Dudhwa National Park, India
National Park - The Largest and Thickest Forests Reserve, As the morning
sun shines over the 50 feet tall Sal trees, dragonflies stretch out their
wings by the gentle warmth of the golden sun. Sitting calmly on the dew-
drenched leaves, they bask in the fresh warmth to recharge themselves
for the day's flight. Somewhere in the distance a koyal welcomes the morning
with it's musical ode. Very little of the sun is able to cut through the
thickness of the jungle. But what reaches the ground definitely explodes
into a majestic display of light and shadow on the canvas of dry leaves.
An occasional rustle sends shivers down the spine. This is Dudhwa National
Park,the most precious reserves, that makes excellent wildlfie holiday
vacations in India.
Around 420km by road from Delhi and 260km from Lucknow, Dudhwa National
Park is spread over 490sq km along with a buffer area of over 100sq km.
Besides massive grassland and swamps, the Park boasts of one of the finest
qualities of Sal (Shorea robusta) forests in India. Some of these trees
are more than 150 years old and over 70 feet tall. But when the area was
first notified as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1965, and later as a National
Park in 1977, it faced intense opposition from foresters, game lovers
and local inhabitants.
Nobody wanted to lose this precious piece of land that was a life-support
system for the locals. It was Billy Arjun Singh who stepped in to see
Dudhwa through its fate. Committed to the point of being obsessive, this
man stood firmly in favour of the jungle and convinced the erstwhile Prime
Minister Indira Gandhi to notify the forest as a National Park.
This was a turning
point in the history of Dudhwa National Park. Till then, the forest was
a safe haven for both poachers and timber smugglers. Soon strict measures
were taken to save the forest. In 1976, the park boasted of a population
of 50 tigers, 41 elephants and 76 bears apart from five species of deer,
more than 400 species of birds, a few crocodiles, and some other species
of mammals and reptiles. officials claim that today the tiger population
in Dudhwa has touched 70. However, the local NGOs believe that the number
of tigers in Dudhwa doesn't cross 20.
National Park holidays will take you to your most thrilling holiday vacations
where one rendezvous the barasingha, or the swamp deer, which can be seen
in herds of more than a 100. India is the only country where this species
of deer is found. According to a crude estimate, only 4,000 odd barasinghas
have survived on the planet today, out of which more than 2,000 are found
Smaller than the sambar,
the barasinghas have 12 antlers that can collectively measure more than
100cm in height. A full-grown stag can weigh as much as 180kg and measure
135cm at shoulder height. The coat is slightly woolly, dark brown to pale
yellow, adapted perfectly to camouflage the herd in the tall elephant
grasses of the region.
With the onset of
winter, there is plenty of food to eat and warm sun for the deer to bask
in. It is the right time for the females to conceive and for the males
to form harems. This is the season when the swamps of Dudhwa echo with
the frequent wallowing of rutting stags. There is hardly a serious conflict
between the adult males. Mock fights entail stiff postures and shrill
calls rather than the actual locking of the horns. But the most intriguing
behavior of the rutting male swamp deer is to decorate its antlers with
grass - probably a ritual before going in for a mass courting.
Time for the New
The onset of spring brings back harmony. The females have conceived and
now the herd should be prepared to welcome the newborn fawns. There is
no point wearing domineering antlers now. With winter gone, it's time
to shed the woolly coats. During this point of time in the year, one can
hardly see any fights amongst the males. Suddenly everyone in the herd
is busy grazing, preparing themselves for the harsh summer ahead.
major attraction of the Dudhwa National Park is its tiger population.
Holidays in Dudhwa National Park gives ample opportunity to site the majestic
creatures, the tiger. Once Dudhwa was severely affected by man-eating
tigers. Although today one hardly hears of man-eating tigers in Dudhwa,
the structure of the Park could have facilitated the attacks. This is
probably the only Park that doesn't have adequate buffer area to support
the main Park. This leads to conflict between human beings and animals
that do not respect each other's territories.
In the late 70s, Dudhwa
became a wildlife hotspot that was famous the world over. The reason -
indiscriminate killings by a tiger. On March 2, 1978, the first ever case
of man-eating in the history of the National Park was registered. Soon
after, three more men were killed. Suddenly, shock and fear gripped the
entire area. The entire city lodged a protest with the forest officials,
demanding the man-eater be killed.
Jeep & Elephant
through the park with elephant trainers can be great fun. Since most of
the area has marshy swamps, the most convenient way to move around the
park is a ride on elephants back. With a nominal charge, you can move
around the park in complete natural way. Jeeps are also available to cut
through tedious and slow elephant rides.
How to Reach
By Air : Lucknow, Dhangarhi (Nepal, 35 km.) are the nearest Airports.
By Rail : Dudhwa
(4 km.), Palia (10 km.), Mailani (37 km.) are the railway stations located
adjoining to this place.
By Road : Drive
from Delhi (8-9 hours) or take the train to Shahjehanpur and drive to
Dudhwa (3 hours). Alternatively fly to Lucknow and drive to Dudhwa (245
km, 6 hours).
National Parks of India