(Last Updated on : 09-04-2013)
Wild life sanctuaries are the major attractions for tourists and pilgrims visiting Uttaranchal. At present, the following sanctuaries are being maintained and are under development.
Name of Sanctuary Area in sq km
1. Askot Sanctuary (altitude: 1,650 meters)
2. Binsar Sanctuary (altitude: 2,310 meters)
3. Corbett National Park
(Country's first wildlife Park established in 1936, extends in an area of 1318.54 sq km comprising (Corbett: 520.82 sq km; Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary: 301.18 sq km and Reserve Forest: 496.54 sq km) lies in Pauri Garhwal and Nainital districts.)
4. Govind (Pashu Vihar) Wild Life Sanctuary (altitude: 1, 300m to 6,315m)
5. Kedarnath Sanctuary (Distt. Chamoli) (altitude: 967 sq km)
6. Nanda Devi National Park (Distt. Chamoli) (altitude: 2,400m to 6,817m)
7. Rajaji National Park
8. Valley of Flowers National Park
1. Askot Sanctuary
Askot sanctuary is situated at a distance of 54 km from Pithoragarh. Askot was the ancient kingdom of Katyur dynasty it also has a palace of the last Katyuri king. The name of Askot has been derived from the word Asi-kot, that is 80 forts. There are remains of the ancient forts all over the area. The area is rich for its sal, oak and pine forest and rich waterfalls. The important assets conserved here are 'Malika Arjun temple' and the 'Swami Narayan Ashram'. The Askot Sanctuary has charismatic hilly areas, and the houses surrounded by greenery, adds more amazement to its already splendid beauty. Askot is located in the lap of Kumaon Himalayas at a height of 1,650 metres, with the view of snow capped mountain peaks. The places of interest in the sanctuary are snow leopards, Himalayan black bears, musk deers, snow cocks, tahrs, bharals, monals, chirs, koklas, pheasants and chukors.
2. Binsar Sanctuary
Binsar was summer capital of the Chand kings. It is located at a distance of 31 km from Amoral. Binsar is famous for its outstanding Himalayan view, Birds and wild life. Binsar is one of the most attractive spots in the Kumaon Himalayas and a well-acclaimed hill resort with plenty of Wild Life. Binsar Hills is also known, as Handy Dear. It is heighted at 2,310 meters and offers an excellent view of Almora town, Kumaon hills and the greater Himalayas. The surroundings prosper in alpine flora, ferns, hanging moss and species of wild flowers. The chief attraction of Binsar is the splendid view of the Himalayas
-a 300 km stretch of famous peaks, which includes Kedarnath, Chaukhamba, Trisul, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot and Panchchuli. The forests of Himalayan oak and rhododendron are excellent for trekking and associating with nature.
3. Land of the Roar, Trumpet and Song
Jim Corbett Park is home to the thunderous tiger, trumpeting elephant and the twittering birds. The park has earned the name of "Land of Roar, Trumpet and Song". The Park is situated in the foothills of Uttaranchal gifting a sight of extraordinary beauty. It is the Patlidun, a broad flat valley, where the shining, rushing water of the river Ramganga wander through the hills andvalleys. Nature has spared no efforts against the green and coppery plants of the forest of Sal. The spread of the glowing red flowers and the glow of the Forest, the delicate hangings of ferns and creepers and the waving tiger grass produces an unforgettable scene of magnificence, while .the colourful birds, lost in otherworldly song, add to the charm of Jim Corbett Park. Although the Sal timber is droped and extracted in certain parts, the natural beauty of the area has remained undamaged. The Park is particularly attractive, when the flowering trees are in bloom.
The Rites of spring
On the occurrence of spring, the entire Jim Corbett Park transforms into a beautiful sight. The budding 'sheesham' leaves, the gorgeous burgundy flowers of semal, the violet blooms of kachnar, blend into a Kaleidoscope of colours. These colours are reflected in the sparkling waters of the Ramganga. While the countless varieties of exotic (alien) birds in their colourful spring feathers, add to the beauty by adding their charm and filling the air with musical song.
