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DUDWA NATIONAL PARK A mosaic of grasslands, marshes, lakes and sal (Shorea robust) forests constitute the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve. It is as wild as can be. Situated on the Indo-Nepal border in District Lakhimpur-Kheri of Uttar Pradesh, the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve with an area of 614-sq. km. is one of the finest of the few remaining examples of the exceedingly diverse and productive Terai Eco-systems. The northern edge of the Reserve lies along the Indo-Nepal border and the River Suheli marks the southern boundary. It is home to a large number of rare and endangered species, which include tiger, leopard, swamp deer, hispid hare, Bengal flovican, etc. The Kishanpur Sanctuary located about 30 km. from Dudwa, is the other constituent of the Reserve. Spread over-about 200-sq. km., it lies on the banks of the River Sharda and is surrounded by sal forests of the adjoining reserved forests. The grasslands of the Reserve is the habitat of the largest kind of Indian deer - the swamp deer or the 'barasingha', so called because of their magnificent antlers (baratwelve; singha-antler). Decline in their habitats led to a drastic decline in numbers and a small area named Sonaripur Sanctuary was set aside in 1958 for the conservation of this rare species of deer. Later, it was upgraded to cover an area of 212-sq. km. and was renamed the Dudwa Sanctuary. In 1977, the area was further extended to include over 614 sq. kms. And was declared a National Park. Eleven years later, in 1988, when Dudhwa became a part of Project Tiger, the area of the Kishanpur Sanctuary was added to create the Dudwa Tiger Reserve. About 1800 barasingha are to be found in the Reserve and majestic herds are especially seen in the grassy wetlands of the Stamina and Kakmha blocks. Dudwa has also the ideal kind of terrain for the Indian Rhino. Once found here in large numbers, they had been hunted down and had completely disappeared from this area by 1878. More lately, it was feared that epidemics and disease would wipe out the existing populations of rhino in Assam, West Bengal and Nepal and a decision was taken to distribute some in other suitable areas. In an exciting experiment, one male and five female rhinos were relocated here from Assam and Nepal, in 1985. Now well settled in Dudwa, their numbers have increased. At present, tourists are not allowed in the rhino area. The Reserve has also a fair density of tigers. Standing as it does at the top of the food chain, the tiger can only be protected by the total conservation of its natural environment and the Project Tiger has reinforced this at Dudwa. Despite its numbers, sightings of the tiger are rare, due to the dense nature of the forest cover. Dudwa did have a large herd of elephants during the 1960's and 70's - a herd of about 30 animals that migrated here after the destruction of their habitat in Nepal. They have returned since to a little sanctuary across the border in Nepal. The Reserve, however, does have arranged of fascinating wildlife. Included in their number are sloth bear, ratel, civet, jackal, the lesser cats like the leopard cat, fishing cat and jungle cat; varieties of deer - the beautiful spotted deer or chital, hog deer and barking deer. The hispid hare, a dark brown animal with bristly fur - last seen in the area in 1951 and believed to have become extinct, was rediscovered in 1984 to the great interest of conservationists. The short -nosed crocodile - the 'mugger' and otters can be seen along the riverbanks as weII as pythons and monitor lizards. Bird watchers' haven, Dudhwa is noted for its avian variety - about 400 species. Its swamps and several lakes attract varieties of waterfowl. Being close to the Himalayan foothills, Dudhwa also gets its regular winter visitors - the migratory water birds. The Banke Tal is perhaps the most popular spot for bird watchers. There are egrets, cormorants, herons and several species of duck, geese and teal.
Noted for the variety of storks that make their home here, Dudhwa has the 'sarus', the crane - elegant in its gray and red livery, black necked storks, white necked storks, painted storks, open billed storks and adjutant storks. Raptors like the gray headed fishing eagle, PaIlas fishing eagle and marsh harriers can be seen circling over the lakes in search of prey - creating pandemonium among the waterfowl as they swoop low. Extraordinary ranges of owls are also to be found at the Reserve. These include the great Indian horned owl, the brown Fish owl, the dusky horned owl, scops owl, jungle ow2et, the brown wood owl, and tawny fish owl. Colorful birds - varieties of woodpeckers, barbets, minuets, bulbuls, kingfishers, bee-eaters, orioles, drongos and hornbills are all part of its rich bird life. A rather fragile paradise, Dudwa is a noteworthy attempt at preserving a natural biosphere for the coming generations. WILDLIFE: Tiger, swamp deer, hog deer, barking deer, sambar, wild boar, sloth bear, rhesus monkey, langur, crocodile, jackal, leopard etc. Resident birds include hornbills, jungle fowl, peafowl, partridges, woodpeckers, thrushes, orioles, bee-eaters, baya, minuets, roller, drongos, bulbuls, etc. Rivers, nalas and ponds, which comprise roughly 2% of the Reserve area, attract birds like clucks, geese, cormorants, ibis, herons, storks, kites, fishing eagles, etc. Area: 614 sq. km. Year of Establishment: 1977 Location: Along the Indo-Nepal border in the Lakhimpur-Kheri District of Uttar Pradesh. Headquarters: Lakhimpur (Kheri), UP, India Altitude: 150-183 meters Nearest Town: Palia (10 km.) Nearest petrol pump! Hospital / market /bank / Post & Telegraph Office are at Palia Nearest Railway Station: Dudwa (4 km.), Palia (10 km.), Mailani (37 km.) Nearest Airport: Lucknow, Dhangarhi (Nepal, 35 km.) Temperature: Max Min Summer: 40°C 20°C winter: 30°C 4°C Season: November 15th to June 15th. The Reserve remains closed between June 15th and November 15th. Clothing: summer: Cottons Winter: Light woolens *Preferably 'khaki', olive green, gray or other inconspicuous clothing which does not alarm or scare away the animals. HOW TO GET THERE: By Road: From Delhi: Delhi-Moradabad-Bareilly- Pilibhit (or Shahjahanpur)- Khutar-Mailani-Bhira-Palia- Dudwa. (420 km. to 430 km. approx.). From Lucknow: Lucknow-Sitapur-Lakhimpur- Bijua-Bhira-Palia-Dudwa (219 km.) or Lucknow-Sitapur- Lakhimpur-Shardanagar- Nighasan-Palia-Dudwa. (238 km. approx.) By Train: From Delhi: Delhi-Bareilly-Shahjahanpur (301 km., N.R.) and then by road to Dudwa (107 km.). From Lucknow: Lucknow-Sitapur-Lakhimpur- Mailani - Palia - Dudwa (260 km., N.E.R.) Or Lucknow- Bareilly (N.R.)-Pilibhit- Mailani-Palia-Dudwa (400 km., N.E.R.) By Bus: UPSRTC and private bus services link Palia to Lakhimpur Kheri, Shahjahanpur, Bareilly, and Delhi etc. Buses ply frequently between Palia and Dudwa. WHERE TO STAY: At Dudwa, Forest Rest Houses, Log Huts, Dormitory and Tharu Huts. Forest Rest Houses at Sonaripur, Sathiana, Bankati, Belrayan, Kila, and Chandan Chauki. A number of middle range private hotels are available at the nearest town, Palia (10 km). They include: Hotel Sarda, Hotel Rain Basera, Bharat Lodge, Hotel MOR, Hotel Mahendra, Hotel Basera, etc. Palia also provides for good eating facilities. For reservations and further information contact: (A) Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Uttar Pradesh, 17, Rana Pratap Marg, Lucknow 226001
(B) Dy. Director, Project Tiger, Dudwa Tiger Reserve, Palia, Dist. Kheri, (C) Field Director, Project Tiger, Dudwa Tiger Reserve, Lakhimpur-Kheri - 262701 Important: Bedding is available at Dudwa and Sathiana in all types of accommodation. At other Forest Rest Houses, bedding is not available. Meals and snacks are available at the canteen at Dudwa. To avoid inconvenience it is advisable to inform the Park Officer or caterer immediately on arrival about meal requirements. At the other Forest Rest Houses only crockery and utensils for cooking are available. Dudwa and Bankati Forest Rest Houses are electrified. Generators are available at Sathiana, Sonaripur, and Belrayan on payment basis for limited hours. No such facility is available at the Kila Forest Rest House. EXCURSIONS: Frog Temple: Oyal Enroute to Dudwa, the unique Frog Temple at Oyal can also be visited. The only one of its kind in India, it was built by the former Maharajas of the Oyal state (Dist. Lakhimpur-Kheri), Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the stone temple is built on a base in the shape of a large frog. The temple lies at Oyal village, 10 km. from Hargaon on the route to Lakhimpur-Kheri and Dudwa. The Surat Bhawan Palace: Built in the Indo-Saracenic style by the rulers of the Singahi State; this is one of the famous palaces of the Terai area. Not far from Dudwa Tiger Reserve on the Lakhimpur - Nighasan - Dudwa route, the palace is set in a green, nineacre retreat. Expanses of lush lawns, fountains, a swimming pool and interesting architectural details make a visit worthwhile. The palace can be visited with due permission from the Manager. BANDIPUR NATIONAL PARK Major Variety of Animals found here: Asian Elephants and Gaurs In Karnataka, the two attractive wildlife parks of Nagarhole and Bandipur, though separate entities, are part of a larger contiguous wildlife reserve that includes the Mudumalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and the Wynad Reserve in Kerala. Both the parks are easily accessible from Mysore. The 874.20 sq. km. Bandipur National Park, which is also a Tiger Reserve, with its open grassy woodland, lies to the south of the Kabini River while Nagarhole, 643.39 so. Km. in area, to the north of the river, has taller and denser forests. A dam on the Kabini and its picturesque reservoir separate the two parks. In the dense moist deciduous forests of this area the upper canopy reaches heights of 30m and valuable hardwoods like teak and rosewood are also to be found here. Bandipur, lying in the shadow of the Western Ghats, is one of the inset habitats of the Asian elephant. Drained by the Moyar River, its open forest makes it easy for visitors to see the elephant and gaur in natural surroundings. Best Time to Visit: March-August Accommodation: Forest Lodges, Cottages, and Forest Rest Houses Nearest town: Gundulpet (20km) Location: Karnataka Area: 874.20 Sq.Km HOW TO GET THERE: Rail- Mysore (65 km) Air- Bangalore (190 km) For further information contact: Field Director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, and Mysore570004. Bandhavgarh National Park Once part of the old Rewa State, Bandhavgarh National Park is set amidst the Vindhya ranges with a series of ridges running through it. Initially this park was the royal hunting ground for the rulers of Rewa. But in 1968 it was declared a park with an area of only
105.4 sq. km. At present, however, the Bandhavgarh Park covers 448-sq. km. the density of tiger population is among the highest in India. The tigers once roamed freely here but due to extensive hunting (Maharaja Venkat Raman Singh shot 111 tigers by 1914), their population came down drastically. Numerous steps were taken to conserve the wildlife here without spoiling the natural beauty of the park. Even today, the Bandhavgarh national park has retained its unspoiled look. The Bandhavgarh National Park is the place where the famous white tigers of Rewa were discovered. The last known capture of the white tiger was in1951. He is believed to have fathered many a cub in Indian zoos and outside. 'Mohun' is now stuffed and on display in the palace of the Maharaja of Rewa. Bandhavgarh is densely populated with other animal species too. The great gaur, Indian bisons can be easily spotted when they come to graze on the meadows at dusk. The sambar, barking deer and nilgai are also common sights in the open areas of the park. The ancient fort of Bandhavgarh adds grace to the park. Climb the fort to get a bird's eye view of the park. Do not miss the small population of naughty black bucks that live here, protected from the predators below. Park Population: The vegetation of the park is drying deciduous. About half of the park is covered with sal trees. There are mixed forests in the higher reaches of the hills. Stretches of Bamboo and grasslands extend to the north of the park. Grassy meadow patches occur in the valley and along the nalas. The park sustains all those species, which are typical to Central India. There are 22 species of mammals, which include langurs and rhesus macaque as the primary group. The jackal, bangal fox, bears, ratel, mongoose, hyena, jungle cat, leopard and tiger form the core carnivore population. The animals frequently sighted are wild pig, spotted deer, sambar, dhole, the small Indian civet; palm squirrel and lesser bandicoot rat are seen occasionally. Among the herbivores, the gaur is the only coarse feeder. The national park holds some 250 odd species of birds along the streams and marshes. Reptilian fauna include cobra, krait, viper, rat snake, python, turtle and a large number of lizard varieties, including varanus. Nearby Attractions: The most fascinating and most popular excursion from the national park is to the Bandhavgarh fort. This fort is in ruins now but the strong high walls of the fort tell a saga of valour and splendour. The fort blends with the wilds of the park and has become a part of the park. No one knows when the fort was constructed but scripts as old as Shiva Purina have mention the fort which is believed to be almost 2000 years old. The park in itself is historically very important. The signs of early habitation can be seen in the caves excavated from the cliffs to the north of the fort. Brahmi inscriptions here date back to the 1st century BC. Park Trips: The Park can be entered on elephant back and / or in a jeep or by car. In these safaris a forest department guide always accompanies you. He will direct and tell about the flora and fauna of the park. The best time to visit the park is early in the morning or after 4 p.m. is during this time that the animals are most active and are easily spotted. Climate: There are three well-defined seasons -- the cool (from middle of October to end of February), the hot (from middle of March to middle of June) and the wet (from middle of June to middle of October). The annual rainfall is 1.173 mm, coming mostly in the rainy season. The temperature ranges from a maximum of 42 D Celsius in May and June, to around 4 D Celsius in winter. Best Time to Visit: The best season to visit this park is between Novembers to June. Rest of the year it is off-season for the national park. Do not forget that the park is closed from 1st July to 31st October. These are monsoon months.
