Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest

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Murti in Dooars is one of the places where nature is lavish, with unending stretches of virgin forest and mauve hills standing gracefully at the end of the plains. The weather is mild, unlike the piercing cold winds of the mountains. Hence Early morning, we headed towards the Chandrachur watchtower, grooving to the melody of nature on a wintry morning. The sun’s rays added comfort to the bliss. The round sun, peeping through the branches selflessly showering abundant light, accompanied us. 

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest
Chandrachur tower Morning View

Previously known as the Khunia watchtower, but now famously known as Chandrachur watchtower, located in the Gorumara National Park. I was swooned by the place’s panoramic view as we drove through the trail. The unkempt grasslands, shrubs and trees gave a vivid feel of wildlife. The cold weather & the sound of silence added eerieness to the forest. As none can be heard or seen, just felt. 

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest
Chandrachur Watch tower

As the safari jeep drove, the dry winter leaves fluttered, landing discreetly in a rustle, and the birds sang their grim melody from a distance away. The wildlands and untamed beauty of the tall trees, shrubs, and grasslands carved by rivers and creeks add wilderness to the dense forest.

Chandrachur Watch Tower was mainly built for watching wild elephants and Indian Bison. And in the silence, unkept grassland, my family & forest guard were the only souls present. We stood to absorb the vivid feel of wildlife. That morning I felt one with nature, and the rutilant visage of the rising sun was so beautiful to behold. Though I was not lucky to spot an elephant, as a herd left that spot last night, as confirmed by the forest guards. But I was fortunate to spot a Bison. Altogether the experience was wholesome. 

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest
Bison Spotted from the tower.

We drove back to the Murti WBFDC Banani Resort, our luggage was already shifted, and my granny waited at the breakfast table for us. I had a hearty breakfast in the warm daylight. Murti derives from the river flowing down from Neora Valley National Park. Murti lies beside the same river between Chapamari forest & Gorumara National park. 

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest
Banani resort

Our resort Banani is also located beside the Murti River, a stunning location. Hence I decided to take a tour of the resort. I sneaked through the back gate on the stony river bed. Looking at the shimmering stream of the Murti river flowing past, I walked closer. I saw another river stream named Panjhora on the other end of the bank. Owing to the cold weather, the stream of the Murti river was thin, but the scenic landscape and the stony white river bed added a different charm to the place.

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest
Murti River

Post my tour of the resort, I took a quick bath & got dressed. Today we were going to explore other hidden gems of Dooars. Our first destination was Rocky Island, amidst the thick emerald forest along the meandering Murti river. It is the newfound jewel far from the bustling city in the lush green valley of Dooars. The name is bestowed as the island is formed from giant rocky stone in Murti River, endowed with surreal beauty.

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest
The resort overview

Located 2km from Samsing, Rocky Island is nestled on the foothill of the Himalayan Range. The drive from our resort to the island was picturesque as we drove along with the best tea estates of Dooars, and the landscape changed and paved the way to hilly terrain. The shift in landscape from dense forest to lush tea gardens is pictorial. And as the road changed into unpaved trails full of Peebles, it indicated our destination Rocky Island. 

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest
Way to Rocky Island

As I walked past the hanging Bridge over the river Murti, I was mesmerised by the location. High mountains and thickly wooded forest surrounded the place. I walked down towards the river’s bed; I could hear the sound of the gurgling river stream. And I sat on a giant boulder basking in the bounty of Mother Nature. It is one of the finest places to camp under the starry night, with the luring sound of the river syncing with the chirping of a cricket. It is where one’s soul heals in the enthralling scenic beauty and tranquil ambience. 

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest
Rocky Island

My driver even confirmed that this place is the base for trekkers, as the forest is dotted with fantastic trekking routes. One is Today Tangta- a pictorial hamlet located at 1500mt, the closest village along the Indo-Bhutan border. One needs to walk through the trail of Rocky island forest to reach the destination. However, if you are not willing to a longer trek, Mouchuki is a favourite short hike. Mochizuki is a quaint spot beside the Neora river offering the trekkers an outstanding view of the Himalayas on one side & lush green plains of Dooars on the other BridgeOld Bridge of Rocky island.

While cradling in the lap of pristine nature, I started to collect Peebles with my Masi from the riverbed; that’s one of my hobbies. Because as the name suggests, Rocky Island is filled with rocks & Peebles like Hansdunga and Neel Kanta.Bhimsen, Pathar Kailas. Looking around, I could see happy faces, some tourists trying their luck in Angling so they could catch Katla fish in the running stream of the Murti river. Others learn rock climbing skills on the gigantic rocks of the riverbed. And most were like me, who sat on a rock dipping their feet in the river, & enjoying nature. I could have sat for a little longer, but I had a few more destinations to cover, hence took a leave.

