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Celebrating Gorumara, Bengal’s natural wonder

12 February, 2021 18:06:46
Celebrating Gorumara, Bengal’s natural wonder

Indian one horned rhino

For most of its lifetime, Gorumara National Park was actually called Gorumara Wildlife Sanctuary. Properly speaking, it ought to have celebrated 70 years as a wildlife sanctuary, and 25 years as a national park, in 2020. Owing to the Covid pandemic, of course, any celebration that may have been planned has obviously been kept on hold.

The entrance of the Gorumara National Park

But this provides an excellent excuse to the ordinary tourist to visit this most interesting national park, which began life as a reserve forest in 1895. And which was granted the status of a wildlife sanctuary in 1949, owing to its breeding population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros. By the mid-1990s, it had become a full-fledged national park, though its area was a mere seven sq km. Since then, it has grown to 80 sq km, which makes it a modest sized national park at best, compared to some others in India.

And yet, within this medium-sized radius, Gorumara is home to some of the richest and most di-verse forms of animal and plant life in the country. The park is the habitat of at least 50 species of mammals, more than 190 species of birds, more than 20 species of reptiles, seven species of turtles, more than 25 species of fish, and several other fauna. The only thing lacking, perhaps, are large carnivores, since the only big cat in the park is the leopard. However, the occasional Royal Bengal tiger has been known to stray into its radius. 

Other than the rhinoceros which has given the park its fame, the other large herbivores at Gorumara are the gaur (the magnificent Indian bison), Asian elephant, sloth bear, chital (spotted deer), and sambar deer, the last being among the largest of the world’s deer species. That apart, there are smaller herbivores such as the barking deer (Muntjac), hog deer and wild boar. And among the smaller carnivores are various species of civets (called ‘bhaam’ in Bengali), mongooses and small cats. Among reptiles, two of the world’s largest non-venomous and venomous snakes - the Indian python and the King Cobra respectively - are to be found in Gorumara.

Gorumara jeep safari

Yet another unique feature of Gorumara is its status as a home to rare species, such as the critically endangered pygmy hog and the rare hispid hare. Moreover, there are numerous bird species to brighten up your trip, such as the scarlet minivet, sunbird, Asian paradise flycatcher, spangled drongo, and Indian hornbill, not to mention numerous woodpeckers and pheasants. And living up to its reputation as a sanctuary for rarely seen creatures, Gorumara is on the flight path of the rare brahminy duck, along with other migratory bird species.

One other remarkable aspect of Gorumara is that it has been largely successful so far in enabling humans and wildlife to cohabit peacefully, without encroaching on each other’s territories. More than 10,000 resident forest villagers belonging mostly to North Bengal’s various ethnic communities earn a livelihood from assisting the Forest Department in its activities, and ecotourism. 

The roadway to the forest

Geographically speaking, the park is located on the floodplains of the Moorti and Raidak rivers, though the major river running through the park is the Jaldhaka, a tributary of the Brahmaputra river system. This makes Gorumara a significant watershed area between the Ganges and Brahmaputra river systems. 

 How to get there 
The nearest airport is Bagdogra in Darjeeling district, about 80 km away. The nearest broad gauge train stations are New Maynaguri, New Mal and Chalsa, all in Jalpaiguri. The most Important nearby railway station is New Jalpaiguri, about 42 km to the south of the park. Driving or bussing it all the way from Kolkata is also an option, though the journey will take you nearly 16 hours if not a little more. 

Moorti Tourism Property, Murti

 Where to stay 
The beautiful Moorti Tourism Property, run by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, is just 11 km from Gorumara, offering fully air-conditioned accommodation. You may either contact the property directly at (+91) 9874053292 or murtitouristresort2015@gmail.com or contact

West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Ltd
DG Block, Sector-II, Salt Lake
Kolkata 700091
Phone: (033) 2358 5189, Fax: 2359 8292
Website: https://www.wbtdcl.com/
Email: visitwestbengal@yahoo.co.in, mdwbtdc@gmail.com, dgmrwbtdc@gmail.com

Story Tag:
  • Gorumara National Park

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