(Last Updated on : 22-01-2014)
Singhalila National Park is the highest National Park in West Bengal
. Located along the extreme northwestern boundary of Darjeeling District, this park stands at high altitude of more than 7000ft from sea level and extends on an area of 78.60sq.km.
The vegetation of Singhalila National Park mainly comprises alpine and the rest of the species of flora changes with the range in altitude. The main tree species found are the Magnolia, Rhododendron, Oak, Hemlock, Juniper, Silver Fir, Buk, Mailing Bamboo
, Kawla, Bhujpatra and so on. Other flora collection in the park includes primulas, gentians, aconitums, arisaemas and orchids; they adorn the forest clearings. The fauna seen in Singhalila National Park are leopard, serow, pangolin, elephant
, red panda
, chinkara takin, barking deer and others. The park features a variety of birds such as pigeons, doves, sibia, minivet, cuckoo
, magpie, hornbills, Kaleej pheasants and a large number of migratory birds. It is a natural home for the endangered Red panda, whose population has diminished considerably. A project for captive breeding of the Red Panda in the Darjeeling zoo is operational for subsequent release of the stock in their natural habitat.
Singhalila National Park is famous for its trekking routes with spectacular views of Himalayan peaks through a film of pristine forests and wild mountain flowers. Maneybhanjang ( 2134m) at a distance of one and a half hours via road from Darjeeling
is the commencing point to one of the popular trekking routes in the eastern Himalayas, across Tumling (2900m) or Tonglu (3050m) - Gairibans(1900m) - Sandakphu (3636m)(35Km) - Phalut (3605m) - Rimbik (2286m) and back to Manebhanjyang. The Singhalila National Park area is enclosed within this trek route further than Tonglu or Tumling. The trekkers can stop at Meghma/ Tonglu, Gairibans, Sandakphu and Phalut for the nights. There are two roomed rest houses available at Rambi, Tonglu, Gairibus, Sandakphu and Phalut that are available for stay. Maneybhanjang has plenty of hotels and houses available for stay. The best time to visit Singhalila National Park is from March to June and September to November.
Nearest Airport to reach Singhalila National Park is Bagdogra that lies around 80 kms from Darjeeling. There are regular flights to Kolkata
. New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri railway Junctions connect Darjeeling with Kolkata (665 km) and New Delhi. From Siliguri or Jalpaiguri
one can also take the heritage toy train, which takes about 7hours and get down at Ghum. Jeeps are available from Ghum to Maneybhanjang. There are buses and taxis available from Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling or Maneybhanjang. Singhalila National Park is a must see tourist place in Darjeeling that allures hundreds of visitors round the year.