Senchal Lake & Wildlife Sanctuary
#21 of 28 Places to Visit in Darjeeling
Distance (From Darjeeling): 10 Kms
Trip Duration (Including Travel): 2-3 Hours
Place Location: Near Senchal
Transportation Options: + Walk/Trek
Travel Tips: The sanctuary and access to the lake is closed during the monsoon time and reopens after September 15th.
At a distance of 10 km from Darjeeling, Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected sanctuary in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. It is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries of India and among the popular places to experience Darjeeling Tourism.
Covers an area of 38.6 Sq. km, Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary was set up in 1915 CE and is the south east extension of Singalila National Park. The elevation ranges from 1,500 to 2,600 m. High-altitude animals like barking deer, wild pig, Himalayan black bear, leopard, jungle cat, common rhesus monkey, Assam macaque, Himalayan flying squirrel, etc. are found in their natural habitats. The sanctuary is also rich in bird life.
Senchal wildlife sanctuary is a perfect combination of both man-made and natural jungles. The forest has different kinds of trees and plantation including oak, pines and birch. There are over 350 types of flowering plants in this area including Rhodendrons and Orchids. There are several villages surrounding the protected area.
Senchal Lake is a part of the Senchal Sanctuary which supplies drinking water to the town of Darjeeling. The lake is fed by a mountain spring and the water of this lake is clean and potable. The narrow longish Senchal Lake is surrounded by thick vegetation on all sides. However the main forest area is a bit far from the lake. Colourful flowers like rhododendrons and orchids on the lakeside enhance the overall beauty. A 9-hole golf course and club house are also present in proximity to this scenic lake.
The sanctuary opened the country's first-ever cycle trail, which is a 20-km stretch weaving through thick pine forests. One can easily get a cycle on rent in Darjeeling and enjoy the panoramic vistas of the crowd-free forest. A permit is required to traverse the routes of this cycling track, which can be purchased at the sanctuary entrance. The sanctuary and access to the lake is closed during the monsoon time and reopens after September 15th. Cyclists are not allowed to carry snacks with them inside the forest. This track will be strictly closed for cars and motorbikes.
Although access to the sanctuary is restricted, one can take special permission from the ranger's office at Jorebunglow and take a guide to go around the area. There are tourist lodges and the Rambi Forest Rest House inside the sanctuary.
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM, Closed during Monsoon
Cycling Permit: Rs. 50 for Person