Covering more than 20 % of all geographical areas of the country, Jungles and Forests in India play a vital role in Ecological balance and food diversity. Fetching a big contribution in overall development of the country, forests are also a solid medium of providing raw material to many industries and revenue earning. 678,333 sq. kms. of the total forest areas of India have been divided in many categories like Tropical and subtropical moist leaf forests, Tropical and subtropical dry leaf forests, Tropical and subtropical coniferous forest, Tropical and subtropical grasslands, Savannas and shrub lands, Montane grasslands and shrub lands, Deserts and xeric shrub lands, and Mangrove. With more than 99 national parks, 40 tiger reserves and 450 wildlife sanctuaries, India has cosseted enthralling species of fauna and flora. Be it the mountains of Uttarakhand or the deserts of Rajasthan, every nook and cranny of India embraces rich wildlife. Especially, if you are eager to get a sight of the big striped cats – the tigers, India is the ultimate destination to visit. In case all this has made you excited and you are thinking to spend some time amidst the wilderness of the respective nation, you are at the right place. Mentioned below are India’s top 10 places for enjoying unforgettable wildlife safari holidays. Read and take a virtual tour.
Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary
Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Terai of Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh. It is basically a dense forest lying along Indo-Nepal border. It was formerly a part of West Bahraich Forest division but presently, it forma a part of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a must-go place for wildlife lovers as it offers a shelter to critically endangered wildlife species. The forest area of this sanctuary connects three wildlife habitats namely Bardia National Park in Nepal, Dudhwa National Park and tiger habitat of Kishanpur.
Area: 550 sq km
Location: Terai of Bahraich district in U.P
Established: 1975 but brought under ‘Project Tiger’ in 1987
Flora & Fauna
The lush green Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary includes Sal and Teak forests. The forests are quiet and peaceful as if untouched by any form of civilization. This unique characteristic makes this place an awesome place for those seeking vacation in a natural place with sweet sound of birds and with some patience to see wildlife creatures, in case they go lucky. The whole Terai ecosystem comprises thick forests with swamps, grasslands and wetlands.
Gairwa River that flows in this area is already declared as a sanctuary for Mugger and Gharial. It is amongst the world’s best places to look out for Gharial. It also forms a natural habitat to turtles, fish and other aquatic life. The overall view of the river is picturesque as long forest tracks on both banks of the river create coves. This also attracts motorboat visitors in this area. Mugger crocodiles are also found in this river but in very small number.
The jungle is unusually calm but the alarming sounds of Langur and Chital warn the native tribal regarding the arrival of the Forest King i.e. the Tiger. This animal avoids human but makes his presence felt by scat and pug marks. Many other creatures are also found in the jungle like Sambar, Deer, Leopards, Elephants and Rhino. At night, one can easily see night creatures like Jackals, Porcupines and bats. One must be careful at night as these creatures are active and can cause harm.
The swamps and lakes are home to many water birds, migratory birds and Otters.
Major Tourist Attractions in Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary: It is a part of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and offers a natural habitat to Tiger, Leopard, Swamp Deer, Hog Deer, Barking Deer, Bengal florican and Lesser Florican.
- Dudhwa National Park: It is a great place for wildlife lovers, nature seekers and adventure lovers. This wildlife sanctuary offers natural habitat to many endangered species of wild animals.
- Gola Gokarannath Temple: It is also known as Shiv Temple and Choti Kashi. The major attraction here is the impression of Ravana’s thumb on the Shivling which is still visible. The temple is named after the Shivling only that mounted 5 feet below ground level due to Ravana’s thumb impression in anger. It formed the shape of a cow’s year i.e. gokaran. Thousands of tourists visit this temple every year especially during Chaiti Mela, Sawan Mela, Bhoothnath Mela and Shivratri Mela.
Activities to be enjoyed in the Sanctuary
Following are the things to be enjoyed in the Sanctuary
- Elephant rides
- Boat Safari
- 1300 species of Birds
- Natural Greenery
- Fresh Water Dolphins, better known as Gangetic Dolphins can also be seen in their natural habitat.
Best time to visit
Best time to visit this place is from 15th November to 15th June. For sighting, best time to visit is Feb to March. It must be noted here that the close period for sanctuary is from 15th June to 15th Nov. This is due to high humidity during these months.
This Sanctuary is located between 170 meters to 190 meters above sea level. Weather conditions at Katerniaghat Sanctuary are just like Himalayas. Temperature ranges between 25 degrees Celsius to 42 degrees Celsius in summers while in winters; it falls down to a minimum of 4 degrees Celsius and rises to 25 degrees. Rains during monsoons are quite frequent in this area.
How to get there?
By Air: For those opting to travel Katerniaghat by air, the nearest airport is at Amausi, Lucknow which is about 215 km.
By Train: One can travel to Katerniaghat by train. The most nearby station is Bichia that is 205 km from Lucknow
By Road: The sanctuary is about 205 km from Lucknow and 60 km from Bahraich Nanpura route whereas from Nepal border, it is only 7km. If you wish to travel by road, then, take the first range of Katerniaghat WLS. Going through Motipur, then Sitapur, Lucknow and then, Lakhimpur, take Assam road where a barrier in Mihinpurwa welcomes one to the sanctuary.
Where to Stay
One can stay at Forest Rest Houses provided by Government. Such accommodation is available at Katerniaghat, Nishangara, Dharampur and Murtiha.
To enjoy the best of this sanctuary, travel with a desire to enjoy nature here. Try listening to the natural and sweet sounds of birds chirping and breeze flowing. This will make you forget all the stress in the lap of Mother Nature. Do not harm any wild animal for your pleasure. Be patient and do not expect to see any wild animal as and when you go to the sanctuary. It is all a matter of chance.
Please ensure to follow safety precautions like avoid smoking or taking pets along. Firearms are strictly prohibited. Likewise, teasing animals or blowing horns is also prohibited. Remember you are only a visitor to the wildlife home. So, avoid irritating your host in any manner otherwise consequences can be life threatening.
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