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WILD UTTARAKHAND

JIM CORBETT NATIONAL PARK

The first wildlife reserve of India, Corbett National Park was established in 1936, as the Hailey National Park. Later it changed to Ramganga and finally Corbett National Park in the honor of legendary hunter-turned- conservationist, best known for hunting man-eating tigers and leopards in the Kumaon and lower Garhwal.

Corbett National Park is known for its varied wildlife, and as the site for the launching of Project Tiger. Corbett National Park was one of the nine tiger reserves created at the launch of the Project Tiger in 1973. The area of the Corbett National Park is 520.84 sq. km. In 1991, an area of 797.72 sq km was added as buffer area of the Corbett Tiger Reserve. Wildlife found in the Corbett National Park include the Tiger, Elephant, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Gharial, King Cobra, Wild Boar, Hedgehog, Common Musk Shrew, Flying Fox, Indian Pangolin, and nearly 600 species of Birds. A variety of facilities are available to house tourists within and outside the park.

How to Reach
• By Air: Pantnagar at a distance of 50 km is the nearest airport. Delhi at a distance of 300 km is the nearest international airport.
• By Rail:Ramnagar is on the broad gauge track from where the road transport options have to be availed to reach the Park. The main reception centre is located in Ramnagar where where permits are issued for the three tourism zone of the National Park.
• By Road:Dhikala is 300 km from Delhi, 403 km from Lucknow and 51 km from Ramnagar. The route from Delhi spans Hapur – Moradabad - Ramnagar. The turn off is some 7 km beyond Moradabad to the left, marked by a small board. The route from Lucknow spans Bareilly, Kichha, Rudrapur, Doraha, Kashipur.

RAJAJI NATIONAL PARK

Rajaji National Park is situated along the hills and foothills of Shivalik ranges in the Himalayan foothills and represents the Shivalik eco-system. Spread over an area of 820.42 sq km, Rajaji is a magnificent ecosystem nestled in the Shivalik ranges and the beginning of the vast Indo–Gangetic plains, thus representing vegetation of several distinct zones and forest types like sal forests, riverine forests, board–leaved mixed forests, scrubland and grassy.

On the map it is located between Haridwar and Dehradun and Chillawali. Three sanctuaries in the Uttarakhand Shivalik - Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla were amalgamated into a large protected area and named Rajaji National Park in the year 1983 after the famous freedom fighter Late Sri C. Rajgopalachari; popularly known as "Rajaji".
It possesses as many as 23 species of mammals and 315 bird species. The abundance of nature’s bounties heaped in and around this park, attracts a large number of wildlife conversationalists, nature lovers to visit this most breathtaking wilderness area. The uniqueness of the Parks stands in that it is the northern most limits of the Tiger, Asian elephants, King Cobra and certain bird species.

How to Reach
• Rail & Road:The Park is easily accessible from Haridwar, Dehradun, and Rishikesh. Dehradun (where the headquarters of the Park is located) can be reached from most of the important places in India by rail or road.
• By Air:The city is also on the air network and connected to Delhi. The Park has seven entry points accessible from all of the four cities mentioned above by road.

NANDA DEVI NATIONAL PARK

Nanda Devi National Park offers an unparallel experience. The Nanda Devi National Park (NDNP) is one of the very few wilderness areas in India that has remained naturally protected. The Nanda Devi basin was declared as Nanda Devi Sanctuary in 1939. An area of 630 sq. Km. was added as Nanda Devi National Park in the year 1982 which is now a part and core zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. The Park became a World Heritage Site in the year 1988. Some of the important peaks encircling the National Park are Dunagiri (7066 Mt), Changband (6864 M), Kalnka (6931 M) Rishi Pahar (6992 M) Mangraon (6765 M), Nanda Khat (6631 M), Maiktoli (6803 M), Mrigthuni (6655 M), Trishul-1 (7120 M), Trishul-II (6319 M), Bethartoli Himal (6352 M) and Nandadevi East (7434 M).

