WILD HIMACHAL PRADESH
Wide altitudinal ranges and varied topography of Himachal Pradesh has resulted in making the state a very rich repository of wild fauna and flora. The rugged terrain and clearly distinct agro-climatic / physio-graphic zones in the State harbor area specific animals and plants.
Whereas, Snow Leopard, Ibex and Snow Cock have made cold deserts their home, the cold temperate regions of the state form natural habitat of Musk Deer, Himalayan Tahr, Brown Bear, Monal and Western Tragopan. The lower reaches of the state abound with Sambhar Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Ghoral and Leopard amongst mammals and pheasants including Cheer and White Crested Kaleej. The state has an inventory of more than 3,500 higher plants, many of which are endemic to the region and many form the basis oflocal health traditions.
To conserve the entire range of biodiversity in situ, the state has established a network of protected areas, comprising 2 National Parks and 32 Wildlife Sanctuaries. Appropriate legislation related to wildlife conservation has also been put in place.
Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary
Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary is a small sanctuary in the Himachal Pradesh connected by motorable road. The major attraction of this area is the Renuka Lake, the forests and the temples which attract a large number of people from hills and plains. The major attraction of this sanctuary is the Safari and open Nature Parks. Forests and the catchments of the lake add to its beauty and attraction. Cheetal, Sambhar, Kakkar and various other animals freely move in this sanctuary and thus can be seen very easily. The tourists can visit this sanctuary throughout the year.
Simbalbara Wildlife Sanctuary
Simbalbara sanctuary is located in the Paonta valley of Sirmour district in the Himachal Pradesh. The Paonta valley is the most picturesque and beautiful area in the Shiwalik hills and has beautiful dense Sal forests with grassy glades. A perennial stream also runs in the area. There is a forest rest house in this sanctuary which is connected by a fair weather road from Puruwala and provides a beautiful view of the valley. Goral, Sambhar and Cheetal are the various animals which can be easily seen in this sanctuary. Winter is the best season to visit this sanctuary. There are walking trails in the quiet adjoining forests.
Churdahar Wildlife Sanctuary
Churdhar Wildlife Sanctuary is the highest peak in the outer Himalayas. Churdhar peak is like a oasis of Alpine area in a ocean of temperate forests. This is an excellent area for trekking during summers and early winters. The view from Churdhar peak is so beautiful which can't be expressed in words. On the way to Churdahr you will come across a large number of multicolored and agile Monals in the adjoining forests. Trekking from Nohra, Sarain and Pulbahal is tough but enjoyable. There are small rest houses at Nohra, Choras and Sarain. There is also a sarai and a Shiv Temple at Churdhar.
Chail Wildlife Sanctuary
Chail Sanctuary is located in the Chail region of the Himachal Pradesh. The Deodar and Oak forests and the grasslands are mainly found in this region which provides a home to the wildlife animals. Sambar, Goral, Cheer Pheasants, Barking Deer and Kalijin are the various wildlife animals and birds which are found at Blossom and Jhaja in Chail. There is also a Cheer pheasant breeding centre at both these places. The Range Officer of Wildlife and his staff assist the wildlife lovers and tourists to view the wildlife in the sanctuary area. Trekking from Chail to Gaur and Chail to Jhaja is common and rewarding as one is sure to see wildlife and beautiful snowy peaks.
Majathal Wildlife Sanctuary
The Majathal sanctuary is located about 10 km. from Kararaghat (Shimla - Bilaspur Highway) to Kashlog. From Kashlog one has to walk on foot. The Majathal sanctuary has a very steep and rugged terrain away from habitation. This sanctuary has the highest population of Goral and endangered Cheer pheasant which can be seen in their natural habitat. There are no hotels near this sanctuary and so one has to stay in tents in the forest. Winters are the best season to visit this sanctuary.
Maharana Pratap Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Maharana Pratap Sagar sanctuary is a famous lake sanctuary. The major attraction of this sanctuary are the ducks which migrate from Siberia during winter. Here one can visit thousands of ducks in the swamp area between Shahnahar barrage and Pong dam and the surrounding shallow waters of the lake. Clean blue water all around with the panoramic view of Dhauladhar Ranges and Kangra Valley make the visit to Ransar Island an unforgettable experience. Black buck, Cheetal, Surkhab, Cranes, Pintails and variety of water birds can also see on this island.
Manali Wildlife Sanctuary
The Manali Sanctuary starts about 2 km from Manali town. It forms the catchment of Manalsu khad. A bridle path from Manali log huts and Dhoongri 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 great attraction for the enthusiastic but enduring visitors. Musk deer, Monal, Brown Bear, Leopard, Snow leopard can be seen here. Those who venture up to snows can see herds of Ibex in the glacier zone in summers.
Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Kanawar sanctuary is located in Parbati valley of Kullu district. 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. There is a Rest House at Kasol. Uphill walk along Garahan Nala from Kasol through dense majestic Deodar and Fir forests is enjoyable.
Daranghati Wildlife Sanctuary
Daranghati Sanctuary is located in the upper area of Shimla District. This 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. The area is ideal for those who love to trek along mountain heights.
Kalatop Khajjiar Wildlife Sanctuary
Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary 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 bear which can be encountered often in the area.
Great Himalayan National Park
The Great Himalayan National Park with an area of 620 square km. is located in Kullu District and has the representative area of temperate and alpine forests of Himachal. It has some the virgin coniferous forests of the State. 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 Tirath, the origin of Tirthan River and camping in alpine partures is unforgettable. Camping equipment and guides are provided by the Forests Department.
Pin Valley National Park
The 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. This area can be visited only by those who have tough leg muscles and strong lungs. 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.