Explore the Wilderness at Hastinapur Wildlife SanctuaryAs the Father of our nation puts it, “what we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mere reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and one another”. The main objective of any wildlife sanctuary being to preserve and protect the species, flora and fauna that naturally occur in its zone, ‘Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary’ which was established in 1986 is one such. This sanctuary is situated in Ghaziabad, Meerut, Jyotiba Phule Nagar and Bijnor of Uttar Pradesh. Ideally, located on the banks of River Ganga it has many beautiful and picturesque spots. It attracts many zoologists, ornithologists and tourists because of its rich bio-diversity. Spread over an area of 2073 sq km, it is an abode for a range of vertebrates, invertebrates, birds and rare species of plants and trees.
It has been established as a sanctuary to protect the ecological, local, global environment and also to preserve the Gangetic basin.
This sanctuary is shelter for Hyenas, Sloth bears, Blue bulls, Sambhars, Leopards, Wild boars and Antelopes. Apart from these, there are numerous creepy crawlies, right from scorpions, millipedes, centipedes, variety of spiders and bugs. On a lucky day, a sighting of a Python slithering or coiling in its space will make for a spine chilling moment.
Main attractions of the sanctuary being, Alligators which seek shelter in these marshy lands. ‘Ghariyal’ which is tagged as a ‘critically endangered’ species lives protected in this space. There has been a sudden fall in the number in the last decade.
The other attraction being the ‘Flying Fox’ which is a species of mega bat. These are large and have a wingspan of about 1.2 and 1.5m. This sanctuary remains the house for this nocturnal animal due to the large water body, dense forest and marshy lands.
‘Fresh water turtles’, both hard-shelled and soft-shelled are found in the Ganges. The main hurdle faced by the forest authorities being the difficulty on tracking these, thereby, making it impossible for them to know if there is any change in terms of the population. Turtles are caught and are consumed which is also a cause of concern. If you are fortunate enough you can catch a glimpse of the 'Gangetic Dolphin', which frequents this river stretch. These Gangetic Dolphins can only survive in fresh water and supposed to be blind, hence hunt by emitting ultrasonic sounds.
This place is a delight for the Ornithologists for the variety of migratory birds it attracts and also many inmates who have made this forest their very abode. Some of them being, Sarus crane, Painted stork, Black and white necked Stork, king fisher, Barbets, Minivets, Wood peckers, Jungle owlets and our very own national pride ‘The Peacock’.
This sanctuary is also ground for the famous Sagaun tree, used in making furniture while its leaves are dried and converted in to plates, since it is a protected zone, some trees are left which otherwise would have long gone. Sandalwood trees which are highly expensive and even a small bark is said to fetch you a fortune, Khair, Eucalyptus and Amaltas adorn the expanse of the sanctuary and serve as breeding grounds for the bird population.
To conserve and protect this sanctuary in a better and organised manner, “Paryawaran Sachetak Samiti” an independent voluntary organisation which is actively involved in promotion of ecology and nature conservation, along with "WWF" has taken commendable steps and organise activities to promote their cause.
The sanctuary is divided in to different zones named after the Pandavas and Kauravas in Mahabharata. The nature trails give an opportunity for trekking enthusiasts.
Be mesmerised with a safari, a trek through the woods, watch the endangered species, enjoy the rich bio-diversity of the place and be thrilled by the scintillating feat of dolphins splashing and springing in the water. As the saying goes, “Everyone needs a tonic of wilderness,” explore....
How to Reach Hastinapur Wildlife SanctuaryBy Air: Delhi is the nearest Airport, it is a 110km drive from the airport.
By Road: NH 45 is well connected to all the states, which leads to the sanctuary.
By Rail: Nearest Railway station being Meerut, a 30km drive will take you to the destination.
Accommodation: One can choose to make earlier reservations at The PWD Inspection House or The Forest Rest House. Private Hotels are also available depending on your convenience you may book accordingly.
Best time to visit the Sanctuary: Between Mid-November and Early-April.
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