If you want to see the wildlife of Darjeeling District and Bengal, don't miss the Bengal Natural History Museum (BNHM). It began as a humble exertion in 1903 when the then Governor of Bengal started assembling a little historical centre in the Darjeeling Botanical Gardens.

 


A small building for 14,000 rupees was built in the botanical garden to show the area's butterflies and birds. It was excessively little and insufficient for understudies and specialists to concentrate on the entirety of the bird and creature life nearby. Thus, another structure was worked close to Chowrasta in 1915 at Rs 55,000 to meet this necessity.


In 1923 the Bengal Natural Museum Society was founded and took over the management of the museum. It lasted until 1976, after which the West Bengal State Forestry Department took over the administration. At the beginning of the museum, a bird watcher Charles M. Inglis was the museum's curator. From 1923 he held the office for 26 years. During his time, he had made immense efforts. He built the museum with the active support of many officials, including EO Shebbeare, Conservator of Forests (Bengal), GE Shaw, the Superintendent of Cinchona Plantation and many others.


Today the museum houses a large collection and specimens, including a wide variety of birds with nests and eggs, reptiles and fish, mammals, insects, etc. All of these specimens are real creatures that have been captured and preserved. The museum has special taxidermy specialising in handling, staffing, and treating birds and animals for display in showcases. This unit has existed since the museum was founded.

 

Update May 2018: The Bengal Natural History Museum recently moved from its previous location (a short walk from downtown Chowrasta and the Wildlife Division. Wilderness of Darjeeling I premises) to a new building in the complex. Where the Darjeeling Zoo and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute are located.

 

You can now visit three attractions together with one combination ticket. The following description corresponds to the building in which the museum was previously located. But the collections and exhibits are also the same at the new location.


There are two main areas of the museum—one on the ground floor and the other in the basement. When you enter the great hall on the ground floor, there are rows of display cases on either side. The first section is that of birds. You'll see specimens like the Himalayan brown wood owl, northern spotted owl, north brown owl, pheasants, fly traps, woodpeckers, and more. All are placed on the branches of the trees in a natural setting.


Some of the birds shown are huge, and you have probably never seen these sizes before. There are over 820 specimens of birds of over 400 species in the area. There are only two exotic species donated to the museum.


On the one hand, you will see large collections of bird eggs. There are 110 types of eggs, but not all of them are represented due to lack of space. There is a nice collection of nests of different sizes. There is a huge crocodile right in the main room. The species is called estuarine and is considered one of the wild predators and stored in a low, flat display case.


35 of the 76 types of snakes from the locale can be found in the exhibition hall. There are numerous different examples of reptiles and creatures of land and water in the historical centre. Also, among the fish nearby, you can see 57 species out of 100.

 

As you move around the lower room, you will see different species of animals. The Tibetan fox, the Tibetan lynx that looks like a big cat, the toddy cat, wild buffalo heads hanging on the walls, panthers or leopards are some of the great exhibits. You will also see two giant elephant ivory placed in a circle next to each other just behind the crocodile.


Here is a section on insects. There are different types of butterflies, moths, dragonflies and beetles on display in display cases. You can see 608 different species of butterflies and moths and 1104 species of other insects here.


The basement was renovated in 2002. It is a home of so many species of birds such as pelicans, jungle birds and others against various features of the West Bengal country. If you go down the stairs and enter the room, you have the impression of being in a natural green environment between trees and birds.

 

 

The landscapes presented here are divided into several sections. Section 'F' represents the humid deciduous forest that grows in the low hills of North Bengal, Section 'D' shows the wetlands, 'C' is the fertile Ganges plain of the state, 'B' stands for dry areas with their natural vegetation, 'A' shows the ecosystem of the Sundarbans region and its vegetation.

 

There is a small library in the museum building. It contains many rare and valuable books, including a 125-volume series on "The Fauna of British India". There is also a reading room here.

 

Museum collections

(New building)

Here are all of the animal exhibits at the Bengal Natural History Museum:

Animal skulls such as Capricorn, Blue Sheep, Large Tibetan Sheep, Marcopolo Sheep, Takin, Serow, Goral, Shape, Black Buck, Tibetan Antelope, Shou, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer, Bison

Herring Barasingha, Shou, Barking Deer, Pig Deer, Cashmere Deer, Sambar Deer, Spotted Deer

Horns of Goral, Black Buck, Indian Gazella, Nilgiri Thar

Headrests (mounted on the wall) by Nilgiri Thar, Indian Gazella, Black Buck, Barasingha, Barking Deer, Hog Deer, Kashmir Deer, Samber Deer, Spotted Deer, Indian Gaur, Wild Buffalo, Indian Wild Boar, Tiger, Asian Black Bear, Snow leopard, yak

Whole preserved bodies of clouded leopards, king tiger, common leopard, spotted deer calf, yellow-throated kingpin, Asiatic black bear, red panda, Indian mongoose, eastern pangolin, estuarine crocodile

Skins of monitor lizards, Royal Bengal tiger, snow leopard, otter, common leopard, Asiatic black bear, sambar, spotted deer, Himalayan palm civet, kingpin, yak, goral, leopard cat, flying squirrel, etc.


Tusks and elephant feet

Preserved birds such as Mynas, Night Jar, Thrushes, Warblers, Flycatchers, Kingfisher, Snipe, Wood Peckers, Birds of Prey, Swifts, Niltava, Water Birds, Barbets, Calais, Cuckoos, Parrots & Perkeets, Owls, Minivets, Fantails, Cats, Robins, sparrows, souimangas, broad-billed finches, nutcrackers, authors, jays, weaving birds, munia, sparrows, swallows, stranglers, Oneohtrix, cutia, barbs, babblers, larks, vultures, bustards, etc.

You can get canned pheasants like Koklas, Satyr Tragopan, Red Jungle Fowl, Himalayan Monal, Indian Peacock, Mrs Hume Barred Backed, Cheer.

You can see preserved eggs from birds like thrush, jacana, kingfisher, mynas, bush chat, warbler, plover, curlew, weaver, partridge, robin, cracked, bay, kite, koel, pheasant, owl, white eye.

Many butterflies like Lime Butterfly, Western Courtier, Autumn Leaf, Blue Admiral, Plain Tiger, Blue Bottle, Red Helen, Paris Peacock, etc.

Snakes like vipers, krait, whip snake, rat snake, cat snake, cobra, coral snake

Fish like Katla, Bagha, Chega, Pabda, Singhi, Magur, Tangra, Katla, etc.

And various other animals and creatures such as green sea turtle, starfish, giant sponge, Indian salamander, etc.


Opening time

The museum is open from 8 am M. At 7:30 pm M. Every day (closed on Sundays). It is closed on public holidays. You must buy a combo ticket to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling Zoo, and the Bengal Natural History Museum. The price for the combo ticket is Rs. 60 / - per person.

 

Photos are not allowed inside.

 

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The Bengal Natural History Museum is located in the Himalayan Zoological Park of Padmaja Naidu in the Jawahar Parbat region. You can go there in around 30 minutes from Chowrasta (along Mall Road, then Jawahar Road). Alternatively, take a taxi that will drop you off on Lebong Road just below the resort (it takes 2-3 minutes to walk uphill to the front door). Cars can be parked along Lebong Road.

 

NOTE: The museum building was about a 10-minute walk from Chowrasta Mall and is behind Gorkha Ranga Manch Bhawan. Access was via Robertson Road. The current location of the museum can be found on the Darjeeling map.

 

Contacts:

Telephone: (0354) 2257-314

Email: slg_dfowl1@sancharnet.in