National parks in sikkim

National Parks in Sikkim

Author: Nikita Baruah
Date: 2020-03-06

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Sikkim’s rich forests, glistening lakes, vast valleys, mystic meadows, and hot springs create the perfect biosphere for a diverse range of plants and animals. Vast pockets of Sikkim are protected areas that preserve and conserve medicinal plants, avifauna, and rare and endangered animal species such as the snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan Marmot, Asian Black Bear, Tibetan wolf, and the Himalayan jungle cat. 

The best way to explore the flora and fauna of Sikkim is by visiting its national park and wildlife sanctuaries. Sikkim's only national park Khangchendzonga National Park and 8 other sanctuaries see hundreds of visitors every year and some are highly popular among hikers and trekkers.

Here’s a glance at Sikkim’s wildlife sanctuaries and national park. 

KHANGCHENDZONGA NATIONAL PARK (North Sikkim)

Khangchendzonga National Park of Sikkim is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is known to preserve hundreds of animal and plant species. Along with protecting animals from poaching and vegetation from deforestation, the National Park fosters a diverse range of avifauna. In 2016, it became the world's first “Mixed Heritage” site. 

Traversing through a national park can be tricky. National parks border the fine line between the human world and forest life, which makes exploring them extremely exciting. However, keeping up with the constant pressure to do something new claws at you when you are disoriented. So here is a list of a few things you can do at Khangchendzonga National Parks in Sikkim that will keep you entertained throughout the trip. 

Best time to visit: March-May

 Snow leopard at Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim

Snow leopard at Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim

THINGS TO DO AT KHANGCHENDZONGA NATIONAL PARK

1) Trekking

Blooming amidst the high-rise peaks of the Himalayas, Khangchendzonga National Park offers the best trekking opportunities. There are many mountain peaks you can conquer in this Park, including the Goecha La peak, Mount Pandim, and the Rathong Glacier. If one is looking for adventure, one can come here and trek on the rocky terrains and slippery glaciers of the mountains. It is advised to go on organized treks for one's safety. The State Tourism Department of Sikkim, along with several external travel agents, organize many treks for tourists to undertake. 

2) Sightseeing

Khangchendzonga National Park is dotted with lush meadows, sparkling springs, and green lakes. These natural marvels are a feast to the eyes. One such lake is Khecheopalri Lake. Known for its scenic beauty, the lake is also a Buddhist and Hindu pilgrimage site that adds to its value. You can also visit Samiti Lake or the Chopta Valley viewpoints for breathtaking scenes. 

3) Explore the ancient religions of Sikkim 

The literal meaning of the word Khangchendzonga is “abode of the Gods.” Hence, the Park also functions as a sanctum sanctorum for the Buddhists. Many monasteries are situated inside the Park that can be visited by travellers including Tholung Monastery and Tingvong Monastery. Legends also say that religious masters of the bygone era had hidden sacred holy texts across the Park, only to be revealed by the chosen people later. 

4) Enjoy the safari offered by the National Park

Jungle safaris are the best part of any national park. Kids and adults alike enjoy watching wild animals in their natural habitat. Safaris are the safest and the least intrusive way of witnessing the wildlife world. One can embark on a fun-filled adventure in the Park and then spend the night in an eco-friendly resort inside the Park. 

5) Camping

Camping is one of the most exciting activities one can partake in during travelling in Sikkim. It gives you a mixed sense of natural thrill and modern comfort at the same time. Camping is both an adventurous and peaceful activity. Nothing matches the feeling of sitting around a bonfire with your family under a moon-lit sky. Khangchendzonga National Park comes with camping sites where you can safely indulge your camping desires. One such camping site is the Sachen campsite. 

A colorful bird spotted at Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim

A colorful bird spotted at Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim

6) Bird Watching

Khangchendzonga National Park is known for its varied range of native and migratory birds. If one is a wildlife or bird enthusiast, they will enjoy the national park experience thoroughly as they can bird-watch several rare bird species in the Park. Some of the most famous birds residing in Sikkim are the green pigeon, Tibetan snowcock, snow pigeon, Impeyan pheasant, Asian emerald cuckoo, sunbird, blood pheasant, satyr tragopan, osprey, Himalayan griffon, lammergeier, and the Tragopan pheasant. 

