Friday, May 19, 2023

Singalila National Park

Singalila National Park UPSC

Singalila National Park is a beautiful national park located in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is situated in the eastern Himalayas and shares its borders with Nepal and the Indian state of Sikkim. 


The Singalila National Park is part of the larger Singalila Ridge, which is known for its stunning views of the Himalayan mountain range, including the world-famous Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world. It is well known for the trekking routes.


The Singalila National Park is known for its rich biodiversity, including a wide range of plant and animal species. It is home to several endangered species such as the red panda, Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard, leopard cat, and several species of pheasants. 


Table of Contents

  • Singalila National Park Location
  • Singalila National Park History
  • Singalila National Park Area
  • Singalila National Park Hills
    • Singalila Ridge
    • Singalila Ridge Trek
    • Sandakphu
  • Singalila National Park River
    • Rammam River
    • Srikhola River
  • Singalila National Park Biomes
  • Singalila National Park Flora
    • Rhododendrons
    • Oak and Magnolia Trees
    • Coniferous Trees
    • Bamboo
    • Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
    • Alpine Flora
  • Seasons of Wildflower Bloom
  • Singalila National Park Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptiles
  • Red Panda
  • Top Things to do in Singalila National Park
  • Singalila National Park UPSC Questions


Singalila National Park Location

Singalila National Park is located in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. It is located on the Singalila Ridge of Eastern Himalayas. The park shares its borders with Nepal to the west and the Indian state of Sikkim to the north. 


Singalila National Park is the highest altitude park in the state of West Bengal with an elevation of more than 2300 metres above sea level.


Singalila National Park Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport to Singalila National Park is Bagdogra Airport, which is 13 km away. Bagdogra Airport is located in Siliguri, West Bengal, India, and it is the primary airport serving the region.


Singalila National Park Nearest Railways Station:

The nearest railway station is Ghoom Railway Station, which is 31 km from Singalila National Park.




Singalila National Park History

Colonial Era: In 1882, the Singalila area in Darjeeling was acquired by the British Government through a purchase from Sikkim Durbar. Subsequently, it was designated as a Reserve Forest under the Indian Forest Act of 1878. This step marked the initial recognition of the area's ecological significance and the need for its conservation.


Declaration as a Wildlife Sanctuary: In 1986, recognizing the unique biodiversity and natural resources of the Singalila region, the authorities declared it a wildlife sanctuary. This designation aimed to safeguard the diverse flora and fauna found in the area, emphasizing the importance of preserving its ecological balance.


Upgradation to National Park: In 1992, furthering the commitment to protect and conserve the region, Singalila Wildlife Sanctuary was upgraded to the status of a national park. This upgrade provided an elevated level of protection and facilitated more comprehensive conservation efforts. The designation as a national park aimed to ensure the preservation of the park's pristine landscapes, rich biodiversity, and ecological integrity for future generations.




Singalila National Park Area

Singalila National Park covers an area of about 78 square kilometers (30 square miles). The park is located on the Singalila Ridge at an elevation of 2300 metres to 4000 metres above sea level.




Singalila National Park Hills

Singalila National Park is situated in the Eastern Himalayas and is characterized by its scenic hills and mountainous landscapes. The park is located on the Singalila Ridge, which is a prominent mountain range in the region. 


The elevation of the hills in Singalila National Park varies throughout the area. The park's altitude ranges from approximately 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) to 3,636 meters (11,929 feet) above sea level. The higher altitudes offer panoramic vistas and opportunities for trekking and mountaineering, while the lower hills are covered in dense forests and provide habitat for a variety of flora and fauna.


(1) Singalila Ridge:

  • The Singalila Ridge located in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India.
  • It runs North to South.
  • Singalila Ridge separates Himalayan West Bengal from the other Eastern Himalayan ranges.
  • The two highest peaks of West Bengal, Sandakphu (3,636 m) and Phalut (3,600 m) are located on the Singalila ridge.


(2) Singalila Ridge Trek:

One of the highlights of the Singalila National Park is the Singalila Ridge trek. This trek takes visitors through undulating hills and ridges, allowing them to witness the changing landscapes, from lush forests to alpine meadows.


The Singalila Ridge trek is quite popular among adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. Along the trek, trekkers can enjoy magnificent views of the Himalayan peaks, including the majestic Mount Kanchenjunga.