Accommodation: The forest department and the PWD have arranged good accommodation facilities here. The Madhya Pradesh Tourist department maintains the White tiger Forest Lodge. The forest department's rest house and the PWD rest house are sufficient to fulfill the needs of the visitors. For reservations contact the Madhya Pradesh tourist offices. Ask for the Bandhavgarh Jungle Camp from the forest officials or the reservation authorities. Getting There: The nearest airport is that of Khajuraho which is connected with flights from all over India. From Khajuraho, it is a five hours drive to the national park. But there are many railheads, which facilitate the access to this historical national park. Jabalpur is one of the major railway stations, just 164 kms away. Then there is Katni (102 km), Satna (120 km) on the central railway section. Umaria (35 km) falls on the southeastern section of the railways. Thus, access to Bandhavgarh is easy by train also. There are bus and taxi services to the national park from the nearby places. Both private and state bus services are available for the place. The bus route passes through heavenly scenery. The road from Khajuraho crosses Ken River, which has been recently declared a Crocodile sanctuary farm famous for the Ghraiyal, a rare fish eating species of the crocodile. The road also goes to Panna, a town famous for diamond mines. The same road branches off for Vindhyachal. BETLA NATIONAL PARK Location: 140 kms from Ranchi Area: 232 sq. Kms. Specialist: Tigers Palamu shot to fame as early as 1932 for its tiger census - the first of its kind in the world. In 1974 it became one of the countries earliest tiger reserves. Endowed with thick tropical forests and a rich variety of fauna, the core area of the sanctuary has been declared as Betla National Park (232-sq. kms.). This park is a great attraction to tourists. The Park, at an average elevation of 1,000 ft. is open throughout the year although February to April is the best months. It is 140 kms from Ranchi. Large herds of Gaur and Chital are commonly seen. Elephants are present mostly after the monsoons up to the time when water holes begin to dry up in March. Tiger, Panther, Sloth Bear, Wild Bear, Sambhar, Nilgai, Kakar, Mouse Deer are also permanent residents. Large families of langurs are an ever-present attraction. Palamu is now one of the nine Tiger Reserves in India under Project Tiger. It has waterfalls and hot springs too. Once the seat of Chero kings, it has many historical monuments and a fort of 16th century inside the forest. The other rivers, which drain Palamu, are Koel and Burha, which eventually empty into the famous Sone River. The forest department has made arrangements for providing jeeps for viewing the wildlife here. Betla is easily accessible by road. It’s 25 kms from Daltonganj and 140 kms from Ranchi. The nearest airport is Ranchi. For accommodation, one can consider BSTDC's Van Vihar Tel: 06562-86513 or forest department's Rest Houses, besides other tourist lodges, cottages and hotel. CORBETT Location: 63-km Southwest Of Nanital, Uttar Pradesh Established By: Jim Corbett Specialty: Project Tiger Was Launched Here Main Species: Tiger
A Peak inside the History of the Park: The Corbett Tiger reserve has quite a history. It is India's First National Park and one of the finest, notable for its individualistic scenic charm and magnificent subroutine and revering vistas, and also for its richly varied wildlife, still interestingly in the process of change, and the site of the launching of project Tiger. Early this century its exceptional potential as a wildlife reserve was recognized and there were moves to have it officially declared a sanctuary, liberating it from the exploitation of its tree forests and human occupation of the riverside land. Finally, in 1936 it was set up as the first authentic national park of the country under the United Provinces National Parks Act. The Renaming Process: Originally, it was named the Hailey National Parks Act after Sir Malcolm Hailey, the Governor of the united provinces, who took such a keen interest in its development as a preserve. After Independence it was renamed the Ramganga National Park, and later still the name was again changed to the Corbett National Park this last change, it should be noted, was not solely in commemoration of the late Jim Corbett, the famous slayer of man eaters in the sub Himalayan forests, but also in recognition of his services in determining the location and limits of the proposed national park before it was set up he had been consulted over this as an expert. Jim Corbetthunter of man-eating Tigers, photographer, conservationist and author was born in Nainital of English and Irish parentage. A childhood spent around the Corbett winter home of Kaladhungi brought young Jim into close communion with nature, and to an instinctive understanding of jungle ways. After working on the railways, he joined the Indian army in 1917 at the age of forty; he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and saw action in Flanders at the head of the 70th Kumaon Company. The Savior - Jim Corbett: Known locally as "Carpet Sahib", a mispronunciation of his name, Jim Corbett was called upon time and time again to rid the hills of Kumaon of man eating Tigers and Leopards. Normally shy of human contact, such animals become man eaters when infirmity brought upon by old age or wounds renders them unable to hunt their usual prey many of those killed by Corbett were found to have suppurating wounds caused by Porcupine quills embedded deep in their paws; Tigers always seem to fall for the Porcupine's simple defensive trick of walking backwards in line with its lethal quills. Adventures Of Corbett: One of Corbett's most memorable exploits was the killing of the Rudraprayag Leopard, which accounted for 125 human lives between 1918 and 1926, and was bold enough to steal its victims from the midst of human habitation; he also terminated the careers of the Chowgarh Tigress, the Talla Des and the Mohan man eaters. Corbett described his adventures in books such as my India, Jungle Lore and maneaters of Kumaon; Martin Booth's Carpet Sahib is an excellent biography of a remarkable man. Awarded the order of the British Empire in recognition of his lifelong work with nature, Jim Corbett was unhappy in post Independence India, and left to settle in East Africa. Project Tiger: On April 1, 1973, Project Tiger was inaugurated here. This ambitious project aims at saving and reviving the alarmingly dwindled Indian Tiger (Panthera Tigris) by setting up specially selected reserves of adequate area in which not only the Tiger but also all other animals and the wild flora, would be totally conserved, such total conservation with no selective bias, depending on the ability of nature of maintain its own balance, being much the best way to rehabilitate any animal, as part of a whole wildlife complex. In 1973 there were 8 such reserves under the project, and the Corbett Tiger Reserve was the first of these. As in all other reserves of the project, here too the main part is constituted into a core area meant exclusively for the wild fauna and flora, where there is no human disturbance and around this core is the insulating buffer zone, in which a part is allotted to tourism.
Prior to 1973 Dhikala had been developed to provide accommodation and facilities to see the wildlife, to visitors to the National Park; it is still the main center of tourism. The Largest Earth Dam Of Asia: In recent years the Ramganga multi purpose Hydroelectric Project's Dam at Kalagarh and the reservoir of this dam have had a marked influence on the Corbett reserve. When the reservoir is filled to capacity, one tenth of the reserve is submerged, and while the area of the reserve so inundated naturally fluctuates with the seasons, the submersion is still there and has resulted in perceptible changes in the flora and fauna. To some extent this is a depletive influence, for it is the low lying pasture land that has been submerged, but this depletion is more than offset by the variety of plants and animals that the water spread has added to the original wildlife of the reserve, particularly in the sudden influx of vast numbers of water birds and the raptorial birds that follow in the wake of migratory waterfowl. THE ASIATIC LION HABITAT Location: Gujarat. Flora: Teak, Khair, Sadad, Timru, Babul, Amla, Moledi, Dhavdo, and Kadayo & Bahedo Trees. Best Time To Visit: October to March Spent a night atop the watchtower near the Kamleshwar dam where the howl of the jackals signals the beginning of the dark phase. The Chital's punctuate the silence of the night with innumerable alarm calls. The water in the lake makes rippling sounds, of crocodiles on the prowl. The first rays of the sun are greeted with the deep roar of a male Lion some distance away. Welcome to Gir, the natural treasure of the state of Gujarat. Topographic Variations: Gir exhibits great variation in topography, including flat, gently undulating to hilly tracts; and elevation ranges between 152m at Vasadhol to 530m above the sea level at Nandivela hills. The Gir forest area is extremely rugged and hilly. Slopes are generally moderate, hills are of volcanic origin and the soil varies from one area to another. While most of the soil is generally black, the other types one may come across will be red, yellowish, white clay and sandy. Each soil type supports a different kind of plant life and hence the wildlife too differs based on vegetation types. Climate: Out of the three prominent seasons of summer, winter and monsoon, the longest stretching is the summer, in which the average minimum and maximum temperature ranges between 100C to nearly 450C. April and May are the hottest months. The erratic monsoon is eagerly awaited, with its active period between middle of June and September. The maximum rainfall in the area is recorded around 1,866 mm and the minimum-recorded being 199mm. The water always remains a critical factor in the well being of the forest. At times the waterholes are required to be replenished through water tankers from outside at great expense. The park staff maintains around 350 of such waterholes. River and watercourses: Gir has seven main rivers. They are Datardi, Shingoda, Macchundri, Saraswati, Raval, Ardak, and Hiran of which only Hiran has perennial flow , the rest being seasonal. Many of these seasonal streams have permanent waterholes, called 'Ghunas' and 'Virdas', which provide precious water to animals and birds. Gir also has four dams and that has made possible to store water in large reservoirs. Hiran River is the main lifeline of Western Gir. It originates from Kansa hills of Gir, and flows close to Sasan, Dadhia, Rajasthali, and Gidadiya ness and close to Talala village. It meets Sarasvati and Kapila rivers near Prabhas Patan to reach the Arabian Sea. Sarasvati originates from Dipada-No-Dungar in Gir to meet Hiran hillocks of Dhali Bakini