7) Picnic

The vast spaces of the Park coupled with the cool atmosphere of Sikkim make it the perfect spot for picnics and excursions. You can come to the Park with your family and eat a deliciously cooked meal next to the beautiful lakes or under distinct meadows of the Park. Have a rendezvous with nature in the simplest way possible and give the Khangchendzonga National Park a chance to treat you.

8) Photography

Khangchendzonga National Park is known for its diverse flora and relief features. Whether it is the mesmerizing snow-capped mountain peaks, lush valleys, dense meadows, glacial lakes, or hot springs, the natural beauty of the Park does not seem to end. Thousands of unique, colourful insects add to the natural beauty of the Park. All of this deserves to be captured by the best photographers in the country. So come along with your DSLRs and phone cameras and entrap the memories you make in the Park for a lifetime. 

However, it is essential to remember that one should not photograph the animals during the safari inside national parks as it intrudes on their personal space. Flashlights can also disturb them and, hence, one should restrict their photography to plants and insects. 

9) Witness the mighty waterfalls of the National Park

Khangchendzonga National Park is home to many enormous waterfalls that are known to attract hundreds of tourists towards them. One gets lost in the grand spectacle of gallons of water gushing down steep mountainous terrain. The loud sound of the water brings tranquility to the monotony-infested mind and soul. The most famous waterfalls of Khangchendzonga National Park are Naga Falls, Lingzi Waterfall, and Phamrong Falls. 

7 WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES OF SIKKIM

Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary (East Sikkim)

Located only 20 km from Gangtok, Fambong Lho Sanctuary is a hiker’s paradise. The Teenjurey hike inside the sanctuary leads you to a viewpoint where you get a magnificent view of the Himalayas. It’s home to red pandas, barking deer, and Himalayan brown bears. It’s also a great place to spot birds such as the endangered rufous-headed hornbill. 


Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary (West Sikkim)

A part of the Singalila Range, the sanctuary shares borders with West Bengal and Nepal. It is famous for the abundance of rhododendron blooms during April and May, making these months a favourite time for hikers.  

Entry fee: INR

Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary (East Sikkim)

It gets its name from the presence of several alpine flowers such as poppies, magnolias, primulas, and rhododendrons. You can also find orchids and medicinal plants here. Wildlife is also abundant here and you can find animals such as the musk deer, leopard, Himalayan black bear, and the red panda.

Maenam Sanctuary (South Sikkim)

Maenam Sanctuary is known for its rich variety of medicinal plants and herbs. You can also find diverse birds here. There is also a monastery situated at the top of the ridge that you can visit. 

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary (East Sikkim)

Besides other wildlife, Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary has close to 300 red pandas, the highest number in the world to be found in one place. It comprises oak, silver fir, and bamboo forests. It attracts birders and trekkers throughout the year. There are a few hamlets present inside the sanctuary.

Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary (North Sikkim)

Located inside Yumthang Valley, the sanctuary has 40 species of rhododendron trees, which burst into bloom during spring. The Chu River which cuts through it is rich in brown trout providing ample fishing opportunities. The sanctuary has a variety of astonishing flora. The Chuba-Sagochen and Chomzomei Tso mountain ranges form the backdrop of the sanctuary. It receives heavy snowfall in winters.

Kitam (Bird) Wildlife Sanctuary (South Sikkim)

This sanctuary is home to 200 bird species, which include the Rufous-necked hornbill, Yellow-vented warbler, and Chestnut-breasted partridge among others. Ideal for bird watching, the sanctuary has 4 trails, watchtowers, and viewpoints for bird watchers. 


Other Info:

Home of the Wild: National Parks in Sikkim 

Discover Sikkim

Sikkim Tour Packages


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