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Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary



Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is the abode of Himalayan Black Bear, Leopard Cat and the elusive Red Panda amongst the many animals, not to mention about the innumerable species of birds that reside here. While the most common and popular trail to Maenam Top, the highest point of Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is via Rabangla in South Sikkim, there are few extremely uncommon trails which leads to the Maenam Top. These trails, rarely treaded, are absolutely uncharted and there is wilderness in every step, through a dense forest of Oak, Pine and Rhododendron. This trail turns into a riot of colours when the Rhododendrons are in full bloom. There are possibilities of witnessing wildlife if one can walk patiently and quietly, without making much noise. Maenam is also an excellent place for birding, with almost 150 species of birds present in this area. One such lesser known trails start from Phamtham in South Sikkim, few kilometers down from Borong. Here is the brief itinerary :-

•  Day 1 - Pick up from NJP Railway Station/ Siliguri. Drive to Borong. Overnight stay at Borong.

•  Day 2 - Start early in the morning after breakfast. We drive till Phamtham where our trek begins. We leave the last village behind and soon enter into the thick forest. The trek is more than a mere hike and gets quite steep at times. Birders can get rewards if they keep their eyes open. Around five hours of walking leads us to a beautiful place called Bangale where we camp for the night next to a sparkling rivulet.

•  Day 3 - We start early in the morning. The trail gets slightly steeper as the density of the forest increases. We have to ration our water as water is scarce along the route. After another four to five hours of walking through the dense forest, we reach a place called Shirane where we camp for that day. The water point is far from the camping spot, so, we have to ration water carefully and avoid wasting.

•  Day 4 - As we gain in height, the density of the forest starts thinning out. After walking for another few hours, we reach a place called Dolodunga, a valley with a thin stream flowing through it. This is a vast expanse of land and there are chances of observing wildlife like Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer, etc.

•  Day 5 - Today, we have a small distance to cover. So, we can take the liberty of starting slightly late after exploring Dolodungs. Walking for a couple of hours or so leads to a velvetty meadow called Bhalutar. This meadow turns lush green post monsoon. We set our camp for the day.

•  Day 6 - We have a long distance to cover today. So, we start early and trek through an undulating trail towards Maenam Top, the highest point in this trek. Once again, the density of the forest increases and so does the wilderness. The wilderness abruptly gives way to a stone laid path, an indication that we have almost reached Bhaley Dunga. Bhaley Dunga is a suspended spur resembling a rooster’s head overlooking the Yangyang village. It has a small shrine where one can offer their Puja. From Bhaledunga, Maenam is another 30 minutes or so.

•  Day 7 - Today is our much needed rest day which we utilize to explore the surroundings of Maenam Top. Birdwatchers can spend time fruitfully to identify the almost 150 species of birds present here.

•  Day 8 - We trek back to Rabangla today and spend the night in hotel.

•  Day 9 - We drive back to Siliguri/ NJP. Our program ends here

Destination - Maenam Top (3100 M)

Duration - 8 Nights and 9 Days

Accomodation - Camp/ Tent/ Hotel

Pickup & Drop - Nearest Railway Station/ Airport/ Bus Terminus

Best Time To Visit - April - May/ September - November