Dungari near Chanchai hills. It crosses Gir near Kardapan, Mandvi, Kodila, and Ghodavadi and near Una Navabundar and meets the Arabian Sea. Shingoda River originates from the Chase hillocks and Kadi Vadli hillocks and crosses Gir near Buntel, Chhodavadi, Jamwala and Kansaria-No-Ness. It meets the Arabian Sea near Kodinar. The Dataedi River passes close to the Jamwala ness to meet at Jamwal, while the river Raval originates from Dhundhia hills of Gir, goes to Una and near Manekpor, meets the Arabian Sea. Gir Vegetation: Vegetation in Gir can be looked at in four ways. The first Is the Teak forest and nearly half of the protected area has this kind of a habitat. The main tree species that occupy this habitat are Khair, Sadad, Timru, Babul, Amla, Moledi, Dhavdo, Kadayo and Bahedo. The non-Teak forests, which comprise the remaining forest consists of tree species like the Khair, Dhavdo, Sadad, Timru, Amla, Moledi, Kadayo, Salai, Simal, Khakhro, Ber and Asundro. A distinct belt of vegetation is found along the main rivers and streams. Species like the Jambu, Karanj, Umro, Vad, Kalam, Charal, Sirus and Amli are found here. These trees are mostly broad leaved and evergreen, giving the area a cool shade and the moisture content. Finally, Prosopis and Casuarina have been planted in the coastal border as part of the forestation plan. Modad, Kakad, Kalam, Garmalo, Limdo, Apto, Dudhlo, Siras, and Dhraman are trees that form the top part of the forest. The under story is formed by Mindhol, Bordi, Kanthar, Hingori, Karamda and Antedi. Ground cover has herbaceous growth of Desmodium, Tephrosia, Indigo era and Veronica. Grasses mostly include Bhagoru, Ratad, Zinjavo, Saniyar and Kagadiyu. Important 'Lianas' (woody climbers) include Khervelio Baval, and Malvelo. Around Gir there are some grasslands, locally known as 'Vidis'. Reserve Vidis have better palatable grass species and are well protected. The moist, shady riverine habitats show presence of more evergreen type of trees like Kalam, Sajad, Karanj, Jambu, Amli, Umbro, to name a few. KAZIRANGA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY Location: 217-km East Of Guwahati, Assam Main Attractions: Elephant Safari & One-Horned Rhino Best Time To Visit: Mid-November To Early April Most of Assam's magnificent wildlife sanctuaries are in the Brahmaputra valley, where the large tracts of grasslands on the flood plains are home to the Indian one-horned Rhino and other beasts. On such terrain, as opposed to the thick jungle cover of most other Indian Parks, sightings of animals are all but assured. The Great Rhinoland: Kaziranga, the greatest park of all, is renowned for its elephant grass and Rhino, but also incorporates some forest areas. Covering an area of 430-sqkms on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra, Kaziranga National Park, 217-km east of Guwahati, occupies the vast valley floor against a backdrop of the forest-covered Karbi Anglong hills. Flora And Fauna: Rivulets and Bhils, and the semi-evergreen forested "Highlands", just out of reach of the Brahmaputra's annual floods, blend into marshes and flood plains covered with tall elephant grass. Animal sightings are guaranteed, with Rhinos, Deer and herds of Wild Buffalo grazing close to the park entrance not far from the Administrative Center of Kohora. The rich bird life includes Egrets, Herons, Storks, Fish-Eating Eagles and a Grey Pelican colony settled among the red cotton trees. Few tracks penetrate this sea of grass,
however, and the Wild Elephants seldom venture into it, preferring to remain in the forested Highlands, while Tigers are incredibly elusive. With the grasslands bordering onto cultivated fields and domestic cattle encroaching upon the sanctuary and introducing epidemics, the wild animals are under increasing threat. Poaching is rife, with rhino horns fetching astronomical prices as aphrodisiacs. Kaziranga's One-Horned Rhino: With a population of over a thousand, the one-horned Rhino's are the largest concentration in the subcontinent and are best seen from the back of an elephant, early on a winter's morning. These Elephant rides last around one hour, and should be booked the previous evening at the park offices in Kohora. Although the elephants do not penetrate far into the sanctuary, merely traveling in a three or four kilometer circle, it is incredible how much wildlife can be seen in this small area; the dawn ride is the best - if one can get up that early. The rhinos seem oblivious to camera-clicking tourists, although like the unpredictable wild buffalo, they are equipped with lethal horns and potentially ferocious. Although jeeps penetrate deeper into the forest than elephants, they cannot get nearly as close to the wild animals. Visiting Time: Kaziranga is open from mid-November to early April only. During the monsoons, the Brahmaputra bursts its banks, flooding the low-lying grasslands and causing animals to migrate from one area to another within the park. Deer and even Leopard often cross the main road, heading for the hills until the water recedes. OTHER ATTRACTIONS: One can stroll through the lush coffee and rubber plantations of the nearby Karbi Anglong. One can also visit the Karbi villages, meet the Karbi people and observe their life style. Or romp through the enchanting tea gardens and watch how one gets one's daily cup of tea. Film shows on wildlife can be arranged at the tourist lodge, on request. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The nearest airport is situated at Guwahati, which is 217-km away from the park. The other airport is Jorhat, 97-km from here. Rail: The nearest railhead is Furkating, situated 75-km away from the park. Road: The main gate for Kaziranga, at Kohora on the NH37, consists of a handful of cafes and a small local market. ASTC and private buses stop here on their way to and from Guwahati, Tezpur and Upper Assam; some private buses retain a seat quota for Kaziranga passengers. WHERE TO STAY: The Directorate of Tourism is hidden a few hundred meters off the road to the north, in the Bonani Lodge. All visitors have to sign in here, before making for the park headquarters alongside, where one can book elephant and jeep rides, and rooms in the nearby lodges. There is wide range of accommodation facility at the park, which varies from rest houses, dormitory and lodges maintained by the forest department and the ITDC. The forest department has two rest houses and one dormitory. ITDC has three lodges, one dormitory and two cottages. The Wild Grass is a private resort, which offers good alternative accommodation. FOR MORE TOURIST INFORMATION Assam Tourism Office Tours: The most convenient way to visit Kaziranga is on one of the Assam tourism office tours, which leave from their office in Guwahati. The package includes overnight accommodation in the Bonoshree Lodge, meals, an elephant ride and transport back to Guwahati. Reservation Authority: Joint Director of Tourism, Kaziranga, P.O Kaziranga National Park, District Jorhat, Assam – 785612 Note: Visiting Kaziranga independently can be expensive due to the two-tier price system, with different entry costs for Indian nationals and foreigners. There are separate
charges for elephant safari and jeep rides from the lodges to the park entrance, as well as a system of variable camera fees. PERIYAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY Location: Kerala Also known as: Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary Main Species of animals found: Elephants, Tigers, and Spotted Deer Best Season: October to June One of the well-known wildlife sanctuaries in the south, Periyar sanctuary attracts a large number of nature lovers every year. Also called the Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary, this place is ideal for watching the animals in their natural habitat. The forest here slopes into the manmade lake at the bottom of the hill. This lake serves as the waterhole for the animals and they come here to drink or take a dip. Elephants, Gaur, Sambhar and even tigers can be spotted here. There are boat services, which takes the visitor around the lake. The best season to visit the park is between October and June. Spread over 777 Sq.Km of the Cardamom Hills of Western Ghats, the Periyar sanctuary is located 137 km from Madurai. Although an excursion on the splendid artificial lake is the standard way to experience the sanctuary, you can also walk around with the local guide in a small group. Wild Elephant herds come to the lake to frolic in the water. Other attractions of the sanctuary are the Sambhar, Bison, Spotted Deer, Tigers, Leopards, Malabar Flying Squirrels, Stripe necked Mongooses, etc. There are over 260 species of birds here; including Nilgiri Wood Pigeons, blue-winged Parakeets; White bellied Tree Pies, laughing Thrushes and flycatchers. RAJAJI NATIONAL PARK Location: Haridwar, Dehradun, Pauri (Uttaranchal). Established In: 1983. Area: 820 sq. kms. Best Time: Mid-November To Mid-June. Rajaji National Park is distinct for its pristine scenic beauty and rich bio-diversity. Situated at the edge of the sprawling Dehradun valley, the park was founded in 1966 and spreads over an area of about 820-sq-km. Nestled in a lush valley of the Shivalik Range, the park is an ideal holiday resort with its many picnic spots and excursion sites for the nature lover. Three sanctuaries in the Western U.P., Shivaliks-Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla were amalgamated into a large protected area and named Rajaji National Park in the year 1983 after the famous freedom fighter late Shri Rajgopalachari; Popularly known as "Rajaji". This area is the northwestern limit of Asian elephants. FLORA: The forest in the park is deciduous, with Sal (Shorea Robusta) as the principal constituent contributing to nearly 75% of the trees. Due to abundant rainfall, favorable conditions are created for diverse forest types like (I) Moist Shiwalik Sal, (ii) Moist Bhabar Dun Sal, (iii) Western Gangetic Moist Mixed Deciduous, (iv) Low Alluvial Sevannah Woodland, (v) Dry Shiwalik Sal, (vi) Northern Dry Mixed Deciduous, (vii) Khair Sissoo Forest, and (viii) Lower Shiwalik Chir Pine forest. The main species of plants in the park are the Sal (Shorea Robusta), Baki (Anogeissue latifolia), Sain (Terminalia Tomentosa), Haldu (Adina Cordifolia), Bachera (Terminalia Ballerica), Jhingan (Lannea Coromandelica), Kharpat (Garuga Pinnata), Phauri (Lagerstromia Parviflora), Bula (Kydia Calycina), Badal (Stereospermum chelonoides), Sofed Sirus (Albizzia Procera), Tun (Cadrela Tonna), Gutel (Trewia Nudiflora), Gular (Ficus Glomerata), etc.
The under-wood is light and often absent. It consists of Rohini (Liollotus philippinensis), Amaltas (Cassia Fistula), Sandan (Ougeinia Oojeinensis), Pipal (Bauhienia Lazan), Mahal (Pyrus Pashla), Chamaror, (Ehretia Laevis), Aonia (Emblica Officinalis), Kachnar (Bauhienia Variegata), Ber (Ziziphus Mauritiana), Chilla (Casearia tomentosa), Bel (Aegle Marmelos), etc. The under-growth consists of Karaunda (Carissa Opaca), Gandhala (Murraya Koenigil), Marorphali (Helicteres Isora), etc. While the grasses include Gorla (Cyryspogon Fuivus), Kummeeria (Heteropogon Contortus), etc. FAUNAL WEALTH OF THE PARK: The Rajaji National Park is rich in faunal wealth because of the varied types of ecological niches existing in the reserve. The main groups found in the park are mammals, birds, reptiles (snakes and lizards), amphibians (frogs & toads) butterflies and fishes, and chiefly the invertebrate groups are, the Scorpions, Centipedes, Odonata (dragon & damselflies), Hymenoptera (Wasps, Bees, etc.) Isoptera (termites) and Lepidoptera, which comprises more than 60 species. India's National Bird Peacock is found here in abundance. Several important herbivores like Asian Elephants, Spotted Deer, Sambhar, Barking Deer, Goral, Blue Bull (Neel Gai), Hog Deer, Wild Boar, Rhesus Monkey and common Langur occur in the park. Among the important carnivores are Tiger and Leopard, the smaller carnivores, as predators are Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Civet Cat and Yellow Throated Martin. Besides, other mammals like Hyena, Jackal and Bengal Fox are not an uncommon sight and work as scavengers in the park. In all 49 species of mammals belonging to 42 genera, in 21 families and nine orders have been recorded. According to census done in 1999 there are 445 Elephants, 32 Tigers and 177 Leopards, besides thousands of other wild animals in the park. AVIFAUNA: 315 species of birds are reported to occur in the park. Birds like Ducks, Teals, Cormorants, Egrets, Lapwing, Pond Herons, peafowl, Jungle Fowl, various species of Partridges and Pheasants, Drongo, Crows, Owlets and Nightjars, Birds Of Prey, etc, are quite common. REPTILES: Twenty-eight species of snakes, 12 species of turtles & tortoises and 9 species of lizards among Reptilian are being recorded from the park. Ten species under six genera and four families belonging to order Anura (toads & frogs) with their developmental stages have been recorded from the Park. Uperodon Systoma, Polypedates maculates and Rana crass are recorded for the first time from the park. Other Attractions: Besides, an interesting phenomenon of breeding of Bufonids was observed, which showed that B. Stomaticus & B. Melanostictus breeds during JulyAugust on the northern slope of Shiwalik, whereas the same species breeds up to November on the southern slope. Polypedates maculates, which inhabits the live treeholes, breeds only in July. As many as 49 species of fish fauna have been recorded from the wetlands of the Park, including a small loach Nemacheilus Doonensis as new to the park, and another species Berilius Dimorphicus as new to science (ZSI, 1995). Hymenopterous insects mainly refer to the Solid wasps of the Park and as many as 13 species have been recorded. Out of these, five species are not only new to the area, but also to the whole of the U. P. The butterfly fauna of the Park is very rich and represented by as many as 60 species under eight families, out of the known nine families of the Butterflies known from the adjoining areas chiefly Garhwal and Kumaon hills of the Himalayas. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: Jolly Grant Airport, which is only a few kilometers away from the Northern Boundary of the Park has a daily 50 minutes flight from Delhi. Following are the main roads by which one can go to the different areas of Rajaji Park.
