprasad Safari
Tickets for Jatraprasad Watchtower are issued online through WBSFDA website. Safaris are conducted in four slots –
- Morning – 6:00 am to 7:30 am, 9:00 am to 10:30 am
- Evening – 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
In my opinion the best slot is from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm for a couple of reasons-
- Wild animals generally congregate at Murti River in front of Jatraprasad Watchtower at evening, to drink water. As the light drops the background looks surreal and your photographs will look stunning in the beautiful golden light.
- In the evening trip folk dance is included.
Why you should visit Jatraprasad
- You get to visit two watchtowers in a single safari – a) Rhino Point b) Jatraprasad. However, Rhino Point is temporarily closed due to COVID.
- You are almost guaranteed to see Rhinos. Presence of grassland, shallow bed of Murti River and Salt Lick has made Jatraparsad happy hunting ground for Rhinos. Territorial fights are not uncommon.
- The view from Jatraprasad is surreal. Murti, Jaldhaka river and Bamandanga Tea Garden on the far end has made Jatraprasad a clear favourite amongst all watchtowers in Gorumara.
- While going to Jaldapara from Lataguri, you will ride through NH-31 cutting across the jungle of Gorumara and from the main entrance(permit checking point) near Borodighi Tea Garden to Jatraprasad is about 20 minuites off-road ride through dense jungle. It is quite likely you will have a wild encounter.
My Safari Experience
On 11th November 2020, I booked the safari from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. I could not book the last slot safari as I had few pre-occupations.
The main entry point of Jatraprasad is located near Borodighi Tea Estate. As we cruise along, on the left is lush green tea garden of Borodighi and on the right is the jungle of Gorumara. The distance of the watchtower from the entry point is 5 km and the narrow track goes through dense jungle. You should not be surprised to see Jumbos or Gaur herds blocking your way. A Oriental Pied Hornbill flew past us and perched itself on Khair tree. On first left turn you will find Gorumara Forest Lodge – it is a two storied building. Booking of the same can be done from “Aranya Bhavan”, Jalpaiguri. Here we found a captive elephant. Our guide informed us that few years back, a calf got isolated from its heard and was found near Daina River. The elephant is named Daina Rani.
As we took the left turn and within 2-3 minuites we reached Jatraprasad Watchtower. Jatraprasad is a two tier structure. As you walk along the stairs, you will reach a semi open veranda, a few steps down from the veranda will take you to the main viewing point. There are chairs for you to sit and behold the wild games unfolding in front of you.
View from Jatraprasad
As I told you earlier Jatraprasad never disappoints. Even at noon when the sun is quite bright and is relatively warm, still there were Rhinos at Jatraprasad. The view from the watchtower is breath-taking. Murti and Jaldhaka River simply amplified its beauty. There is a vast expanse of grassland. It is this grasslands drained by Murti and Jaldhaka, which has made Jatraprasad an ideal habitat for the Indian One-horned rhinoceros. Since, Rhino Point is closed we spent the entire 1 hr at Jatraprasad. I will suggest all of you to use binocular for any jungle safaris and especially for watchtower safaris. In case of watchtower safaris sightings are generally not so close, a binocular will enhance your trill and enjoyment many folds. I use Nikon Prostaff 8*42. If you don’t have binocular, you need not worry. We are there for you. We equip all our guest groups with Nikon Binoculars.
Jatraprasad Safari Cost
I booked the tickets online from WBSFDA website @ Rs 120/- per head. Balance amount : Gypsy – Rs 1080/-, Road Charge – Rs 400/-, Guide Charge – Rs 300/- and JFMC Charge – Rs 30/- to be paid at ticket counter(Nature Interpretation Centre), Lataguri. Total – Rs 1810/-. Please reach Nature Interpretation Centre, Lataguri at least 1 hr for evening safaris and day before by 6:30 pm for next day morning safaris. Please bring print out of the ticket along with you. All watchtower safaris at Gorumara National Park are closed on Thursday.
How to Reach Jatraprasad
You need to reach Lataguri. Nearest stations are New Mal and Jalpaiguri Road. Both are at a distance of 25 km from Lataguri. If your board down at New Mal, you need to reach Malbazar Bus Stand by a ‘Toto’ and from there you will get bus for Lataguri. If you board down at Jalpaiguri Road, you need to reach Paharpur by a ‘Toto’. From Paharpur you will get bus for Lataguri. It’s 1.50 hr journey by bus. Alternatively, you can book a cab. 4-seater cab fare – Rs 1500 and 7-seater Innova – Rs 2000.
Best Time to Visit
Sept to April