Buxa National Park, Kolkata: The Buxa National Park is a National Park and Protected Area which is located amidst the hilly area - south of Bhutan called the Buxa Hills within the West Bengal State. Stretching across 26°39′0″N 89°34′48″E on 760 square kilometres of land, the Buxa National Park lies in the Alipurduar subdivision of Jalpaiguri District of West Bengal. Buxa National Park has an elevation ranging from 3000 to 4000 feet above sea level and occupies the north eastern corner of the Dooars Plains of North Bengal - bordering Bhutan and Assam.
The northern boundary of the Buxa National Park runs along the international border with Bhutan. The Phipsu Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan and the Buxa National Park in India share a common boundary because of which Buxa National Park serves as an International Corridor for Elephant Migration between India and Bhutan. On the east of Buxa National Park lies the Manas Tiger Reserve. On the southeast of Buxa National Park is the Chilapata Forests which serves as an Elephant Corridor between Buxa and Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary.
The eastern boundary of the Buxa National Park touches the Assam State. The southern and southeast boundary runs along the National Highway 31C.
The Buxa National Park is wealthy in vegetation and contains eight varieties of forests particularly East Himalayan Subtropical Wet Hill Forest; Northern Tropical Evergreen Forest; japanese Sub-Montane Semi-evergreen Forest; Sub-Himalayan Secondary Wet Mixed Forest; East Himalayan Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest; japanese Bhabar and Terai Sal; Savannah Woodland; Northern Dry Deciduous; Moist Sal Savannah; and Low Alluvium. The Terai Eco-system is additionally an integral a part of the Buxa National Park. Teak, Sal, Sishu and Simul Trees are found in abundance here. Buxa National Park has an annual rainfall exceeding 5000 mm.
Rivers Raidak and Jayanti flow through the forests of Buxa National Park and the large Narathali Lake attracts scores of migratory birds as well as the endemic birds.
It is said that the Buxa National Park got its name from the Buxa Forests of Bhutan - of which the National Park is a part.
The Royal Bengal Tiger is the flagship of all the species that the Buxa National Park intends to protect in its 760 square kilometre Buxa Tiger Reserve. Buxa National Park is synonymous with Buxa Tiger Reserve.
Buxa National Park also protects 67 species of mammals other than the Tiger; 36 species of reptiles; 300 plant species; 400 herb species; 100 grass species; 250 shrub species; 10 species of bamboo; 9 species of cane; 130 species of aquatic flora; more than 160 species of other monocotyledons and ferns; 150 Orchid species; 250 species of birds plus innumerable butterflies.
After the Sundarbans, the Buxa Tiger Reserve has the largest collection of Royal Bengal Tigers. Apart from Tigers, Asian Elephants, Bears, Clouded Leopard, Hispid Hares, Hog Deers, Civets, Giant squirrel, Gaur, Chital, wild Buffaloes, and antelopes are protected in the Buxa National Park.
The Hornbills including greater Pied Hornbill, Ibis Bill, Trans Himalayan Migratory Goosanders, Red-stars, Wag-tails, the rare black necked crane, migratory common teal, black stork, Large Whistling Teal, Minivets, White Eyed Poachared are some of the bird species that are frequently seen here.
White-rumped Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture, Chestnut-breasted Partridge, Rufous necked Hornbill, Pochard and the Great Hornbill are some of the endangered species in the forests of Buxa.
76 species of snakes and 5 species of amphibians including the Regal Cobra are natives to the Buxa forests.
Rajabhatkahwa (17km) and Jayanti (20 Km) are the two main entry points to the Buxa Tiger Reserve and also where Jeep Safaris are conducted. Short Treks are popular here through the picturesque surroundings which all start from 'Santlabari' - the starting point.
Buxa National Park encompasses a Fort that was used as a prison by the British, because of its remoteness. Many Indian freedom fighters were imprisoned in the Buxa Fort. Post Indian Independence, the Fort served as a refugee camp for Tibetans and Bangladeshis.
Buxa National Park also has a Nature Resort at the Rajabhatkhawa which almost always runs full.
Alipurduar (24 kms south), Cooch Behar (52 kms south), Jalpaiguri (123 kms west), Siliguri (162 kms west), Bagdogra (175 kms west), Kolkata (809 kms southwest) are the nearest big towns.