Rail: Overnight trains are available for Dehradun and Haridwar from Delhi and Lucknow. Road: It is very well connected by road from Saharanpur, which in turn is very well connected by rail to Delhi, Lucknow, Amritsar, Jammu Tawi and Calcutta. 1. Dehradun Delhi State Highway: It almost forms the western boundary of Rajaji Park. Mohan is the important station on this road where a forest road goes inside the park. 2. Dehradun Doiwala, Rishikesh, Haridwar State Highway: This is the most convenient road. By this road one can go to the Ramgarh, Motichur, Kunao and Chilla Forests of Rajaji Park. 3. Moradabad, Haridwar State Highway: This is a connecting road between LucknowDelhi highway and Haridwar. By this road one can go to the Chilla, Gohri, Ranipur forest and forest areas adjoining Haridwar of the Rajaji Park. For easy approach and access, there are several entry gates to the park. WHERE TO STAY: Rajaji National park takes pride in offering its guests a peaceful and tranquil heaven. There are 10 Forest Rest Houses, where visitors can stay and enjoy the beauty and splendor of the park. Each Forest Rest House is adequately furnished for a comfortable stay. They offer perfect retreat for visitors and nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. In addition there are many hotels and tourist complexes around Rajaji National Park at Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun and Mussoorie, which make it very convenient to visit the Park. A tourist complex of Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam is also available at Chilla. For More Information, Contact: Director, Rajaji National Park, Dehradun. Tourist Officer, Haridwar. RANTHAMBHORE Location: Rajasthan Attraction: The Fort, Badal Mahal, And the National Park. Season: October to June. Languages: Rajasthan, English, Hindi TIGER, TIGER BURNING BRIGHT: A small village near the township of Sawai Madhopur, in the state of Rajasthan, Ranthambhore gets its name from the two hills, Ran and Thambor, which are in close proximity. The Ranthambhore Park is set between the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges. Its deciduous forests were once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India. The terrain is rugged and there are rocky ridges, hills and open valleys with lakes and pools. Ranthambhor is a heritage site because of the picturesque ruins that dot the park. There are Lake Palaces, 'chhatris', old fortifications and a majestic 1,000-year-old fort overlooking the park. The lovely Jogi Mahal is located at the foot of the fort and gives magnificent view of the Padam Talao painted white with water lilies. It has a chequered history and was the stronghold of the Yadavas in the 8th century. It came under Chauhans, and was ruled by them 10th century onwards. The Mughal emperors Akbar and Aurangzeb also occupied the magnificent fort. The park is famous for tigers and due to conservation efforts; the tiger population has stabilized if not increased here. The tigers can be spotted quite often even during the day, at their normal pursuits-- hunting and taking care of their young ones. Ranthambhore is one of the best places to see these majestic predators. Old crumbling walls, ruined pavilions, wells, and other ancient structures stand witness to the region's glorious past. The entire forest is peppered with the battlements and spillovers of the Ranthambhore fort - tigers are said to frequent these ruins, too. Ranthambhor National Park: Ranthambhore National Park is an outstanding example of Project Tiger's efforts at conservation in the country. The forests around the Ranthambhore Fort were once, the private hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur.
The desire to preserve the game in these forests for sport was responsible for their conservation, and subsequent rescue by Project Tiger. In 1972, it was estimated that there were around 1927 tigers in India, of which Rajasthan had 74, and the number of big cats in Ranthambhore Sanctuary was 14. 1972 was also the year that Project Tiger was launched, and this sanctuary was taken into its wings, along with seven other sanctuaries and national parks. As a result of stringent efforts in conservation, tigers, the prime assets of the park, have become more and more active during the day. More than in any other park or sanctuary in India, tigers are easily spotted here in daylight. They can be seen lolling around lazily in the sun, or feverishly hunting down Sambhar around the lakes. Therefore, Ranthambhore is probably the ideal park for wildlife photography, and it does attract professional wildlife photographers, from all over the globe. Inhabitants of the park: Apart from tigers, the park has its share of panthers, too. They are to be found on the outskirts of the park, due to the inevitable conflicts with the tiger population. Kachida Valley is believed to be the place to sight these rather elusive cats. The other permanent residents of the park include marsh crocodiles, hyenas, jungle cats and sloth bears. Sambars are found in abundance all over the area, the prime target of all the predators. Chital, Nilgai, and Chinkara, are the other inhabitants of the region. The avian population comprises of about 264 species, found within the park. Watching the Wild: The Park is best explored through jeeps or lorries, which are available on hire. The Fort: Steep crags embrace a network of lakes and rivers, and atop one of these hills, is the impressive Ranthambhore Fort. Built in the 10th century, the fort is considered to be one of the oldest forts in the state. Strategically built on the border of Rajasthan and Malwa, the fort houses some splendid monuments, within its precincts. The terrain fluctuates between impregnable forests and open bush land. The forest is the typically dry deciduous type, with Dhok, being the most prominent tree. The Jogi Mahal: The entry point to the park, goes straight to the foot of the fort and the forest rest house, Jogi Mahal. The latter boasts of the second-largest Banyan tree in India. The Badal Mahal: The “palace of the clouds”, situated in the fort has a very interesting location and seems as if hanging out in space. The famous 84-column 'chhatri' of King Hammir stands out magnificently where he used to hold an audience. The Padam Talab, the Raj Bagh Talab and the Milak Talab are some of the lakes in the area worth seeing. HOW TO GET THERE: By Air: Jaipur (145 km) is the nearest airport. By Rail: The Park is around 11 km away from Sawai Madhopur railway station that lies on the Delhi to Bombay trunk route. By Road: A good network of buses connects Sawai Madhopur, the nearest town, with quite a few areas
WHERE TO STAY: Jhoomar Baori Forest Lodge. RTDC Hotel Kamdhenu. Maharaja Lodge (Taj Group). Sawai Madhopur Lodge. PWD Rest House. Jogi Mahal- it lies within the park premises. SHOPPING: The place is famous for “khus” perfumes and other objects made of “khus” including fans, small boxes and caps etc. SARISKA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY Location: Rajasthan. Area: Tiger, Spotted Deer and Wild Boar Specialty: November to June Notified In: 800 Sq. Kms
THE WILD IN THE WOODEN VALLEY: Located 107 kms from Jaipur, the Sariska National Park is in a wooden valley, surrounded by barren mountains. The dry deciduous forests of the ancient Aravalli range cover the area of the Sariska National Park and Tiger Reserve. The main fauna in the park includes the Tiger, Panther, Hyena, Jungle Cat, Civet, Sambhar, Chinkara, Nilgai and Four-Horned Antelope. Declared a Sanctuary in 1955, it became a Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger in 1979. The other great predator of Sariska's forests is the leopard besides the ferocious tiger. Sariska has a healthy porcupine population, and this tiny creature often pits itself against the tiger, which is particularly fond of porcupine flesh. The 'Chowsingha' (four horned antelope) is commonly found at Sariska; exclusively Indian, it is the world's only wild creature, which has two pairs of horns. The Park's terrain is also congenial to the Chinkara (Indian Gazelle) and Nilgai. Remarkable for their lack of timidity are the Rhesus and Langur, which, at Sariska tolerate human closeness with astonishing equanimity. The birdlike comprises of the peafowl, Gray Partridge, Quail, Sand grouse, Tree Pie, White-Breasted Kingfisher, Golden-Backed Woodpecker, Crested Serpent, Eagle and Great Indian Horned Owl. VIEWING THE WILD: The best way to visit the park is by jeep and these can be arranged at the Forest Reception Office on Jaipur Road. Booking a `hide', overlooking one of the waterholes, can provide an excellent opportunity for viewing and photographing wildlife. So, pick up your sleeping bag and some food and settle down to watch. PRIME SITES: Within the park are the ruins of many temples. The KANKWARI FORT the Park has historic overtones. Here, Emperor Aurangzeb once imprisoned his brother, Dara Shikoh. THE ANCIENT SHIVA TEMPLES, in the precincts of the park, which are now in ruins, afford a wonderful sight to the visitors. THE PALACE, at Sariska was once the royal reserve of the rulers of Alwar. This palace built by the Maharajas of Alwar, has now been converted into a hotel. HOW TO GET THERE: ROAD: Sariska is situated off the Delhi-Alwar-Jaipur Road. The nearest town is Alwar (21 km). Jaipur is located at a distance of 110 km and Delhi at 200Kms. There are direct buses to Alwar from Delhi and Jaipur. Frequent buses travel between Alwar and Sariska. RAIL: The nearest railway station is Alwar (21 km). AIR: Jaipur is the nearest airport. WHERE TO STAY: RTDC Hotel Tiger Den Hotel Lake Palace (RTDC), Siliserh Hotel Sariska Palace (a Heritage Hotel) Forest Rest House Area: 765.80 Sq.Km Nearest town: Alwar Main species found: Tiger, Panther, Hyena, Jungle Cat, Civet, Sambar, Nilgai, Chowsingha, Dhole (Wild Dog), Wild Boar, Partridge, Green Pigeon, Red Spurfowl, etc. SULTANPUR NATIONAL PARK Location: 46 Kms from Delhi, Haryana Founded by: Dr. Salim Ali Main Attractions: Migratory Birds, Kingfishers
Haryana's Bird Paradise Located 46 kms from Delhi, Sultanpur National Park, is just a- short drive away from the Delhi - Jaipur Highway. A stretch of marshy land has been remodeled. The artificial mounds have turned into green glades. The marsh has been converted into a water body. A number of organisms like crustaceans, fish and insects thrive during floods, which attract a number of birds to this area. The world famous ornithologist, Mr. Peter Jackson, first recognized the sanctuary potential of the place. Keeping in view its importance and potential, the area covering 359 acres was declared a bird sanctuary in 1971 and was upgraded to the status of National Park in 1991 by Haryana Government. Sultanpur was a haunt of our very own birdman, Late Dr. Salim Ali. The Avian Population: With the years, hundreds of species of migratory birds have winged in to stay here. Winter brings in birds from as far as Siberia. Flock of geese from Europe also flits in. The local birds flap in, too. A world of darters, egrets, shoeless, goodwill, geese dominate. Teals, kingfishers, lapwings, sandpipers, demoiselle cranes and such other water birds flock in. Over 100 species have been identified here. The number of birds visiting the place has multiplied over the years. Every year nearly 90 migratory birds arrive here in search of feeding grounds and also to spend the winter. In winter, the sanctuary affords a picturesque panorama of migratory birds such as rosy pelican, spotted sandpiper, starling, blue throat etc. in summer, 11 species of birds such as koel and cuckoo can be recognized by their melodious voice. Apart from birds, animal species like blue bull are also found in plenty in the area. Bird Watching Made Easy: Innumerable bird watchers come in to observe bird antics. There are hideouts, watchtowers and a museum of sorts for those keen on serious study. Guestrooms and catering wing await the patrons. Facilities: Guestrooms, restaurant, family cottages, a bar, hideouts and watchtowers. The government is constantly endeavoring to improve the habitat so that more birds come to nest in this area and also to help the bird lovers to come and study the bird life. The bird lovers on their part are requested not to disturb the birds by creating noise or frightening them with music. SUNDERBAN WILDLIFE Towards the south of Calcutta, the rivers Ganga and Hoogly divide itself into many distributors. The speed of water is reduced and the river deposits its silt just as it is about to merge into the sea. In due course, the accumulated silt takes the shape of islands on the mouth of the rivers. These are the famous Gangetic deltas. They provide an ideal atmosphere and environment for the Sundari trees to grow. Spread over an area of almost 10,000 sq. kms (now shared by Bangladesh and India), the Sunder bans are home to many exquisite animals and birds. The Indian Government has declared this 1330 sq. kms of area as a national park. The pristine beauty of nature is made alive by the variety of the flora and fauna. The Fleming Red flowers of Genwa, the crab like red flower of Khalsi adds to the dazzling display of nature. This 'fairyland' is made fascinating by the millions of microorganism found on the fringes of the islands. Once this area was a paradise for tiger hunters. But the rapid fall in the Royal Bengal Tiger population forced the government to declare tiger poaching as illegal and the area came under the Project Tiger. Tigers in Sunder bans are known to swim a record distance of 10 kms. They also hunt fish if hungry or steal honey from the beehives. Though Sunder ban tigers are described as man-eaters, specialists say they rarely attack human beings. Tigers are not the only attraction in Sunder bans, there are
