Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary
The Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is located above the Tendong hill in the northern corner of the South Sikkim district. It is located on the Maenam-Tendong ridge which runs north-south bisecting Sikkim longitudinally. The sanctuary covers a total area of 35 sq kms. The term ‘Maenam-La’ stands for the ‘treasure house of medicines’. The name of the sanctuary suggests a rich collection of different medicinal plants available in the region. The wildlife sanctuary was established in the year 1969.
The sanctuary has many streams which originate from the eastern side of the sanctuary and ends in the Teesta River in the western side. The sanctuary provides a beautiful view of the Tista River flowing far below a deep gorge. The altitude of the sanctuary varies between 2300 meters to 3263 meters. The sanctuary is drained by the Tista River in the east and the Rangit River in the west.
The climate of the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is wet and moist. The average rainfall of the forest is more than 300 cms. Snowfall occurs in the higher areas of the sanctuary during the winters.
There are a number of fauna species like red panda, leopard cat, civet cat, goral, serow, barking deer and marbled cat. Among the avifauna species, there are a number of them including blood pheasant, black eagles, common hill partridge, magpie, blue necked pitta, sunbirds, woodcock, crested serpent eagle, crimson horned pheasant, green pigeon, speckled wood pigeon, spotted dove, Rufous turtle dove, common hawk, cuckoo, warbler, tree sparrow, common rose finch, redheaded bullfinch and gold headed black finch.
There are trekking routes and facilities in the sanctuary. A fabulous trekking route is to Maenam peak and further to Bhaledunga starting from Ravangla and passing through the alpine forests area. Another trekking route is from Maenam to Borong village. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from November to May.
There is also a historical Buddhist monastery on the top ridge of the sanctuary. This sanctuary is named Maenam Gumpha. It was set up the Queen of Sikkim in 1969. There is also a temple of Lord Shiva here.
How to Reach
- By Road: There are a number of buses from Namchi to the sanctuary. One can easily reach to Namchi from Gangtok and New Jalpaiguri.
- By Air: The nearest airport is the Bagdogra Airport.
- By Rail: The nearest railway station is the New Jalpaiguri Railway station. There are a number of hotels in Namchi and private tourist lodges there. The sanctuary is located around 65 kms from state capital Gangtok and 20 kms from Ravangla.