An ideal place for a day out with your friends or family, Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is a picturesque sanctuary enveloped by majestic hills and a beautiful lake at the center. Located in SittongKhasmahal near Darjeeling, West Bengal, the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is situated at an elevation of 2490 meters and is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries of Darjeeling Hills with the Senchal Lake being the main reservoir for a water source to the town.
The view of Senchal Lake is exquisite with small and big trees surrounding it but the main forest area is a bit far from it. Half of the forest of Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is natural and the rest is man-made, nonetheless, the balance seems very natural to make out any distinctions. Covering an area of about 40 square kilometers including the lake, the wildlife sanctuary is the extension of the Singhalila National Park from the South-East and is believed to be the oldest in India after being established in 1915. To enter the sanctuary, you need special permission and access from the ranger’s office at Jorebunglow and to explore the area to witness a vibrant variety of flora and fauna. The forest is covered with distinct types of trees such as Oak, Pine, and Birch which can be seen at different elevations along with 350 other species of flowering plants such as Rhododendrons, Orchids, Kapasi, Hemlock, etc. Rhododendrons are usually seen above 2400m elevations and sub-tropical flora such as Meliosmawallichi, Machilus edulis, Pipli, etc., are also seen in 1500-2000m height.
Other than the beautiful flora, the sanctuary is home to a diverse range of fauna as well which attracts the attention of many wildlife enthusiasts or nature lovers. Animals such as black bears, barking deer, Himalayan jackal, Indian civet, flying squirrel, etc., can be spotted here. Senchal wildlife sanctuary is also a great place for watching the splendid birds, many of which are migratory birds. The tranquil and pristine surroundings of the sanctuary enhanced by the beautiful lake and the sweet sound of the birds chirping are just what you need to escape the chaos of the city life and get charmed by the nature.
Oak, Pine, Birch, Rhododendron, Orchid, Kapasi, Dhupi, Katus, Kawla, Champ, Hemlock, different types of Ferns, Bamboo, Meliosmawallichi, Machilus edulis, Pipli, etc.
Mammals: Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Leopard, Jungle Cat, Rhesus Monkey, Assam Macaque, Himalayan Flying Squirrel, Indian Civet, Wild Dog, etc.
Birds:Golden Back Woodpecker, Emerald Cuckoos, Black-Backed Pheasant, Red Jungle Fowl, Hornbills, Babblers, Sunbirds, etc.
The climate in Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is tropical with pleasant weather most of the time and heavy rainfall during the monsoons. The winters may get very cold with the surrounding peaks covered in snow but the view during this is worth the visit.
The best time to visit the sanctuary is from October to April when the weather is clear and pleasant to explore around the area. The monsoons are very heavy in this part of the town and it gets very difficult to cycle or spot any wildlife.
Nearest Train Station: Apart from Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Station at 88km away, the other two closest stations are in Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. Both the stations have direct connections with most of the major cities and cabs are available from the stations.
Nearest Airport: The nearest airport from Darjeeling is in Bagdogra at a distance of 90km via NH110 which is connected by flights from all the major cities of the country.
Road Accessibility : The major access to Darjeeling by road is via Siliguri from where bus services are easily available. The road is well-maintained and private vehicles can also be taken to the sanctuary entrance.