The Himalayan Foothills of North Bengal are known as Dooars. The forests, tea gardens, undulating plains, and people of different cultures and ethnicity; all create a heady brew that has made Dooars one of the most fascinating tourist destinations in Eastern India.
The name Dooars is said to have been derived from the word Door in English or ‘Dwar’ in local languages. There are 18 entry points or Doors to Bhutan from the Dooars area. The most famous is the main connecting road of Bhutan with India through Phuentsholing – Jaigaon border.
Geography of Dooars
Forests of Dooars
Tourism of Dooars
Bagdogra is the nearest Airport and NJP is the major railhead. Both are on the outskirts of Siliguri town which is the transit hub for the entire region. However, there are several train stations within Dooars including Alipurduar, Coochbehar, Hasimara and Malbazar. All trains travelling to North East of India have to pass through Dooars and stop at one or the other of these stations.
Tribal culture with its folk dance, drama, songs and folklore is an integral part of the culture of the region. The tribal communities of Raj Bangshi, Mech, Rava, Toto, Limboo, Lepcha and the Bengali and Nepali communities populate the region and provide a rich flavour to the rich cultural diversity of Dooars.
Dooars were covered with thick forests and the tribal people lived an isolated existence until the British invaded their space, followed by the Bangladeshis; the British cleared the land for tea estates while the Bengali people after the partition of Bangladesh came here and were actively involved in agriculture. The British were also responsible for bringing another set of tribes called the Madeshia, Uraons, Munda and Nageshia from Chotanagpur to work in the plantations; these tribes since have lived in harmony with the other communities of North Bengal.
The majority of people in Dooars belong to the Bengali community followed by the Rajbangshi tribe. Many festivals among the Bengali community and Rajbangshi are similar like the Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Manosha Puja etc. On the occasion of Manosha Puja – worship of the serpent Goddess – village fairs, dramas and festivals are held and villagers pray for good crops.
The folk drama of Dooars includes the ‘chor chunni’ and ‘Dham gaan’ is a popular folk song. Rajbangshi’s most popular songs are the ‘Bhawaiya Gaan’ – devotional and love songs – which are very famous in Bengal.