Bibhuti Bhushan Wildlife Sanctuary which was erstwhile known as Parmadan Forest, is located on the bank of Icchamati river in the (North) 24 Paraganas district of West Bengal. It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1980 to pay tribute to the famous Bengali writer Bibhutibhusan Bandhyopadhay, who hails from a nearby village.
PARMADAN WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Want to get lost amidst nature, wish to feel the love of nature or paint your thoughts in the green canvas of nature ? Then Parmadan Forest is an ideal place for you this weekend. It is here where the chirps of melodious birds will steal your heart. The marvelous greenery of the forest will definitely bring your youth back. Your mind and body will definitely wave in the rhythm of Ichamati river waves after seeing the panoramic beauty of nature, which is a feast for the eyes.
WHY VISIT PARAMADAN FOREST
Paramadan forest is around 100 km by road from Kolkata which is just 3 hours drive from Kolkata and quite close to Indo-Bangladesh border. The place accupies around 227 acres of land. A beautiful place for spending fun filled weekend trip. The Paramadan forest sanctuary is also a safe abode for a health population of approximately 300 deers and is also a heaven for bird spotters.
The winters brings more birds to the forest. The Sanctuary is a home to numerous trees such as shishu, minjiri, tut, arjun, shimul, shishir, bamboo and many others. The best time to behold the deers is when they are fed by the Forest officials. Presently, their feeding time is at 3:00 pm and 9:00 am.
PACKING & PARKING
After paying a very nominal entry fee of Rs.60, you are allowed to enter into the sanctuary. You may carry picnic gears but outside food is not allowed inside. A nice parking space is available here. Honestly, the travelers who would be visiting this Sanctuary would not find 5 Points or 7 Points types of tourist attraction in the forest, but still it is worth visit which I shall explain in a while.
NEAR BY ATTRACTIONS OF PARMADAN FOREST
It seems that nature has generously bestowed the place with all her beauty by decorating it with magnificent landscapes. The deodhar trees stand in a straight line in the midst of Sal and Shegun trees. The sweet whistles of parrots will entertain you all throughout. This place is ideal for the shutter-bugs as it houses various species of birds including the sun-birds during winter. You may also catch the glimpse of scared monkey who might run away after seeing you. The adjoining children’s park in an enclosure really makes the place eco-friendly. Though poorly maintained , it is still adorned with slip and swings.
THE RAW NATURE
Do watch the bee hives on the trees and observe their movements after they collect the honey. The bowed bamboo trees which have created their own shelter will also amaze you. The Bibhutibhushan Wild Life Sanctuary -view of the meandering Ichamati River beside the deer park is also breath-taking. The village huts on the opposite side of the river complete the whole scenery. Lock all these portraits in the camera of your heart. The site of the fishermen throwing their fishing nets in the Ichamati river will also enthral you.
THE JUNGLE STROLL
Located on the banks of Ichamati River, you can take a lazy refreshing jungle stroll watching the friendly deer prance around. The river Ichamati crisscrosses the forest but the boat ride which takes you around the sanctuary has now been temporarily paused. The River flows through this 92-hectare sanctuary in North 24-Parganas which was started in the year 1964 with only 14 Chital deer and got its present title in the year 1995.
THINGS TO DO AT PARMADAN FOREST
If you want to do nothing then just wander around the whole sanctuary and refresh yourself by breathing its bracing breeze. More than watching the deer, it is the nature in its raw form, the huge, tall trees, thick vegetation, the unknown flowers, the whisper of forest, chirping of birds, occasional barking of hungry deers are just fascinating. If you love nature in its raw form, you are bound to love this place. You can explore the forest, watch the deer prancing along, langur fooling around and see varied species of birds and snakes or enjoy a picnic on the banks of the Ichhamati river. You can walk for several kilometers along the trail which runs parallel to the river bank. You may pay a visit to Naldungri located nearby And visit Chuatiya – the border village between India and Bangladesh just an hour’s journey from Parmadan.
HONEST FEEDBACK ON MY PARMADAN VISIT
1. There are huge variety of plants, but they are not being taken care of properly to my findings.
2. There is a small childrens park, but it paints a shabby picture of the sanctuary as the swings and slips are totally broken
3. The forest rest house is no longer being managed by the WBFDC ltd so it always remains locked inspite of being in an advantageous location beside Ichamati river.
4. There is no direct transport from Bongaon or Ranaghat thus the break journeys makes the tour really tiresome unless you drive your own vehicle.Frequency of auto is very poor and you have to walk down few meters to reach the sanctuary.
5. The forest has many snakes and leeches. So you need to go prepared.
6. It is not suitable for families and children looking for A class facilities.
7. Roads remain covered with mud during monsoon making it inaccessible in some part of the forest
8. The vacant cage like structure gives a hollow feeling at one glance.
9. Night stay is not recommended in any home stays here as it is pretty lonely area prone to illegal activites.
10. Toilets and washrooms are not maintained and unclean.
BEST SEASON TO VISIT PARMADAN
The forest can be visited throughout the year but usually the tourists prefer winter season to visit this place; but I would urge upon all the intending visitors to visit during monsoon. It is wonderful, awesome! Nature is at its best now; the rain has washed away the dust from the leaves, exposing its lush green dazzling colours. Now, you will be able to find sparkling green of foliage and I guarantee that never before you had come across such dazzling display of colours anywhere. Your built-up tension will melt away; your eye will experience such a soothing effect!
Average Temperature:- Max: 43 degree Celsius; Min: 9 degree Celsius.