estuarine crocodiles and shy jungle cats or the fishing cats. The reptiles found in the forest include the King Cobra, Rock Python and Water Monitor. During the winters the olive riley turtles descend to nest the shores of Kanak Island. The tigers can be easily spotted at the water holes at Sajnekhali, Sudhanyakhali, Netidhopani and Haldi. No permission is required for a general river cruise outside the core area and sanctuary. But there are particular places where permission will be required. The best time to visit Sunder bans is during winters between September and March. There are regular bus services from Calcutta to this place. But the main areas of the sanctuary can only be accessed only by reverie waterways. The best and the safest way to visit Sunder bans are on conducted tours. One can also avail the services of the private vessels from Canning, Gosaba or Basmati. Accommodation in the sanctuary is available, in the comfortable tourist lodges. Sajnekahli has a 60-bed tourist lodge. Overnight facilities are also available at Bakkhali and Piyali. WANDOOR AND THE MAHATMA GANDHI NATIONAL MARINE PARK Location: Wandoor, 30-km Southwest of Port Blair, Andaman Islands Main Attractions: Wandoor Beach, Jolly Buoy & Red Skin Islands Much the most popular excursion from Port Blair is the boat ride from Wandoor, 30km southwest, to one or other of the fifteen islets comprising the Mahatma Gandhi National Marine Park. Although set up purely for tourists, the trip is worth doing, gaining one's access to one of the richest coral reefs in the region. Boats depart from Wandoor at 10.00 am daily except Monday. One can get there on A&N Tourism's tour or by local bus, but it is more fun to rent a moped and ride down to meet the boat oneself. The Beach & Other Island Attractions: The long white beach at Wandoor is littered with the dry, twisted trunks of trees torn up and flung down by annual cyclones, and fringed not with palms, but by dense forest teeming with bird life. One should only snorkel here at high tide. From the jetty the boats chug through broad creeks lined with dense mangrove swamps and pristine forest to either Red Skin Island or, more commonly, Jolly Buoy. The latter, an idyllic deserted island, boasts an immaculate shell-sand beach, ringed by a bank of superb coral. The catch is that the boat only stops for around an hour, which isn't nearby enough time to explore the shore and reef. While snorkeling off the edges of the reef, however, beware of strong currents. FLORA Location: Andaman & Nicobar Islands Types Of Trees: Timber, Rudraksha & Aromatic Dhoop Or Resin Trees Types OF Shells: Turbo, Troches, Murex And Nautilus. The Green Paradise: These Islands are blessed with a unique' luxuriant evergreen tropical rainforest canopy, sheltering a mixed germ Plasm Bank, comprising of Indian, Myanmarese, Malaysian and endemic floral strain. So far, about 2,200 varieties of plants have been recorded out of which 150 are endemic and 1,300 do not occur in mainland India. The Island Jungles: The South Andaman forests have a profuse growth of epiphytic vegetation, mostly Ferns and Orchids. The Middle Andaman’s harbors mostly moist deciduous forests. The wet evergreen type, with plenty of woody climbers, characterizes North Andaman’s. The north Nicobar Islands, including Car Nicobar and Battimalv, are marked by the complete absence of evergreen forests, while such forests form the dominant vegetation in the central and southern islands of the Nicobar group. Grasslands occur only in the
Nicobars, and while deciduous forests are common in the Andaman’s, they are almost absent in the Nicobars. This atypical forest coverage is made-up of twelve types namely: A Forested Coverage: As per report on State of Forest (1997) of the Forest Survey of India, about 92% of the 8,249-sq-kms. Of geographical area of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is under forest cover. Of this about 86% is under recorded forest. Out of this recorded forest area (7,171-sq-kms.), about 40% are under Reserve Forest and 60% under Protected Forest, comprising Wildlife Sanctuaries, National Parks, Tribal Reserve and Biosphere Reserve overlapping within each other. Luxuriant mangroves, perhaps the richest in the world, occupy nearly 11.5%of the territory. Indifference to the need to promote conservation of bio-diversity and to pay due attention to other forest related local and national environmental concerns, the Andaman and Nicobar administration has created nine National Parks and ninety-six Wild Life Sanctuaries. The Great Nicobar Island is being managed as a Biosphere Reserve with the aim to conserve the species of plants and animals especially those, which are endemic. TIMBER: Andaman Forest is abound in plethora of timber species numbering 200 or more, out of which about 30 varieties are considered to be commercial. Major commercial timber species are Gurjan (Dipterocarpus Spp.) and Padauk (Pterocarpus Dalbergioides). Ornamental wood such as Marble Wood (Diasporas Marmorata), Padauk (Pterocarpus Dalbergioides), Silver Grey (a special formation of wood in white 'Chuglam'), Chooi (Sageraea Elliptical), and Kokko (Albizzia Lebbeck) are noted for their pronounced grain formation. Being steadier than teak Padauk is widely used for furniture making. Burr and the Buttress formation in Andaman Padauk are World famous for their exceptionally unique charm and figuring. Largest piece of Buttress known from Andaman was a dining table of 13'x 7'. The largest piece of Burr was again a dining table to seat eight persons at a time. The holy Rudraksha (Elaeocarps Sphaericus) and Aromatic Dhoop/Resin trees also occur here. SHELLS: Shells are perhaps the most colourful and fascinating objects known to man other than Gems since time immemorial. They served as money, ornaments, and musical instruments, drinking cups, in magic and in the making of fine porcelains. They were also the symbols in rituals and religious observances, and the returning pilgrims wore them as a token of divine pardon. Andaman & Nicobar Islands are traditionally known for their shell wealth specially Turbo, Troches, Murex and Nautilus. The Peculiar Usage: Earliest recorded commercial exploitation began during 1929. Shells are important to these islands because some like Turbo, Troches & Nautilus, etc. are being used as novelties supporting many cottage industries producing a wide range of decorative items & ornaments. Shells such as Giant Clam, Green Mussel and Oyster support edible Shellfishery; a few like Scallop, Clam and Cockle are burnt in Kiln to produce edible lime. Shell Groups: The Univalve or one shell group belongs to the class "Gastropoda" having more than 80,000 species. Sacred Chank belongs to this group. Their body, in the course of development, go through a complicated process, 'torsion' i.e. the visceral mass is twisted though 90° together with the shell that covers it. Under mysterious circumstances many a time this process proceeds in the reverse direction thus creating an abnormal shell which otherwise lives like a normal shell. A classic example is the most wanted left-handed 'Chank'. The Bivalve or Pelecypoda has about 20,000 living species. Majority of them burrows in sand or mud such as Pearl Oyster, Wing Oyster, Giant Clam, etc.
A third group, which is comparatively smaller, is called "Cephalopoda", which includes Octopus, Squid, Nautilus, etc. The soft body animal, which lives inside the shell, is covered with a thick layer of specialized epithelium cells known as Mantle, which in turn secretes a two-tier shell material making the shell. The outer layer having a different colour pattern is organic in constitution, technically called 'Periostracum'. Calcium ions from the environment are absorbed into the blood and deposited evenly under this layer. The next inner layer is called 'Nacre' or 'Mother of Pearl' responsible for the pearly lustre common to many shells. FAUNA Location: Andaman & Nicobar Islands Types Of Mammals: Andaman Wild Pig, Andaman Masked Palm Civet, Andaman Spiney Shrew, Nicobar Tree Shrew, Nicobar Tree Shrew, Andaman Horse-Shoe Bat Types Of Birds: Andaman Teal, Nicobar Pigeon, Nicobar Parakeet, Crested Serpent Eagle, White-Bellies Sea Eagle, Edible-Nest Swift Let, Emerald Dove Marine Life: Corals, Dugong, Dolphin, Whale, Salt-Water Crocodiles, Sea Turtles, Sea Snakes The Andaman Nicobar Islands tropical rain forests despite their isolation from adjacent landmasses are surprisingly enriched with many animals. MAMMALS: Out of 55 terrestrial species and 7 marine mammal species reported, 32 species are endemic. Most of these mammals are understood to be brought in from outside and are now considered endemic due to their prolonged insular adaptation. Rat is the largest group having 26 species followed by 14 species of bat. Among the larger mammals there are two endemic varieties of wild pig namely Sus Scrofa Anamnesis from Andaman and S.S. Nicobaricus from Nicobar. Common mammal found over here is Andaman Wild Pig, Crab Eating Macaque. Andaman Masked Palm Civet, Dugong, Dolphin, Whale, Spotted Deer, Andaman Spiney Shrew, Nicobar Tree Shrew, Nicobar Tree Shrew, Andaman Horse-Shoe Bat, Lesser Short Nosed Bat (Brachysoma), Elephant, etc. Interview Island in Middle Andaman holds a fairly good stock of Feral Elephants. A private contractor who subsequently left them loose brought in these elephants for forest work. BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS: With about 225 species, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands house some of the larger and most spectacular butterflies of the world. Ten species are endemic to these Islands. Mount Harriet National Park is one of the richest areas of butterfly and moth diversity on these Islands. AVIFAUNA & TERRESTRIAL REPTILES: The rich Avifaunal diversity has always attracted ornithologists and bird watchers to these islands. As many as 246 species and sub species of birds are reported to inhabit these islands and of these 99 species and sub-species are endemic. Some important species are Andaman Teal, Megapode, Narcondum hornbill, Nicobar pigeon, green imperial pigeon, Nicobar parakeet, crested serpent eagle, white-bellies sea eagle, Edible-Nest Swift let, Emerald Dove etc. Sandy beaches of these islands are famous for turtle nesting. There are 76 terrestrial reptiles. Of these 24 species are endemic. Important species include four main species of sea turtles viz., Leatherback Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Hawk Bill Turtle and Olive Ridley turtle, Salt Water crocodile, Water Monitor Lizard, Reticulate Python, Sea Snakes and many other varieties of snakes including King Cobra are also found here. MARINE AQUARIUM: Due to its long coastal stretch, these islands have a very rich marine biodiversity. They harbour more than 1,200 species of Fish, 350 species of Echinoderms, 1,000 species of Mollusks and many lower forms of life. Among
vertebrates, Dugong, Dolphin, Whale, Salt-Water Crocodiles, Sea Turtles, Sea Snakes, etc. are common. Corals and coral reefs are the most fascinating part of marine ecosystem here. Corals are composed of calcium carbonate, a mineral they take from seawater. The skeleton of coral forms different densities in summer and winter months, creating annual growth bands likened to that of tree rings. Coral reefs are underwater wave resistant mounds that are virtual ecosystems all by themselves. They are made up of Coral, Algae, Mollusks, Bryozoans, Brachiopods, Echinoderms and Sponges. Coral sands and solid limestone also play a large part in the build up of a coral reef. Coral reefs grow upward by a rock like accumulation of calcium containing (Calcareous) Exoskeletons of past generations of coral animals. In their ideal environments, coral reefs will grow from 1 to 100 centimeters per year. So far 179 species of corals belonging to 61 genera have been reported in the islands. Reefs are mostly fringing type on the eastern coast and barrier type on the western coast. Important genera include Acropora, Montipora, Policillipora,Porites,Favia, Fungia Goniopora, and Millipora and Heliopora. Coral reefs are important breeding and nursery ground for fish and many other organism and have been aptly called "The Tropical Rain Forests in the Sea". Namdapha National Park Location : 62 Kms. from Margherita On the Bank of : Brahmaputra River Specialty : Flora and Fauna Best Time To Visit : October – March Tucked away in the northern-most state of Arunachal Pradesh is the Namdapha National Park. Three major rivers drain this area and flow into the Noa Dihing, a tributary of the Brahmaputra. The Park largely inaccessible has diverse habitats and flora and fauna that are typical of this area. The majestic gaur or mithun, elephant, Himalayan black bear, taking, the wild goat peculiar to the Patkoi range, musk deer, slow loris, binturong and the red panda are all found here. The predators include the tiger, leopard, the rare snow leopard and clouded leopard in the higher reaches of the hills. A number of primate species are to be seen in the Park, such as the Assamese macaque, pig-tailed macaque, stump- tailed macaque and the distinctive hillock gibbon. Hornbills, jungle fowl and pheasants flap their noisy way through the jungle, which harbors other colourful bird species. The inaccessibility of the greater part of the Park has helped to keep the forests in their pristine state. This is also a Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger. BURA-CHAPORI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY Location: Sonitpur District, Assam Coverage Area: 44-sq-kms Main Attractions: Bengal Florican & One-Horned Rhinoceros Best Time To Visit: November to March Bura-Chapori is a magnificent wildlife sanctuary situated on the north bank of the river Brahmaputra in Sonitpur district. Coverage area of the park is about 44-sq-kms. Fauna: Bura-Chopai is considered to be the ideal habitat for Bengal Florican. Various species of migratory birds are also seen in this sanctuary. Other attractions are the Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, Asiatic Buffalo, Wild Boar, Otter, Civet Cat, Leopard Cat, and Barking Deer etc. There are various species of reptiles also found over here. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The nearest airport is Salon about 10-km from Tezpur, in Sonitpur district, which is 181-km away from Guwahati. Rail: The nearest railway station is Rangapara 60-kms from Bhalukpong, in Sonitpur district.
