Buxa Fort is a historical place situated inside the Buxa Tiger Reserve Forest and is known for its natural beauty and historical values. It is one of the main tourist attractions in the Northern parts of West Bengal. Buxa Fort is included within the Dooars tour package and this place attracts many tourists for its royal presence.
There is a long and spine-chilling history behind this Buxa Fort. Presumably, this fort had been built by the Tibetan emperors back in the 7th century but was abandoned. Later, when the British took control over India, they used this fort as a detention camp for the Indian Revolutionaries in 1951. However, locals believe that this fort is more than an abandoned detention camp as they believe this place to be sacred.
How to reach?
This place is situated within the Buxa Tiger Reserve Forest. From Santalabari, it is a 3-4 kilometers uphill trek. Cars can cover the first 1.5-2 kilometers but trekking is the only option after that. The road is exceptionally beautiful through the dense forest with numerous birds, butterflies, and other small animals. Occasionally, people might have sightings of tigers and leopards too but the possibility is extremely less.
Apart from the entry fee, an additional INR300 will be charged for a guide which is mandatory while entering the forest.
Mysteries behind the name Buxa Fort/Buxa Duar
Buxa Fort is known as “Buxa Duar” among the locals. The word Buxa comes from the Bhutanese name for bamboo containers used by the local people to carry loads and the word “duar” means literally a door or a gate back in the time of monarchy in India, this place had been used as a gate to Bhutan, Tibet, and China. This was one of the main silk routes between Bhutan and India.
British Detention Camp
Later, when the British came, they used this place as their detention camp to keep the revolutionaries captured and tortured inhumanely. This place has seen prisoners like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and was one of the most notorious British prisons of that time.
The Myth of Pukhri Pahar and Dima Pukhri
The locals have their own stories that make this place even more mysterious. According to the local mythology, when the British came, there was a sacred lake in this place and as they started to fill up the lake in order to build the fort, two majestic swans emerged from the lake and flew away.
According to the local beliefs, those swans originally were the spirit/deity of the lake in disguise who was offended due to the human intervention as the water of the lake became impure as humans touched it.
Those swans flew away and sat in two different places where two sacred lakes were created. One of those sat on top of the Jayanti hill creating “Pukhri” Lake and the other one flew to the Dima hill and created the “Dima Pokhri”. The natives call the lake “Pokri” which explains the meanings of these names. Even today, the native people go to these lakes on the eve of Buddha Purnima to pray for their well beings.
The place is currently being repaired by the West Bengal government and because of that, the entry of the tourists has ceased.