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THE DEER FEEDING SIGHT
The deers are offered food daily at 3 PM. This “show” must not be missed. While reaching the spot, the entire population of deers’ community was present there, looking anxiously for their food to come with occasional barking, as a sign of impatience!
THE ALLEYS AND PATHWAY
One advantage is that even if it starts drizzling in monsoon you can ignore the small droplets as they will be unable to pierce the canopy of leaves of the tall trees covering the sky above. You can take a leisurely stroll through the narrow pathway, but I can assure you won't feel any tiredness at all, however much grueling the journey may be to you. I assure it will be a blissful experience and and your tiredness will just be evaporated making you completely rejuvenated.
THE CLOSED FOREST REST HOUSE
We continued our journey onward through the alleys and suddenly we hit a dead end. Through the thick foliage, the glimpse of quite flowing River, Ichamoti, came to our view. There is a Forest Rest House strategically located just by the bank of the river. The main Gate of this property was kept under lock & key and we did not get any chance to explore this premise.
There is a 'Ghat' at the end of the road leading to the river; but the Gate for the Ghat is also under lock & key; and we could not reach water body. Spent some time gazing at the flow of Ichamoti, there was nobody around us; and we were in heavenly bliss! The moment I saw the River Ichamoti, a surge of poetic emotion came rushing and engulfed me entirely.
THE ICHAMATI RIVER
A few kilometers away from the place where we were standing on the bank of Ichamoti, there is a village called “Barrackpur”. This village is just like any other non-descriptive village in rural Bengal. It is here where the great author of Bengal. Shri Bibhuti Bhusan Bandopadahay was brought up, and had written most of his master pieces here in his ancestral house, just lying at the bank of the tiny, little, quite-flowing Ichamoti river. In the year 1947, just after the partition of undivided Bengal, huge influx of fleeing refugees took shelter from Easter Part of Bengal to the Western Part. Bibhuti Babu, in his typical humility, used to teach in a school where children from both Eastern and Western part of bengal were present. The school which was 3 to 4 KM away from the village.
Slowly, but surely the evening sets in, dawn started to descend. My family cajoled me to go back home. We slowly started our return journey back to Kolkata.
THE INDO BANGLADESH BORDER
This is the only land border crossing that issues visa on arrival for Bangladesh. From Motiganj we took an auto to Petrapole to reach this border. Local trains through the country side from Kolkata to Bongaon is the cheapest way to travel to the India Bangladesh border. It is worth to watch the parade taking place near to this Petrapole immigration office.
WHERE TO EAT?
A forest guest house is located here, on the banks of the Ichamati River. The guest house used to provides dining facilities to its guests but it is now abandoned. You can get local roadside eating food joints at Parmadan Forest but it is advisable to carry your own food as a precaution if you are a hygine-centric person.
THINGS TO DO AND NOT TO DO
A day trip in the Sanctuary is good enough time to enjoy the place. You can also book rooms in Champadali DFO Rest House and Dormitory located on the banks of the Ichamati. Booking has to be made in advance
Contact information: Divisional Forest Officer Champadali Divisional Forest Office Barasat North 24 Parganas Tel: (033) 25520968
There are several routes that lead to Parmadan forest and all of them require some form of adventure drive! The nearest railway station is Bongaon jn. you can come from Sealdah to Bongaon or Ranaghat
The nearest rail head is Bongaon. Local trains are available from Sealdah in Kolkata. There is an alternative route too. You need to travel to Ranaghat from Kolkata by train and then avail the option of bus to reach Duttafulia. From Duttafulia you will get magic vehicles directly to the forest gate only at Rs. 20 per head.
Parmadan is 33 kms from Bonga ( India-Bangladesh border ) and 110 km from Kolkata. CSTC buses for Naldugri are available from Esplande Bus Terminal. Get down at Motiganj. From Motiganj take a Duttafuli bound bus and get down at Naldugri (30 km ). Parmadan is about 3 kms from Naldugri.
You will also get Duttafuli bound buses from Ranaghat (20 km ). If you are driving your personal car, you can drive through Ranaghat-Duttapulia-Naldugri from NH-34. This section of the route might turn out to be a smoother and hastle free ride.
Avg. Travel time – 3 hours
The nearest airport is Netaji Subhahs Chandra Airport in Kolkata, connecting to various parts of the world. From Airport, you can hire private taxi or board a bus. For comfortable journey to Parmadan, I recommend booking ticket in the train
DRIVING DIRECTION TO PARAMADAN
THE WAY I SEE IT
Magnifying through West Bengal's long disruptive conservation history, more has been protected by passion than by duty. The forests are being maintained by grudgingly dutiful officials, but to my believe,forests have only flourished under the watchful gaze of those who are in the thrall. Honestly, what I felt after visiting this place, is it could have been turned to a better commercial tourist attraction than just leaving it abandoned.
There is another identical forest reserve called Bethuadahari wild life sanctuary near Kolkata in Nadia district, where you will find deer frolicking in the bushes and grasslands along with other species of animals inhabiting like salt water alligators (Gharial), tortoise, mongoose, rabbits, pythons and an amazing range of birds, butterflies and insects. I recommend you to visit Bethuadhari Wild Life Sanctuary, than Parmadan Wild Life Sanctuary as both of them takes same travel time from Kolkata.
To know more about our awesome and diverse country, do visit us again. I shall be back very soon with more interesting stuff from different part of our country. Until then keep traveling and keep exploring. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page”.
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