Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the town of Darjeeling in West Bengal. It was set up in 1915; and is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in India. Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary has an incredible list of flora and fauna.
It covers an area of 38.5 sq km. Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary may have a small area, but has a rich history. It is an extension of Singalila National Park. The elevation varies from 1500 to 2600 metres.
There are two lakes in Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary that supply drinking water to all of Darjeeling. The forests are natural (40%) and managed in parts and the border region is dotted with villages and tea estates. Access to the park is restricted and special permission from ranger's office is required to go around the area.
Many organizations like the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have trapped cameras inside the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary. This exercise reveals to mankind what species of animals and birds reside there, without causing a disturbance to their habitat.
Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary also has the pride of being home to India's first cycling park. This is a 20-km-long stretch that is a cyclist's delight.
Best Time To Visit Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary:
The sanctuary is closed for monsoon and reopens mid September. The best time to enjoy everything the sanctuary has to offer would be from February to June. The climate is the most favourable one to sight most animals.
What To Carry When Visiting Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary?
The park is in the middle of nowhere and hence it would be wise to carry all the essentials like a hat, water, snacks, sun glasses, binoculars, camera (fully charged), and not leave anything to chance.
How To Reach Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary:
PC: PP Yoonus
Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is about 11 km from Darjeeling town.
By Air: Bagdogra Airport, at a distance of 80 km, in Siliguri, is the nearest airport to Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary. One has to take a taxi to reach the sanctuary from here. Alternately, one could take a bus to reach Darjeeling and then take a jeep to reach the sanctuary.
By Rail: New Jalpaiguri Railway Junction is 75 km away from the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, and is the closest railhead to the sanctuary. An alternate option is to get down at the Ghoom Railway station. It is 2 km away from the sanctuary.
By Road: There are 2 routes to reach Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary from Siliguri.
Route 1: Siliguri - Matigara - Kurseong - Sonada - Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, via NH 110. This is 59 km and takes 2 h 6 min to reach Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary.
Route 2: This is a slightly longer route that passes via NH 10.
Siliguri - Mallaguri - Sevoke - Kalijhora - Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary. This takes 2 h 34 min to reach because it covers a distance of 74 km.
Siliguri is a remote area and there is not much to see here in terms of the typical tourist attractions. Once you cross Siliguri, it is just the lush greenery that keeps you company. Siliguri, however, has a things that a tourist can do.
The ISKCON temple at Siliguri is a small temple that is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is an affiliate to the Krishna Consciousness movement. The temple is very well maintained and clean.
Just before Teesta Coronation bridge is Kali Mandir. This holy place is the home for Maa Sevokeswari. The temple is also known for the culmination of love into marriage, as many love marriages happen here.
Hong Kong market is a flea market where one can buy cheap souvenirs at throw-away prices. The Science City has a lot of educational materials like statues, ancient paintings, science models, etc. This provides a great learning experience for children.
Siliguri to Mallaguri is around 5.5 km in distance and takes 20 minutes to reach. The roads are pretty good. Proceed driving towards Sevoke, which is 20 km away. This leg should take around 30 minutes.
PC: Clay Heaton
Sevoke to Kalijhora is 7.5 km on road and takes about 15 minutes to reach. The last part of the journey from Kalijhora to Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is the longest and takes quite some time to reach. The roads are muddy and it is recommended that you travel in a vehicle with a good ground clearance. It takes 1 h 40 min to reach Senchal from Kalijhora. The distance is 43 km.
Once you reach Senchal, there is a 9-hole golf course here, which is one of the highest golf courses in the world. It also has a club house. The Tiger Hill Observatory at Senchal is a great place to witness sunrise and sunset.
Some of the animals that are found at Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary are barking deers, leopards, monkeys, flying squirrels, wild dogs, scaly ant eaters, Himalayan black bears, and Himalayan serow.
PC: Dibyendu Ash
Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place for bird watching. Some of the birds commonly seen here are the golden back woodpecker, hornbills, red jungle fowl, black-backed pheasant, emerald cuckoos, babblers, sunbirds, yellow throated marten, and Assamese macaque.