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest
Rocks & Peebles

We drove towards Suntaleykhola, an illustrated hamlet located on the southwestern fringe of Neora valley National park, at an elevation of 2900ft. The name Suntaleykhola is derived from the Nepalese language, where “Suntaley” means orange & “Khola” means stream. Suntaleykhola is one of the entry points to Neora valley National park, also known as Land of Red Panda, meaning the last virgin stretch of land in the eastern Himalayas. I drove through the dense alpine forest, which gave me an understanding of the rich flora & fauna this place is blessed with.

Drive to Santulekhola

As the motorable road ends near a small river stream, we had to complete the rest on our feet. Since one needs to have a reservation at any homestay/ WBFDC Cottage; to take a personal vehicle beyond the Suntalekhola market hub. Here the locals have made a syndicate. And they charge Rs 300 – 400/- for about a 1 km stretch from the primary market to the suspension bridge. I didn’t mind walking; it was a wonderful experience to walk through the dense canopy of moist deciduous forest. 

Canopy road

Walking along the off-road led me to stunning vistas and sudden brushes with flora that grow wild and untamed. I slowly strolled through the narrow path. The place is abundant in natural beauty, with the green emerald valley in the backdrop and the blue sky giving a touch of everlasting beauty. It’s a favoured offbeat destination that has bewitched the hearts of many travellers. Suntaleykhola harbours many trekking routes and is an excellent place for bird-watching. It is a birding paradise for birds like Pond Heron, Spangled Drongo, common green Magpie, Ultan Tit, Ashy Bulbul, Greater Necklaced Laughing Thrush, Long-tailed Sibia and many more.

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest
Way to Suntalekhola

I lingered to enjoy the greenery and filled my lungs with pure oxygen; the valley’s silence calmed down my mind. The only sound that could be heard was the eternal sound of water and birds chirping. I walked to the wooBridgespension Bridge of the Murti river; the Bridge resonatBridgeh the footsteps as one walked across. It leads to the WBFDC Cottages, which has an open cafeteria. I decided to take a break & sip a cup of tea and relish Mother Nature’s dreamliBridgeuty.

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest
The wooden Bridge

Due to lack of time, I could not trek the Mouchaki trail,  which is 6km from Suntaleykhola. Instead, I walked to the cardamom plantation, which is omnipresent in Suntaleykhola. It’s like you throw a stone; wherever it falls, you find cardamom plantations. The alluring beauty of the place has ensnared the hearts of many travellers who look to retreat here from the wild city life & reconnect with their souls.

Cardamom Plantation

Before returning to our resort, we drove to Samsing, 5km away from Suntaleykhola. Samsung is one of the wealthiest biological zones in the entire Northeast. A quaint hamlet surrounded by lush green tea estate. One of the desired places to spend a weekend amidst pristine nature. The drive to Samsing was awe-inspiring as we passed through some of the best tea gardens of Dooars- Chalsa, Guarantee, Samsing, Goodrick & a few more. The photographic drive towards Samsing is something to be a cherished lifetime. At an elevation of 3000ft, Samsung has an aura of peace & serenity that lures many travellers to visit this place.

Worker in Tea Estate

Further, we drove towards Khamsal village in Samsing, famous for oranges. The hamlet was covered with a golden hue since it was the harvesting season. The view was astonishing, with oranges trees all around laden with ripe fruits, & far I could see the mountains in the backdrop. I stopped to catch up on the immense beauty the place has to offer & also had a cup of tea from the Goodrick tea estate.

Orange Farming

After crossing the untarnished village of Khamsal, I caught a glimpse of the Murti River. I was spellbound at the sight of the emerald green meandering river with a backdrop of lush green tea gardens and daunting hills. The setting sun added a different charm to the view; I was silently glaring at the picture-perfect beauty of nature. I could remember only capturing this scenic beauty on my camera. This place is enchanting heaven for nature lovers, photographers & trekkers. I wish I could have stayed a little longer. But the clock was ticking & darkness was thickening; hence we had to drive back to the resort.

Murti a beautiful Riverside destination amidst the dense forest

The day was spent well exploring the beauty & bounty of nature in and around Murti. It was dinner time by the time we reached. Hence freshened up quickly and had a hearty dinner. Then watched the tribal dance arranged by the resort. It was beautiful & skilful. Later went to bed, as tomorrow was a long day of new exploration.

How to Reach.

By Air: 

The nearest airport is Bagdogra; from the airport, hire taxis to reach Lataguri, Murti or Jaldapada.

By Rail:

The Alipurduar is the nearest railway station to Dooars. You can get off at New Mal Junction, closest to Gorumara National forest. Murti & Lataguri is 17km from the station. If travelling to Jaldapada, better to get off at Hasimara station as the distance is just 11km. And for Buxa Tiger Reserve Alipur Daur, Rajabhakhawa, the entry point to the forest is only 11kms. Another alternative is NJP since it’s well connected with major railway heads. You need to hire private cabs or take a shared taxi from the station to reach these destinations.

By Road:

Dooars is well-connected via road with NJP station & CoochBehar. Buses, private cabs, and shared taxis ply to Lataguri, Murti, Jaldapada, Hasimara, Mal Bazaar & Rajabhakhawa from these places. You can also take a private cab or a shared taxi.


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