Wildlife in Himachal Pradesh enchants you into a glorious holiday tour with promises of enigmatic jungle secrets and Himalayan glory.
Wildlife like Brown Bears, Gorals, Snow Leopards, Serows, Ibex and Bharals greet you on tours to Himachal wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Himachal Pradesh has some of the well-known wildlife sanctuaries that give you an opportunity to spot tigers or leopards watch different species of birds or even do hunting in some areas. For the purpose of hunting, tourists are required to take prior permission from the forest department and concerned state government. It would be an altogether different experience while looking out for your favorite animal in the lap of lush green valleys.
Some of the important wildlife national parks in Himachal Pradesh that feature in the tourism 'must visit' list are:
THE GREAT HIMALAYAN NATIONAL PARK
The Great Himalayan National Park consists of the upper catchment areas of the Tirthan, Sainj and Jiwa rivers, which flow westwards and feed the Beas River. Though large scale felling in easily accessible areas were carried out during the second World War, the area is one of the least disturbed in the state. It therefore consists of relatively good forests and meadows, which support an extremely diverse wild life population. This includes the largest remaining population of Himalayan Tahr in Himachal Pradesh. The park is also one of the only two places of India, where anything more than a remnant population of Western Tragopan is known to survive. Total area occupied by the The Great Himalayan National Park is 62,000 hectares. Part of the present area ( 8,396 hectares ) was declared sanctuary ( Tirthan ) on 17th June 1976. On 1st March 1984, it was declared a national park. Besides the Tirthan sanctuary which is the part of Nationa Park, it is also boarded by Pin Valley National Park on the North-East, Kanawar sanctuary on the North-West and Rupi Bhaba sanctuary to the east. all these together constitute Himachal Pradesh's largest protected wild life region.
Simbalbara 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 Shiwaliks. 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 visit this sanctuary.
Chail Sanctuary is situated in one of the districts of Shimla, the Chail Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh is the best retreat for the wildlife buffs and nature lovers. Declared as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1976, Chail Sanctuary shrouded in Deodar and Oak Forests is the store house of a rich variety of flora and fauna.Explore the sprawling acres of greenery and dense woodlands of Chail Sanctuary still unspoilt by the crowds and pollution. Nestled amidst the green valleys with the snow clad peaks in the background, Chail Sanctuary remains the ideal destination for the wildlife lovers.The Chail Sanctuary has a rich variety of flora and fauna. From the rare orchids to the endangered species you can find them here.
One can see the glimpse of animals and birds like Sambar, Goral, Common Langur, Leopard, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Deer, Silver-White Oak, Barking Deer, Indian Hare, Yellow Throated Marten, Indian Porcupine, Common Giant and Kashmiri Flying Squirrel and Pheasants. The Chir Pheasants breeding and rehabilitation Programme was introduced here.The major tourist attractions of the Chail Sanctuary are the barking deers and Kalijin. Explore the beautiful forests and for the adventure freaks the trekking options are also available in this wildlife sanctuary of Himachal Pradesh. Trekking from Chail to Gaura and Chail to Jhajja is quite common amongst the trekkers.
It was first notified as a sanctuary on 26th February 1954. This small heavily disturbed sanctuary reportedly harbours population of the endangered Musk Deer, as well as of several species of pheasants. It includes part of the catchment of the Kais Nala, an important tributary of the Beas River.
Churdhar Sanctuary or Churdhar peak, with an elevation of 3647 metres above sea level is located in Sirmour and Shimla District (Temple of Shrigul Devta in Chaupal(Shimla) and top in Sirmour) of Himachal Pradesh and is the highest peak in outer Himalayas. It is like a oasis of Alpine area of temperate forests. Best time to visit is during summers and early winters. The view from Churdhar peak is un-paralled. Monals are common in the forest areas. Trekking can be done from Nohra, Sarain and Pulbahal.
In Churdhar Sanctuary you can get a glimpse of the colorful Monals, Barking Deer, Himalayan Black Bear, Musk Deer, Leopards, Common Langur and Leopards. For all you adventure freaks out there, Churdhar Sanctuary offers you trekking options even. So take a tour amidst the forests of Churdhar Sanctuary as you explore the Himalayan Wildlife. One of the newest sanctuaries, Churdhar Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh is still an unexplored and a lesser known destination. So if you are planning a vacation to a unique destination nestled amidst the hills then this is the perfect place.
The Renuka Sanctuary named after the town of Manali, is a major tourist junction for nature lovers. The Renuka sanctuary is located in Sirmour district in Himachal Pradesh. The total area of the sanctuary is about 402.80 hectares and is comprised of the Renuka Reserve Forest and has been declared as Abhayaranya. Also, an area of roughly about 300 hectare outside the sanctuary has been declared as a buffer belt. The vegetation inside the sanctuary comprises mainlyof Anogeissus, Lucinea, Terminalia, Khair, Shisham, Carrie, Cordia and a number of climbers in moist depressions.
