Travel to Himachal Pradesh, the northern Indian
state in the enchanting part of the Himalayas, offers a
magical showcase of nature's splendors to tourists. Nature is
at her exuberant best in this land of innocent wilderness,
landscapes, beautiful forests and wildlife. In Himachal
Pradesh, out of the total geographical area of 55,670 sqkm,
the forest area as per legal classification is 37,691 sqkm. At
present there are 32 Sanctuaries, 2 National Parks and 3 Games
Reserves in Himachal.
Great Himalayan National
Located in Kullu district of Himachal, the Great
Himalayan National Park covers an area of 620 sq. km. of
alpine and virgin coniferous forests. Vast areas of alpine
pastures and glaciers cap this park. This area has many
important wildlife species of western Himalayas, like Musk
deer, Brown bear, Goral, Thar, Leopard, Snow leopard, Bharal,
Serow, Monal, Kalij, Koklas, Cheer, Tragopan, Snow cock etc.
Trekking of Rakti-Sar, origin of Sainj River and camping in
alpine pastures is unforgettable. Similar is the trekking
route to Tirath the origin of Tirthan River.
Pin Valley National Park is situated
in the cold desert of Spiti Valley. In this area visitors come
across large herds of Ibex and Bharal. Snow leopard is found
in this park. Only those who have tough leg muscles and strong
lungs can visit this area.
This sanctuary is located in Paonta Valley of
Sirmour District. This area 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.
Simbalbara Forest Rest House is connected by a fair weather
road from Puruwala and provides a beautiful view of the
valley. Goral, Sambhar and Chittal can be easily seen here.
There are walking trails in the quiet adjoining forests.
Winter is the best season to travel to Simbalbara.
This is a small
sanctuary connected by motorable road in Sirmour district of
Himachal. Renuka Lake and the temples located in the sanctuary
attract a large number of tourists for sightseeing and
wildlife vacations. The rich flora, the catchment of the lake
and freely moving animals like Chittal, Sambhar, Kakkar, etc.
add to the beauty and attraction of Renuka Sanctuary. Tourist
Bunglow and Cafeteria provide the comforts needed in a calm
and quite place. Travellers are welcome here 365 days a year.
Churdhar peak, with height
of 3647 metres is the highest peak in outer Himalayas. It is
like an oasis of alpine area in an ocean of temperate forests.
This is an excellent area for trekking during summer and early
winters. The view from Churdhar peak is unparallel. One is
sure to come across a large number of multi-coloured and agile
Monals in the adjoining forests. Trekking from Nohra, Sarain
and Pulbahal is tough but enjoyable. There are Rest Houses at
Nohra, Choras and Sarain. There is also a Sarai and a Shiv
Temple at Churdhar.
Chail is a
hill station visited by many tourists during their travel to
Himachal Pradesh. The Deodar and Oak forests with grasslands
around the township are the abode of wildlife. One can see
Sambar, Goral and Cheer Pheasants at Blossom and Jhaja.
Visitors are welcome to the Cheer Pheasant Breeding Centre at
both these places. Barking deer and Kalijin in the forests are
sure to meet and greet the visitors at dusk and dawn. Trekking
from Chail to Gaura and Chail to Jhaja is common and rewarding
as one is sure to see wildlife and beautiful snowy peaks.
This sanctuary has a very
steep and rugged terrain away from habitation. This can be
visited by travelling about 10 kms from Kararaghat
(Shimla-Bilaspur Highway) to Kashlog and then walking on foot
from Kashlog. This sanctuary has the highest concentration of
Goral which can be seen in its natural habitat. This sanctuary
is reported to have the maximum population of endangered Cheer
pheasant. One has to stay in tents in the forest, Best season
to visit is the winters.
Maharana Pratap Sagar:
The Maharana Pratap Sagar 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 Shahnahar
barrage and Pongdam and the surrounding shallow waters of the
lake. Clean blue water all around with the panoramic view of
Dhauladhar Ranges and Kangra Valley makes travel to Ransar
Island an unforgettable experience. Black buck and Cheetal on
the island along with Surkhab, Cranes, Pintails and variety of
water birds welcome the visitors on the island.
Manali Sanctuary is
located about 2 km from Manali town. It forms the catchment of
Manalsu Khad. A bridle path from Manali log huts and the
Dhungri Temple passes through dense deodar, kail, horse
chestnut, walnut and maple forests. Night stay in tents at
Lambadug or Gallant thatch is an unforgettable experience.
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.
Kanawar Sanctuary is located in Parbati valley
of Kullu district. The uphill walk along Garahan Nala from
Kasol through dense majestic deodar and fir forests is
enjoyable experience to savour. This sanctuary has large
population of Himalayan Thar and seeing this big goat on high
mountain cliffs is dream fulfillment of any wildlife lover.
Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary:
This sanctuary area
with its well laid out trekking jungle trails both at Kalatop
and Khajjiar is a tourist paradise. Dense deodar and fir
forests are places of solitude very close to Dalhousie town.
Visitors should look for pheasants and Serow in these forests
but should be beware of black bears, which are usually
encountered in the area.
Located in the upper area of Shimla district, Daranghati
Sanctuary has undisturbed forest area with plenty of wildlife.
Monal, Tragopan, Koklas and Kalij are the pheasants found
here. The area also has Musk deer, Goral and Thar. 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 Dofda and Sarahan. The area is ideal for those who
love to trek along mountain heights.