Nanda Devi National Park is an outstanding mountain wilderness with few if any parallels elsewhere in the Himalayas on account of its concentration of high peaks and glaciers lying within a range of near – pristine habitats. It lies within a bio geographical transition zone between the Western and Eastern Himalayas and supports a variety of threatened and uncommon species of large mammals. The Nanda Devi National Park the world heritage site has unique topography, climate, and soil and it supports diverse habitat, species, communities and ecosystems. The area is reputed as one of the most spectacular wilderness in the Himalaya and is dominated by “Nanda Devi Peak” which is a natural monument and India’s second highest peak.

How to Reach
Trek for the park negotiates a steep assent at high altitude zones within 13 km route from 2000 M at village Lata to 4250 M to Dharasi – the topmost point. Get a thorough medical checkup done before taking this arduous trek.
THE VALLEY OF FLOWERS NATIONAL PARK

The Valley of Flowers National Park is the second core zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. The credit for the discovery of the Valley of Flowers goes to the British mountaineers Franks S. Smythe and R.L. Holdsworth who incidentally reached this valley after a successful expedition of Mount Kamet in 1931. Fascinated by its beauty and grandeur Frank S. Smythe revisited this area in 1937 and published a book named “Valley of Flowers” (1938). However, there is no doubt that Frank s. Smythe’s writing made this valley world famous. The valley of flowers lies in the main valley of Alaknanda and Laxman Ganga in the Garhwal Himalayas in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Pushpawati River flows through this valley which has its source in the Tipra Glacier which extends upto Ghori Parbat Peak. It is a flat valley 5 km. long and 2 km. wide. Its altitudinal range varies from 3200 M to 6675 M.
The Park is surrounded by Gauri Parbat (6590 M) and Rataban (6126 M) in the east, Kunthal (4430 M) in the west, in the west, Saptsring (5030 M) in the south and Nilgiri Parvat (6479 M) in the north.
Valley of flowers is a trek of about 16 km from Govindghat which is 25 km from Joshimath. From Govindghat one has to trek of 13km to reach Ghangaria. After crossing the Alaknanda River at Govindghat, an ascending bridle path along Bhyundar Ganga leads to Ghangharia. From here the valley is situated at a distance of 3km. Almost 300 species of wild flowers bloom here in natural way. Wherein some of the species are Anemone, Geranium, March marigold. Primula, Potentilla, Geum. Asters Lilium, Himalayam Blue poppy, Aconitum, Delphinium, Ranunculus, Rhododendrons and numerous others. Most of the flowers have medicinal values too. The abundance of Asmanda fern in this valley is a rare sight than in other Himalayan valleys.
Apart from the flowers some species of Butterfly, Musk deer. Blue sheep (Bharal), Himalayan birds & Snow leopard are also found in the park. One fully equipped interpretation centre at Ghangaria is available. At this interpretation centre regular slide shows on Valley of Flowers and wildlife is held in the evening hours throughout the season.

How to Reach
• Nearest Railway StationRishikesh, District. Dehradun
• Nearest Air PortJollygrant, District. Dehradun (17 km. from Rishikesh)

The valley is approachable from Govindhat. There are two ways to reach Govindghat:
(1) Rishikesh – Srinagar – Karnprayag – Joshimath – Govindghat – (Distance approx. 270 Km. on / Haridwar- Badrinath highway).
(2) Haldwani – Ranikhet – Karnpryag – Johimath – Govinghat (Distance approx. 332 Km).

GANGOTRI NATIONAL PARK

The Park is situated in Uttarkashi District over a vast area of 2390.02 sq.km. Gangotri, after which the park is named, is one of the four Dhamas (pilgrim sites) of Uttarakhand. The park located within the upper catchment area of the Bhagirathi River offers a panoramic view of several waterfalls. It also forms a vital link in the green corridor that extends between the Govind National Park and Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.

