Dudhwa National Park
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Dudhwa National Park is located in the Terai of Uttar Pradesh, India and covers an area of 680 km2 with a buffer area of almost 190 km2. In altitude it ranges from about 150 metres (490 ft) to 183 metres (600 ft). The international border with Nepal forms the northern boundary, and the River Suheli the southern boundary. Its headquarters are located in Lakhimpur Kheri District. The nearest town with service facilities is Palia.
The area was established in 1958 as a wildlife sanctuary. Thanks to the efforts of 'Billy' Arjan Singh the area was notified as a national park in January 1977. In 1988, the park was declared as a tiger reserve, and forms the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve together with the Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary.
Like most of northern India, Dudhwa has an extreme type of climate. Summers are hot with temperatures rising up to 40°C (104°F). During winters from mid-October to mid-March, temperatures hover between 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F). The months of February to April are ideal for visiting the park.
Prevalent winds are westerly. The hot wind Loo blows strongly from mid-April up to end of May. Monsoon starting in mid-June and lasting up to September accounts for 90% of the annual rainfall of 150 cm. Temperatures range from between a minimum of 9°C in winter to a maximum of up to 45°C in peak summer.
The vegetation of the area is moist deciduous. The high dense forests are interspersed with extensive stretches of grasslands and wetlands. The predominant tree species are sal, asna, shisham, jamun, gular, bahera and sehore.
Dudhwa National Park is home to one of the finest Sal forests in India, some of these trees are more than 150 years old and over 70 feet tall.
Some rare species inhabit the park. Hispid Hare, earlier thought to have become extinct, was rediscovered in 1984.
In the mid 1980s, Indian Rhinoceros was reintroduced into Dudhwa from Assam and Nepal.
The other animals to be seen here include Swamp Deer, Sambar Deer, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Hog Deer, Tiger, Rhinoceros, Sloth Bear, Ratel, Jackal, Civet, Jungle Cat, Fishing Cat, Leopard Cat.
The major attractions of Dudhwa National Park are the Tigers and Swamp Deer. The main attractions of the park are its Swamp Deer (population over 1,600) and tiger (population 98 in 1995). The park is famous for the efforts of ‘Billy’ Arjan Singh, one of India’s leading conservationists, who was instrumental in the creation of Dudhwa as a sanctuary of the Swamp Deer. Later he successfully hand-reared and re-introduced zoo-born tigers and leopards into the wilds of Dudhwa.
The park has a rich bird life, with over 350 species, including the Swamp Francolin, Great Slaty Woodpecker and Bengal Florican. Dudhwa also boasts a range of migratory birds that settle here during winters. It includes among others, painted storks, black and white necked storks, Sarus Cranes, woodpeckers, barbets, kingfishers, minivans, bee-eaters, bulbuls and varied night birds of prey.
Dudwa National Park is a stronghold of the barasingha, which can be spotted in herds of hundreds. It is interesting to note that around half of the world's barasinghas are present in Dudhwa National Park. Smaller than the sambar, the barasinghas have 12 antlers that collectively measure up to 100 cm.
Barasinghas: Passing through open grasslands, one can spot herd of these rare animals. Around half of the surviving population of Barasinghas is found in the park. These animals are smaller than sambar and weigh around 180 kg. The barasinghas have 12 antlers that measure up to 100 cm. Due to their slightly woolly, dark brown to pale yellow cloak, the grasslands acts as the perfect camouflage.
Drongos, Barbets, Cormorants, Ducks, Geese, Hornbills, Bulbuls, Teal, Woodpeckers, Heron, Bee Eaters, Minivets, Kingfishers, Egrets, Orioles, plenty of painted storks, sarus cranes, owls and more. One can also spot rare species like the Bengal florican.
Dudhwa's birds in particular are a delight for any avid bird watcher. The marshlands are habitat for about 400 species of resident and migratory birds including the Swamp Francolin, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Bengal Florican, plenty of Painted Stork, Sarus Crane, several species of owl, Asian barbet, woodpecker and minivets. Much of the park’s avian fauna is aquatic in nature and found around Dudhwa’s lakes such as Banke Tal.
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 estate 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.
Built in the Indo-Saracenic style by the rulers of the Singhai estate, Surat Bhawan Palace is one of the famous palaces of the Terai area. Not far from the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve on the Lakhimpur-Nighasan-Dudhwa route, the palace is set in a large green, 9-acre (36,000 m2) retreat. Expanses of lush lawns, fountains, a swimming pool and interesting architectural details make a visit to the palace worthwhile.
Frog Temple: This temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located in Oyal, which is nearly 10 km from Hargaon en route Lakhimpur-Kheri. The base of the temple is in the shape of a large frog.
Surat Bhawan Palace: This 19th century Indo-Sarasenic style built Palace is located around 8 km from the Dudhwa National Park. One can see the Himalayan Peaks from the Palace terrace on a clear day.
Elephant Rides: The spotting of animals and birds in their natural habitation, and that too sitting on top of an Indian elephant is an experience to treasure for a long time.
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).
Nearest Railway Station: Dudwa (4 km.), Palia (10 km.), Mailani (37 km.) Nearest Airport: Lucknow, Dhangarhi (Nepal, 35 km.)
Dudhwa National Park travel guide from Wikitravel
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