Singalila National Park: A small heaven on earth

Singalila National Park is located in the Eastern Himalaya and it is the highest National Park in West Bengal. It presents exotic plants and rare animals. The interested tourists, trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts can visit this Park for refreshing themselves. Read to know the details.

Singalila National Park is a small reserved forest on the Singalila ridge in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is one of the six National Parks located in the state. The area of this small park is only 78.6 square kilometer. This National Park is located at a height of about 8000 feet. So, its flora and fauna are unique in nature, and can't be seen at any other forest in the state.

The Park is located between two ranges. The southern range starts at Manebhanjan and goes up to Sandakphu and Phalut, two highest peaks in this region. This route is generally availed by most of the tourists and trekkers. The northern range of the park can be reached via Rimbik and this is less popular. Singalila National Park is bordered with Sikkim at the north and Nepal at the west.

Trees and plants found in the National Park

As the National Park is located at a very high altitude, the trees and plants which are seen in the National Park are different in nature than the trees and plants found in other National Parks and Sanctuaries. The forest is full of oaks, ferns, bamboo and various flowering plants like rhododendrons. In Singalila National Park, various types of beautiful orchids are found. During summer, the Park is resplendent due to the blossoming of different types of rhododendrons. During October-December, the tourists can see more than six hundred types of orchids at Singalila.

Animals and birds found in Singalila Park

The fauna of Singalila National Park is truly exotic. Almost all animals are high altitude animals. There are thirty-two rare Red Pandas in this Park (as per 2015 census). These Red Pandas are herbivorous and nocturnal in nature. In addition, in this forest, barking deer, yellow-throated martens, long-tailed pangolins and Himalayan newts can also be found. Himalayan black bear, snow leopard and clouded leopards are also found. In one or two cases, sightings of the tiger in the Park have been recorded.

More than one hundred and twenty species of birds have been sighted in the Park. These include minivets, pheasants, robins. cuckoos, tragopans, etc. As the Park is located in the Himalayan region, the number of birds is comparatively less than the birds found in other Indian forests.

Trekkers' paradise

The National Park is a trekkers' paradise. The tourists and trekkers get a panoramic view of Mount Everest, Kanchanjangha, Sandakphu and various other grand, snow-capped peaks of Eastern Himalayas. However, it must be mentioned that the trekkers and tourists are not allowed inside the National Park. Further, there is a Border Security Force camp inside the Park and photography is strictly prohibited near the camp.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Singalila National Park is during spring (March to April) and during autumn (September to November).

How to visit the Park

The nearest airport is Bagdogra airport. The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP). The trekking or jeep safari starts from Manebhanjan which is at a distance of around 100 kilometers from both Bagdogra and from NJP. A tourist can also reach Manebhanjan from Darjeeling. The distance between Darjeeling and Manebhanjan is around 25 kilometers.

Final few words

Singalila National Park and Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary (Reference: this article) of West Bengal present the flora and fauna available in the lower Himalayan ranges. These plants and animals are not seen in the forests of plain land. So, interested tourists and wildlife enthusiasts can visit Singalila National Park and Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary to enjoy in the lap of pristine Nature.

Article by Partha K.
"If you don't like someone's story, write your own." - Chinua Achebe

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Author: Natarajan25 Apr 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 4

Glad to hear about the Singalila National Park, it sounds like it is managed in such a way as to escape the human onslaught. Perhaps, the most important reason to regulate tourism and trekking here would be the Red Pandas that have the highest legal protection in India. These lovely creatures are threatened by loss of habitat.

The snow leopard is magical to watch. One must see some documentaries to understand the joy of sighting these elusive creatures. Sounds like one can combine a trip to Darjeeling and this park.

The author could have mentioned if there are any reliable homestay or government-run trekking/lodgings. This would be very useful and make the article complete.

Himalayan black bear- Instead of bear, it is worded as beer.

Author: Partha K.09 May 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

Thanks to Mr. Natarajan for reading this small article. As this is a natural park, there is no provisions of staying inside the national park. The trekking through the park starts at Manebhanjan. There are many hotels, trekking guides, porters and trekking equipment available at Manebhanjan. There are many good hotels at Manebhanjan.

Further, there is a BSF camp just outside the national park. Photography near the camp is strictly prohibited.

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