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Dudhwa National Park
Dudhwa National Park, which is synonymous with pioneering and sometimes rebellious methods and thought processes, is beautifully located near the Indo-Nepalese border in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
The park even has it's own mentor and ardent supporter in the form of Billy Arjan Singh, most famous for his hand rearing, and then releasing in the wild, of a tiger cub named Tara. Dudhwa National Park has pioneered in projects such as the relocation of rhinos into it from the Pabitara Wild Life Sanctuary in Assam to enhance the survival chances of the highly endangered animal. This was done under the watchful eye of the director of the park at the time, Dr. Ashok Singh, who later took over the same position at Corbett National Park.
Breaking The Myth
The park's rebellious nature comes to the fore in their unique concept regarding tigers that have turned man-eaters. The earlier mindset, mainly influenced by Jim Corbett, believed that once a tiger turned into a man-eater, it always remained a man-eater. Dudhwa has to some extent proved that, unless a tiger is physically decapacitated, it's habits can be changed back to hunting it's natural prey instead of humans. In the physical aspect too, much to it's disadvantage, Dudhwa is quite unique. It is one of the few parks, which due to the pressure of the surrounding human population has no, or a negligible, buffer zone.
The park is part of what was earlier known as the North Kheri Forest Division. It's formation also was much like an erupting volcano with a lot of turbulence and opposition. It was mainly due to the efforts of the then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, and Billy Arjan Singh that the park came into being. It was declared a wild life sanctuary in 1965 and then upgraded to the status of a national park in 1977. Dudhwa National Park covers an area of 490 square kilometers located between the rivers Neora and Soheli to the south and a Sal forest belt to the north. This belt consists of some of the best specimens of sal trees. Between these two natural borders are located excellent grasslands, a lot of which have unfortunately been taken over by mankind for cultivation.
» Location - Beautifully located in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas with it's presently still healthy population of wildlife, this young national park has the potential of taking over as one of the main reserves of the country. The only obstacle in the way is - us.
- The park is open from December to June every year.
- The nearest town to the park is Palia (10km).
- The nearest railway station to the park is located at Dudhwa itself.
- The nearest airport to the park is located at Lucknow (260km).
- Temperature range: 0 to 40 degrees centigrade.
Prime Attractions of Dudhwa National Park:
» The Inhabitants of the Park - Tall coarse grass sometimes forming impenetrable thickets, swampy depressions and lakes characterise the wetlands of the Park. These are the habitat of large members of barasingha, the magnificent swamp deer, noted for their multi-tined antlers(bara-12, singha-horn). These in turn support the predators -the tiger and leopard. Though the Park has a fair population of tigers, they are rarely seen owing to the nature of the forest cover
Other inhabitants include the sloth bear, jackal, wild pig and the lesser cats - the fishing cat, leopard cat, jungle cat and civet. Dudhwa has also an abundance of birds. Its marshes are home to a range of water-birds both local and migratory. There are spectacular painted storks, black and white necked storks, sarus Siberian Cranes and varied night birds of prey, ranging from the great Indian horned owl to the jungle owlet. Colourful woodpeckers, barbets, kingfishers, minivets, bee eaters, and bulbuls flit through the forest canopy. A fragile natural paradise, Dudhwa endeavours to protect its wild haven from the depredations of an expanding human population.
Dudhwa's birds, in particular, are a delight for any avid bird watcher- plenty of painted storks, sarus Siberian Cranes, owls, barbets, woodpeckers, Swamp Partridge, Great Slaty Woodpecker, minivets and many more, including some rare species like the Bengal florican. Much of the park?s avian fauna is aquatic in nature, and is found around Dudhwa?s lakes- especially Banke Tal.
