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Bihar Gautam Buddha Wildlife Sanctuary
The Gautam Buddha Wildlife Sanctuary is a forest and wildlife reserve in the North Indian state of Bihar. The name of the Sanctuary probably comes from the neighboring town of Gaya and its neighbor Bodh Gaya, which are closely related to Buddha and his Enlightenment.
The area of 259 sq km that makes up the Sanctuary, is spread partly over the rich plains of Ganges and partly over a plateau of the Chotta Nagpur region. The rich and diverse ecology of this area, with several ecosystems co-existing together have created an intense biodiversity in the region. The forest cover density varies and the type of forest, according to location.
The Gautam Buddha Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the older reserves in North India. In the Colonial era and after independence almost up until 1950, was a private property and a personal Game Reserve that changed hands often, between royalty, British aristocracy and later Indian.
The Government of India, Bihar, finally marked the territory as a Sanctuary in 1976 and named it as the Gautam Buddha Wildlife Sanctuary.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The climate of the region is a mixture of sub-tropical and deciduous temperatures. The summers are hot and dry with heavy rains in the monsoon and low temperatures in the winter. Subsequently the best time to visit the Gautam Buddha Wildlife Sanctuary is in the winter, between November and March, completely avoiding summer and rain.
How to Reach
The closest airport is in Gaya (65 km) and is domestic in nature, and connects to Patna and all the surrounding airports. Patna has the closest international airport, from where one can fly or drive to Gaya and then Bodh Gaya to reach the Sanctuary
The nearest railway station is at Gaya, and being a popular tourist and religious destination, it is connected efficiently to the rest of India.
The National Highway No. 2 cuts through the Gautam Buddha Wildlife Sanctuary and connects all the neighboring cities and states.
The species of birds residing and visiting this reserve have been poorly documented and there are many varieties of birds to be spotted in this region. Common birds are Water Fowl and Pea Fowl.
The mammalian residents of the Gautam Buddha Sanctuary are most notable. One can witness herds of Wild Buffalo, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, and Blue Bull freely roaming the forest and grasslands. Predators like Leopards, Tigers and packs of Wild Dogs are among the ecosystem of the Sanctuary.
The visit to the Gautam Buddha Sanctuary is a combination of driving through the forest roads, short treks to scenic vantage points, which enable the visitors to get a good experience of the wilderness.
Where to Stay
The Forest Department maintains a couple of rest houses in the Gautam Buddha Wildlife Sanctuary and the nearby towns of Bodh Gaya and Gaya have all kinds of accommodation options for tourists.
- The Gautam Buddha Wildlife Sanctuary is under the management and care of the Divisional Forest Office at Gaya and the prior permission for visiting the sanctuary is obtained from there.
- All the trips into the Sanctuary are regulated by the Range Officer, who has an office in Gaya, any queries and special arrangements, if needed, rest with him.