Fauna of the Park
In Jim Corbet Park wild elephants, leopards, hyenas, jackals and wild dogs are found. There are also some superb hog deer, barking deer, sambhar, chital and bears, both lazy and Himalayan. There is an occasional grief and some goral, mongooses, palm squirrel, flying squirrel, ratel, wild cat, antelopes, deer, wild boar, otter and porcupine. There are eight watchtowers in the park and to view the wonders from November to June elephants are available in Dhikala and Bijrani.
The Glories of the Ramganga
The Ramganha Comes from the high mountains, it's sparkling, rushing waters emerges through the hills below Sankar and enters the glories of the park. On each side of the
river is nature-given scenery, magnificent and erotic. The clear water of the river is not snow fed, nor affected by the melting of snows, so big fishes can be seen in the pools. The river passes through the heart of the park and emerges into the plains at Kalagarh. Popular with anglers (a fisherman who uses a hook and line), it is stocked with the mighty Masher, Indian Trout and Goonch. The rapids make the ladle, spinner and plugs invaluable, but the big monasters in the pools can be lured by live bait. Fishermen use the synthetic fiber line of at least 15-20 pound strength, with a reel capable of holding at least 200 metres of line. The Mahseer is a good fighter, and the first rush is a tremendous damage on the line for at least the first 50 metres. A fishing permit is necessary. The shallows and backwaters are full of small fish.
4. Govind Wild Life Sanctuary
Govind Wild Life Sanctuary was established in 1955, and is situated in an isolated and complex area of Uttarkashi district. One has to trek from Chakras by the upper Shimla road. Part of the sanctuary is above the snow line, and includes mountains like Swarg Rohini, Black Peak and Banderpoonch. Apart from the Sactuary, the place is a popular tourist destination, mainly because of the beauty of its snow-clad peaks and glaciers.
It attracts many trekkers and is famous for its fertile green beauty. The wide variety of animal species that lives here includes Himalayan black bears, tahr, serow, monal, snow leopard, brown bears, tragapan, chir, bharal, musk deer, koklas, kaleej pheasants and chukor. The best season to visit this sanctuary is from May to October.
5. Kedarnath Sanctuary
stablished in the year 1972 Kedarnath Sanctuary lies broadly at 967 sq km in the land of gods Garhwal. In the wasteland of this sanctuary, animals like snow leopard, snow cock, tahr, musk deer, leopard and serow can be seen along with many species of birds. To Study the details of the musk deer a project funded by WWF was undertaken between 1978 -1980. The best season to visit this Sanctuary is from April to June and again from September to November.
6. Nanda Devi Sanctuary
Nanda Devi Sanctuary is situated in Chamoli district. It lies just next to the Nanda Devi peak. It was established in 1980. The first men to have reached this Sanctuary, while yet in its perfect form, were the British mountaineers Eric Ship ton and Bill Tillman. The area had largely remained peaceful until then, except for Tillman's successful attempt on Nanda Devi in 1936. The present sanctuary came into existence in 1939. There are no roads available and the area is unreachable. Te only way to reach this sanctuary is to drive from Joshimath 25 km by road upto Lata and then 51 km trekking up to the sanctuary. Fauna includes Snow leopard, Himalayan Bear, Musk deer and Pheasant. The best season to visit is from April to May. Nanda Devi Sanctuary covers an area of 630 sq km.
The spectacular sights of peaks surrounding the National Park are Trishul, Dunagiri, Nanda Devi, Nanda Devi East, and Bethartoli etc. The beautiful surroundings with lavish flora and fauna like Brahma-Kamal and Bharal make this a Sanctuary of Nature. In 1982, entry to trekkers into the Nanda Devi National Park was banned to protect its biodiversity. The Nanda Devi National Park, which has been declared a "world heritage site", has been opened recently for restricted number of tourists. Thus, this area has attracted many well-known International mountaineers. Sir Edmund Hillary in his autobiography has mentioned the soberness of this sanctuary.