THE term Dooars comes from door, signifying the fact that the region was once the gateway to the ancient kingdom of Bhutan – providing the people of the kingdom access to the plains. Helmed in by the mountains in the North, the rivers Teesta and Sankosh in the west and the east, the Doors valley comprise roughly a stretch of about 130 km by 40 km, in the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal.
The place is unique for its pastoral beauty with the mighty Himalayas on the horizon and a green carpet of tea bushes interspersed with streams gushing down from the higher slopes and dense forests of Sal trees that continue to be the home of a number of species of wild animals. Timber from the forests, Tea from the gardens and Tourism continue to be the main drivers of the local economy, with industrial development with its attendant effluents having largely given this pristine land the go-by.
The Dooars are also home to the Jaldapara Wildlife 5anctuar the Gorumara National Park and the Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary known as the home of the one-horned rhinoceros, the bison, leopard, spotted deer, sambar, wild boars and a variety of rare and exotic birds. Elephant rides through the dense forests in search of the elusive rhinoceros are a key tourist attraction as is the Leopard Rehabilitation Centre and Nature Park in Khayrabati. Bhutanghat, Malbazar and Chalsha are the other notable tourist spots in the region that are acknowl edged for their scenic beauty. The Gajoldoba Eco-Tourism hub is also being developed adjacent to the Teesta barrage and it promises to become another major tourist attraction of the Dcoars.
The region, being the doorway to the kingdom of Bhutan, is also a major hub of exports and imports with Phuntsholling occupying the pride of place. The region also makes for a unique cultural mishmash with the culture of the local people of mongoloid origin assimilating the influence of the tribal people from the Chotanagpur Plateau who were settled in the region by the British to work in the tea gardens and those who came to inhabit the place following the partition of Bengal.
ROAD: Siliguri is the gateway. Cooch Behar, the HQ of NBSTC, is also well connected by bus. RAIL: NJP is the railhead that connects the region through rail to the rest of India. AIR: Bagdogra is the nearest airport. ACCOMMODATION: The region is served by well-equipped Tourist Lodges run by the WBTDCL and the WBFDC at Jalpaiguri, Malbazar, Hollong, Madarihat, Murti, Samsing and Jayanti. Privately run hotels, resorts and guest houses are also available at various price points.