Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful, green place to find some peace and serenity. Bang on NH 34, yet once you go inside, the noise from the highway fades off, and you can’t help but notice the dissonance of bird calls in the dense forest. Keep yourself calm and cool, sit inside the jungle and listen the music of jungle. That is precisely what you need to do here. Quiet down, and let the calm seep in, as you walk through dense greenery. I visited this place and spent one night at WBSFDA Bethuadahari Cottage.
There are two cottages of WBSFDA (West-Bengal State Forest Development Agency) “Mayur” and “Mayuri” right at the entrance that I was told can only be booked online via WB forest department website. Two cottages are Non AC and a caretaker who will arrange meals for you.
The other forest rest house is deep inside forest and has to be booked from the forest department office at Krishnanagar, or Aranya Bhawan at Salt Lake, Kolkata. There is another guest house called “Bedu-inn” nearby which have slightly better cottages (I have seen) which can also be booked from the forest department office at Krishnanagar, or Aranya Bhawan at Salt Lake, Kolkata. I would recommend guests from Kolkata to spend the night inside the forest to get the real feel – going in after 9 am is a waste!
The Cottage just at the Entrance of the Forest – this belongs to the West Bengal Forest Department and can be booked online on the Forest Department’s website for meager Rs 500/ night per room.
The booking register indicated that not many visitors stay in there round the year – the local guards told us that most visitors come in the day time, roam around and leave in within 3-4 hours – the gates open at 9 am for such visitors. If you are staying at the WBSFDA Bethuadahari Cottage, you are allowed to move around freely inside from 08:00 in the morning till dusk.
Food at WBSFDA Bethuadahari Cottage
Food facility is not so good. Caretaker of the cottage can provide food but it is costlier than outside. In breakfast, you only get bread, butter, omelet, banana, ghugni and tea, cake, biscuit outside the wildlife sanctuary. For other food you have to go to Bethuadahari station or market. Auto fare from Station or market is Rs.10/- per head.
The cottages are well furnished (don’t expect fancy stuff) with clean washrooms. The forest cottage room & bathroom was good. There is one small attached dining room with cane table 4 cane chairs. There are two single beds of different size and bed covers and mattress. Windows are not covered by nets so it is very unsafe to keep open the windows at night in the jungle. Carrying mosquito repellent recommended. The Securities there are very much helpful and reliable.
The 2 cottages – one with Indian style and the other Western style commode. The guests who reach first get the western style, while we ended up getting the other one. But no complaints though – the room was spacious and clean and the bed sheets seem to have been changed that very morning. The room was completely sanitized before our check in (as per forest officer Mr. Biswas).
Caretaker Nondo’s wife is a very decent cook. Do not anticipate anything fancy, but the food we were served was tasty and sufficient in quantity. The total amount for3 x 2 meals Nondo charged us was about Rs. 630, which I thought was very decent. However, she does not serve breakfast, so the only option was to have bread &omelets in the snacks located outside the WLS.
We took a night stroll and the security guard on duty warned us not to venture beyond a certain point, as the place infested with venomous snakes. Please do carry all toiletries, towels and of course, the alcoholic drink of your choice.