Chandigarh’s Wildlife Sanctuaries: Nature Beyond the City

Chandigarh’s Wildlife Sanctuaries: Nature Beyond the City
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Nestled at the foothills of the Shivalik range, Chandigarh, often regarded as the “City Beautiful,” is not only a hub of modern urban living but also a gateway to some of the most captivating wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves. Beyond the hustle and bustle of the city, these sanctuaries offer a serene escape into the lap of nature, boasting diverse flora and fauna. Let’s explore the wildlife sanctuaries that provide a rejuvenating getaway for Chandigarh residents.

  1. Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary:

Just a short drive from the heart of Chandigarh lies the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, enveloping the picturesque Sukhna Lake. Spread over an area of approximately 26 square kilometres; this sanctuary is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The sanctuary is known for its diverse birdlife, including migratory birds like Siberian ducks and cranes during the winter months. Visitors can explore the walking trails and bird-watching points, immersing themselves in the tranquil surroundings.

  1. Kansal Forest:

Situated on the northern periphery of Chandigarh, the Kansal Forest is an integral part of the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. The forest is characterized by a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, providing a habitat for various species of birds, butterflies, and small mammals. Nature enthusiasts can embark on guided nature walks to witness the vibrant biodiversity, making it an ideal spot for ecotourism initiatives.

  1. Bir Shikargah Wildlife Sanctuary:

For those seeking a more extensive wildlife experience, the Bir Shikargah Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-visit destination. Located in the Morni Hills, approximately 30 kilometres from Chandigarh, this sanctuary spans 119 square kilometres. Its name, translating to “the hunting preserve of the maharajas,” reflects its historical significance. Today, it stands as a protected area supporting diverse ecosystems with a range of flora and fauna, including leopards, sambar deer, and various species of birds.

Flora and Fauna:

Chandigarh’s wildlife sanctuaries boast a rich tapestry of flora and fauna. The forests are teeming with indigenous tree species such as teak, sal, and khair, providing a natural habitat for diverse wildlife. Various species of deer, including the spotted deer and sambar, roam freely in these protected areas. The presence of predators like leopards adds an element of excitement to the wilderness.

Birdwatchers will find their haven in these sanctuaries, with a plethora of resident and migratory birds gracing the skies. From the graceful Siberian crane to the colourful Indian pitta, these sanctuaries offer a birding paradise for enthusiasts.

Ecotourism Initiatives:

Chandigarh’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage is reflected in its flourishing ecotourism initiatives. The sanctuaries organize guided tours, nature walks, and bird-watching camps to promote environmental awareness and appreciation for the local biodiversity. These initiatives not only contribute to the conservation of the ecosystems but also provide sustainable livelihoods for local communities.

Additionally, efforts are underway to create awareness about responsible tourism. Visitors are encouraged to follow ethical guidelines to minimize their ecological footprint, ensuring the sanctuaries remain pristine for generations to come.

Chandigarh’s wildlife sanctuaries offer a refreshing escape into nature, presenting a stark contrast to the urban landscape. With their diverse flora and fauna, these sanctuaries provide a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The commitment to ecotourism initiatives ensures that these natural wonders are preserved for future generations, encouraging a harmonious coexistence between the city and its wild neighbours. As residents of Chandigarh continue to seek solace in the embrace of nature, the wildlife sanctuaries stand as living testaments to the beauty that lies just beyond the city limits.

Read more: 5 Places in Chandigarh for Delish South Indian Food

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