Next weekend you can be at... Murti
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- Published 10.05.09
Murti, a small village on the banks of the shallow Murti stream in Jalpaiguri district, is an idyllic getaway. So we packed our backpacks and headed for Murti to spend the weekend. The Kanchankanya Express leaves Sealdah in the evening and reaches New Mal the next morning, around 9.30am.
A friend who had visited Murti earlier arranged for a car that took us to a resort of the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation. But transportation can also be arranged from any travel agency in Calcutta before leaving for Murti.
The resort is about half an hour away from the railway station. The Murti river flows by the side of the resort. On the other side of the river is Gorumara National Park.
After checking in, we freshened up quickly and went out for a walk. It was pleasant to amble along the road flanked by picturesque tea gardens. We could walk right into a garden and caress the tiny leaves.
We returned for lunch at the resort but opted to eat out at Chalsa, which is around 10 km from the resort. Our tickets for a trip to Jatraprasad watchtower inside Gorumara National Park had been booked. Separate tickets are required for visiting in the day and in the evening.
The tickets in the evening cost around Rs 100 per head while those in the day cost around Rs 60 per head. We opted for the evening trip because it includes refreshments and a chance to watch a tribal dance arranged by the Forest Development Corporation. One can also hire a guide for Rs 60 from the forest check post. Entry fee for the car is Rs 60.
The possibility of catching a glimpse of wild animals like bison, deer, peacock and even leopard is great from the Jatraprasad watchtower. We started around 3pm. On the way to the watchtower, we saw a number of peacocks. We spotted a bison near a salt pit and while returning, a leopard crossed our path and jumped into a bush.
There are several other watchtowers — Rhino Point, Medla, Chukchuki, Khunia and Chapramari (in the adjoining Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary).
Gorumara National Park remains closed between June 15 and September 15.
Places like Bindu, Jhalong, Samsing and Suntalekhola are nearby. Suntalekhola has a nature resort camp where people can stay. Bookings can be made at the Forest Development Corporation office in Calcutta.
Nature is at her best in these quaint little villages. Sitting beside the Murti on a moonlit night and listening to the gurgling stream was a magical experience.
Murti is well-connected by road from Siliguri. The nearest airport is Bagdogra and the nearest railway stations are New Mal and New Maynaguri.
Rooms at the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation can be booked at 6A Raja Subodh Mullick Square, 7th floor. Room availability can be checked at www.wbfdc.com There is also a private resort.
The best time to visit Murti is between October and March. A camera is allowed inside Gorumara National Park. There are extra charges for handycams.