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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
October to April
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
Rest house at Soniarpur, Sathiana