Barsey or Varsey is a small town in the north-eastern state of Sikkim in India. Located at an altitude of 10,000ft, Barsey is renowned for its Rhododendron Sanctuary. For the lovers of varied flora, a visit to Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary would actually be a delightful experience. The sanctuary falls in the West Sikkim district and can be accessible by road via Hilley, Dentam or Soreng from Geyzing. If you want to try trekking, it would be an amazing idea to proceed up (4 kms) the hill from Hilley.
Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is to be found in Singalila Range, a
natural border with Nepal. Singalia Range is acclaimed to be the leading
area of rhododendrons. Varsey is an ideal gateway to spend a relaxing
time amidst snow-capped mountains and aromatic flowers providing a
refreshing and soothing atmosphere. Varsey Sanctuary also makes an
unusual trekking destination in Sikkim. From the months of November to
May, the flowers appear in their best form and it is also regarded as
the best time to visit this sanctuary.
During spring time, Rhododendrons blossom here covering the whole
terrain with colors and lovely fragrance. It's surprising to know that
you can find 600 varieties of rhododendrons, out of 1000 (varieties
known) in Sikkim. Sprawled in an area of 104 sq. km, the sanctuary is a
domicile to numerous species of Rhododendron, Primula, Magnolia, oaks
and pine. Not only this, Barsey is rich in both flora and fauna. Barsey
Rhododendron Sanctuary is also renowned for embracing rare Himalayan
species of Red Panda and Black Bear.
Leopard, Leopard Cat, Marbled Cat, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten,
Himalayan Palm Civet, Cannidae Wild dog, Indian Fox, Jackal, Himalayan
Black Bear, Wild Boar, Red Panda, Barking Deer, Serow, Assamese Macaque,
Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Langur, Crimson Horned Pheasant, Monal
Pheasant and Kaleej Pheasant, Crestless Porcupine, Rufous Tailed Hare,
Chinese Pangolin, Flying Squirrel, Giant Squirrel and Himalayan Mouse
Hare are some of the faunal values of Barsey Sanctuary.
Some of the species of Rhododendron that can be easily seen in the
sanctuary are arboreum, cinnabarinum, falconeri, barbatum, campanulatum
hodgsoni, Acer caudatum, Betula utilis, Pieris ovalifolia, Prunus rufa,
Pyrus foliolosa and P. macrophylla. Here, Bamboo and varieties of shrubs
are also traceable. The vegetation in the area is dense and sometimes,
you can see layers of a variety of plants.