The Northern Plains of West Bengal act as a doorway to Bhutan and North-Eastern India. Consisting of the districts of Alipurduar, Cooch Behar, Dakshin Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur and the plains of Darjeeling, this region has a distinctiveness in the matter of the dialects spoken, the folk culture and lifestyles. Far away from the madding crowds of the metropolis, it has a quietness of its own.
- 1 Alipurduar — a city in eastern Dooars, close to the foothills of the Himalayas, forests and wildlife preserves
- 2 Cooch Behar — the former capital of the Kingdom of Cooch Behar has a glorious late 19th-century palace
- 3 Jalpaiguri — a historic city with the picturesque Teesta River
- 4 Jaigaon — a trading post for cross-border business with Bhutan; the neighbouring village of Hasimara is picturesque and surrounded by tea plantations
- 1 Buxa Tiger Reserve — a forested area in Buxa and Jayanti Hills is a habitat for tigers, Asian elephants and other mammals plus a variety of birds, amphibians and reptiles
- 2 Dakshin Dinajpur — home to a museum with numerous ancient artefacts and forests
- 3 Gorumara National Park — rolling grasslands and forest is rich with herbivores such as the Indian rhinoceros and elephants birds, reptiles and amphibians
- 5 Jaldapara National Park — a national park with wildlife including one-horned rhinos
- 6 Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary — forested reserve area with a wildlife park, birdwatching towers and an elephant migration area.
- 8 Rasikbil Bird Sanctuary — a bird sanctuary with many other animals
The region is home to the famous one-horned rhino and numerous other species of animals and birds. Its economy is based on the three 'T's — tea, timber and tourism. With improvement in communication links, the inflow of tourists into this region is increasing. It is a wonderful land waiting to be explored properly by inquisitive tourists.
Most cities in the region have interesting histories, from the Sultans of Gour-Pandua to the monarchs of Cooch Behar.
Several rivers flow through this region from Bhutan and Sikkim, with the Teesta River being the major one. Other rivers in the region include the Jaldhaka, Mahananda, Raidak and the Torsa.
Like other parts of West Bengal, Bengali is the main language in the Dooars. However, the Bengali language spoken in the region is different from Standard Bengali and is known as Rajbanshi or Kamtapuri. The dialect features first-person pronouns like mui and ham.
Bagdogra (IXB IATA) in Siliguri and Cooch Behar (COH IATA) are the two airports serving the region.
The region is well connected to all regions of India through the wide network of railways. There are many railway stations in the region providing easy mobility. New Jalpaiguri Junction railway station (NJP) in Siliguri is the busiest one. Direct trains from NJP run from Delhi several times daily. From Kolkata's Sealdah station, the best train is the Darjeeling Mail running nightly at 10:05 PM. There is also a train from Howrah station called Paharia Express, departing from Howrah at 9:55 PM and arriving at New Jalpaiguri at 8:45 AM.
Road travel is efficient in this region. There are many highways connecting the region to different parts of the country. Most road networks to North-Eastern India pass through this region. There are state highways that provide easy transport to places within the state of West Bengal. State Highway 12 (SH 12) connects most of the region. All major national highway systems connecting North-Eastern India with mainland India pass through this region.
Bus services in this region are offered by North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC), operating daily bus services to all the cities and villages. The prices are very low and for long distances, online booking can also be done.
See and doEdit
The Northern Plains are known for their lush green forests, natural wonders and numerous landmarks of historical significance. This region is also a highly active economic zone. There are many wildlife sanctuaries and forests to visit. Some of the popular ones are Buxa Tiger Reserve, Gorumara National Park, Jaldapara National Park and Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary. Apart from these, there are many historical places to discover in Cooch Behar, Gour and Pandua. Every city has parks that are well equipped with recreational types of equipment.
- New Jalpaiguri–Alipurduar Tourist Special — Run by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), the tourist special train provides awesome sceneries of the Dooars and mesmerising view of the Himalayas. The journey covers Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Sevoke Railway Bridge, Jaldapara National Park, Buxa Tiger Reserve and rivers like the Teesta, the Torsa and the Jaldhaka. You will also be entertained by dances performed by locals at some specific stations like Chalsa and Hasimara. There's a selfie point in the Vistadome Coach.
Festival seasons from November-March attract many tourists. The Ras Mela in Cooch Behar is a famous event.
Eat and drinkEdit
There is a low crime rate in this area. Thefts in crowded areas can be seen. The weather here is mostly clear. During monsoons, there are heavy isolated thunderstorms.
- Darjeeling Hills — if the Dooars is not enough, then definitely visit the hilly area at the northern fringes of West Bengal.
- Bhutan — if Bhutan is your actual destination, there is a notable border crossing checkpoint at Jaigon that leads to your destination.