Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary (Darjeeling Tourism in 2022)

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is providing protection to wildlife, mainly Indian bison and the Royal Bengal Tiger.

In this post, I will show you complete information about Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary.

Here, you will know about,

  • Activities at the Sanctuary
  • Mahananda WLS Museum 
  • Flora and Fauna
  • And, much more information

So, Let’s get started.

About Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary 

The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is a very beautiful and insane forest in North Bengal. By Covering 158 sq km of forests in The Himalayas, The Sanctuary is located around 131 kilometers from The Riverwood Forest Retreat-Doors which is surrounded by the Mahananda River and Teesta River.

Mahannda Wildlife Sanctuary is set up in 1976 and now, the Darjeeling Wildlife Division of the Government of West Bengal is maintaining and managing the Sanctuary. This Wildlife Sanctuary is considered the most important sanctuary of North Bengal, Because of protecting the little number of Royal Bengal Tiger and Indian Bison (Gaur). There are several forest villages in the Mahannda, including Sukna, Gulma, Kalijhora, Latpanchoor, Punding, Toribari, Sevoke, Mile, and latlong.

The Entrance of this sanctuary starts from Sukna with a height of 500 feet to 4300 feet. Basically, Sukna Village is located at an altitude of 500 feet above sea level. It is also known as Gateway, to Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. Maybe, the different heights of the overall Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, there is a variety of Tree is found here, including dense mixed moist forests and riverine forests.

Flora & Fauna of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary

Flora:

The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary has more than 300 species of plants. Due to the difference in height, the flora of the sanctuary mainly varies from dense mixed forest to riverside forest. The Forest of the Mahananda Sanctuary is a multipurpose forest. Elevation and forest species contribute to the existence of a large number of species of mammals, birds, and reptiles. Some are the most common flora species found in this sanctuary are Sal, shisu, teak, and jarul forest is mainly found are Teak, Lali, Jarul, Udal, Champ, Bamboo, Jarul, Fern Orchid, etc. Surrounded by the two rivers and mountains, the view of the overall Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is breathtaking.

Fauna:

The Lower part of the Mahananda Forest is Elephant Migration Zone. Elephants migrate between West Bengal, Nepal, and Assam. In Winter and Rainy Season, it is recorded that close to 150 elephants are found in the forest.

Due to the big number of Royal Bengal Tigers, this wildlife sanctuary has gained tremendous importance on the list of Sanctuary and Forest of India. Apart from the Royal Bengal Tiger, Manahanada Wildlife Sanctuary is the home of other many animals like sambar, rhesus monkey, Mountain Goats (Serow), and Himalayan black bears.

Besides of Royal Bengal Tiger, Elephants, and other animals, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is also the heaven for Bird Watcher. There are more than 300 species of birds are found in this sanctuary. The Most popular birds found in the Sanctuary are Peacock,  Fly Catcher, Racket-Tail Drongo, Assamese Macaque, Minivet, Egrets, Lotpecker, and many more. In addition, Lots of migratory birds come to the Sanctuary from Central Asia. Moreover, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary contains some endangered birds such as the Oriental Pied Hornbill, Rufus-naked Hornbill, and the Great Hornbill.

Mahananda WLS Museum 

You will be surprised that Manhananda Wildlife Sanctuary has its own Museum that other most of the Sanctuary has not. While entering the forest, there is a Wildlife Museum. To enter the Museum, you have to get a ticket from the counter which is on the ground floor of the Museum. It has a large area for Tourists with the facility of Car Parking and a Bathroom for Men and Women

At the entrance of the Museum, you will see a preserved leopard in a glass cabinet. Basically, it is preserved because it was killed in the Sanctuary and a small child was found in its womb. In addition, there are many large exhibits and patterns that reflect the wild of the forest, including tiger skins, Deer heads, birds, etc.

WatchTower at The Sanctuary

Mahanada Wildlife Sanctuary has two or three most popular Magnificent Watchtowers among a total of 5. One is located at Laltong on the banks of the river Teesta near the village of Laltong to see the elephant Migration of Sikkim and Nepal. The second one is located in the Golaghat and about 5 km from Sukna. And, that last one is built using a train cabin at the Gulma railway station which is a great way to watch deer, Indian bison, and other animals.

The watchtower at the Golaghat is one of the favorite watchtowers among the tourist, from the tower, the view of the dense jungle on and around the Mahananda River is just amazing.

Activities at the Sanctuary

In Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, there are many watchtowers, from the tower, you can see and feel the vibe of nature. You will see many wildlife, the migration of Elephants, and many more things. Authority of the sanctuary has been made several Glades inside the sanctuary, these glades have artificial salt licking facilities where you will see many animals are coming here in the morning and evening.

