Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary
A sanctuary of rhododendron flowers, Barseylies in the south-west corner of the West Sikkim district at an altitude of 10,000-km. Spread over an area of 104 sq km, across the razor-sharp Singalila Range, the sanctuary borders Nepal and West Bengal.
The motorable road that goes closest to Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary runs along the Siliguri-Kalimpong-Kaluk highway. One needs to take the diversion from Soreng that comes before Kaluk. From Soreng, a 36-km drive through an upward zigzag road will lead to Hilley ~ the last motorable place before one embarks on a trek to Barsey.
There is a 4-km bridle path from Hilley to Barsey that runs amidst the forests of rhododendron, primula, magnolia, oaks,and pine. Given the long trek with no human habitation in between, Sikkim government has set up covered resting places at regular intervals.
In trekking through the dense forest, one may be required to jump over or crawl under tree branches fell by storm or old-age. The climate here is wet and cold that allows the spread and growth of rhododendron. In the winter, the sanctuary witnesses snowfall.
The best time to visit Barsey is November-May when rhododendron flowers in multiple hues are in full bloom and the sky is clear. It’s a real sight to behold for a lifetime, let Global Connection assure you. One can find as many as 600 varieties of rhododendrons at Barsey, out of 1,000 varieties that have been identified in Sikkim.
The Sanctuary is also home to the rare Himalayan species of Red Panda, black bear, leopard, leopard cat, marbled cat, Himalayan yellow throated marten, Himalayan palm civet, barking deer, macaque, pheasants, etc.
There are only two lodging facilities at Barsey that are located at the end of the trek route. Right from the window of the lodges, one can catch the Kubhakarna range of Mt Khangchendzonga. It is a must to do advance booking for lodging and Global Connection is always there to shoulder the trouble for the tourists and nature lovers.