Friday, May 2, 2008

Wildlife in Himachal Pradesh

Soothing mountain air, clean musical streams, the invigorating fragrance of the pine forests, clear blue skiers and snow-covered lofty peaks, the feeling of exuberance and wonder evoked by such amazing landscape can last for longtime. However, such natural wonders at one place can only be found at a God gifted place. Himachal Pradesh, the land of eternal snows, encompasses all these, in fact, much more than these. Among the various specialties of Himachal Pradesh, wildlife is a major highlight.

Himachal Pradesh is home to 32 wildlife sanctuaries and 2 national parks, providing shelter to a wide range of wildlife. One can spot 64 species of mammals, 463 avian species, 43 reptiles, 515 aquatic fauna and 3240 plant species in various wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of Himachal Pradesh. Due to its diversity and a range of habitats, Wildlife of Himachal draw wildlife enthusiast, trekkers as well as common travellers round the year. For those who are looking for wildlife tour to Himachal, I am providing brief overview of important wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.

Great Himalayan National Park – Kullu : Situated in Kullu valley, Great Himalayan National Park is simply an investment in the physical, mental and spiritual well being of Indians and Himchlis in particular. Flanked on its three sides by the white snow of the Himalayas, the park has its only entrance through the Tirthan Valley. Highlight of the Great Himalayan National Park is that preserve the enormous bio-diversity of the Western Himalaya. From the endangered Western Tragopan to the rare serow and the most beautiful of the cats, the snow leopard, you can spot a variety of wild animals here.

Pin Valley National Park – Spiti : Pin Valley National Park represents the bio-geography of the Trans Himalayam cold desert with its rich and varied flora and fauna. Here one can spot the endangered species such as the snow leopard, the endemic Himalayan Ibex, the mighty Bharal or Blue Sheep and the Lunx. Besides, the cold and rugged lands of the Pin Valley National Park is home to a number of other wildanimal. The huge variety of indigenous, medicinal herbs that help sustain the ancient Amchi (Tibetan) system of medicine add much the cultural and floristic importance of this national park.

Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary – Sirmour : Sprawling over an area of 400 acres, the wildlife sanctuary surrounds the sacred and picturesque Renuka lake. Despite its small size, Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary provides natural habitat to several species of deer like Barking Deer, Chital and Sambhar. You can also spot the endangered Kaleej pheasant and the common Red jungle fowl here. The Renuka Lake, the temple and lion safari are added attraction to the park.

Kalatop-Khajjiar Sanctuary – Chamba : An hour driver from Dalhousie takes you to Kalatop – Khajjiar Sanctuary. The wildlife sanctuary is home to the Serow and the common Black Beer. Well laid out trekking paths are another attraction for the wildlife forest.

Chail Sanctuary – Solan : Only a couple of hors drive from Kalka takes you to Chail, the summer retreat of the erstwhile Patiala state. The sanctuary is encircled by thick deodar, blue pine and oak forests. Extensive grasslands in Chail Sanctuary provides ideal habitat for Ghoral and the rare Cheer pheasant. You can see European Red Deer, Barking Deer or the Kaleej pheasant at dawn of dusk here. Adventure seekers can go for trekking here, which is rewarding experience. Chail boasts of world’s highest cricket ground.

Churdhar Sanctuary – Sirmour : Set at altitude of 3,647 in the outer Himalayas, Churdhar Sanctuary is a trekker’s paradise. You can easily spot the spectacular Monal, the state’s bird in the forested slopes of Churdhar along the Koklass and the Kaleej pheasants. The threatened Himalayan Black Beer and the canine toothed Musk deer found on the higher reaches of the sanctuary. Other attractions in and around include a Shiva temple, a sarai at Churdhar and Forest Rest Houses at Nehra, Choras and Sarai.

More information can be get about the wild life in India in

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