Search Indian Maps, Pincodes, Local Info and more...
Himachal Pradesh Pong Dam Sanctuary
The Pong Dam Wildlife Sanctuary or better described and known as the Pong Dam Bird Sanctuary is located near the Pong Dam on the River Beas. It is the most extensive freshwater bird sanctuary in India, both in terms of area and number of recorded species.
The nearby Maharana Pratap Reservoir is also a popular tourist spot offering several fishing and other water port opportunities. The Pong Dam itself is India’s highest earth-fill Dam and is located. The bird Sanctuary Lake and wet land is an extensive water body measuring an area of roughly 475 sq km and has recorded the highest bird count in India.
The significance of the Pong area for its resident and migratory bird species was brought to notice by a British bird enthusiast, who was also an officer, when he recorded over 20 different species of birds in 1920. This led to this region being protected early and later in 1975, the Beas River was dammed further downstream. Later in 1983, the government officially declared the Pong Dam Bird Sanctuary and after some time it received the status of a Ramsar Site, from the Ramsar Bureau of Switzerland.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Although the climate here is quite pleasant here all year round, with the exception of monsoon, many tourists prefer the time from winter through to spring. To enjoy the Pong Dam Bird Sanctuary in its full splendor, the period from November to March is most suited.
How to Reach
The Kangra airport is a little over 7 km from the Maharana Pratap Reservoir and from there the Pong Sanctuary is an extra 50 to 100 kilometers based on where on the Pong Lake one decides to arrive.
The Pathankot (50 km, Punjab) railway station is the nearest and there is easy transportation from the airport to directly reach the Pong Dam Sanctuary. From there one can travel easily by road to the Bird Sanctuary directly.
The Pong Dam Sanctuary is efficiently connected by roadways from all directions. One has multiple route choices depending from the approach; the closest towns are Batla (4 km) in south, Yoi (15 km) in the north and Kangra (7 km) to the east. The famous Dharmasala hill station is just over 55 km from the Pong region.
Being the largest bird sanctuary in India the Pong Dam Sanctuary’s water body and wet land is home to 220 species of resident and migratory birds that come from Siberia and Central Europe for the winter. The Indian birds that reside or visit here include Indian Sarus Crane, Purple Little Grebe Water Hen, Grey Heron, White Breasted Kingfisher, Spot Billed Duck, Redwattled Lapwing and Indian Moorhen. Among the migratory birds are Red Crested Pochard Ruddy Shelduck, Wigeon, Shoveller, Grey Crested Grebe, Pintail, Gadwall Stork and Bar Headed Geese.
The land surrounding the rich water body of the Pong Dam Bird Sanctuary is home to many large animals like the Leopard, Oriental Small-clawed Otter, Wild Boar, Sambar and Barking Deer.
Where to Stay
There are several excellent accommodation facilities around the Pong Dam Bird Sanctuary and there are also rest houses near the Maharana Pratap Reservoir for all tourists.
- Recently, fishing and sailing has been started at the Pong Dam reservoir and the more adventurous sports employing motorboats are kept limited to the Maharana Pratap Reservoir.
- Proper safety and guidance is necessary when entering the Sanctuary waters, there is a strict code of etiquette, and the authorities don not take kindly to littering and noise pollution of the lake.