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Chandigarh Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary
|Main Wildlife Found||Sambar, Spotted Deer, Pangolin, Wild boar, Jackal|
|Coverage Area||2600 hectares|
|Temperatures||Summer (Max 44 deg C and Min 31deg C)|
|Winter (Max 14 deg C Min 3 deg C)|
|Languages||Hindi, English, Punjabi|
|Best Season||November - June|
The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, as the name suggests is a protected wildlife sanctuary that extends from just a kilometer from the Sukhna Lake over more than two thousand six hundred hectares of forest land spanning the plains at the foot of the Shivalik Hills and some hilly regions as well. The rain-fed catchment region of the Sukhna Lake partly falls in the area designated for the Wildlife Sanctuary.
It was only in March 1998 that Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary was formally declared as a protected wildlife sanctuary. Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary has a rich variety of flora and fauna. It is known to have the most number of sambar (a type of antelope) found in a group or cluster than anywhere else in the country.
The history of the Sukhna Lake and the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is intertwined. The Sukhna Lake was part of the development plans of the city of Chandigarh and was planned and built from1958, through the sixties and seventies. It was an artificial lake that was fed with rain water from the catchment areas in the Shivalik Hills. Siltation was a big problem for the Sukhna Lake that had to be tackled and it was minimized by many engineering and soil conservation methods. A large scale afforestation program was taken up in the catchment areas that resulted in a good forest cover developed in the catchment area and the problem of siltation of the lake was also addressed effectively. The deep forest area that grew in size over five decades became the home to a large variety of animals and plants. This forest was then designated as a protected sanctuary; Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.
Weather And Best Time To Visit
Hot and dry between the months of April to June with the maximum temperatures touching 44deg C and the minimum 31deg C.
Cool to cold weather in the winter months that extend from November to February with maximum temperature is a cool 14deg C and minimum dipping to 3deg C. There is no snowfall in the region.
The average annual rainfall is about 1111 mm. The monsoon months from June to August are wet, hot and humid. There can be some winter rain in December and January.
The best time for nature lovers and tourists to enjoy a trip to Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is between November through June.
How To Reach
Chandigarh Airport is connected to all the major cities of the country such as Mumbai, Delhi, Jammu, Amritsar and Kolkata. All major commercial airlines bring their flights to Chandigarh and it can be considered that Chandigarh is very conveniently connected by Air.
Chandigarh Railway Station is a major station of the Northern Railways with many trains from various Indian states passing through it. The city is very conveniently connected to New Delhi and surrounding cities and towns by the superfast trains such as the Shatabdi Express and Himalayan Queen.
Chandigarh is a hub of a well-developed roadway system. National Highway NH21 and NH22 pass through Chandigarh and there is a good bus service to major towns and cities in North India.
The Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is situated at the foot of the Shivalik Hills that are part of the lower Himalayas. As the forest cover of the area developed, many species of animals, birds, reptiles and insects migrated from the upper slopes of the Hills and made their home in the forests. Along with the birds and small animals came the seeds of different trees and plants that took root there and soon a vibrant forest with a large variety of flora became a reality.
The plant life of the sanctuary has different botanical classes of plants such as trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, creepers and climbers. There are many species found here among the various classes found. Some of their botanical names with the common, local name in parenthesis are given below:
Cassia fistula (Amaltas), Bauhinia racemosa (Kachnar), Tinospora cordifolia (Giloe), Acacia modesta (Phulai), Anogeissus latifolia (Chhal), Bombax ceiba (Semal), Acacia Arabica (Kikar), Acacia leucophloea (Raeru), Diospyros montana (Kendu), Zizyphus jujoba (Ber), Carissa spinarum (Karaunda), Vitex negundo (Bana or nirgundi), Emblica officinalis (Amla), Morus alba (Tut), Acacia catechu (Khair), Adhatoda vasica (Vasaka), Saccharum sararoxb (Moonj), Azadirachta indica (Neem), Murraya koenigii (Kari patta), Prosopis juliflora (Musket), Azadirachta indica (Neem), Dalbergia sisoo (Shisham), Lannea grandis (Jhingan), Abrus precatorious (Rati) ,Butea frondosa (Dhak) etc.
Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is home to different kinds of animal life such as mammals, birds, reptiles, butterflies, insects and micro-organisms. The commonly found wild animals are: Sambar, Common rat, Indian Hare, Spotted Deer (Chittal), Wild boar, Rhesus Monkey, Small Indian Civet, Pangolin (ant eater), Jackal, Common-Mongoose, Jungle Cat, Hanuman Langur, Porcupine, Squirrel etc. The most number of sambar (a type of antelope) found in a group or cluster than anywhere else in the country are known to be here.