The fauna includes Leopard, Samber, Spotted Deer, Barking deer, Jackal, Hare, Jungle cat, Plam Civet, Porcupine, Blue jay, Black Partridge, Drongos, Hill Crow, Scarlet Minivet, Bulbul, Common Coots, Greenm Pigeons. The Renukaji Zoo is the oldest zoo in Himachal Pradesh, and was initially started during 1957 with rescued, stray and deserted wild animals from the forests. The first animal brought here was a male spotted deer named Moti. To accommodate the increasing number of animals, the concept of an open park was conceived and the park was established in 1983. At present the Lion Safari, zoo, Aviary and Sanctuary is under control of the administrative control of Shimla Wildlife Division.
The Daranghati Sanctuary is the home to a number of species like Himalayan Black Bear, Brown Bear, Himalayan Serow, Palm Civet, Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Flying Fox, Goral, Himalayan yellow throated Marten, Indian Hare, Stripped Hyena, Himalayan Ibex, Leopard, Blue Sheep, Common giant flying Squirrel and Himalayan Weasel. For all you adventure freaks and wildlife buffs, explore the unspoilt greenery of Daranghati Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh amidst the snow clad peaks and Alpine Forests. There are a number of bridle paths and intersected roadways in the forest and you can get the help of forest officials for a smooth journey amidst the dense woodlands.
Tirthan, the high altitude sanctuary is quite rich in floral and faunal species. The northern part of the sanctuary now has been included in the Great Himalayan National Park.
Majathal Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh is one of the most ideal destinations for the wildlife buffs. From trekkers to leisure tourists Majathal Sanctuary allures tourists from all over. Located atop the rugged Himalayan terrains in Himachal Pradesh, this is the home of the rare species like Goral and Cheer Pheasants. One can get a glimpse of the Goral and Cheer Pheasants in their natural habitat. Far away in the rugged Himalayas, this sanctuary provides the wildlife lovers with a serene retreat. There are arrangements for tent accommodation for the tourists.
The Majathal Sanctuary has the highest concentration of Gorals and you can see them in their natural habitat. A kind of mountain goat, the Gorals have curved horns. They are only seen in hilly areas and Majathal Sanctuary is where you can get to see Gorals in their natural habitat. There is also an abundance of Cheer Pheasants in Majathal Wildlife Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh. They are considered to be one of the endangered species.
Kanawar sanctuary is located in Parbati valley of Kullu district. There is a Rest House at Kasol. R.O. wildlife Kasol provides information and help to visitors. 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.
Manali Sanctuary is located at a distance of about 2 km from Manali main town. It is the catchment area of the Manalsu khad. A path from Manali log huts and Dhungri temple passes through dense Deodar, Kail, Horse chestnut, Walnut and Maple forests to the sanctuary. Musk deer, Monal and Brown bear, Leopard and Snow leopard are some of the sport seen here. Herds of Ibex are also seen roaming in the glacier zone in summers. The sanctuary spreads over about 3,180 hectares. The following area was declared a sanctuary on 26th February 1954, under the Punjab Birds and Wild Animals Protection Act, 1933.
MAHARANA PRATAP SAGAR SANCTUARY
Maharana Pratap Sagar Sanctuary, located in the beautiful Himalayas is one of the lake sanctuaries of Himachal Pradesh. Every year, thousands of avian species from far off Siberia and other countries make the Maharana Pratap Sagar Sanctuary their nesting grounds.Nestled amidst the dense Alpine Forests with snow clad peaks on the backdrop. Explore the sprawling actress of greenery and also get a glimpse of the migratory ducks from Siberian region. Especially in the swamp area between Shahnahar Barrage and Pongdam the birds flock from all over. The sanctuary is fascinating as it is set amidst green valleys and the snowy Dhauladhar Range of the Himalayas in the background.
The rich variety of Himalayan flora and fauna will attract you to the Ransar Island amidst the Lake in Maharana Pratap Sagar Sanctuary. This island is the home of the Black Buck and Cheetals and you can also get to see Surkhab, Cranes, Pintails and other variety of water birds in this area.Maharana Pratap Sagar Sanctuary which grew around a lake is a reservoir. During 1983 this was declared a wildlife sanctuary. There is a rich variety of avian species in this park which amounts to 220 species in total.However it is also the home of barking deers, wild boars and leopards.
PIN VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Pin Valley National Park is a national park located in Spiti region of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The park is located in the cold desert area of the Spiti valley, in the Lahul and Spiti district within the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It was declared a park in 1987.
Declared a National Park in 1987, Pin Valley is located in the cold desert region of the Spiti valley. With its snow laden unexplored higher reaches and slopes, the Park forms a natural habitat for a number of endangered animals including the Snow Leopard and Siberian Ibex. Spreading south of Dhankar Gompa near the Tibetan border, the park marks the border between the formerly separate districts of Lahaul and Spiti. The elevation of the park ranges from about 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) near Ka Dogri to more than 6,000 metres (20,000 ft) at its highest point.