Lonely Planet Writer

A new cycle-only path in India leads through the exquisite Darjeeling wildlife sanctuary

Cyclists looking to get out of busy cities and into India’s nature can now enjoy a new cycle-only path that winds through a wildlife sanctuary in Darjeeling.  

Darjeeling also called Queen of the Hills is a town in West Bengal, India in the lesser Himalaya at elevation 2000m. It famous for its industry, the spectacular views of Kangchenjunga and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. India cycle path
Darjeeling also called Queen of the Hills is a town in West Bengal, India in the lesser Himalaya at elevation 2000m.  Image by Emad Aljumah/Getty Images

The new path covers a 20-kilometre section in the forest and will only be for the use of mountain bikers, reports the Telegraph India. Those who want to cycle along the path rent a bike, helmet and even a guide so they can tackle the trail. The paper reports that the average charge for renting a bike is 800 rupees per day, and there is a 70 rupee fee to enter the biking area. The path is the country’s first ever hill station biking trail, reports the India Times. The path is sure to entice bike-loving travellers who want to enjoy a stretch where cyclists can have the ultimate freedom.

Clouded leopard. India cycle path
Clouded leopard. Image by Mark Newman/Getty Images

It leads through Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary and up to the village of Chatakpur, where there are guest cottages and bathrooms, reports the Guardian. From there, tourists can try and catch a glimpse of local animals like red pandas, or clouded leopards. The area is popular with travellers who want to see India and enjoy the best of the outdoors, as Darjeeling draws in tourists who want to see tea plantations and the incredible views of Kangchenjunga Mountain.

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