With natural bounties of varied types, Shimla District in Himachal Pradesh is the home of many wildlife sanctuaries. These reserved places provide natural habitat to the common and rare species of flora and fauna. The natural habitats are reducing in numbers due to industrialization and other development process but keeping an ecological balance is very important. Wildlife sanctuaries in Shimla not only conserve the natural habitat but they have been transformed into popular sightseeing and holiday destinations. Humans get opportunity to look at an array of wildlife when they visit these places. These wildlife sanctuaries play an important role in maintaining bio-diversity and natural habitat of a place. In this article sanctuaries in Shimla have been described in detail.
About the Sanctuaries in Shimla
Sanctuaries keep the animals and plants in their natural habitat and they do not have a particular boundary defined. Human intervention and recreational activities within these sanctuaries are limited. Shimla is gifted with abundant natural resources and it has sanctuaries like Chail Wildlife Sanctuary, Shimla Water Catchment Sanctuary, Talra Sanctuary, Daralghati Sanctuary etc.
Water Catchment Sanctuary in Shimla
Shimla Water Catchment is the main source of water for the Shimla City. It is also transformed into a sanctuary. Spread in a total area of about 10.25 sq. km this Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary has dense forest made with trees like White Oak, Deodar Trees, Blue Pine, Chill Pine etc. Varieties of mammals and bird are also found here. The birds found here are different types of Pheasants and the mammals found here are Flying Squirrel, Langur, Indian Sambar, Porcupine, Musk Deer, Macaque, Barking Deer etc.
This sanctuary can be easily reached as it is located on National Highway 22.
Reserve Forest Sanctuary in Shimla
Located in Mashorba, Shimla, Reserve Forest Sanctuary has become a popular tourist spot. This is also the biggest watershed in Asia. Visitors get opportunity to enjoy exotic flora nd fauna in this region. Dense forests of Mashorba slopes belong to the Shimla water catchment and sanctuary area. The forest is made of Cedar, Oak, and Pine trees and Rhododendron trees are also found plenty in numbers in this forest. The forest also has Maple and Horse Chestnut trees.
The fauna that is commonly seen here are barking deer, spot jackals, pheasants, partridges, chikor etc. Leopards can also be seen occasionally. Many medicinal herbs are also found in this sanctuary. Various activities that visitors could enjoy here are camping, trekking, picnics etc. the best time to visit this sanctuary is from April to June. Permissions from the relevant authorities have to be taken to enter the sanctuary and the sanctuary is open throughout the day.
Chail Sanctuary in Shimla
A beautiful hill station near Shimla, Chail also houses a big wildlife sanctuary. This place has become an important tourist attraction of Shimla. The Sanctuary has the location in the Solas Valley and it was declared as the sanctuary in 1976. The entire sanctuary area is spread over 10,854 hectares. The species found in this sanctuary are Barking Deer, Goral, Wild Boar, Common Indian Langur, Black Bear, Sambar, Goral and others. Leopards and Rhesus Macaque are also found in this sanctuary. Many rare and exotic floral species including orchids are also found in Chail Sanctuary. The Sanctuary has dense forest made of Oak and Pine trees.
Adventurous activities like Trekking, hiking and camping can be arranged in this sanctuary with prior permission from the respective authority. This Sanctuary is well connected to the other parts of Himachal Pradesh and the adjoining states through the Shimla-Kalka Highway.
Talra Sanctuary in Shimla
Talra Sanctuary is located in the east part of Shimla District and one of the smallest Sanctuaries of Himachal Pradesh. This sanctuary has common border with the state of Uttaranchal. The best time to visit this sanctuary is from April to June and also from September to October. The various species found in this sanctuary are- Musk Deer, Black Bear, Panther, Goral etc.
Daran Ghati Sanctuary in Shimla
Located in Shimla District Daran Ghati Sanctuary is a forest area that had got very less footfalls of humans. This is one of the most beautiful wildlife sanctuaries of the Himachal Pradesh State. The located of this sanctuary is close to Rampur Bhshahar. In 1974, this area was declared as a sanctuary area. Wide varieties of flora and fauna of the Himalayan Region can be explored in this sanctuary.
The animals that are found here are:
Giant Flying Squirrel
Yellow Throated Marten
Varieties of Pheasants like Kalji, Tragopan, Monal and Koklas are found here in this sanctuary. Apart from watching the un-spoilt wildlife at Daran Ghati Sanctuary located among Alpine Forests and Snow Capped Mountains, forest trekking, hiking and camping can also be planned here by taking the help from the forest officials.
The best time to visit this sanctuary is from April to June and again from October to November. Tourists get to refresh and rejuvenate themselves when they come here to take a break from their monotonous daily life. The nearest airport is the Jubbarhati Airport of Shimla and the nearest railway station is the Shimla Railway Station.