Looking for a peaceful place in North Bengal surrounded by nature? Then you should visit Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. It is located between the Mahananda and Teesta rivers and covers an area of 158 square kilometers. The forest is in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal and was declared a sanctuary in 1958 to protect the Royal Bengal tiger and Indian Bison from extinction. Although the situation has improved, there are still many wild animals and plants in the forest that make it an excellent destination for nature lovers to spend some time alone.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary Attractions
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of wildlife due to its varying altitudes. The forest spans from 500 feet at Sukna to over 4300 feet at Latpanchar.
The Sanctuary’s natural habitat is ideal for many wild animals, including the Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian Bison, spotted deer, elephant, barking deer, Sambar, Himalayan Black bear, leopard, and more.
In addition to the wildlife, the Sanctuary is also home to many bird species such as blue-bird, swallow, swift, thrush, babbler, warbler, roller, minivet, sunbird, kingfisher, and more.
If you are a bird enthusiast, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect destination for you to explore and enjoy the diverse birdlife.
How to Reach Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
If you are planning to visit Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, you can easily reach there by road, air, or train. The Sanctuary is well-connected with Darjeeling, Siliguri, and many other nearby towns.
To reach the Sanctuary, you can go to Sukna, which is just 8 km away and serves as the gateway to the Sanctuary. From Siliguri town, which is only 13 km away, you can hire a taxi or car that will take less than 30 minutes.
If you prefer to travel by train, you can reach NJP Railway Station, which is the nearest station. From there, you can hire a car to reach the Sanctuary, which is only 14 km away and takes approximately 40 minutes.
The nearest airport to the Sanctuary is Bagdogra. After reaching Bagdogra, you can hire a taxi to reach the Sanctuary, which is located at a driving distance of 28 km and takes more than 1 hour to reach.
Activities and Things to Do
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary offers a thrilling holiday experience with a variety of activities to enjoy in nature’s paradise.
The Sanctuary has many hides, watchtowers, glades, salt licks, and streams where you can observe the wild animals up close. Some of the watchtowers include Laltong Watch Tower, Gulma Watch Tower, and Golaghat Watch Tower.
For a more adventurous experience, you can take a Jeep Safari or Jungle Safari through the lush green forest. The Jungle Safari is particularly exciting as you can spot many wild animals along the way.
Other activities to enjoy in the Sanctuary include watching the local village girls dance, boating, and trekking through the dense forest. Additionally, there are many rich heritage sites and museums to visit.
Overall, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary offers a range of activities that will make your holiday experience thrilling and memorable.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary Timings
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is open year-round, but the best time to visit is from October to April. During these months, the weather is comfortable, and the sky is clear.
However, it is not recommended to visit the Sanctuary during the monsoon season, as it remains closed from 15th June to 15th September.
The Sanctuary is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm, except during the mid-June to mid-September period when it is completely closed.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary Ticket Price
To enter Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, the entry fee is only INR 50. If you opt for a guard and Jungle Safari, the price increases to INR 150.
In addition, there is a vehicle fee of INR 100 and a camera fee of INR 100.
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary Accommodation
If you plan to spend a night at Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, there is a forest lodge in Sukna operated by the West Bengal Forest Department.
Alternatively, there are many homestays, lodges, and government resorts available for bookings at Latpanchar, located in the northern area of the Sanctuary. The hotels in Latpanchar offer a breathtaking view of Mount Kanchenjunga due to its high elevation.
Why Visit This Sanctuary
Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary offers a plethora of attractions and activities for tourists to enjoy. From observing the wild animals up close and having a thrilling Jungle Safari experience to boating on the streams and admiring the snow-peaked Mountain Kanchenjunga, there is something for everyone.
If you are planning a trip to Siliguri, why not add Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary to your itinerary and experience the beauty of nature up close? With so many things to do and see, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is definitely worth a visit.