Raimatang is a village inside Buxa Tiger Reserve. The unique location of the village inside the forest and close to the Bhutan border and its beautiful surrounding has made it an attractive offbeat tourist destination for Dooars.
Raimatang does not have a strong tourism infrastructure, there are a few homestay-type accommodations run by local people. The rooms are small and the service is not much to write home about. But the service shortcomings are well balanced by nature which has blessed the village and its surrounding area with bounty.
The total area of the village is less than a square kilometre and from one place to another is hardly a 5 to 10 minutes walk. The main road passes West to East, originating from the riverbed and ending at the forest bungalow. A parallel road further south goes inside the village where most of the tourist accommodations are located. The village has a total of less than a hundred households and there is no big shop in the village. The nearest shop where you can get your brand of cigarette or some chocolate for your child is about 10 km away at Kalchini and you have to cross a river to get there.
The Raimatang River
Several small streams are coming from Indian and Bhutanese hills to form the Raimatang Khola, the river that surrounds the North and West of Raimatang, and crossing it is an experience in itself. The river seems to be a few small streams passing through a wide river basin anytime in the year except the Monsoon. When the monsoon downpour starts the small stream becomes a huge body of water and crossing the river becomes very risky, sometimes for weeks Raimatang remains completely disconnected from the rest of the world.
A few kilometres downstream, the river passes through the Gangutia tea garden. The river also changes its name and is now referred to as Gangutia. Little further down it meets with another stream known as Buxa Khola, together they now become the Dima river.
The journey to Raimatang starts after you cross Kalchini, a small hamlet in Dooars surrounded by tea gardens and forests that is about 160 km from NJP / Bagdogra and 35 km from Alipurduar Junction. From Kalchini you drive through tea garden roads, as you pass Chuapara, Gangutia, and Mechpara tea gardens and suddenly reach the riverbed of Raimatangkhola. Both sides of the Dima river are densely forested that have been there from time immemorial. For the next 4 km, you will be driving through the riverbed. This makes Raimatang inaccessible during the rainy season. There is no proper road or bridge over the river and occasionally you might have to get down from the vehicle to give it a small push. Be careful to travel only in a high-ground clearance SUV or MUV as they are the only ones able to negotiate the sand and pebbles of the riverbed. After about 30 minutes of driving through the Dima riverbed, you will emerge on the other side of the river and enter the village of Raimatang.
Attractions and Activities
There are forest safaris available to the nearby watchtowers. But you are already deep inside the forest and it is not unlikely for you to see some wildlife near your eco-resort or homestay. The area is famous for butterflies and you may watch plenty of them on the riverbed too. Visit the forest especially early morning for a variety of common as well as rare species of birds.
If you are the adventurous type, treks can be organized from here to different parts of the Buxa forest area including villages such as Chunabhati, and Lalbungalo, and eventually reach Buxa fort.
There are a few Homestay and lodges in Raimatang. The rooms are small and the standards are basic. There is also a forest bungalow which guests can try to book directly (we do not assist in booking the same). If you are interested to stay at the lodges, you may write to our service executives who would be glad to assist you with your accommodation.