Uttar Pradesh: Pushing Eco-tourism and animal conservation

When Ravi Trehan, resident of Singapore, did a random Google enquiry on UP Tourism he was pleasantly surprised with the results. What he saw was a detailed, well laid out Google result of travel and tourism destinations in the state.

Full marks to UP State Tourism Development Corporation for digital marketing.

On further search he discovered a dedicated site on Eco Tourism in UP. Making for a brilliant holiday plan of combining a trip back home to India with an added trip to UP’s eco sites along with the family.

There are many wildlife and bird sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh. Photo courtesy: uptourism.gov.in

Uttar Pradesh has an unexplored treasure trove of exquisitely beautiful landscapes, forest vistas, meandering rivers and beautiful waterfalls with plethora of endangered birds and animals.

These scenic beauties of UP are harboured in one national park, 11 wildlife sanctuaries and 24 bird sanctuaries and provide protection to endangered biodiversity of the State.

Uttar Pradesh government has taken various steps for the promotion of eco-tourism in the State and also devised an eco-tourism policy in 2014. Let us  take you through the main eco-tourism spots of the State.

Dudhwa National Park or Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

It is located in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh. One of the finest remaining examples of the exceedingly diverse and productive Tarai eco-system. The northern edge of the reserve lies along the Indo-Nepal border and the southern boundary is marked by the river Suheli.

You can be lucky enough to see a tiger in Dudhwa National Park. Photo courtesy: uptourism.gov.in

Dudhwa is spread over an expanse of approximately 811 sq km of marshes, grasslands and dense forests. It is an ideal and protected home for over 38 species of mammals, 16 species of reptiles and numerous species of birds. Well known sanctuary of the swamp deer it is home to tigers, leopards, varieties of deer, antelopes, elephants, jackal, hyena etc, amid thick green forest and grassland. It is also a bird watchers' heaven. A large number of rhinos are also found here.

Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary

The Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Terai of Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh. It provides strategic connectivity between tiger habitats of Dudhwa and Kishanpur in India and Nepal. The sanctuary has a mosaic of Sal and Teak forests, lush grasslands, numerous swamps and wetlands. It is home to a number of endangered species including gharial, tiger, rhino, Gangetic dolphin, Swamp deer, Hispid hare, Bengal florican, the white-backed and long-billed vultures. Various endangered species of mammal, plants and avifauna are found in this sanctuary

Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary

Natural beauty is bestowed in Chandra Prabha Wildlife Santuary. Photo courtesy: uptourism.gov.in

Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Chandauli district near Varanasi. Gifted with  beautiful picnic spots, dense forest and scenic waterfalls like Rajdari and Devdari. An ideal destination for adventure travel as it has many caves and mountains. A variety of wild animals can also be seen here, which include blackbucks, chital, sambhar, nilgai, wild boar, porcupine and Indian gazelle.

National Chambal Sanctuary

Ghariyals are attractions of National Chambal Sanctuary. Photo courtesy : uptourism.gov.in

National Chambal Sanctuary, also called the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary, is a 5,400 sq. km tri-state protected area in northern India. It is located on the Chambal river near the tri-point of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and now constitutes a long narrow eco-reserve co-administered by the three states. Within the sanctuary, Chambal cuts through mazes of ravines and hills with many sandy beaches along its banks.

Forest Lion Safari (Etawah)

Developed recently by the UP government the uniqueness of this safari lies in the fact that while at other such places the animals are in  cages here and tourists move freely in the area.

In Etawah Lion Safari, people will move in caged paths while the lions and other animals are seen moving freely in the jungle. The Lion Safari is mainly being developed to provide alternate home to Asiatic lions, which are now limited only to Gir Forests in Gujarat.

Bird sanctuaries : There are several bird sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh where a wide variety of migratory birds from the northern hemisphere arrive during the winter season.

Many bird species are attractions of Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary : Located midway on the Lucknow-Kanpur highway, with a huge lake and a vast green expanse, it is known to host Siberian cranes among scores of migratory bird species that rest here during the winter months. This wetland is also home to hundreds of Indian and migratory birds. The sanctuary also houses a deer park, watchtowers and boats.

Hastinapur Bird Sanctuary : Situated on the bank of the Ganga near Meerut, it is unique for its variety of landscape and habitat types such as wetlands, marshes, dry sand beds, and gently sloping ravines called Khola. The sanctuary spreads over the districts of Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Ghaziabad and Amroha. It abounds in leopard, hyena, nilgai, cheetal and sambhar.

Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary : It is a sanctuary near Agra that is home to nearly two dozen type of migratory and resident birds. There is a big lake and many man-made islands that add to the beauty of this sanctuary.

In addition to this, there are other bird sanctuaries in the State which include Ranipur Sanctuary (Banda), Kaimoor Sanctuary (Mirzapur), Samaspur Sanctuary (Raebareli), Suraha Tal Sanctuary (Ballia) and Patna Sanctuary (Etah).