Written by sbmalik on 23 Nov, 2006
"Maenam-la" translates to the "Treasure-house of Medicines", the sanctuary being a rich trove of medicinal plants. The Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the northern corner of South district. The main entry point being Ravangala, since it is easily approachable by road and private tourist lodges…Read More
"Maenam-la" translates to the "Treasure-house of Medicines", the sanctuary being a rich trove of medicinal plants. The Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the northern corner of South district. The main entry point being Ravangala, since it is easily approachable by road and private tourist lodges exist. Ravangala is 26km by road from Namchi and 65 km from Gangtok via Singtam.
The sanctuary has an latitudinal gradient ranging from 2300m–3263m. The Maenam ridge bisects the sanctuary longitudinally in the north-south direction. This ridge gains in height as it proceeds from north to south till it reaches a maximum of 3263m. The streams originating from the eastern flank of this ridge drain in to the Tista River, while those originating from the western flank into the Rangit River.
Ravangala is known as the "Cherrapunji of Sikkim", July is the wettest month, with the average annual precipitation being in excess of 300cm. The reaches above 2500m receive regular snowfall in winter. Clear skies can be experienced only from November to May. The best trekking season being March – May when the Rhododendron and Magnolias adds a riot of colour to the spring air.
There is a historical Buddhist Monastery – Maenam Gumpa, at the top of the ridge, which was constructed around 1969 by the then queen of Sikkim. There is a prominent ridge called Bhaley-dunga having a height of 3202m, with a drop of almost 1500m. The name Bhaley translates to cock in Nepali, and may have gotten its name from the incessant breeding calls of male pheasants perched on this vantage point. People living in the adjoining villages, come to worship Lord Shiva on the top of this rock.
On a clear day the view of the snow-laden peaks of Mt. Khangchendzonga, Mt. Siniolchu, Mt. Pandim and Mt. Narsing from the ridge top is breathtaking. All the major towns of Sikkim including Siliguri are visible on a clear night. The Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is under the administrative control of the Department of Forest, Environment and Wildlife, Government of Sikkim. The Divisional Forest Officer, South and West Wildlife Division, based in Namchi is responsible for its management. Entry permits for visitors can be obtained from the wildlife check post. Entry permits for visitors can be obtained from the wildlife check post at Ravangala.
The trek to Meanam from Ravangla takes about 5-6 hours. After ascending Maenam hilltop, you have the option to take the gentle walk down to Borong village or the more treacherous trails taken by the famous British Botanist, Sir Joseph Hooker, down to Yangang village.