Road: Regular buses ply to and from Tezpur, which is well connected with all the major cities of Assam. WHERE TO STAY: The Forest Department has an Inspection Bungalow at BuraChapori. Tourists may stay in Government tourist Lodge and private hotels at Tezpur. FOR MORE TOURIST INFORMATION: Contact: Tourist Information Officer, Tezpur Tourist Lodge, Tezpur, Sonitpur District, Assam The Divisional Forest Officer, Western Assam Wildlife Division, Dolabari, P.O. Tezpur, Sonitpur District, Assam DIRBU-SAIKHOWA NATIONAL PARK Location: 13-km From Tinsukia Town, Assam Coverage Area: 340-sq-kms Main Attractions: Semi-Wild Horse & White-Winged Wood Duck Best Time To Visit: November To April The Dibru-Saikhowa National Park lies in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia District. It is 13-km from Tinsukia town, which is 483-km from Guwahati. The park covers an area of about 340-sq-kms. Of the seven parts of the park one part is a wetland and the rest of the part is mainly covered with grasslands and dense forests. Fauna: The main attractions of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park are the Semi-wild horses (Feral) and the white-winged Wood Duck. Other animals are Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Elephant, Sambhar, Slow Loris, Asiatic Buffaloes, Capped Langur, Gangetic Dolphin, Indian Wild Dog, etc. More than 250 varieties of local and migratory birds are also found here. HOW TO GET THERE: Road: Regular bus service is available from the Tinsukia town, which is situated at a distance of 483-km from Guwahati. WHERE TO STAY: There is an Inspection Bungalow at Guijan. There is also enough space for tented accommodation. Private hotels and forest Inspection Bungalow at Tinsukia town also provide comfortable accommodation. LAOKHOWA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY Location: 25-km From Nagaon Town, Nagaon District, Assam Coverage Area: 70-sq-kms Main Attractions: One-Horned Rhinoceros Best Time To Visit: November to March Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 25-km away from the Nagaon town in the Nagaon district, and has covering area of 70-sq-kms. Fauna: Its main attraction include the Great Indian one-horned Rhinoceros but there are animals too such as Tiger, Leopard, Asiatic Buffalo, Wild Bear, Civet Cat, Leopard Cat, Hog Deer etc. Various species and birds are also found in Laokhowa. HOW TO GET THERE: Road: Buses ply regularly from various parts of the state to Nagaon, which is just 25-km away from the sanctuary. WHERE TO STAY: Comfortable and convenient accommodations are available in the budget hotels and tourist lodges of Nagaon. FOR MORE TOURIST INFORMATION: Tourist Information Officer, Nagaon Tourist Lodge, Nagaon Assam Divisional Forest Officer, Nagaon Wildlife Division, Nagaon, Assam MANAS TIGER RESERVE Location: 176-km From Guwahati, Assam Coverage Area: 391 sq.kms Also known As: Mathanguri Best Time To Visit: November to April
Manna, also known for its Rhinos and Elephants, is Assam's only Tiger project and extends over varied territory, taking in hills and river valleys on the border with Bhutan. The scenic beauty and rare wealth of wild life combine with this unique world heritage site to offer one of the most enthralling experiences. The reserve forest of 1928 Manas had been declared as a tiger project in 1973. Of the present 18 Indian Tiger Projects, Manas is the ninth one. The area is 391-sq-km and the area of the tiger project being 540-sq-km. Manas and its armlet Benki and Hakua draw a front line between India and Bhutan, on the west is Sankosh, and on the east Dhansiri River. Fauna: The core area of Manas Park is 360-km. Hispid Hare, Pigmy Hog and Golden Langur are some of the rare species of animals to be found in the park apart from Tigers, Elephants, Rhinoceros, Wild Buffalo, Wild Boar, Sambhar, Swamp Deer, and Hog Deer, which are easily spotted at this park. Come winter and Manas is full of migratory birds like the River chats, Fork tails, Cormorants and Ducks like the Ruddy Shell-Duck. There are regular woodland birds like the Indian Hornbill and Pied Hornbill also found over here. Butterflies and reptiles are also found aplenty in Manas. In the river water, you can enjoy boating and fishing as well. Colored pebbles of the Manas River are an added attraction not to be missed. Facilities within The Sanctuary: Arrangements are there in Manas to view animals from elephant's back. From Mathanguri in the morning, elephants go out with tourists for 3-hrs ride. Along with entry fee, camera is also chargeable according to its standard. Concession is provided to the students visiting the park. Barpeta: Barpeta has various attractions including the famous Vaishnava monastery. Acharya Madhabdev's statue is installed within the monastery and its Kirtan Hall is a notable touring spot. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: Manas Park is 176-kms from Guwahati. The nearest airport is Borjhar, which is situated, 5-km out of town, and can be reached by rickshaw, auto rickshaw or airline buses. Rail: The nearest railhead is situated at Barpeta road. Road: Buses regularly ply from Guwahati to Barpeta Road in 4½ hrs. WHERE TO STAY: For accommodation there are two tourist lodges of the Tourism Department of Assam. One is located at Barpeta Road, 40-km away from Manas and the other at Bansbari, 20-km away from Barpeta. The State Forest Department also has two bungalows at Mathanguri, which is inside the forest. But there are no catering facilities; hence, tourists have to carry their foodstuff from Barpeta Road. PABHA OR MILROY SANCTUARY Location: Lakhimpur District, Assam Coverage Area: 49-sq-km Significance: Created To Protect Wild Water Buffalo Best Time To Visit: November To April Located in Lakhimpur District, the Pabha Sanctuary spreads in an area of 49-sq-km. This Sanctuary was created to protect the wild water buffalo. Contact: The Chief Conservator of Forest, Wildlife & Zoo, and Narengi Road, Guwahati, Assam. NAMERI NATIONAL PARK Location: 35-km From Tezpur, Sonitpur District, Assam Area: 200-sq-kms Main Attraction: Four Species Of Hornbill Best Time To Visit: November To March
Situated at the foothills of eastern Himalayas, Nameri National Park covers an area of about 200-sq-kms. The hilly backdrop, deciduous and the river Jia Bhoroli have added a unique charm to it. It is about 35-km from Tezpur town, which is 181-km from Guwahati. Fauna: The rich wildlife that this park includes is Tiger, elephant, Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Indian Bison, Pangolin, Indian wild dog, Civet Cat, Capped Langur, Jackal etc. Various birds including the four species of Hornbill and reptiles are also found here. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The nearest airport is Salon about 10-km from Tezpur, in Sonitpur district, which is 181-km away from Guwahati. Rail: The nearest railway station is Rangapara 60-kms from Bhalukpong, which is 21-km from the park, in Sonitpur district. Road: Regular buses ply to and from Tezpur, which is well connected with all the major cities of Assam. WHERE TO STAY: The Tourism Department has tourist lodge at Tezpur and Bhalukpong (21-km from the park). There is also an Eco-camp at Potasali, which provides comfortable accommodation and delicious food. Contact: Tourist Information Officer, Tezpur Tourist Lodge, Tezpur, Sonitpur District, Assam The Divisional Forest Officer, Western Assam Wildlife Division, Dolabari, P.O. Tezpur, Sonitpur District, Assam Camp Director, Eco-camp, Potasali (Nameri National Park), Sonitpur District, Assam ORANG SANCTUARY Location: 31-km From Tezpur, Assam Famous As: Mini Kaziranga Main Attraction: One-Horned Rhinos, Elephants, Leopards & Migratory Birds Best Time To Visit: November To March Popularly known as mini Kaziranga, Orange National Park covers 72-sq-kms only and is located towards the north bank of Brahamaputra. This park is 150-km from Guwahati and 31-km from Tezpur. From Tezpur by bus on Tezpur-Guwahati route at 45-km west is Orange Chariali and from their 18-km towards the south is Orange wildlife sanctuary. On October 1st, 1992 Orange Wildlife Sanctuary was renamed as Rajib (Rajiv) Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary. Flora & Fauna: The Orange Wildlife Sanctuary area is having rich forestry of Sal, Teak, Simul, and Eucalyptus trees with wild beasts such as One-horned Rhino, Elephants, Leopards, Sambhars, Deer’s, etc. During winter birds from far off places come here to nestle. Milky white Pelicans from America also migrate over here. HOW TO GET THERE: Rail: The nearest railhead is Salon & Rangapara. The park has only a small rest house so it is better to stay at Tezpur and visit this park. Road: 2 buses from Orange Chariali, one at morning and the other at evening ply regularly for Orange. Visiting Orange by bus requires staying for a night at Orange. WHERE TO STAY: Night stay at the 2 forest bungalows of Orange, without electricity & modern amenities are nothing but a thrilling experience. At the entrance gate, the Silbari forest bungalow is simply excellent. Another one is 5-km interior of the forest called Sat Simul bungalow. Walking is not allowed in the interior forest, so use jeep to explore the forest surround PABITORA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY Location: 50-km From Guwahati, In Morigaon District, Assam Coverage Area: 15.9-sq-km Main Attraction: One-Horned Rhinoceros Best Time To Visit: November To March
Situated in the Morigaon district, Pabitora is one of the major wildlife sanctuaries of Assam. It is situated about 50-km from Guwahati City. Fauna: Covering an area of 15.9-sq-km, Pabitora is mainly famous for its Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros. Besides the Rhinoceros other animals, which are found over here, include the Asiatic Buffalo, Leopards, Wild Bear, and Civet Cats etc. Also inhabiting the sanctuary are more than 200 birds and numerous reptiles. HOW TO REACH: Road: Buses ply regularly from Guwahati to the Sanctuary, which is just 50-km away from the city. WHERE TO STAY The Forest Department has an Inspection Bungalow, with limited accommodation inside the forest. Visitors intending to visit Pabitora can visit from Guwahati also. SONAI RUPAI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY Location: Sonitpur District, Assam Coverage Area: 175-sq-kms Main Attraction: Elephant & Indian Bison Best Time To Visit: November To March Slightly larger than the Pabha Sanctuary, Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 175-sq-kms. It is located along the foothills of Himalayas in Sonitpur District. This park combines scenic beauty with exotic wildlife. It is the home for Elephant, Indian Bison and many other species of birds & animals. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The nearest airport is Salon about 10-km from Tezpur, in Sonitpur district, which is 181-km away from Guwahati. Rail: The nearest railway station is Rangapara 60-kms from Bhalukpong, in Sonitpur district. Road: Regular buses ply to and from Tezpur, which is well connected with all the major cities of Assam. WHERE TO STAY: The Forest Department has an Inspection Bungalow at BuraChapori. Tourists may stay in Government tourist Lodge and private hotels at Tezpur. Contact: Tourist Information Officer, Tezpur Tourist Lodge, Tezpur, Sonitpur District, Assam The Divisional Forest Officer, Western Assam Wildlife Division, Dolabari, P.O. Tezpur, Sonitpur District, Assam BANDALI SANCTUARY Location: 7-km from Sunder Nagar Town, Mandi District Specialty: Chir Pheasant & Snow Leopard Best Season: May to October This sanctuary is situated in district Mandi and is 7-kms away from Sunder Nagar Town. It is heavily disturbed sanctuary with a small population of Chir pheasant and Leopard. The area was earlier a protected forest. Other wildlife found over here includes Himalayan Black Bear, common Palm Civet, Barking Deer, Gorilla, and Indian hare, Rhesus Macaque. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The nearest airport is Bhuntar about 57 km from Mandi. Rail: The broad gauge railhead is at Pathankot, a distance of 210-km. From Pathankot the narrow gauge railway connects Joginder Nagar, which is 55-km from Mandi. Road: Mandi is well connected by road to other places. The main bus stand is just above an open playing field, where the National Highway- 21 continues along the left bank of river to Panda. WHERE TO STAY: The town has many hotels but the place to stay is ramshackle Raj Mahal, overlooking the Town Square is a period-furnished palace with a good restaurant. For a bit more comfort try Evening Plaza, Vyas Guesthouse and the Aryan Bungalow.
