Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary

Barsey or Versey is a small hilltop in Sikkim. Located at an altitude of 10,000ft, Barsey is renowned for its Rhododendron Sanctuary. The sanctuary falls in the West Sikkim district and is accessible by road via Hilley, Dentam or Soreng from Geyzing. If you want to try trekking in India, it would be an amazing idea to proceed up (4 kms) the hill from Hilley. The sanctuary falls in the Singalila range, and is a starting point to Singalila Ridge trek route.

During spring time, Rhododendrons blossom here covering the whole terrain with colors and lovely fragrance. It's surprising to know that you can find 600 varieties of rhododendrons, out of 1000 (varieties known) in Sikkim. Spreaded in an area of 104 sq. km, the sanctuary is a home to numerous species of Rhododendron, Primula, Magnolia, oaks and pine. Not only this, Barsey is rich in both flora and fauna. Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is also renowned for embracing rare Himalayan species of Red Panda and Black Bear.

Fauna at Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary: Leopard, Leopard Cat, Marbled Cat, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, Himalayan Palm Civet, Cannidae Wild dog, Indian Fox, Jackal, Himalayan Black Bear, Wild Boar, Red Panda, Barking Deer, Serow, Assamese Macaque, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Langur, Crimson Horned Pheasant, Monal Pheasant and Kaleej Pheasant, Crestless Porcupine, Rufous Tailed Hare, Chinese Pangolin, Flying Squirrel, Giant Squirrel and Himalayan Mouse Hare are some of the animals found at the Barsey Sanctuary.

Some of the species of Rhododendron that can be easily seen in the sanctuary are arboreum, cinnabarinum, falconeri, barbatum, campanulatum hodgsoni, Acer caudatum, Betula utilis, Pieris ovalifolia, Prunus rufa, Pyrus foliolosa and P. macrophylla. Here, Bamboo and varieties of shrubs are also traceable. The vegetation in the area is dense and sometimes, you can see layers of a variety of plants. 

Below is a 4day tour plan to visit Singling and Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary :
Day1: Reach Siliguri in early morning. You can take flight to Bagdogra Airport, or you can come to New Jalpaiguri Railway Station by Train. From Siliguri you will get share jeep to Jorethang, the main gateway to West Sikkim. If there is no jeep at Siliguri bus terminus, go to Pranayee temple stoppage. There you will surely get the jeep. The ticket to Jorethang is Rs. 80-100 per person depending on the season. It will take 3hrs on an  average to reach Jorethang from Siliguri. From Jorethang you have to book a jeep for Hilley, Rs. 1200. If you want you can search for share jeeps to Hilley as well. From Jorethang to Hilley it is almost 2 and a half hour journey. You can take lunch at Somebaria, after Somebaria there is no place to take lunch, except at Hilley itself where one Sherpa family runs a homestay and they can arrange the lunch, costly though. This family will also arrange the gatepass to enter the sanctuary. For 3 adults it was Rs. 98 during April,2010. Camera fees included. There are some rules and regulations strictly followed inside the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, like not to touch the flowers, not to litter and not to disturb the wildlife.  
From Hilley it is 4km trek to Barsey. The trekking routes passes through the deep forest of Rhododendron,bamboo,various ferns moss etc. It is relatively an easy trekking routes and can be completed within 2hrs easily. Upon arrival to Barsey, take rest. 

Alternately you can opt for Barsey hilltop to get the panoramic view of the vast forest here.
Day2: After breakfast you can trek thorugh the forest beyond the Barsey hilltop, and reach to a watchtower. 

If you are lucky enough you can find the elusive red panda, plenty are here in this region, but they are always in the hiding mode. Also there are barking deer,bear and countless birds. Keep silence and you will surely enjoy the sounds of the birds.

Day3: You can trek downhill through the mystic pine forest all the way to Upper Singling, a small village in West Sikkim. It is almost 10kms trek from an altitude of 10,500' to 6400'. The route is risky during monsoon.

It will take more than 4hrs to reach Upper Singling from Barsey

Take rest at Dhusan bhai's home. The arrangements are simply mind blowing in such a small remote village. In the evening they can arrange campfire at the home premises. Specially to mention the tea from their own small family purpose tea garden.

Day4: After breakfast trek downhill to Soreng, the motorable road starts here. The path is in very good condition, and it will be merely 30 minutes trek. From Soreng you will get share jeep to Jorethang, Rs. 30 per head. from Jorethang again you can have share jeep to Siliguri.  

Best time to visit Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary: March to April is the blooming season, and hence the best season to visit Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for so charming information about BARSEY trip. What will happen if anybody visits in the month of SEPTEMBER and OCTOBER. Please mention of any travel agency who can be available for the whole tour in Barsey.........