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Buxa Fort
Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal
Buxa fort gate
West Bengal
Type Hill Fort / Prison
Coordinates Latitude: 26.70606
Longitude: 89.562182
Built by British Empire
Construction
materials
Bamboo (original), Stone
Height 867 metres (2,844 ft)
In use Abandoned in 1951
Current
condition
Ruins
Open to
the public
Yes
Controlled by British Raj
Battles/wars Bhutan War

Buxa Fort, 26°45′17.86″N 89°34′49.04″E / 26.7549611°N 89.5802889°E / 26.7549611; 89.5802889 is located at an altitude of 867 metres (2,844 ft) in the Buxa Tiger Reserve, Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal. It is located 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Alipurduar, the nearest town.[1] The Bhutan King used the fort to protect the portion of famous Silk Route connecting Tibet with India, via Bhutan. Still later during unrest in Occupation of Tibet, hundreds of refugees arrived at the place and used the then abandoned fort as refuge.

HistoryEdit

Its origin is uncertain. Before the occupation of the fort by the British, it was a point of contention between the King of Bhutan and the Cooch Kings.

British occupationEdit

The British on invitation of the Cooch King intervened and captured the fort which was formally handed over to the British on November 11, 1865 as part of Treaty of Sinchula.[2] The British reconstructed the fort from its bamboo wood structure to stone structure. The fort was to later be used as a high security prison and detention camp in the 1930s;[3] it was the most notorious and unreachable prison in India after the Cellular Jail in Andaman. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was said to have been imprisoned here for some time.[4]

Tibetan refugee crisisEdit

Drepung was one of the most celebrated monasteries in Tibet, and with over 10,000 monks before the Chinese invasion. But in March 1959, Chinese troops tasked with quelling the Tibetan uprising moved aggressively against the monastery; Only a few hundred monks escaped to India. These expatriate monks, representing all the diverse Tibetan orders, first set up a monastic study center and refugee camp in Buxa Fort, on the grounds of the jungle-bound former prison camp.

In 1966, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs was alerted to the conditions of the Buxa refugee camps, and it became apparent that the Tibetan refugees would have to be relocated to a more hospitable place. Initially reluctant, a message from the Dalai Lama, urging them to think of the future and to strive for sufficiency, and the option of settling near other Tibetan refugees convinced the monks to move, and in 1971 the monks moved to their new locations at Bylakuppe and Mundgod in the state of Karnataka.[5]

TrekkingEdit

The following routers are popular among tourists and nature lovers –

  • Santrabari to Buxa Fort 5 kilometres (3.1 mi)
  • Buxa Fort to Rovers point 3 kilometres (1.9 mi)
  • Santrabari to Roopang valley 14 kilometres (8.7 mi)
  • Buxa Fort to Lepchakhawa 5 kilometres (3.1 mi)
  • Buxa Fort to Chunabhati 4 kilometres (2.5 mi)

ReferencesEdit

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