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Park/ Sanctuaries

Smriti Van

State Policy of Environment, Forest and Land Use


 Medicinal Plants


... the Land of Mystical Splendor !


In order to protect the rich flora and fauna of Sikkim from the poacher, the Government has established parks and sanctuary. Khangchendzonga National Park The largest of these is the Khangchendzonga National Park which encompasses an area covering 1784 sq km. It is bounded in the north by the Tent Peak and the ridge of the Zemu glacier. The eastern boundary of this park comprises of the ridge of the Mountain Lamaongden.

The southern boundary includes Mount Narsing and Mount Pandim. The western boundary comprises of the mighty Khangchendzonga which presides over its namesake park and the Nepal Peak. Being bounded by such formidable features, it is no wonder that the park has remained ecologically untouched and therefore has provided a natural protection to the flora and fauna it shelters. The fauna includes the Snow Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Baking deer and many other species. Many places in this park have perhaps never been trod by man and it is very likely that new species may be discovered here.

Khangchendzonga National Park (North Sikkim)
Best Season to Visit : March - May and September - November.
Area : 1784 sq km
This park is the home to Snow leopard , Clouded leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Blue Sheep, Serow, Himalayan Tahr, Goral , Musk Deer, Barking Deer, Impeyan Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Blood Pheasant, Osprey, Lammergeier, Sunbirds etc.

Mount Khangchendzonga (8585 m),Mount Narsing (5825 m), Mount Simvo (6811 m) and Mount Siniolchu (6888 m) enhance the scenery. One of the abiding charms of Sikkim for the nature lover, is the constantly changing character of plant and animal life. Each of the altitudinal zones of vegetation harbours characteristic fauna of its own. Sikkim, which is less than 8000 sq. km. In area has over 550 species and subspecies of birds, nearly 30% of the entire bird fauna of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka together. The wealth and variety of butterflies and flowerings plants found here is perhaps unequalled in the world...More

Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary (North Sikkim)
Best Season to Visit : March to late May and September to mid- December.
Area : 51.76 sq km
Distance : 20 km( from Gangtok )
Altitude : 1280 - 2652 m
Note : Entry to Sanctuary is permitted by the Chief Wildlife Warden, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok .
This is located about 20 kilometers from Gangtok and covers an area of about 5,200 hectares above the road between Singtam and Dikchu with the highest point at a place called Tinjure at 7,000 ft. where a wooden observation tower of the Forest Department exists. The Sanctuary is the home of Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Civet cat and many varieties of birds and butterflies. The Binturong or Bear-Cat (Arctictis binturong) is a rare civet reported from here.

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary (South Sikkim)
Best Season to Visit : March - May and September - November.
Area : 36.34 sq km
Distance :
Altitude : 10,600 ft
It is located in South Sikkim above the town of Rabongla and covers an area of about 3,500 hectares with its highest point being at Maenam. It shelters Red Panda, Goral, Serow, Barking Deer, Marbled-Cat, Leopard-Cat, Civet-Cats, Blood Pheasant, Common Hill Partridge, Magpies, Black Eagle, Blue necked Pitta, Sunbirds and many other animals of the temperate forest.

Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary (North Sikkim)
Best Season to Visit : March - May and October - December.
Area : 43 sq km
Distance : 137 km (from Gangtok)
It is located near Yumthang in North Sikkim and contains a vast variety of rhododendrons. The sanctuary is bounded on its southern periphery by the Yakchey La and on the northern periphery by the Yumthang Valley known for its alpine meadow and hot springs.

It is hemmed in on the east by the high rugged Chuba-Sagochen mountain ranges and on the west by part of Chomzomei Tso extending upto Lava pass. The picturesque Yumthang Chhu (river) flows through the sanctuary, which is known for its unique abundance of Rhododendron trees and shrubs, 40 species/varieties of which are recorded from Sikkim alone. When in blossom the rhododendrons provide a riot of colour to this small park.

The fauna here consists of the Serow, Goral, Blood Pheasant , Common Hill Partridge etc. also found here. The beautiful and highly endangered Spotted Linsang or Tiger-Civet (Prionodon pardicolor) has been reported from here.

The rare and endemic Rhododendron nevium, the State Tree occurs only in this sanctuary which is also rich in ground flora such as primulas, potentillas, gentians, saxifrages, poppies and aconites. Brown Trout were introduced into Yumthang Chhu at Phunyi in 1978 and have been flourishing since. Lachung is the last frontier village before reaching the sanctuary. There is a Forest Rest House here, as well as one at Yumthang.

Kyongnosia Alpine Sanctuary (East Sikkim)
Best Season to Visit : April - August and October - November.
Area : 31 sq km
Distance : 26 km from Gangtok
Altitude : 3350 m
It is situated around the area adjoining the Tsomgo (Changu) lake along the Nathula Road. Sanctuary abounds in alpine flowers like Poppies, Primulas and Rhododendron. Musk Deer, Serow, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, Lesser Cats, Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Impeyan Pheasant are some of the species found. This floristic sanctuary has a breath-taking variety of flowers between May and August.