(3) Sandakphu:

Sandakphu is a popular destination within Singalila National Park, located in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the highest peak in West Bengal and offers stunning panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain range.


  • Sandakphu or Sandakpur is a mountain peak in the Singalila Ridge.
  • Sandakphu (3636 m; 11,930 ft) is the highest point of the Singalila Ridge.
  • It is loacted on the border between India (West Bengal) and Nepal. 
  • The peak is located at the edge of the Singalila National Park.
  • Four of the five highest peaks in the world, Everest, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu can be seen from Sandakphu. 
  • Sandakphu is known as the "mountain of poisonous plants" due to the large concentration of Himalayan cobra lilies (Arisaema) which grow there.




Singalila National Park River

There are several small streams and rivulets that flow through the park, contributing to its ecosystem and providing water sources for the wildlife.


Rammam River and Srikhola River flow through the Singalila National Park.


(1) Rammam River:

  • Rammam River flow in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. 
  • It originates in the Singalila range of  Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India.
  • Lodhoma River is a tributary of Rammam river. 
  • Rammam river finally merges with the Rangeet River near Jorethang town in Namchi district of Sikkim, India. 


(2) Srikhola River:

  • Srikhola River passes through Singalila National Park.




Singalila National Park Biomes

Singalila National Park encompasses a diverse range of biomes due to its location in the Eastern Himalayas. The park's varying altitudes and topography give rise to distinct ecosystems and habitats. 


Here are the main biomes found within Singalila National Park:


  1. The Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests ecoregion, of the temperate coniferous forests biome.
  2. Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests ecoregion, of the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome.
  3. Himalayan subtropical pine forests ecoregion, of the subtropical coniferous forest biome.


The subtropical biome roughly exists in the elevation range of 1800 to 3000 m, and the temperate biome exists in the elevation range of 3000 m to 4500 m.


These biomes within Singalila National Park contribute to its rich biodiversity, supporting a wide range of plant and animal species. The park's diverse ecosystems provide a unique habitat for several endangered and rare species, making it a valuable conservation area in the Eastern Himalayas.




Singalila National Park Flora

What trees are in Singalila National Park?

Singalila National Park is known for its rich and diverse flora, showcasing a wide range of plant species adapted to the varying altitudes and climatic conditions of the Eastern Himalayas. 


Here are some notable flora found in Singalila National Park:


(1) Rhododendrons:

Singalila National Park is famous for its vibrant rhododendron blooms during the spring season. Various species of rhododendrons, including the national flower of Nepal, Rhododendron arboreum, can be found in the park. These beautiful flowers paint the hillsides with shades of red, pink, and white.


(2) Oak and Magnolia Trees:

The Singalila National Park is home to different species of oak and magnolia trees. Oak species, such as Quercus lamellosa and Quercus semecarpifolia, are found in the lower elevations, while magnolias, such as Magnolia campbellii and Magnolia griffithii, can be seen at higher altitudes.


(3) Coniferous Trees:

Singalila National Park features a variety of coniferous trees, especially in the temperate forests. Species like Himalayan fir, Himalayan pine, and West Himalayan spruce are commonly found. These evergreen trees add to the park's scenic beauty.


(4) Bamboo:

Different species of bamboo are scattered throughout the Singalila National Park, particularly in the lower elevations. Bamboos provide essential food and shelter for various wildlife species, including the red panda.


(5) Medicinal and Aromatic Plants:

Singalila National Park is also known for its rich collection of medicinal and aromatic plants. Some notable species include Aconitum sp., Berberis sp., Swertia chirayita, and Valeriana jatamansi. These plants have been traditionally used by local communities for their medicinal properties.


(6) Alpine Flora:

At higher altitudes, the park showcases alpine flora adapted to the harsh conditions of the Singalila Range. Alpine flowers like Primula denticulata, Potentilla atrosanguinea, and Saxifraga stolonifera dot the rocky slopes and meadows, adding color to the landscape.




Seasons of Wildflower Bloom in Singalila National Park

There are two seasons of wildflower bloom in Singalila National Park - one in spring (March and April) when the rhododendrons bloom, and another in the post-monsoon season (around October), when the lower forests bloom (Primula, Geranium, Saxifraga, Bistort, Senecio, Cotoneaster and numerous orchids).


