Medla Watchtower is the buffer zone of Gorumara National Park. The watchtower is open for the tourists throughout the year. Crisscrossed by mountain rivers like – Murti, Jaldhaka and Dyana, the habitat around Medla is primarily grassland. On the backdrop of the vast expanse of grassland lies the majestic Mt. Kanchenjunga. Presence of grassland and water sources has allured Rhinos to Medla Camp. At present, there are 18 Rhinos at Medla. Saltlick at Medla is frequented by animals like – Gaur, Deer, Elephant and Wild Boar. Spot Hill Myna flit through the canopies or Purple Heron wading in the shallow waters. Medla has two tiers or viewing platforms with a concrete spiral stairway leading up to the tiers. For a better aerial view of the jungle, climb to the upper platform. In the mood for nothing? Take a break from your wild encounter as you soak up luminous sunset lit-up the Mt. Kanchenjunga with crimson and red. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the view from the watchtower hijacks your imagination.
I along with my brother started off from Jalpaiguri at 7.00 am. It was the month of June 2019 and reached Ramsai by 8.00 am. Tickets for Medla Watchtower are issued from Ramsai and Lataguri. The trail from the ticket counter at Ramsai to Medla Watchtower takes you through beautiful Jadabpur Tea Garden. As I take the bullock-cart ride to Medla with our guide, wild thoughts fill my mind.
We were the lone tourists at the watchtower. Just by sinking my feet into freshly rained-on grass in the middle of woods my morning has already turned extraordinary. We scaled to top most platform. A cool breeze was blowing and the silence of the forest is occasionally broken by the cacophony of Peacock. Nothing was happening except a pair of peacock frolic in the distance and a Hill Myna idle atop a sal tree. It is very likely you may fall asleep to the hum of wind.
I took out my binoculars to scan the area. A rhino was grazing at a far end. The forest is lush green which makes it difficult to spot any wildlife until and unless there is any movement. Half an hour passed and then something caught my attention. We waited with our eyes glued towards the Dyna river. The jumbo finally rises from behind the dense thicket. Muddy brown, and I stand speechless wondering at the sheer strength of this mammoth yet so gentle animal.
A wild boar dart passes the saltlick. A Purple Heron pair is busy in courtship. Purple Heron is a large heron with rusty head and streaky neck; juvenile is extensively rusty brown on upperparts. Favors fresh marshes with tall reeds and other vegetation.
You can stay in the tower for one hour. Last one hour of my life was filled with beautiful wild moments which will be engraved in my mind for years to come. One hour flew past in a jiffy.
As we along the narrow path from Medla Watchtower to Medla Camp, our guide was quick to spot a herd of Gaur grazing deep inside the forest.
Butterfly Park – Ramsai
Just adjacent to the ticket counter of Medla Watchtower at Ramsai is a Butterfly Park. The park spread over an area of 2 hectares of land. It is not a bad idea to room in the park. The laboratory guy Mr Sameer was kind enough to show us the entire park, larva and pupa of butterfly and explained to us the entire lifecycle of a butterfly. Tourists can release butterfly artificially breeded in the laboratory. They charge Rs 30/- for per butterfly released in the park. My brother released one Common Mormon Butterfly in the park.
Timing and Cost of Safari
Two shifts in the morning and two in the evening(Tribal Dance included in the last evening shift). Cost: Rs 600/- for two adults from Ramsai Ticket Counter.
Best accommodation available at Medla is Kalipur Eco Village and Rhino Camp. Both are Govt. properties. Elephant ride is included in the package for both the properties – Kalipur and Rhino Camp. Alternatively one can stay at the Forest Inn at Ramsai.
Near by Attractions
Lataguri, Murti, Jhalong, Bindu, Paren and Gajoldoba.