South Khayerbari is famous for Tiger and Leopard Rescue Center located around 10 kilometers from Madarihat. During the ban of using wild animals in circuses around 11 tigers were rescued and kept at Khayerbari. The tigers were rescued from Olympic circus in Hooghly district and were initially kept at Hollong and later shifted to Khayerbari Rescue Center. The center comprises of 5 units each consisting of 3 cells which are capable of accommodating 15 tigers at the most. The forest officials are of the opinion that this is a unique endeavor in the entire north east to rescue and rehabilitate tigers and leopards which were used in circuses.
Attractions in South Khayerbari
Tourists will also find cubs and grown up leopards which were rescued from illicit animal smugglers on the hills. They are providing rehab facility to all the animals suffering from various kinds of torture and danger. There are 18 leopards in this center. The environment of the place is serene and tourists will find it interesting to watch the animals enjoying themselves in their home. River Buri Torsha flows through the forest which can be spotted by tourists on jeep safari.
An amazing tiger and leopard safari will take you through the forest where you will be able to spot the majestic animals busy in their lives. The highlight of this safari is that you can see these animals up close. Apart from the safari, you can also visit the forests nearby like Chilapata, Buxa Tiger Reserve, and Jaldapara. Boating on the River Buri Torsha is also available inside the rescue center.
How to reach South Khayerbari Tiger and Leopard Rescue Center
South Khayerbari Tiger and Leopard Rescue Center can be reached by train, road or air service. Tourists will have to get down at Hasimara and travel to Madarihat which is 12 kilometers from the Hasimara station to arrive at South Khayerbari. You can reach the center by car through NH-31 which connects entire forests of Dooars to Kolkata metro city in West Bengal and also to Guwahati in Assam. Alternatively, if you are traveling by air, then Bagdogra is the nearest airport from where you can hire cars, taxis and even buses to arrive at Madarihat and finally reach South Khayerbari.
Accomodation in South Khayerbari
3 forest cottages are available for the tourists to stay near South Khayerbari Rescue Center. All of these cottages are set up on the bank of Buri Torsha River and food is served inside the cottage only. You must book the cottages from West Bengal Forest Development Offices before visit.
You can stay at Madarihat opposite of Jaldapara forest. There are few homestay options available.
Photo Courtesy: longjourney.in, flickr/jaybee50