Neora Valley National Park and the Duars, February 2009

Premjeet Dasgupta

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Part 2
The next stop was the WBFDC bungalow at Jaldhaka. What an amazing location for a bungalow! The Jaldhaka flowed right below it. At Jhalong, a group of schoolgirls requested us for a lift till Paren. A transport strike was on and the roads were empty. So in one big noisy group we reached Paren, a sleepy village on the edges of the Neora Valley National Park. We ordered lunch at the WBFDC Wilderness Camp at Paren which stood in the middle of a clearing partly ringed in by a wooded hill. Standing in the midst of tall trees, and with the densely forested hillside towering up into the sky in the background, the Paren WBFDC cottages form one of the most enduring images of the tour for me.

North Bengal Tourist Map

Jaldhaka River

Jhalong View 1

Jhalong View 2

Jhalong View 3

Paren WBFDC resort
Photograph: Aveek Basu
After a satisfying lunch of rice, egg curry and the pickled fish Nabin offered us, we went to see the dam which stands across the River Bindu connecting India and Bhutan. We crossed the dam and walked into Bhutan. A bank of fog was rolling in from somewhere. The sky was gloomy. A strong breeze blew through the valley. The place seemed so mysterious and so far removed from civilization, in spite of being home to a hydro-electric project. We seemed to have entered into a trance and ended up spending a long time here. As we retraced our steps to India, a tiny little Bhutanese doggie was following us like a pet. Durba wondered if we could keep it. Well, that was going to be slightly difficult!

Bindu Dam over Jaldhaka is located in Bindu village
Photograph: Suman Chakraborty
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W.B.T.D.C. Tourist Lodges

W.B.F.D.C Nature Resorts

Digha Hotels

Mandarmani Hotels