View from national park in Sikkim

Home of the wild: National parks in Sikkim

Author: Tanuja Rai
Date: 2020-05-04

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Nestled in the lap of the magnificent Himalayas, Sikkim is known for its pristine hilly beauty, the ever flowing rivers Teesta and Rangeet, and mesmerizing landscapes; Sikkim is a wonderland. The second smallest state in India, Sikkim is also known for the richness of it varied wildlife. The wildlife of Sikkim is pretty diverse as compared with other national parks and wildlife destinations in the country due to the high altitude of the state. The varying altitude has been a blessing in Sikkim due to which a vast range of flora and fauna can be found in this part of the Himalayas. From the tropical to the alpine areas, the state of Sikkim has beautiful and varied landscapes and ecology with thriving wildlife that makes the wildlife here different from other national parks. What could be the best holidays than spending them while exploring the unique and rich wildlife? The forests of Sikkim make perfect home for wild animals, local and exotic birds of the hills. Leopard, snow leopard, state animal of Sikkim – red panda, Himalayan bear, wild ass, musk deer, and many other unique animals and birds to this region can be found in these dense forests.

Also read about: (Trekking routes in Sikkim)

                                            

A View of Khangchendzonga National Park

In the alpine territory of Sikkim, the presence of yaks can be seen living in the wild as well as with people at their homes as domesticated animals. It is quite hard to spot wild yaks in the mountains. Yaks are important for the people living in high altitudes of Sikkim as they procure wool, milk, milk products, and meat from them. Musk and the barking deer can be easily seen in the wilds of Sikkim. One of the endangered species, the musk deer can be found only in the higher altitudes.  The beautiful state animal of Sikkim is a real charmer. These red pandas can be spotted at the treetops at higher altitudes from 6,000 feet to 12,000 feet. You can also spot the proud and lovely snow leopards at higher altitudes of Sikkim. Unlike other national parks, here you will also be able to watch the pretty local and exotic birds always attracting visitors from everywhere. There are around 600 species of exotic birds in Sikkim including crimson horned pheasant, impeyan pheasant, lammergeyer, snow cock, and wood cock. Sikkim is also home to not only birds, animals, and beautiful flora but butterflies as well. There are more than 650 butterfly species in Sikkim that are a vibrant addition to the fauna of Sikkim. If you are fond of exploring wildlife and national parks, then here’s a chance of quenching your thirst for the sighting of the wildlife in Sikkim. There are a number of wildlife sanctuaries in Sikkim but just one national park with a very large ecosystem.


                                            

Red Panda inside Khangchendzonga National Park

Khangchendzonga National Park

The one and only national park of Sikkim is the Khangchendzonga National Park. The third highest mountain in the world Khangchendzonga straddles the western boundary of the park due to which this national park got its name. This national park is located in a village called Yuksom in the west district of Sikkim. The Khangchendzonga National Park is spread over an area of 1784 sq km and offers an amazing sighting of the rich flora and fauna including animals like snow leopard, red panda, the great Tibetan sheep, and musk deer that live in blissful isolation among giant magnolias, rhododendrons, and pine forests. Like many other parks, the trip to this national park is a heaven for people who love watching birds. The prime avifauna species of this national park are birds like grey peacock pheasant, blood pheasant, black-necked crane, Himalayan monal pheasant, grusnigricollis, satyr tragopan, and snow cock. This park is situated in the region that has remained untouched to quite a large extent. There are 18 high-altitude glaciers here that include the famous Zemu glacier. You will also be able to witness the majestic views of around 19 mountain peaks from the Khangchendzonga National Park of the Great Himalayan range including the Khangchendzonga peak. Visitors not only rejoice when they spot animals and birds in this national park but the stunning view of these mountain peaks is also a prime attraction of the beautiful landscape of Khangchendzonga National Park. This park is different from other parks in many aspects and one of them is that the Khangchendzonga National Park is the center of multi ethnic culture of the locals that has evolved over time, giving rise to a multi layered religious tradition that centers on the natural environment and its notable features. Khangchendzonga National Park was established in 1977 and later expanded in 1997. The park was extended to include major mountains and glaciers with additional lowland forests, which also resulted in doubling the size of the accommodation of seasonally migrating animals.

                                           

Crimson Bird spotted inside Khangchendzonga National Park

This national park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its rich and amazing wildlife with a beautiful landscape at the high altitude ecology. Most of the national parks are open throughout the year for visitors, but the best season to visit this national park is from March to the end of May. It looks truly beautiful in winter when the landscape is draped with white snow. During winter, snowfall can be heavy, and it will shower a lot in monsoon so it is not recommended to visit the park at these times. The vegetation of this park includes flora of many kinds, mixed forests, temperate broadleaf with alpine grasses, and shrubs at higher altitudes. You can also find trees such as birch, fir, maple, oaks, and willow. This region also has many medicinal plants and herbs.