Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary is in the Darjeeling in West Bengal. It is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries of India. It was set up as a sanctuary in 1915. This sanctuary covers an area of 38.6 square km. Altitude of Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary varies from 4900 ft to 8,500 ft. Two lakes situated inside the sanctuary supply drinking water Darjeeling district. This is a popular picnic spot too.
How to reach
It’s about 11kms from Darjeeling city and can be reached via Ghoom and Jorebunglow.
Aaccess to the sanctuary is restricted, special permission can be taken from the ranger’s office at Jorebunglow and take a guide to go around the area. A road (although not in a very good condition) goes through the Sanctuary and you can ask the driver to keep driving along as you watch the flora and the fauna.
Divisional Forest Office (Darjeeling)
Phone: (0354) 2252159
The sanctuary and access to the lake is closed during the monsoon and reopens after September 15th. Need to collect entry ticket from the Ranger’s office at Jorebunglow to access the Senchal area.
There are over 350 types of plants in this area including Rhodendrons and Orchids. The forest has different kinds of trees and plantation including oak forest, pines and Birch. There are various high-altitude animals such as 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. This sanctuary is also famous bird wathing. You can commonly see golden back woodpecker, emerald cuckoos, black-backed pheasant, red jungle fowl, hornbills, Babblers, Sunbirds etc.
There is a 9-hole golf course at the Senchal area which is supposed to be one of the highest golf courses in the world. Tiger Hill is very near to this area. It will be a great idea to combine visit Tiger Hill and Senchal Lake as a day picnic. This place can be visited as a day trip from Darjeeling town.
Inside the Sanctuary: A nice forest lodge known as Rambi Forest Rest House is located right inside the forest. It is managed by the Wild Life Division of Darjeeling. It has two rooms. Although it is mainly meant for official use, if free the rooms are also offered to public. Approx rate of this room is Rs. 1000/- per room.
If you want to stay here overnight, you will need to carry your groceries. There is a care taker at the rest house who can help with the cooking.
Booking at Rambi Rest House
Wildlife Division of Darjeeling. Phone: (0354) 2257314
Also there are lots of staying options are available in Darjeeling town.