Birds of the region are also called as the Avi-fauna of the place. Almost 150 species of birds are known to be found in the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. There are some aquatic birds included in this list as there are many watering holes in the sanctuary and the Sukhna Lake is at a short distance from here. Some of the birds found here are; Red jungle fowl, , Koel, Bee-eater, Grey partridge, Cuckoos, Swifts, Hoopoes, Night jars, Doves, Jacanas, Golden Oriole, Kingfisher, Ducks, Grebes, , Peacock,Rollers, Barn owls, Woodpeckers Parrots, Plovers, Coots, Hawks, Tree pie, Jungle crow, Bulbul, Geese, Hornbills, Barbets, Swan, Black Drongo,Hill MynaCommon Myna etc.
Many kinds of reptiles such as the Cobra, Rat snake, Common Krait, Russells Viper, Indian Python and common Monitor (Gho), Turtle are found here.
The forests of the sanctuary are also home to many kinds of Butterflies, Moths, Honey-bees and Wasps as well as different varieties of micro-organisms are found in abundance.
Apart from the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, the other main attractions for tourists to the city and the citizens are:
Sukhna Lake is one of the major tourist attractions of Chandigarh. The three square km area of the lake is a perfect setting for water sports and the dam constructed to form the lake affords a wonderful view of the lake and an ideal spot for picnics and relaxation.
Bamboo Valley as the name suggests is a large Bamboo Grove that is spread over an area of about 27.5 acres. There are more than 15 species of bamboo growing here and the entire area exhibits the natural look of grasslands with bamboo plantations. This particular area was specially created to highlight the easy and sustainable cultivation of bamboo which is completely renewable as against the forests that are being constantly depleted and cannot be easily renewed.
The Botanical Gardens of Chandigarh were developed with the aim to promote learning and research. There are 15 distinct botanical categories or segments that can be seen and examined by students of Botany. The Botanical Gardens also promote eco tourism and to create and spread awareness about the local flora.
Leisure Valley is mainly a theme garden which was established to beautify the city. Tourists and city dwellers visit it for relaxation and enjoyment.
Where To Stay
On the premises of the Sukhna Widlife Sanctuary are located three well-appointed rest houses; Kansal Log hut, Kansal Inspection Hut and Nepli Inspection Hut where you can stay.
You can visit the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary only after you get an Entry Permit from the Conservator of Forests & Chief Wildlife Warden, Union Territory of Chandigarh. Entry to the Sanctuary is through two gates ; Kansal gate and Nepli gate. An application has to be made with the information stated below including information regarding which gate you have opted to enter:
- Place to be visited i.e. Nepli or Kansal.
- Number of persons in your group.
- Mode of journey.
- Date and time of the visit.
- Full address and telephone number of the applicant.
Among the two entry gates; Kansal gate and Nepli gate, the Kansal gate is accessible through Khuda Alisher village or Kaimbwala village which falls in the Union Territory of Chandigarh and the Nepli gate is accessible through Suketri village of Haryana State.
Only a maximum 200 persons are allowed to visit the Sanctuary on a single day. Permits are thus given for a maximum of 100 persons from Nepli gate and 100 persons from Kansal gate. These permits are issued on first- come- first-served basis.
Conditions to be followed during the visit to Wildlife Sanctuary:
The main aim of the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary (as is of any wildlife sanctuary) is the conservation and protection of wildlife which includes both; Flora and Fauna. Since conservation and protection of the wildlife within the Sanctuary is sacrosanct, the following rules have to be strictly followed:
- No shooting, hunting and teasing of wild animals will be carried out.
- Carrying of Arms/ammunition is prohibited.
- No damage to flora will be carried out.
- Complete cleanliness will be ensured in the Sanctuary including inspection Huts/Rest Houses and its surrounding grassy lawns.
- No loudspeaker /Music system is allowed.
- Carrying of plastic bags and containers inside the Sanctuary is prohibited.
- Cooking food or lighting fire is strictly prohibited.
Items allowed to be taken inside the Sanctuary:
Only the following items may be carried inside the Sanctuary:
- Prepared food/ eatables
- Water bottle.
The Wildlife Sanctuary is open for the general public from sunrise to sunset. Overnight stay is not allowed inside the sanctuary on all days including Saturday, Sunday. The sanctuary is closed for the general public on Wednesday and also on public holidays.
Parking fee is Rs.50/- per school bus and Rs.200/- per private bus.