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 the Indo-Nepal border. It was formerly a part of the West Bahraich Forest division but presently, it forms a part of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a must-go place for wildlife lovers as it offers 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 the 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
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.
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. Gokarna. Thousands of tourists visit this temple every year especially during Chaiti Mela, Sawan Mela, Bhoothnath Mela, and Shivratri Mela.
This Sanctuary is located between 170 meters to 190 meters above sea level. Weather conditions at Katerniaghat Sanctuary are just like the 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.
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
The 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.
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 a vacation in a natural place with the 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 for 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 numbers.
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 humans but makes its presence felt by scat and pugmarks. 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.
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 the 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.
How to get there?
For those opting to travel Katerniaghat by air, the nearest airport is at Amausi, Lucknow which is about 215 km.
One can travel to Katerniaghat by train. The most nearby station is Bichia that is 205 km from Lucknow
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.
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