(1) Spring Bloom:

During the months of March to May, Singalila National Park showcases a magnificent display of wildflowers. The spring bloom is characterized by a burst of colors, as various species of rhododendrons, primroses, orchids, and magnolias grace the landscape. The hills come alive with vibrant hues, creating a breathtaking sight for visitors.


(2) Autumn Bloom:

September to November marks the autumn season in Singalila National Park. This period is known for the blooming of various alpine flowers, including primulas, gentians, asters, and anemones. The hills and meadows regain their colorful splendor, offering a picturesque backdrop for nature enthusiasts and photographers.




Singalila National Park Fauna (Singalila National Park Animals)

Singalila National Park is home to a diverse range of fauna, including several rare and endangered species. The park's varied ecosystems, from subtropical forests to alpine meadows, support a rich array of wildlife. 


Here are some notable fauna found in Singalila National Park:


Mammals:

  • Red Panda
  • Himalayan Black Bear
  • Leopard
  • Clouded Leopard
  • Leopard Cat
  • Barking Deer
  • Yellow-throated Marten
  • Wild Boar
  • Pangolin
  • Pika
  • Serow
  • Takin


Birds:

  • Himalayan Vulture
  • Scarlet Minivet
  • Kalij Pheasant
  • Blood Pheasant
  • Satyr Tragopan
  • Brown Fulvous Parrotbills
  • Rufous-vented Tit
  • Fire-tailed Myzornis 
  • Golden-breasted Fulvetta


Reptiles:

  • Indian Rock Python
  • Common Krait
  • Himalayan Pit Viper
  • Green Pit Viper
  • Banded Kukri Snake 
  • Himalayan Gecko
  • Striped Keelback




Red Panda in Singalila National Park

Singalila National Park is known for its population of red pandas (Ailurus fulgens). These adorable and elusive creatures are one of the park's main attractions and a significant part of its biodiversity.


The Singalila National Park and Neora Valley National Park are the two protected areas where the red panda is found in the wild in West Bengal and in Eastern Himalayas.


Red pandas are small arboreal mammals that are primarily found in the temperate forests of the Eastern Himalayas, including Singalila National Park. They are well adapted to the region's mountainous terrain and spend most of their time in trees.


The red panda is known for its distinctive appearance, with reddish-brown fur, a long bushy tail, and a masked face. They have a bamboo-dominated diet, but they are also known to consume fruits, berries, and insects.


Singalila National Park provides an ideal habitat for red pandas, as it offers a mix of dense forests with bamboo thickets, providing both food sources and suitable shelter. The park's diverse ecosystem and the presence of other prey species contribute to the survival and thriving of the red panda population.


Spotting a red panda in the wild can be challenging due to their shy and solitary nature. They are most active during the early morning and late afternoon hours. 


IUCN Red List: Endangered




Top Things to do in Singalila National Park

Singalila National Park offers a range of activities and experiences that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and biodiversity of the region. 


Here are some of the top things to do in Singalila National Park:


  • Trekking (Singalila Ridge Trek)
  • Wildlife Spotting
  • Birdwatching
  • Photography
  • Camping
  • Visit Sandakphu




Singalila National Park UPSC Questions

Q. Singalila National Park is famous for which animal?

A. Singalila National Park is famous for Red Panda.


Q. Where is Singalila National Park?/Singalila National Park in which district?/Singalila National Park is located in which state?

A. Singalila National Park is located at the Singalila Ridge of Eastern Himalayas in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India.


Q. What is Singalila National Park famous for?

A. Singalila National Park is famous for Red Panda.


Q. What is the highest peak of Singalila range?

A. Sandakphu (3636 m; 11,930 ft) is the highest peak of Singalila range.


Q. Which mountain range belongs to Singalila range?

A. Eastern Himalayas mountain range belongs to Singalila range.


Q. How many red pandas are there in Singalila National Park?

A. Recent studies estimate that there are 38 red pandas in Singalila National Park.


Q. Which endangered animal is conserved at Singalila National Park?

A. Red Panda is conserved at Singalila National Park.


Q. Which river flows in Singalila National Park?

A. Rammam River and Srikhola River flows in Singalila National Park.

Singalila National Park


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