Watch elephants from tea bungalow

Alipurduar, April 18: As you sit in the bungalow at Bandapani Tea Estate and look east, you can see the hills of Bhutan on the edge of the plantation. To the north flows the Dhumchi and on certain days you can see elephants cross the river from the bungalow.

Bandapani, along with Grassmore Tea Estate, has been opened to tourists by the Mohta Group of Industries. Both gardens are located in a beautiful landscape with forests, rivers and hills. Plus the elephant corridor from the Sankosh to the Mechi runs close to the Bandapani estate.

The gardens are also well connected, said Rupak Deb, the superintendent manager of the Mohta Group. Grassmore is located along NH31C in Banarhat, while Bandapani is only 14km from the highway at Birpara. Tourists there can also easily reach Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary and Gorumara national Park.

The Mohta Group turned to tourism to inject some much-needed cash into the gardens, which were not running well. “A couple of bungalows were lying unused at both Bandapani and Grassmore, so we decided to renovate them and throw them open to tourists,” said Deb.

The bungalow at Grassmore has three double bed rooms, while the one at Bandapani has four. Each room costs Rs 1,200 a night excluding food. “We have employed cooks and caretakers. If the tourists need guides or cars, we can arrange that as well,” said Anil Biswas, the manager of Bandapani.

Already 25 groups of tourists from Calcutta have come and stayed at the bungalows.