Senchal Lake, located at an elevation of 8160 ft in Darjeeling, is the major reservoir of potable water in Darjeeling. Darjeeling, also known as the Queen of the Himalayas, is entirely dependent upon the mesmerizing potable water lake. The lake was established in the year of 1915 CE. At a distance of 10 km to the southeast of Darjeeling, Senchal Lake is located on the hilltop. One of the highest golf courses is situated on the hill. Not only the lake but also there is a sanctuary named Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary. Senchal Lake is a part of that sanctuary. Each year a lot of tourists from all over the world visit here to experience the potable water lake on the top of a hill amidst the sanctuary.
How to reach Senchal Lake
The widely popular picnic spot amidst the woods is located 10 km to the southeast of Darjeeling city. So, one can reach Senchal lake from two points, Ghoom and Jorebunglow. Taxis and shared jeeps are available from both places to Senchal lake.
Senchal Lake is the only lake of potable water in Darjeeling. So it has the responsibility of supplying drinking water to the whole Darjeeling city. Being a mountain spring, throughout the whole year, clean and transparent water is obtained here. The main forest area being a bit distant from the lake, different types of vegetation can be found on the bank of the eye-soothing lake.
Things to do
Senchal Lake is very popular among the tourists as a picnic spot. Senchal wildlife sanctuary enhances the beauty of the lake. Because of the sanctuary, more tourists come here each year to experience the hilltop lake in the woods. Senchal wildlife sanctuary is considered as an extension of Singalila National Park. The lake is situated in the mountains. The elevation of the woods varies from 1500 to 2500 m. You may come across several high-altitude animals while having a picnic on the bank of the picturesque lake. The spellbound experience of watching wildlife including Assam macaque, jungle cat, Himalayan flying squirrel, Himalayan black bear, wild pig, common rhesus monkey will never fail to mesmerize you. The ornithological variation of the beautiful lake will make you feel heaven.
Senchal wildlife sanctuary is a mesmerizing combination of man-made forest and natural forest. Including oaks, pines, and birch, different flora is observed here. The aesthetic beauty of vibrant rhododendrons and orchids leaves an everlasting impression in the minds of nature lovers. Apart from these all, a 9-hole golf course is located just near the lake. You may visit the golf course also while spending wonderful leisure time on the bank of Senchal lake. Added to it, you may feel amazed to know that the first cycle trail of India. The mesmerizing cycle trail is 20 km long, surrounded by pine woods. You may take a cycle on rent to enjoy the panoramic view of the picturesque cycle trail. Also, cycling on a hilly trail amidst the vibrant orchids remains at the top of the bucket list of adventure lovers. To cycle on the thrilling cycling route, you need to get a permit from the forest department. You will get it at the entrance of the Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary. The cycle track is strictly closed to motorcycles and motor cars. Cyclists cannot carry any food items inside the forest. As dangerous animals live inside the forest, access to the forest is strictly prohibited for the visitors. Despite the fact, you may go inside the forest area with prior permission from the ranger’s office at the Jorebunglow. In that case, you will be provided with a guide to go around deep in the forest area.
Best time to visit
During heavy rainfall, the hilly paths become dangerous and accident-prone. So, every year the way to Senchal lake remains closed in monsoon. The path opens after the 15th of September every year.
Where to stay
There are several guest houses near Senchal lake. Also, Rambi Forest Rest House is widely popular among tourists.
Every year, from 6 AM to 6 PM, the sanctuary remains open for the visitors.
For the cycling permit, it takes a charge of 50 INR.
So, hurry up and add Senchal lake to your bucket list for your next trip to Darjeeling.