» Flora (Vegetation) - Tropical semi-evergreen forest, tropical moist deciduous forest, riparian and swamp forest and dry deciduous forest. The dominant tree species are Shorea robusta, Terminalis tomentosa, Adina cordifolia, Terminalia belerica, Eugenia jambolana, Dalbergia sissoo, Bombax malabaricum. The various types of forests throughout the park are interrupted by wide stretches of mesophyllous grasslands locally called the 'phantas'. The common perennial grasses are Themeda arundinacea, Saccharum spontaneum, S. bengalensis, Narenga porphyrocoma, Vetivera zizanoides, Cymbopogon flexuosus, Desmostachya bipinata, Apluda mutica, Dichanthium annulatum, D. glabrum, Pseudosorghum, Hygroryza aristata, Panicum paludosum, Echinochloa spp. Riparian forest includes Acacia catechu, Dalbergia sissoo, Trewia nudiflora, Mallotus philippensis and occasionally Syzygium cumini, Barringtonia acutangula. Thick Sal forests occupy a fairly large area. The common associates of Shorea robusta, Mallotus philippensis, Syzygium cumini, Ardisia solanacea, Callicarpa macrophylla, Murraya koenigii, Clerodendrum viscosum, Mitragyna parviflora, Flemingia macrophylla, Grewia elastica, Ziziphus mauritian, Z. oenoplia, Z. xylocarpa, Carissa spinarum, and Aegle marmelos. The common grass in undergrowth is Desmostachya bipinnata. Mixed Sal and teak forests, found in Dudhwa, Bankati and elsewhere, include characteristic species such as Mitragyna parviflora, Adina cordifolia, Dalbergia sissoo, Aegle marmelos, Kydia calycina, Emblica officinalis, Ziziphus mauritania, Ehretia laevis, Ficus semicordata, Desmodium triangulare, and D. pulchellum. Semi-evergreen forest occupies a small area. The important constituents in this type are Cassia fistula, Kydia calycina, Mitragyna parviflora, Adina cordifolia, Terminalia bellirica, Mallotus philippensis, Syzygium cumini, Acacia catechu, Casearia elliptica, Tectona grandis, Emblica officianalis, Phyllanthus reticulatus, Holarrhena antidysentrica, Milletia auriculata, Helicteres isora and Xeromphis spinosa
» Fauna - The Tigers at the Park are numerous, sightings are rare due to the thick forest cover of the area. Besides Tigers, there are at least 37 species of mammals, 16 species of reptiles and 400 species of avifauna which include Leopards, Hispid Hares, Swamp Deer (Barasingha) and Rhinos. Miscellaneous attractions of the Park :
En route to Dudhwa, the unique Frog Temple at Oyal can also be visited. The only one of its kind in India, it was built by the former Maharajas of the Oyal state in the district of Lakhimpur-Kheri. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the base of the stone temple is built in the shape of a large frog. The temple is at a distance of 10 km from Hargaon on the route to Lakhimpur-Kheri and Dudhwa.
The most exciting aspect of a visit to a wildlife sanctuary is the safari into the jungles, of meeting the unexpected and completely missing the expected. Animals can be seen in a zoo also, but the dangerous thrill of actually encountering a wild beast in its natural habitat is a sure method of testing ones patience and bravado.
Internal transportation within the park is in the form of Jeep rides. These are available near the entrance at Dudhwa. For those staying at Tiger Haven, rides can be arranged at the resort itself.
Best Time to Visit :
October to April
General Information Tips :
» Distance from Delhi - 420km
» Distance from Lucknow - 260km
» Total area - 490sq km
» Distance from Delhi - 420km
» Latitude - 28*21'-28*41'N
» Longitutude - 80*30'-80*55'E
» AREA - 49,000ha
» LAND TENURE Government (reserved forest)
» The nearest town is Palia (10 km).
» From Delhi (430 km): By rail upto Shahjahanpur, and onwards by road.
» From Lucknow (250 km): By rail upto Mailani, and onwards by road.
» Dudhwa Forest Home
» Log Huts
» Rest house at Soniarpur, Sathiana