Singalila National Park – If all you expect from Darjeeling is flavoured tea, I would say you are just an ignorant. Roam around here, and you will find the most beautiful National Park in Darjeeling district– Singalila National Park. Singalila is one of the best places in India to see red panda in the wild. Apart from this iconic specie, Singalila is home to a diverse array of mammals including Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard, leopard cat, serow, barking deer, yellow throated marten, wild boar, pangolin and pika, among others.
Singalila national park is one of the most exotic Himalayan forests located in the Darjeeling district in the West Bengal, Sikkim and Nepal tri-junction. It is a mystical forest located on the Singalila range at an altitude ranging between 7,000ft to 12,000 ft above sea level. It is well known for the trekking route to Sandakphu that runs through it and also famously known for its ageless vintage Land Rovers.
Singalila National Park
A beautiful reserve forest at the height of 7000 feet, Singalila is an exception for all the National Park in the State of West Bengal. A trekking route and a Sanctuary, Singalila is a beauty in diversity. Singalila is a birding paradise as well, with more than 300 species of birds found here. It has a huge list of exotic birds with many rare species. The park is also well known for its stunning and rugged Eastern Himalayan landscape and on clear days both Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga can be seen.
And if you are planning on visiting this mountain beauty soon, I bet you need to know the basic information about this place. Keep reading.
Singalila National Park – History
Singalila is a vast area that covers 78 square km area. It does not have much history except the fact that it was and it is a famous trekking route for expeditions to Kanchenjunga.
In the year of 1982, Singalila area was purchased by the British Government from Sikkim’s King and notified as a Reserve forest under the Indian Forest Act, 1978.
After independence, the Singalila Reserve Forest was declared as a National Park by the end of 1992 and was opened for tourists as well.
Apart from that, Singalila is the land of amid famous visitors such as Tenzing Norgay, Joseph Dalton Hooker, and Heinrich Harrer, etc.
Mostly Singalila National Park can be called as a mystery land of trekking, but it has many importances associated to it.
Importance of Singalila National Park
The National Park of Singalila is mostly famous for its recent project of ‘Red Panda’. Red pandas are one of the endangered animals on earth and can only be found at the high altitude.
Recently, Red Panda project of Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park chose Singalila National Park for more captive breeding habitat.
Mini and Sweety are two red pandas who were being selected for the captive breeding program in Singalila. Apart from the ‘Red Panda Project’, Singalila is a crucial trekking route for Sandakfu and Kanchenjunga.
Geography Of The Park
Singalila National Park is situated at a high altitude of 3000 metres at the district of Darjeeling of West Bengal State. It shares a natural border with Nepal on the west and Sikkim on the east.
The whole park comes within the territory of the Eastern Himalayan mountain range. Among them, the Singalila mountain ridge has run through this region to separate Darjeeling Himalaya from the other portion of the Eastern Himalayan.
Sandakfu and Phalut, Two highest peaks of West Bengal Eastern Himalay, are situated in this region. The National Park of Singalila can be divided into two ranges namely North Range or Rimbick and South Range or Maneybhanjyang.
The National Park also has seven blocks which are as follows– i) Right ii) South Rimbick iii) Sandakphu iv) Siri v) Rammam vi) Sabargram vii) Phalut.
Flora and Fauna
The flora of this region has a diverse flow. The whole Singalila range is covered with thick forests of Bamboo, Oak and Magnolia.
Apart from those Primula, Saxifraga, Bistort, Senecio, etc. can be found in this region. There exists mainly two peak flower season– one is in between March and April and another around October.
Also the presence of Mountain Cobra Lilies has given Sandakfu a unique name– ‘Mountain of Poisonous plants’.
Although a National Park, Singalila has a small percentage of mammals. Red Panda, Barking Beer, Yellow Marten, Wild Boar, Black Bear, Pika are some of the common mammals. Larger mammals mainly include Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Black Bear and Takin, etc. Tigers are very rare in this region.
However, birds are very common in this region. More than 12 species of birds are present in this area that includes many rare species of birds as well such as Scarlet Minivet, Satyr Tragopan, Blood Pheasant, Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, Treecreeper, Buff-barred Warbler, Robin Accentor, Black-throated Parrotbill, Alpine Accentor, Blyth’s Leaf Warbler, Brown Accentor, etc. Also, this place is home to thousands of migratory birds as well.
Among reptiles and amphibians, the Himalayan Newt, which is almost on the verge of extinction, is very frequent in the region of Singalila National Park.
How To Reach Singalila National Park
Singalila National Park is well connected to nearest big cities of Darjeeling and Siliguri.
By Air – The nearest airport of Singalila is Bagdogra Airport. Bagdogra is well connected with Singalila via road.
By Rail – nearest Railway Station is Ghum Railway station which is well connected to Singalila via road.
By Road – Singalila National Park is well connected to the major cities of India via road. There are many governmental transportation systems are available that directly go to the Singalila National Park. The nearest town of Singalila is Manebhanjan, and the nearest highway is NH 31A.
Entry Tickets and Timings
The entry fee for Singalila National Park is Rs100 for Indians and Rs 200 for foreigners. There are no closing days in Singalila National Park.
Timing– It remains open from 10 am to 5 pm every day.
A secluded and peaceful place Singalila National Park supports almost 70% people of Singalila from the tourism business. So, for that purpose, there are some do’s and don’ts that should be followed. While travelling, do take a local guide, eat local cuisines and value the local cultures. And please do not litter the serene environment of Singalila and do not play loud music while you are in the National Park. Happy Travelling!