CHAIL SANCTUARY Location: Chail, Solan Valley, District Shimla Specialty: Himalayan Black Bear and Yellow Throated Marten & Chir Pheasant Best Season: October-Feburary Chail is a hill station visited by many tourists. The Deodar and Oak forests with grasslands around the township are the abode of wildlife. Chail sanctuary was notified on 21st March 1976 near Chail Town in District Shimla and covers an area of 10,854.36 hectares. One can see Sambar, Gorilla, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Deer, Silver-White Oak, Barking Deer, Indian Hare Common Langur, Leopard, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, Indian Porcupine, Common Giant and Kashmiri Flying Squirrel. and Chir Pheasants at Blossom and Jhajja. A Chir Pheasant breeding and rehabilitation programmer has been started in 1988.Visitors are welcome to the Chir Pheasant Breeding Centers at both Blossom and Jhajja. Barking deer and Kalijin in the forests are sure to meet and greet the visitors at dusk and dawn. TREKKING: Trekking from Chail to Gaura and Chail to Jhaja is common and rewarding, as one is sure to see wildlife and beautiful snowy peaks. Range Officer Wildlife Chail and his staff welcomes the visitors and assists the wildlife lovers to see wildlife in the sanctuary area. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: There is always the option of flying to Shimla. Rail: The ideal way of covering the Kalka-Shimla track is by the toy train. It takes five hours from Kalka to get to Kandaghat. The toy train with a maximum of half a dozen bogies chugs through the most thickly forested tracks, breathtaking bends, deep ravines and never-ending tunnels. Road: Chail is about 86-km from Kalka via Kandaghat. The approach of Chail is along the Kalka-Shimla route. One has to take a detour from Kandaghat. From Kandaghat, it is an hour and a half journey by road to Chail. WHERE TO STAY: HPTDC Palace Hotel Monal Tourist Lodge HTPDC Cottage Pine View tourist Lodge CHURDHAR SANCTUARY Location: Solan Valley, Shimla District Area: 56.15-km. Specialty: musk deer & Monal Best Season: April-June & October-November Churdhar peak, with height of 3,647m, is the highest peak in outer Himalayas. It is like an Oasis of Alpine area in an ocean of temperate forests. The view from Churdhar peak is un-parallel. The sanctuary got its name from the Chur Peak, on the top of which sits a majestic status of Lord Shiva. One is sure to come across a large number of multicolored and agile Monals in the adjoining forests. The total covered area of this sanctuary is 5616 hectares and this is notified on 15th November 1985. This is one of the newest sanctuaries of the State. Now at the point of local extinction, Churdhar still contains good habitat for Monals and other pheasants. Other fauna includes Himalayan Black Bear, Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Common Langur and Leopards but Musk Deer has been severely depleted by hunting. TREKKING: This is an excellent area for trekking during summer and early winters. Trekking from Nohra, Sarain and Pulbahal are tough but enjoyable.
HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The Jubbarhatti airport is 23-km from Shimla and major domestic airlines cater their services from here to Shimla. One can catch direct flights from Delhi. Rail: Shimla has a narrow gauge railway line on which toy train runs from Kalka to Shimla. The train cruises its way through valleys and beautiful landscapes at a very slow pace making the journey very pleasant. From Kalka one can take trains to other parts of the country. The Toy train from Shimla is of two types- one is the normal multi coach train and the other is the single car train, which has a glass roof giving an enthralling experience during the journey. Road: Roads connect this capital city of Himachal with other places in the state as well as other major towns and cities. There is regular bus service from Delhi and Chandigarh as well as ordinary, semi deluxe, deluxe and AC coaches for Shimla are available too. One can also cross over to Leh and Ladakh via Rohtang pass from here. WHERE TO STAY: There are Rest Houses at Nohra, Choras and Sarain. There is also a Sarai and a Shiva Temple at Churdhar. DARANGHATI SANCTUARY Location: Near Rampur Bushahr, Shimla District Area: 167.40-km. Specialty: Trogpan, Koklas & Kalij Best Season: April-June & October-November Daranghati sanctuary located in the upper area of Shimla District, has undisturbed forest area with plenty of wildlife and was notified on 27th March 1974. The total covered area of this sanctuary is 16740 hectares. Himalayan Black Bear, Brown Bear, Himalayan Palm Civet, Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Flying Fox, Goral, Indian Hare, Stripped Hyena, Himalayan Ibex, Leopard, Himalayan yellow throated Marten, Serow, Blue Sheep, Common giant flying Squirrel and Himalayan Weasel are the animals that are fount over here. There is a network of bridle paths and inspection paths in the sanctuary. Visitors are advised to seek assistance from the forest staff posted at Dodo and Saharan. The area is ideal for those who love to trek along mountain heights. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The Jubbarhatti airport is 23-km from Shimla and major domestic airlines cater their services from here to Shimla. One can catch direct flights from Delhi. Rail: Shimla has a narrow gauge railway line on which toy train runs from Kalka to Shimla. The train cruises its way through valleys and beautiful landscapes at a very slow pace making the journey very pleasant. From Kalka one can take trains to other parts of the country. The Toy train from Shimla is of two types- one is the normal multi coach train and the other is the single car train, which has a glass roof giving an enthralling experience during the journey. Road: Roads connect this capital city of Himachal with other places in the state as well as other major towns and cities. There is regular bus service from Delhi and Chandigarh as well as ordinary, semi deluxe, deluxe and AC coaches for Shimla are available too. One can also cross over to Leh and Ladakh via Rohtang pass from here. WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Amar, Shimla Hotel Amber, Shimla Auckland Hotel, Shimla Hotel Holiday Home, Shimla GOVIND SAGAR SANCTUARY Location: Near Bilaspur Town, Bilaspur District Area: 100.34-sq-km.
Specialty: Singhara, Chilwa & Catla Best Season: July to September This sanctuary is located in district Bilaspur and Mandi, near the town Bilaspur. The area of this sanctuary is 10,034 hectares. This sanctuary came under notice on 5th December 1962, then refortified on 27th March 1974, and is controlled by the Bhakra Management Board. The fauna found in this sanctuary include Singhara, Chilwa, Catla, Jhalli, Mrigal, Grass crap, Misror crap, Topra, Silver Crap and Gid. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: Chandigarh and Bhuntar are the nearest airports, located at 135-km and 131-km from Bilaspur. Rail: The nearest broad gauge railway station is at Kiratpur Sahib and nearest narrow gauge railway station is at Shimla, which are connected by regular bus services. Road: Bilaspur is approachable by road from Shimla and Chandigarh. WHERE TO STAY: Chiterkoot Hotel, Ghaghas Joshi Lodge, Talai Quality Hotel, Bilaspur Neelam Hotel, Bilaspur Neemo P.O.H., Ghumarwin HPTDC's Hotel, Swarghat THE GREAT HIMALAYAN NATIONAL PARK Location: 60-km from Kullu Area: 620-sq-kms. Specialty: Tigers Best Time To Visit: October To March The largest protected area in Himachal Pradesh, the Park is carved out of the splendid mountain terrain of the Kullu district. Rich coniferous forests, alpine meadows carpeted with flowers, snow-capped peaks and glaciers provide a breathtaking panorama. The secluded Sainj and Tirthan valleys harbour a variety of animals common to this area - wild mountain goats like the bharal, goral and sorrow, the brown bear and predators such as the leopard, tigers and the rarely seen snow leopard. Varieties of colourful pheasants - monal, khalij cheer, tragopan and other Himalayan birds are part of its rich avian population. Trekking through the Park to Rakte SAR, the origin of the Sainj River, brings in the added pleasure of seeing wildlife in this spectacular natural environment. Visitors can contact Director, National Park at Shamshi or Range Officer wildlife at Sainj or Range Officer Wild Life at Sai Ropa, Banjar for assistance and guidance. The Forests Department provides camping equipment and guides for tourists. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The airport at Bhuntar is 10-km from Kullu, where taxis and buses are available. Rail: The closest narrow gauge railhead is at Joginder Nagar, 95-km from Kullu. Road: By road, the distance from Delhi via Mandi is 530-km and from Shimla this is 240km. From Delhi and Shimla, luxury buses ply to Kullu. There's a bus and taxi stand on the opposite side of maiden. The main bus stand is by river in the northern area of the town. WHERE TO STAY: Vimay & Sangam Guesthouses, Kullu Central Hotel, Kullu Alankar Guest House, Kullu Luxmi Guest House, Kullu KALATOP WILDLIFE SANCTUARY Location: Khajjiar, Chamba District
Specialty: Himalayan Ibex Best Season: April-June & October-November It's possible to trek 30-km from Dalhousie to Chamba along the eastbound road from Gandhi Chowk. A short but steep ascent leads to the Kalatope wildlife sanctuary, from which one can walk into a pleasant track. This sanctuary area with its well-laid out trekking jungle trails both at Kalatope and Khajjiar is a tourist paradise. Dense Deodar and Fir forests are places of solitude very close to Dalhousie town. The sanctuary is rewarding for the view but its Ibex, deer, bears and leopards rarely come out of their hiding. Visitors should look for pheasants and Serow in these forests but should be beware of Black bear, which can be encountered often in the area. REQUIREMENT: One has to take the permit to drive into the sanctuary from the Forester Department in Chamba. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The airport at Gaggal in Kangra is at a distance of 18-km. Rail: The closest railhead is at Pathankot, 120-km away. Road: Khajjiar is connected by road and is 26-km from Dalhousie and 24-km from Chamba. It is 520-km from Delhi. WHERE TO STAY: Sunil Lodge, Khajjiar HPTDC's Hotel Devdar, Khajjiar Ghar Resorts, Khajjiar KANAWAR SANCTUARY Location: Parbati Valley, Kullu District Specialty: Himalayan Thar Best Season: May-June This sanctuary is located in Parbati valley of Kullu district. Uphill walk along Garahan Nala from Kasol through dense majestic Deodar and Fir forests is enjoyable. This sanctuary has large population of Himalayan Thar in Himalayas and seeing this big goat on high mountain cliffs is dream fulfillment of any wildlife lover. TREKKING: Himalayan Trekking Expedition to Kahauli Pass, 3,750m. Via Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary. Base Camps for trekkers are available at Kasol, situated on the banks of Parbati River, 42-km away from Kullu. Best season is in between the months of May and June. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The airport at Bhuntar is 10-km from Kullu, where taxis and buses are available. Rail: The closest narrow gauge railhead is at Jogindernagar, 95 km from Kullu. Road: By road, the distance from Delhi via Mandi is 530 km and from Shimla this is 240km. From Delhi and Shimla, luxury buses ply to Kullu. There's a bus and taxi stand on the opposite side of maiden. The main bus stand is by river in the northern area of the town. WHERE TO STAY: There is a Rest House at Kasol. R.O. Wildlife, Kasol provides information and help to visitors. MANALI SANCTUARY Location: 2-km from Manali Town, District Kullu Area: 31.80-sq-km Specialty: musk deer & Snow Leopard Best Season: October-February This sanctuary is located in District Kullu's nearest town, Manali. The area of this sanctuary is 3,180 hectares. The sanctuary was notified on 26th February 1954, under the Punjab Birds and Wild Animals Protection Act, 1933.
