The Govind Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the Uttarkashi district of Uttararanchal, was established on 1st March, 1955. It spreads over an area of 957.969 sq. kms. and the altitude varies from 1300 mts. to 6323 mts. The average annual precipitation varies from 1000 to 1500 mm., most of which occurs as monsoon rains (July to Sept.). The entire area of the sanctuary is subjected to light to heavy snowfall. The sanctuary forms the upper catchment of the Tons river, which is the most important tributory of River Yamuna in its upper reaches. Thus the area has a significant value as a major watershed for River Yamuna, which is a very important river for the Indo Gangetic plains. The area is home for a lot of endangered animals and its large area along with the contiguous forests of the neighbouring forest divisions helps in maintaining genetic diversity. The area is very rich in medicinal plants, many of which form the basis for certain life saving drugs. The scenic beauty of the area is unmatched. The Snow Leopard inhabits the inner Himalayas above the altitude of 3500 mts. With the onslaught on the habitat by man its number has dwindled considerably making it a highly endangered species. In the Eighth Plan, the Govt. of India launched the Snow Leopard Project for the long term conservation of this elusive cat. An expert team indentified sites throughout the Himalayas to implement this project and Govind Wildlife Sanctuary was indentified as one of such sites. To further improve the protection of this rare animal, the upper reaches (the Snow Leopard habitat) of the sanctuary were intentionally notified as a National Park, which covers an area of 472.08 sq. kms.
The Govind Wildlife Sanctuary is located between 35*55 and 31*17’30 latitude and 77*47’ 30 and 78*37’ 30 longitude in Purola tehsil of Uttarakashi district of Uttaranchal. Naitwar, the entrance and starting point of the sanctuary is approachable on a metalled all weather road. It is at a distance of 200 kms. From Dehradun. It can also be approached from Delhi by taking a 65 kms. long bifurcation from Naugaon situated on the Delhi Yamunotri state highway. Daily bus service exists between Dehradun and Naitwar.
Over 15 species of mammals and 150 species of birds exists in the sanctuary. The important mammals are Snow leopard, Black bear, Brown bear, Musk deer, Bharal, Himalayan Thar, Serow and Common leopard.
The endangered birds found in the area are Monal pheasant, Koklas pheasant, Western Tragopan, Himalayan Snow cock, Golden eagle, Steppe eagle, Black eagle and Bearded vulture. Other important bird groups are pigeons, parakeets, cuckoos, owls, minivets, bulbuls, tits, warblers, thrushes, finches, buntings, etc.
As in other areas of the Himalayas, owing to low density and rugged terrain, the animal sightings are very poor. The Ruinsara catchment has been an important area for high altitude expeditions to peaks like Black Peak and Banderpunch.
Har-ki-Doon, Ruinsaratal, Deokyara, Kedarkantha and Bhratsar are important places of attraction for the tourists. Swargarohini, Black Peak and Banderpunch are the important peaks in the area.
The period from April to June and September to November is suitable for visiting the area.
ccessible by road via Rishikesh-Uttarkashi or via Mussoorie- Purola- Saur. Bus services are available from Uttarkashi, Barkot Dehradun, Naitwar to Saur-Sankri.
The nearest railhead is Dehradun, 207 kms.