Monday, 30th October 2017

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Tourist rush at CM’s dream project on the banks of Teesta

Bhorer alo in Gajoldoba booked for three months

By Bireswar Banerjee in Siliguri
  • Published 8.11.18, 1:42 AM
  • Updated 8.11.18, 2:35 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Tourist cottages at Gajoldoba File picture

Bhorer Alo, a new tourism hub of the Bengal government on the banks of the Teesta at Gajoldoba in Jalpaiguri district, is bustling with activity as all its cottages and tents have been booked for the next three months.

The tourism complex 30km from Siliguri is spread over 208 acres and has been built at a cost of Rs 373 crore. It was inaugurated by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on October 3.

“We started taking bookings from October 15 and the response has been tremendous. We are in no position to accept fresh bookings for the next three months,” said Samrat Chakraborty, deputy director in the state tourism department.

Four cottages and two tents have been thrown open to the public. While the cottage tariff is Rs 2,500 per night, that of the tents is Rs 1,200. One more cottage has been earmarked for dignitaries.

The cottages are twin-bed accommodations with attached toilets and 24-hour uninterrupted power supply.

The Kangchenjunga is visible on a clear day from Bhorer Alo, which is adjacent to the Baikunthapur forest. The tourism department is working on further developing infrastructure at the complex and an elephant safari will be introduced in two months.

The entrance to the Bengal Safari Park near Siliguri
The entrance to the Bengal Safari Park near Siliguri File picture

Sources said four elephants from Jaldapara would be brought for the safari.

“Plans are afoot to include more facilities such as a jungle trail, and adventure sports such as cycling and boating. Once these facilities are introduced, there will be a bigger rush of tourists,” Chakraborty said.

On November 3, the tourism department had organised an investors’ meet at the complex.

Apart from Bhorer Alo, visitors are making a beeline for the Bengal Safari Park, which has come up on the fringes of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, 10km from Siliguri along NH31.

The project was inaugurated by Mamata in 2016.

“Last year we recorded 2.7 lakh visitors at the park. This year the footfall till October is 1.5 lakh,” Arun Mukherjee, the director of the safari park, said.

Apart from three royal Bengal Tigers, the park has two leopards, a one-horn rhino, two Himalayan black bear, elephants, six ghariyals (fish-eating crocodiles), deer and an aviary of different species. Bhorer Alo and the park are dream projects of the chief minister.

“The response to these projects indicates that tourists are willing to spend some time in this region. The profile of Siliguri seems to be changing too. Till recently, tourists would immediately set off for Darjeeling, Sikkim and the Dooars from Siliguri, the only transit point to these places,” said Samrat Sanyal, a tour operator based in Siliguri.

Now, a tourism hub has come up near Siliguri too, he added.