The earliest to flower are the different species of Rhododendron, though they each have slightly varied timings of peak flowering. In the open areas, you can see a flowering succession of variously coloured primulas, blue poppies, and Clematis in June; purple irises, pale yellow poppies (Meronopsis paniculata) and Friti1laria together with the little local strawberry Fragaria dotting the ground in July. The season ends in August in a blaze of golden senecios and bright purplish-pink Pedicularis siphonantha. The last to flower is Polygonum which covers the landscape, after which the area awaits its first snowfall.

Many rare and highly endangered plants, some of great medicinal value are found here such as Podophyllum emodii, Aconitum spp. and Nardostachys grandiflora. The orchid Cypripedium elegans in particular is endemic to this area. Some solemn, majestic silver firs, Abies densa, stand sentinel over the area towering above the thickets of rhododendron and fields of tiny flowering plants. There are also dense bushes of bamboos at the lower altitudes, mostly belonging to the genus Arundinaria which forms an ideal habitat for animals like the Red Panda, Ailurus fulgens that thrive on their shoots. These bushes also play an important role in soil conservation.

Bird life is represented by different types of laughing thrushes in shrubs and on the forest floor; the ubiquitous blue whistling thrush, redstarts and forktails near waterfalls and hill-streams; mixed hunting parties comprising small species such as warblers, tit-babblers, tree-creepers, white-eyes, wrens, rose finches, yellow- bellied fantail flycatchers, minlas and yuh~nas in rhododendrons and silver firs; raptors such as black eagle, blackwinged kite and kestrel patrolling the skies and pheasants such as monals and blood pheasant, now becoming rare. Many migratory birds also use Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary as a stopover before going down to the Indian plains or back to Siberia.

Animals, though present are very difficult to spot during a casual visit; but as this is the only safe refuge available to them from the disturbance of nearby army cantonments, you may expect to see signs of musk deer, serow, goral, common langur and the red panda in the higher ranges of the sanctuary. There are records of leopard and black bear too. So look carefully for animal tracks and signs such as pugmarks, browsed branches, droppings, small trails and dens in rocks and tree snags. The forest will then come alive for you and with practice you will soon be able to identify the animal making these signs.

Animals and birds breed late at this altitude sometime between May to August. A lot of the smaller species use underground dens and nests or lake over abandoned or disused burrows. It is not uncommon to find small rivulets formed from melting ;now of the winter months. Often the dense rhododendron bushes around these water bodies serve is ideal sites for nesting of birds and you should be careful not to disturb the hidden occupants by avoiding walking into these bushes. Do study elements of this unique high altitude lake ecosystem.

Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary (West Sikkim)
Best Season to Visit : March - May and September - November.
Area : 104 sq km
Altitude : 1600 m 3600 m
This Rhododendron Sanctuary has been recently established and lies in the West corner of Sikkim. Mountains scarred by landslides suggest that development activities are taking a toll on the environment and the flora and fauna are definitely being affected. The loss of top soil, soil instability, degeneration of agriculture land and shrinking of catchments areas of the rivers are issues that are cause for concern. The alpine areas of Sikkim in particular which look so powerfully big and formidable are ironically most vulnerable and sensitive to environment degradation. High altitude soil is not readily regenerative and therefore overgrazing of yaks and sheep in alpine meadows has led to many stretches of land becoming barren. Man has realized that forests form an indispensable part of our life support system and placed their conservation high on the agenda. Perhaps in the thousands of species of flora in Sikkim, some of them unique to this state and not found elsewhere, are some which await to be discovered to provide life saving drugs to fight diseases like cancer and AIDS that are stalking mankind. It is truly said that in the wildness is the preservation of the world. The best protection for the species is the people who know and care about them. The need for development and the preservation of the ecology have to be balanced and one should not be allowed to overwhelm the other...more


Special Interest Tours
The Last Shangri La | Butterfly Tour | Angling Tour | Meditation Tour | Flower Lovers Tour | Rhododendron Tour | Photo Tour

Cultural Tours
Discover Sikkim | Sublime Lotus | Shangrila Tour | Pilgrimage Sikkim | Himalayan Splendour | Formidable Dzongs | On The Kanchendzonga Trail | The Roof Of The World | The Dragon Land | Pemayangste--The Sublime Lotus | A Journey Along The Teesta River
| Monasteries & Chortens | Of Mist & Clouds | Ride On The Historic World Heritage Train | Monasteries Of Sikkim | Monastics & Ascetics | The Buddhist Lamas | The Kazi Bhutias | The Lachenpas & Lachungpas | A Pilgrimage To Pemayangtse

Sikkim Treks
White Magic Trek | Dzongri Trek | Sangelila Trek | Green Lake Trek | Goecha-la Trek

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