It’s time for cyclists to gear up for Darjeeling’s new cycling trail through the pristine Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary. We’re talking about a 20 km trail dedicated to cyclists that runs under the shade of a pine forest, the slopes offering stunning views of the Himalayas. The Sanctuary is located in an area that has been vigilantly protected since 1915, making it one of the best short rides in the entire country as you’ll be hardpressed to find any litter on this trail. In fact, the area is so clean its sparkling lake is the water supply for Darjeeling City.
The route is not that demanding and the trail a goldmine for nature lovers as the surrounding forest features wild boar, rabbits and barking deer. Also, if any of you cyclists are handy with a camera you may get a lucky shot of a Himalayan bear or leopard. Moreover, the trail, unlike many in India, is being outfitted with signs so you don’t get lost, bike racks if you want to hang up cycle to explore off the beaten path, and marked viewpoints so you know what’s featured in your beautiful vista.
The trail is only closed during the monsoon and permits to the sanctuary are only INR 50, making this escapade a must during your next trip to Darjeeling. Moreover, you don’t have to lug a decent mountain bike to Darjeeling if you want to ride. Just rent a proper mountain bike, with shocks that actually work, for approximately INR 800 in Darjeeling and make the 30 minute cycle trip to the Sanctuary as a nice warm up. The only restriction on the trail is you can’t picnic, which is actually a good thing because it keeps the trail clean, and pretty much ensures no bears will be sniffing around for leftovers. So what are you waiting for? Fresh mountain air and one of India’s most idyllic rides await you in the vibrant green forest of Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary.
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