On the other hand, you can Jungle Safari in the sanctuary including the Siliguri-Sukna-Gulma, and it can be a true experience.

There is Natural Green Carpet inside the sanctuary, named Gulmarg Tea Estate. Covering about 50 km wide forest road, you can drive the car and feel a great beauty and gives a glimpse of the wonderful natural and man-made forest.

Accommodation: Where To Stay At Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary

Just 14km from Siliguri and 20Km from the Bagdogra Airport, this Wildlife Sanctuary has many Guest house and hotels at affordable prices.

In addition, Latpancher in the northern part of the sanctuary has a very nice Hotel and Guest House which is 44km from Siliguri.

In addition, State Forest Department in Sukna maintains a forest lodge inside the Sanctuary. If you are planning to stay overnight, you can stay here.

To book a Forest Lodge at Mahananda WLS, you need to contact,

Divisional Forest Officer, Darjeeling Wildlife Division – I
Forest Range Officer, Sukna Range, Darjeeling
Phone: (0354) 2257314Phone: (0353) 2573323

By the way, if you stay as an official Guest of the Sanctuary, you have to arrange your own food. Though there is a caretaker, you need to carry all ingredients, so that, the caretaker can cook the food for you and help. 

Best time to visit Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary

The best time to visit Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is from November to April month. At this time, the day temperature is lite cold and the sky is completely clear. Keep in mind, this Wildlife  Sanctuary is closed during the month of the Rainy Season which Mid June to Mid September.

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary Timings, Ticket Price 

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary Timings:

DayTiming
Monday6.00 AM – 4.30 PM
Tuesday6.00 AM – 4.30 PM
Wednesday6.00 AM – 4.30 PM
Thursday6.00 AM – 4.30 PM
Friday6.00 AM – 4.30 PM
Saturday6.00 AM – 4.30 PM
Sunday6.00 AM – 4.30 PM

Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary Entry Fees:

For Self Driven CarFor 1 Hour Bus Safari
Entry and Guider Fees are Rs.120 per person for Indians and Rs.500 for foreigners.
Vehicle Entry: Rs.400, Guide: Rs. 250, Camera: Rs. 100 per camera.
Entry and Guider Fees are Rs.300 per person.
You can buy bus safari tickets at the Nature Interpretation Centre (NIC) located at the entrance of the sanctuary.
Timings: 6.15 AM – 7.15 AM; 7.30 AM; 8.30 AM; 8.45 AM; 9.45 AM; 3.15 PM – 4.15 PM; 5.30 PM.

How To Reach Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary 

You can reach the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in 3 ways;

  1. Road
  2. Train
  3. Airplane
  1. By Road: The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is well connected by road with,  Siliguri, Darjeeling, and other cities in North Bengal. The Entrance of the Sanctuary, Sukna Hall located on the Siliguri-Darjeeling Highway. From Siliguri, it is just 13 km, you can reach it in 30 minutes by car.
  2. By Train: The nearest station of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri. After reaching the station, you need to hire a taxi to reach the sanctuary.
  3. By Air: The nearest airport to the  Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is Bagdogra.. This Airport is connected by the all famous airport from all over India. The distance between Bagdogra and Siliguri is 13 km. And, from reaching Siliguri or the Airport, you can reach the sanctuary by renting a Taxi or any local car.

Location in Google Map:

FAQ’s

  1. When was the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary started?

    The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary was started in 1955 as a normal forest or Sanctuary. But, Later, in 1959, this Sanctuary acquired the status of a Wildlife sanctuary, officially.

  2. In which district of West Bengal is Mahananda wildlife sanctuary located?

    Mahananda wildlife sanctuary is located in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal.

  3. Which animals are found in Mahananda wildlife sanctuary?

    The Most Popular animals of the Mahananda wildlife sanctuary are the Indian bison and the Royal Bengal Tiger. In addition, there are many other animals such are Elephants, Assamese Macaque, Egrets, Lotpecker, Minivet, and many more.

  4. How many watchtowers are there in the Mahananda wildlife sanctuary?

    The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary has a total of 5 watchtowers- Gulma, Toribari, Sukna, Latlong, and Golaghat. There is its own significance of these watchtowers for watching animals.

  5. What is the specialty of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary?

    The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its Indian Bison and the Royal Bengal Tiger.

Conclusion

In short, the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary at Sukna in Darjeeling is famous for protecting Indian Bison (Gaur) and Royal Bengal Tiger. I hope you have found complete information about Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in this in-depth article.

Now, I’d like to know from you:

Have you visited this sanctuary before?

Did you see Royal Bengal Tiger anywhere?

Let me know in the comments now.

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