It provides majestic beauty of coniferous forests and grandeur of glacial world combined with lush green meadows. The forests are Himalayan moist temperate type. Vegetation consists of chirpine deodar, fir, spruce, oak and rhododendrons. The fauna includes snow leopard, brown bear, black bear, Himalayan thar, Serow, musk deer, cheer pheasants, partridges, Monal, Himalayan snow cock etc.
How to Reach
The airport and rail head is Dehradun. The nearest town is Harsil 30 km away from Gangotri. The ideal season for visiting the park is summer (April to October).

KEDARNATH MUSK DEER SANCTUARY

The Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary is the most blissful chime of Nature’s bounty and magnanimity. It is spread over an area of 97517.80 Ha. (25293.70 Ha. in Chamoli district, and 72224.10 Ha. in Rudraprayag district.)
And was established in the year 1972. Named after the famous shrine of God Kedarnath, located just outside the Sanctuary, it sprawls across the districts of Chamoli & Rudraprayag in the state of Uttarakhand. The pristine forests and bugyals, in their captivating wilderness, along with their keenly preserved and managed rich floral and faunal biodiversity transcend one to a different world of truly idyllic existence. The call of the wild is mesmerizing and captures Garhwal in its true spirit.
The globally dwindling population of the endangered Himalayan Musk Deer (Moschus Chrysogaster) is the cynosure, the flagship species of the sanctuary. It was formed with a primary goal of conserving the globally significant and endangered Himalayan musk deer. However, the rich mixed forests and beautiful terrain of the Garhwal Himalayas, coupled with the presence of the famous Kedarnath temple, has made the area just as famous for its biodiversity and cultural heritage. The sanctuary has some of the richest mixed forests of the Western Himalayas. Sub-tropical, temperate, sub-alpine and alpine forests are all found on the slopes of the innumerable mountains and valleys of the sanctuary, stretching across altitudes from 1160 M to 7068 M above sea level
There are as many as 23 mammal species in the Sanctuary, 11 of which are threatened. The high number of endangered animals, including the Snow leopard, Himalayan musk deer, Himalayan thar, Serow, Himalayan black bears, Himalayan brown bears, and Pheasants, make the Kedarnath Sanctuary an area of immense significance. Over 230 species of birds are found in the sanctuary. A Musk Deer Breeding Centre was established in 1982, at Kanchulakharak within the sanctuary, where Musk deer are bred in captivity and then released into the wild. The surrounding areas of the sanctuary are popularly called Kedar Khand, and are home to the temples of Triyginarayan, Guptkashi, Ukhimath, Kalimath, and Gopeshwar. Access to the temples and the Sanctuary is possible through the Rudraprayag - Gaurikund road, which passes through the western sector, and the Chamoli - Kund road that runs approximately along the south - western boundary of the sanctuary from Mandal to Tala.

How to Reach
• Nearest Railway Station-Rishikesh, Dist. Dehradun.
• Nearest Railway Station-Jollygrant Airport, Dist. Dehradun (17 km from Rishikesh).
The two main approaches leading to the sanctuary area are – from Gopeshwar (about 20 km away) and from Guptkashi (about 15 km away)

