Overview – 28th Mile Forest Village
On foothills of Bhutan Hills, guarded by Buxa Tiger Reverse and endowed with natural resources is a small hamlet called – ‘28th Mile Forest Village’. You must be wondering why a forest village is called ‘28th Mile’. Most of the places in this part of North Bengal and even forest watchtowers/ camps have this suffix ‘Mile’. Well, I will tell you the story. During the colonial times and erstwhile, the districts of Coochbehar and Alipurduar were under the rule of Koch dynasty. The palace of the Koch Kings is at Coochbehar. The places are named based on its distance from the ‘Coochbehar Rajbari’ or ‘Coochbehar Palace’. So, 28th Mile Forest Village is at a distance of 28 miles from Coochbehar Rajbari.
The major population of the village consists of Nepali. Most of them are fluent in Bengali. Prominent things you will see if you go for a stroll are – SSB Camp, Buxa Road Beat Office, a High School and a Buddhist Gumpha. The entire village has a thick growth of acre nut trees. It is learnt that earlier the community was engaged in the cultivation of paddy. But, due to frequent intrusion of elephants especially during harvesting season they have shifted to acre nut cultivation. Off late a few community-based homestays have come up in the region and the economy is gradually shifting towards tourism. Bhutan Hills on the backdrop
Why to Stay at 28th Mile instead of Jayanti
- Most of the homestays in 28th Mile are run by locals. You get to eat local cuisine and they will embrace you with their ever-smiling face. Contrary in Jayanti most of the homestays are leased out to third parties. You miss out on the feel of a homestay. In 28th Mile the homestay becomes your second home.
- You get rid of the chaotic crowd of Jayanti. You can enjoy the tranquillity of the forest, sound of the crickets with a cup of tea.
- Power cuts are quite common in this part of the world. It’s really long even days before power is restored. Most of the homestays in Jayanti don’t have a generator. In 28th Mile you have a backup generator which even pumps up water in case of a power cut. So, you have an uninterrupted supply of power and running water.
Sightseeing/ Attractions/ Things to Do
- Village Trail – Go for stroll along the village. Early morning lonely roads will greet you. About half a km walk from your homestay will take you to Buxa Road Beat Office. There is a small forest bound stream opposite of the Beat Office. You can soak your feet in it, but be careful about the wild animals. The stream is source of water for animals like elephants and deer.
- Day Visit to Jayanti – Jayanti is at a distance of 6 km from 28th Mile. You can go for a day visit to Jayanti. It is suggested to visit Jayanti after lunch in the late afternoon. As the light of the sun fades, the surreal landscape will be a treat for your eyes.
- Buxa Fort Trek – Hike to Buxa Fort from Zero Point(the last vehicle-accessible point). It about an hour trek(one way).
- Sikiajhora – Sikiajhora is called the ‘Sunderban of North Bengal’. Sikiajhora is a rivulet which meanders through the Buxa Tiger Reserve. Enjoy Boat Ride through Buxa Tiger Reserve. It is likely the boatman will narrate to you leopard stories and their incessant struggle with the elephants. If you are lucky you may find elephant herd devouring ‘Chalta’- favourite food for elephants.
- Jayanti Jungle Safari – The jungle safari is for two hours. Narrow forest paths will take you to two forest river beds – Bala and Jayanti. The scene and natural beauty of both the river beds are amazing and is nothing less than your perfect celluloid dream. 5 vehicles are allowed in each shift. The total safari cost of 4 heads – Rs 1500/-.
- Chunia and Bhutia Basti Watchtower Trail – The trail through Jayanti River and Baje Khola River is famous for Leopard sighting. There is a salt lick at Chunia Watchtower. Bhutia Basti Watchtower is located adjacent to an artificial water source. It is likely you will encounter wildlife at both the towers.
- Pokhri Trail – A natural waterbody in core-buffer area of Buxa Tiger Reserve. The lake is famous for catfish and turtles. It is considered holy by both Hindus and Buddhists. The vehicle will go upto certain point and rest of the path is a jungle trail. On the way, you can visit Tashi Gaon Watchtower.
- Mahakal Trail – Breathtaking backdrops and surreal silhouettes define the Trail along Jayanti River to Mahakal. Birds sing, chirp and flutter all day. A thriving population of Butterflies, myriad species thrive in this motley landscape. (Note: Due to rugged terrain the trail is only accessible in 4WD drive Gypsy. You need to hire a local gypsy to cover the trail)
- Butterflies of Jayanti – If you love butterflies, Buxa Jayanti will be a paradise you. Buxa Jayanti has made its mark as one best destination for watching butterflies in India. 334 species have been recorded till date.
COVID-19 Updates – Buxa Jayanti
- Forest entry permit for Buxa Tiger Reserve is issued from Rajabhatkhawa. Vehicle entry fee is hiked from Rs 300 to Rs 400 and entry fee per person is hiked from Rs 100 to Rs 120. The permit issued is valid for 3 days. No entry fee is required for the driver. Tip: You can visit Rajabhatkhawa Museum at a distance from 200 m from the ticket counter.
- For jungle safari maximum 4 persons are allowed instead of 6. Wearing of mask is mandatory. For Jayanti, tickets are still issued offline through the ticket booking counter. Travellers/ Tourists are suggested to check updates regarding issuance of tickets through the online portal.
Best Time to Visit
From September to June.
How to Reach 28th Mile Forest Village
Nearest rail station is Alipurduar Junction is at a distance from 30 km. You can hire a cab or if you are tight on budget, you can avail NBSTC Bus Service, which leaves from Alipurduar NBSTC Bus Stand at 7.05 am. The last bus from Jayanti to Coochbehar via Alipurduar is at 4:00 pm from Jayanti.