Kalijhora is a small village in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal. Perched at an altitude of 300 m, it lies on the banks of the Teesta River. It is 28 kms away from Siliguri on the National Highway-31A and about 13 km from Latpancher. It offers with all its natural spectacular provisions to arrange picnic by the side of river Teesta. Nature beyond is building a eco-tourism resort at Kalijhora on the banks of the river Teesta. The project is undertaken with the direct involvement of local people, NESPON an environmental NGO and Govt agencies.
Kalijhora is a splendid picnic spot by the side of the spectacular River Teesta. Close by are Peshok, famous for the confluence of Teesta and Rangeet; Mongpu reminiscent of association of the place with Rabindranath Tagore; and Latpanchor is emerging as an excellent tourist destination.
Kalijhora is noted for its camp grounds, which provide enough open space to organizing different camping activity. Bird watching and jungle safari are among the most common activity here. Camping is organized at Kalijhora throughout the year; hence it is a place of great tourist importance. Many short treks leads to the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary from this place.
Civil Enclave Bagdogra is the closest airport. The nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri Junction Railway Station.
Kalijhora is also a small area of forest on the northern edge of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a one hour drive from the Bagdogra airport. A small Forest Rest House and a PWD bungalow are the only places to stay nearby. It is a good place to see several lowland forest species. Some birds seen here are Oriental Pied Hornbill, White-rumped Vulture, Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Black Stork, Grey-backed Shrike, Maroon Oriole, Short-billed Minivet, Brown Dipper, Orange-flanked Bush Robin, White-rumped Shama, Hill Myna, Yellow-vented Warbler, Striped Tit Babbler, Crimson Sunbird, Streaked Spiderhunter.
Kalijhora (which literally translates to “black stream”) takes its name from the small river that cascades down from a height of 550 feet with immense force and rushes towards the Teesta. The colour of the waters of the Kalijhora is definitely blackish, as compared with the blue waters of the Teesta.
Kalijhora flows by the side of the PWD inspection bungalow, while another Rambijhora flows at a distance. This tranquil spot is ideal for enjoying the solitude of nature, and lazing along the Teesta. Those who are always in a hurry will surely find calm here amid the unspoiled greenery. During the day, you will come across the river-rafting boats floating towards Sevoke, keeping pace with the speed of the gushing Teesta. You could also buy fresh fish from local fishermen, who are at work all day long.
During evening, a host of forest sounds will greet you. An orchestra of crickets in the backdrop of the roar of the stream produces a symphony that has a calming effect. What’s best about Kalijhora is that it still hasn’t become a rage among tourists, despite its pristine beauty. From Kalijhora, you could also visit Mongpu, famous for its cinchona cultivation. This is where Rabindranath stayed at the house of Maitreyee Devi and wrote the poem Janmadin. Latpanchar, another hilltop resort, is a short trek away.
Other tourist spots
Latpancher, also spelt Latpanchar, is a place of tourist importance, on the western bank of Teesta River, in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal. It lies in the center of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary about 13 km from Kalijhora.
Situated at a height of 3,400 ft above the sea level, Latpancher is dotted with a large number of medicinal plants. The snow covered peaks of Kanchenjunga Range can be viewed from this place. Latkothi, Namthing Lake and Sansari Dara are some attractions here.
Latpancher is on the Siliguri-Gangtok National Highway. Civil Enclave Bagdogra is the closest airport. The nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri Junction Railway Station.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is located at the foothills of Himalayas, between the Teesta and Mahananda rivers, in Darjeeling District of West Bengal.
Sprawling over an area of 160 sq km, it is home to various fauna including elephant, Indian bison, tiger, barking deer, rhesus monkey, leopard, fishing cat, jungle cat, sambar (Cervus unicolor) and cheetal. The sanctuary is also a temporary home to various migratory birds in winter. Other fauna species found here include the rare mountain goat (Serow), wild pig, porcupines, civet, monitor lizard and various species of snakes.
The sanctuary lies in the western end of the elephant migration route, more than 150 elephants shelter here during the monsoon and winter seasons. The sanctuary is also noted for some enchanting trekking routes - Golaghat, Deorali and the Latpancher - Mana track are the most sought for trekking and bird watching tours. Sukna, about 7 km from Siliguri, is the main entry point. It also has a Nature Interpretation Center.