GOVIND NATIONAL PARK
The Park is spread over an area of 472 sq.km. and sanctuary in 485.89sq km. in Uttarkashi District. The forest of the park consists of Chirpine, scrub tropical Euphorbia scrub and oak species.
In the Eighth Five-year plan, the Government of India set up the “Snow Leopard Project” to ensure the long-term conservation of the elusive and endangered Snow Leopard. In 1990, a team of experts chose the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary as one of the implementation sites of the project and, subsequently, 472 sq. km within the upper reaches of the sanctuary (the Snow leopard’s preferred habitat) were notified as the Govind National Park. It lies between Longitude: 78.05ºE and Latitude: 31.00 to 31.25ºN.
The wild life species found in the park are snow leopard, leopard cat, the brown and the black Himalayan bear, fishing cat, musk deer, Serow, thar, goral, sambar, wild boar, etc. The birds found are Monal, snow pigeon, green pigeon. The altitude within the park ranges from 1400 M to 6323 M above sea level and magnificent, jaggered snow-capped peaks mesmerize all visitors. Within the park, the emerald greenery of the Har-Ki-dun valley is a paradise for trekkers, while the Ruinsiyara high altitude lake is popular amongst nature lovers. Tourists also frequent the Har-Ki-dun Forest Rest House, known for its location amidst a valley of wild flowers. The forest rest houses of Naitwar, Taluka and Osla are en-route to Hari-Ki-dun and are worthy attractions in their own right.

How to Reach
Nearest town from the park is Dharkadhi 17 km from the Park. The nearest airport is Dehradun at a distance of 190 km. The rail head is also Dehradun.
BINSAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Binsar is a beautiful, quite and wild Himalayan destination with rich natural surroundings among dense forest. Binsar is perched on top of the Jhandi Dhar hills. This place is situated 30 km north of the Almora town in the Uttarakhand. Binsar was the ancient summer capital of the Chand Kings who ruled in the 7th and 8th centuries AD. This area is a small Wildlife Sanctuary for the conservation and protection of the broad leaf oak (Quercus) forests. Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1988. From Binsar one can see the panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks like Kedarnath Peak, Shivling, Trisul and majestic Nanda Devi from a place called 'Zero Point'. Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 45.59 km² and situated at an altitude varying 900 to 2500 M with an average height of 2412 M.
Binsar is rich in its fauna. These includes Leopard, Goral, Chital, Musk deer, Serow, Jungle Cat, Black Bear, red fox, Langur, monkey, Porcupine, amongst others. It has been declared an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International with over 200 species including Tits, Forktail, Nuthatches, Blackbirds, Parakeets, Laughingthrush, Magpies, Kalij Pheasant, Eagles, Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Koklas Pheasant, Woodpeckers and a range of others. Binsar is also home to many reptiles and innumerable invertebrates including a wide range of Butterflies.
The place has Pine forest at the lower level and Oak and Rhododendron at the higher altitude. This place is abundant in alpine flora, Bryophytes, Pteridophytes, hanging mosses and many other species of wild flowers. Other main plants of this sanctuary are Myrica esculenta, Pinus roxburghii, Engelhardtia spiicata, Macaranga pustulata, Quercus gloca, Quercus incana, Quercus leucotricophora, Cedrus deodara, Alnus napalensis, Aesculus indica, Pinus wallichiana, Quercus floribunda, etc.

How to Reach(Almora):
• By Air: The nearest airport is Pantnagar about 127 km away from Almora which is connected by regular air service with Delhi.
• By Rail: The nearest railway station Kathgodam is 90 km from Almora and is connected by direct meter gauge rail with Bareilly and Lucknow.
• By Road: Almora is also connected by road with all important town of north India. Some of the road connections are: Kathgodam via Khairana (90 km), Kathgodam via Ranikhet (133 km), Bareilly (196 km), Delhi (378 km).