It forms the catchments of Manalsu Khad. A bridle path from Manali log huts/ Dhungri temple passes through dense Deodar, Kail, Horse chestnut, Walnut and Maple forests. Alpine lush green pastures and glaciers beyond Galant thatch are a romantic attraction for the enthusiastic but enduring visitors. One may see Musk deer, Monal and Brown bear digging or ploughing the land and also pug marks with scent of Leopard or Snow leopard. Those who venture up to snows can see herds of Ibex in the glacier zone in summers. Other fauna in the sanctuary include Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Palm Civet, Barking Deer, Flying Fox, Goral, Indian Hare, Stripped Hyena, Leopard, Himalayan yellow throated Marten, Serow, Kashmir flying Squirrel and Himalayan Tahr. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The nearest airport to Manali is that of Bhuntar, which is 52kms from Manali. From Bhuntar one can take a taxi or a bus to Manali. Rail: The nearest railhead is that of Joginder Nagar and this narrow gauze railway station is 95-kms from Kullu. The scenic beauty of Kullu while going to Manali can best be enjoyed on a bus or a taxi. It is better to have taxi which one can stop and enjoy the nature. Road: The road to Manali passes through the picturesque valley of Kullu. The motorable roads to Manali connect the town with other major tourist places in Himachal as well as in the nearby states. At the Manali bus stand there are two booths, which do, computerized reservation for buses. The reservations can be made one month in advance. Both private and state government buses are in service. WHERE TO STAY: Night stay in tents at Lambadug or Gallant thatch is an unforgettable experience. There are dozens of places to stay in Manali, including Hotel Tourist, John Banon'n Guest house, Sunshine Guest House, Sunshine Guest House, Hotel Highlands, Pinewood Hotel, Hotel Chetna, Beas Hotel and Hotel Rohtang Manalsu. HPTDC runs several places and bookings can be made at the HTPDC Marketing Office on the Mall. NATURE PARK, KUFRI Location: Shimla District Specialty: Hangal & Monals Kufri is a well-known tourist resort near Shimla. A large number of tourists visiting Shimla also visit Kufri where a nature park has been established. In this park rare variety of Hangal, Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Brown Bear, rare species of Monal and other pheasants are kept in social groupings. NATURE PARK, MANALI Location: Kullu District Manali is another tourist spot where a large number of visitors come. To expose visitors to the nature and to create awareness and love for wild life it is planned to develop many other facilities at Manali. There is a wild life sanctuary about 2-km away from Manali town. The tourists will be encouraged to visit this area and see the magnificence of nature here. NATURE PARK, GOPALPUR Location: Kangra District Gopalpur is a village situated near Palampur on Palampur-Dharamsala upper road. Kangra valley in Himachal Pradesh is another area where visitors come regularly. In this nature park animals are kept in large enclosures and conservation messages are conveyed to the visitors through audio-visual aids. PIN VALLEY NATIONAL PARK Location: Pin Valley, Lahaul Spiti District Area: 9,675-sq-km. Specialty: Wooly Hare, Tibetan Gazelle & Snow Leopard
Best Season: April-June This Pin Valley national park is situated in Lahual Spiti district. In this park there is a variety of rare animals such as wooly hare, Tibetan gazelle and snow Leopard. The entire area is a cold desert. It was declared National Park on 9th January 1987 and occupies an area of 67,500 hectares. Animals that are found in this sanctuary include Red Indian Fox, Tibetan Gazelle, Wooley Hare, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Marmot, Himalayan Mouse-hare, Indian Hodgsoris Porcupine, Blue Sheep and Wolf. In this area visitors come across large herds of Ibex and Bharal. Snow leopards are also found in this park. REQUIREMENT: Only those who have tough leg muscles and strong lungs can visit this area. Visitors can contact Divisional Forest Officer Wildlife Division Saharan, Assistant Conservator of Forest Wildlife Kaza or Range Officer Wildlife Tabo for information about the park. The area is closed to foreign visitors. Indian visitors are also required to obtain a permit for entry from Deputy Commissioner Shimla or Sub Divisional Magistrate Rampur. HOW TO GET THERE: Road: Lahaul is connected with road from all parts of the country. Manali is the point where buses from various stations come. From here, one can take bus/taxi to any destination in Lahaul-Spiti, Pangi & Leh during the months between June to November depending upon opening and closing of Rohtang pass, the gateway to this valley. National highway 21 passes through this valley enroute to Leh. Other two directions are from Shimla via the Spiti Valley, along the road, which runs up to the Tibetan border through Kinnaur and from Zanskar and Ladakh over the Shingo-La and Baralacha-La passes. The Shingo-La gives access to Lahul from Zanskar while the Baralacha La is on the Leh-Manali road and provides access to Lahul from Ladakh. WHERE TO STAY: The town of Kaza is a maze of shops, hotels and houses. Some of the hotels in Kaza include Milarepa's Guest House, Hotel Sharma, Hotel City and Ladakhi Hotel. At Keylong a Tourist Bungalow is run by HTPDC, other hotels in Keylong are Geypa Hotel, Hotel Gang Steng and Hotel Snowland. PONG LAKE SANCTUARY Location: 65-km from Dharamsala, Kangra District Area: 9,675-sq-km. Specialty: Migratory Birds Best Season: October-February Pong Dam reservoir is 65-km from Panthankot and 115-km from Dharamsala on the Beas River. The Pong Dam Lake is significant for a wildlife sanctuary with wild life species like Nilgai, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Buar, Clawless Otter, and Leopard. The reservoir is developed on a large scale for promoting water sports for tourists. This lake sanctuary is a big attraction for migratory ducks from Siberian region during winter. One can see thousands of ducks in the swamp area between Shah Nahar barrage and Pong Dam and the surrounding shallow waters of the lake. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: Kangra airport is 7 km away and has got straight flights from Delhi Rail: Nearest broad-gauge railhead at Pathankot is 86 km away and one is situated at Mukarian is 30-km. Kangra Valley express is a narrow gauge train, starting from Pathankot and continues to Bajinath. Road: Kangra is well connected by road with Dharamsala, which is 18 km away. WHERE TO STAY: HPTDC's Hotel T-Bud, Kangra Bhagla Guest House, Kangra Hotel Sawhney, Kangra Ashoka Lodge, Kangra
Maurya Lodge, Kangra RENUKA SANCTUARY Location: Near Nahan, Sirmour District Specialty: Asiatic Lions Best Season: All round the year Renuka Lake and the temples attract a large number of people from hills and plains. Forests and the catchments of the lake add to its beauty and attraction. The Renuka Sanctuary also adds much to the ambience of the place. It is home to a large number of animals including Asiatic lions, spotted deer, lion tailed macaques, peacocks, nilgai or large Grey Indian antelope, barking deer and Himalayan black bears. Around the place flutter thousands of gorgeous butterflies. There's a small aviary here, which houses a variety of water birds, red jungle fowl, black pheasant and peacock. Adjoining the zoo is a big lion safari and the Department of Forest provides an armored van, which enters the large enclosures allowing a closer glimpse of at least two dozen well-bred lions. A tourist bungalow and cafeteria cater to visitors. HOW TO GET THERE: About every hour or so a bus from Nahan goes to Dadahu, from where you can walk for about 40 minutes to the lake. Some buses continue to the lake though. WHERE TO STAY: HPTDC's Hotel Renuka. SAMBALBARA SANCTUARY Location: Paonta Valley, Sirmour District Specialty: Goral, Sambhar, Chhital Best Season: October-February This sanctuary is located in Paonta Valley of Sirmour District. The area surrounding the sanctuary bears beautiful dense Sal forests with grassy glades. This is probably the most picturesque area of Shivaliks. There is a perennial stream in the area too. Goral, Sambhar and Chittal can be easily seen here. There are walking trails in the quiet adjoining forests. Winter is the best season to visit this sanctuary. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: Chandigarh is nearest airport, which is 87-km from Nahan. Rail: Ambala is the nearest Railhead 63-km from Nahan. Road: Nahan is well connected by road. Regular buses and taxis available from Ambala and Chandigarh. Regular bus services linking it to the other towns like Manali, Delhi and Haridwar are also available. WHERE TO STAY: Simbalbara Forest Rest House is connected by a fair weather road from Puruwala and provides a beautiful view of the valley. THE GREAT HIMALAYAN NATIONAL PARK Location: 60-km From Kullu, Himachal Pradesh Altitude: 1,300m To 6,100m Coverage Area: 765-sq-kms Nearby Attraction: Ropi Bhaba Sanctuary & Pin Valley National Park Characterized by dazzling high ridges, glaciers, deep gorges, alpine meadows and valleys with closed virgin forests, the Great Himalayan National Park with an latitudinal variation from 1,300m to 6,100m in Kullu district is one of the best destinations for Himalayan flora and fauna lovers. Supporting a diverse wildlife of over three hundred species of birds and over thirty species of mammals, the region was declared a national park in 1984.
Nearby Attractions: Spread over an area of 765-sq-km and contiguous with the Ropi Bhaba Sanctuary (269-sq-km) in the southeast and the Pin valley national park (675sq-km) in the east, this entire region is one of the largest areas of relatively undisturbed Western Himalayan Eco-systems. Enclosed on the northern, eastern and western boundaries by the Greater Himalayan range, the entrancing scenic beauty of the park is a compliment to its biological richness. A Breathtaking Panorama of Natural Wilderness The park comprises of the upper catchments areas of the Tirthan, Sainj, Parvati and the Jiwa Nalas, which flow from east to west and merge into the Beas. More than half the area is above 4,000m with most of the eastern part perennially under snow. Glacial advances have given the region its unique topography with a number of river terraces, hanging valleys, which have left extensive moraines. The Alpine Flora: One third of the park area is under forest, mainly along the Nalas and their tributaries. The forests vary from sub-tropical, too alpine, to dry alpine shrub types. Himalayan forests of 'Chir' Pines, Conifers, Oaks, Firs, Rhododendrons and Junipers can be encountered within the park. The presence of undisturbed Oak forests at low and middle altitudes is worth noticing here, for it is rare outside the park. Alpine meadows above 3,800m hold a high diversity of herbaceous species, many of which have medicinal and aromatic properties of great commercial value. Fauna: The excellent habitat shelters a large number of mammals and peasants. One of the few known viable populations of Western Tragopan, a highly endangered species of pheasants, lives in this protected environment. It is possibly the only place in the Himalayas where the 'Bharal' (blue sheep) occurs virtually side-by-side with the Himalayan 'Thar'. The largest population of the Himalayan Thar endemic to India is in this park. The endangered Musk Deer can also be found here. Herdsmen have also reported the elusive and highly endangered Snow Leopard. Avifauna: The Park is a delight for Himalayan Avifauna watchers with over three hundred species that can be sighted. Out of the seven pheasants found in the Western Himalayas, six of them, the western Tragopan, Monal, Cheer, Koklass, Kaliz and Himalayan Snowcock can be found in the park. It also has an unexplored treasure of butterflies and a variety of insects. There are even some places of religious importance in this region. The hot springs at Khirganga, the source of the Raktinala at Raktisar, the source of the Tirthan rivulet and Hanskund and the source of the Parvati River at Mantalai are among the sacred spots visited by pilgrims. Scenic spots at Sojah, Jalori pass and the Sareulsar Lake are of tourist interest. Beat Time to Visit: The best seasons for visiting the park are summer from April to June and autumn from September to November. The relatively high density of wildlife in the area assures the visitors of sighting the Monal, Western Tragopan, Musk Deer, Goral, Bharal, and the Himalayan Thar. The rainy season from July to August and the winter season from December to March are not advisable periods to visit the park, as excessive damage to the road network and other inconveniences to the visitor are unavoidable. September and October, when the weather is generally good, are the best months for seeing alpine flora and for observing the Bharal and the Musk Deer. Between Novembers to early March, when the higher reaches are under snow, the high altitude species descend towards the valleys for sustenance. Though difficult, wildlife observers could undertake field studies in these months. Decorated with stunning beauty and conserved with care, the Great Himalayan National Park is a virtual treasure for the researcher, the sensitive nature lover and the adventure seeker.
HOW TO GET THERE: Air: The airport at Bhuntar is 10-km from Kullu, where taxis and buses are available. Rail: The closest narrow gauge railhead is at Jogindernagar, 95-km from Kullu. Road: To get to the Great National Himalayan Park one has to take the eastern divergence at Aut on the Kullu-Manali highway. Aut is 45-km from Mandi and 30-km from Kullu. From Largi, which is 4-km from Aut, two routes, one along the Sainj Nala (motorable till Neuli, 26-km) and the other along Tirthan Nala (motorable unto Gushaini, 28-km) lead to the park. The rest of the park has to be covered on foot as no mule or horse transport is allowed. WHERE TO STAY: There are 14 inspection huts within the park, but prior permission is needed for occupying them. Transit accommodation is available at Aut, Larji, Banjar Sainj, Sai-Ropa and Bathad. Entrance: Entry to this protected region is by permits, which can be obtained, either from the Director's Headquarter at Shamshi or from the range officers stationed at Sairopa, Banjar and Sainj. The authorities provide guides and a token fee is charged as entry fee. The undulating terrain serves the purpose o vantage points for observing and photographing wildlife.
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