SONANADI WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

The Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary, home to the migratory Asiatic Elephant, was established in 1987 in the Kotdwar tehsi within Pauri Garhwal district. It covers an area of 301.76 sq. km. at the north end of the Ramganga River.
In the rainy season, the sanctuary is the favorite haunt of the Asiatic Elephant, who migrates along a corridor connecting the Sharda and Yamuna rivers. The creation of the Sonanadi Sanctuary helps safeguard this corridor by creating a protected area between the Corbett National Park and the Rajaji National Park, a link that is now threatened by the Kalagarh Dam. The construction of the dam has submerged 82 sq. km. of forest land separating the Corbett National Park and the Sonanadi Sanctuary, significantly obstructing the movement of elephants.
Wildlife in the Sanctuary includes tigers, leopards, sambars, cheetal, gorals, kakars, bears, Gharials, otters, pythons and the King Cobra. The area’s healthy tiger population has also led to its inclusion in the Corbett Tiger Reserve. Additionally, there are about 550 species and sub-species of bird life in this sanctuary. The Pied hornbill, Palash Fishing eagle, Hawk eagle, Black necked stork, Kaleej pheasant, and the collared falconets are just a few examples of the local avifaunal diversity. The sanctuary’s forests are full of Sal, Shisam, Khair, Asna trees and Bamboo. In the buffer zone of the sanctuary - from Marchula to Doumunda – ‘angling’ is permitted with a permit issued by the forest department. The fresh water fish, Mahasheer, is found in abundance here.

How to reach: The entry point for the sanctuary is at Vatanvasa, by a 9 km motorable road.
ASAN BARRAGE CONSERVATION RESERVE

Asan Barrage located at the confluence of River Yamuna and Asan near Dhalipur village is nearby. The 444.40 Ha of area has been declared as a Wetland Conservation Reserve. It is an ideal habitat to a large number of migratory and resident birds. During winters it is not unusual to count as many as 8000 waterfowl with species diversity. More than 250 bird species including 80 water birds have been recorded. It is marked by presence of Brahminy ducks, Rudely Shelduck, Dabbling Duck, Diving Duck. Herons, Egrets, storks, Ibises, Geese, which can be easily spotted during winter season (Nov to Feb).

PANGOT

Pangot is small village 15 kilometers from Nainital; the drive takes only 25 minutes to get there. The entire drive is through the forested area of Cheena Peak Range via Snow View Point and Kilbury, the main habitats for excellent birding. One can see a variety of Himalayan species along the way such as lammergeier, Himalayan griffon, blue-winged Minla, spotted & slaty-backed Forktail, Rufous-bellied woodpecker, rufous-bellied Niltava, Kalij pheasant, variety of thrushes etc. Almost 150 bird species have been recorded at Pangot and surrounding areas. The numerous perennial & seasonal creeks are home to an amazing variety of flora and fauna including the leopard, yellow-throated Himalayan martins, Himalayan palm civet, ghoral, barking deer, sambar etc.

How to Reach(Almora):
• By Air: Pantnagar at a distance of 50 km is the nearest airport. Delhi at a distance of 300 km is the nearest international airport.
• By Rail: Kathgodam is on the broad gauge track from where the road transport options have to be availed to reach the Pangot.
• By Road: Drive from Delhi via Kathgodam and Nainital: 8½ hours. Drive from Delhi via Ramnagar (Corbett National Park) and Kaladhungi: 7½ hours.

SATTAL

Sat-tal is an ideal all-season camp. And because it's a mere 7 hour drive from Delhi (or a comfortable overnight journey by train), escaping to Sat Tal is easy. Apart from the abundance of natural beauty around you, we organize a lot of fun and action. You can enjoy kayaking, fishing and swimming in crystal clear lakes, rock-climbing and treks through dense jungles past hidden villages and waterfalls. Games and barbeques complete the outdoor experience. For those looking for a more laid back holiday, you can laze with a book or a pair of binoculars to spot a variety of exotic Himalayan birds.


How to Reach(Almora):

• Drive from Delhi via Moradabad, Haldwani and Bhimtal: 7 hours.
• Overnight air-conditioned train from Old Delhi railway station (departing at 22,45 hr.) to Kathgodam (arriving at 06.15 hr.) and then 3 hr. drive via Bhimtal.
• Overnight air-conditioned train from Old Delhi railway station (departing at 22.45 hr.) to Ramnagar (arriving at 05.00 hr.) and then 3 hr. drive to Sat Tal via Haldwani and Bhimtal.
• Upon reaching Mehragaon, take the road to Sat Tal, drive 2 kilometers after the turn and you will see the board on the left side of the road.