08 June 2009

Valmiki Tiger Reserve and National Park in West Champaran, Bihar: A Wildlife Tourist Attraction

Valmiki Nagar : Earlier known as Bhainsalotan.

The Valmiki National Park is spread across a core area of 335.64 sq.km of more than 800 sq.km. of the Valmiki Sanctuary located in the West Champaran district of Bihar.

Valmiki was established as the 18th tiger reserve in 1990. It ranks 4th in terms of density of tiger population.

The Government of Bihar, in 1978 declared an area of 464.60 sq. km., which now forms the Reserve, as Wildlife Sanctuary, and a national park in 1989. Later on, in 1990, 419.18 sq. km. was added to the Sanctuary, totalling to 880.78 sq. km.

The park is surrounded by the Royal Chitwan National Park of Nepal in the north and the river Gandak on the western side with the Himalayan mountains as a backdrop. Adjacent to the sanctuary, in the forests of Chitwan National Park, Nepal, is the historic Valmiki Ashram.

The park consists of moist sal bearing forests, dry sal bearing forests, moist mixed deciduous forests without sal, cane and tropical seasonal swamp forests containing reed beds and wet grasslands. The one-horned rhinoceros and Indian bison often migrate from Chitwan to Valmikinagar.
The forest here is a mix of extensive Savannah lands and swamps. The forest in the sanctuary is rich in Bhabar-Dun sal, dry Siwalik sal, khair and cane. The extensive forest area of Valmikinagar was owned by the Bettiah Raj and Ramanagar Raj until early 1950s.

Here, you can find wild animals amidst their natural habitat roaming about in their environment. The diverse range of wild lives and animals that are found in the Valmiki National Park, Bihar includes the following:

black buck,
sloth bear,
Indian civets,
jungle cats,
hog deer and wild dogs.

One-horned rhinoceros and Indian bison often migrate from Chitwan to Valmikinagar.

Best time: Any time (avoid summer between May-June and rainy season between July - Aug). Best between Oct- Mid April.

Where to stay: There are a number of rest houses of the Irrigation Department available.

How to Reach

Air: The nearest airport is at Patna at a distance of 295km.
Rail: The nearest rail head Valmiki Nagar is 5km from the park.
Road : There are bus services from Valmiki Nagar to Bettiah ( 80km) the nearest town.
Nearest railhead Valmiki Nagar is connected to Delhi, Lucknow and other major city like varanasi, Kolkatta etc. Best train is Saptkranti Express leaving New Delhi afternoon and reach Valmiki Nagar early morning. Valmiki Nagar is close to Nepal border and nearest town is Birganj. So one can extend the trip upto Nepal as well. Return journey can be made by same superfast train Saptkranti express leaving Valmiki Nagar just afternoon and reach New Delhi at 5am. Please check http://www.irctc.co.in for booking and more details for access from other city. People visiting Varanasi can also reach park (3-4 hours drive or train time).
Nearest airport is Patna (approx 200km). Birganj (nearest nepal town) also has an airport well connected to Kathmandu.

People visiting can also extend their trip to:

Bapudham Motihari: where Mahatma Gandhi started his first Non-cooperation movement. Gandhi Musium is good if someone has interest.

Temples : Jatashankar Temple, Nardevi Temple and Kaleshwar Temple. Triveni Temple (a holy place for Hindus) is located across the Gandak barrage in Nepal (2-3 kms) from Gandak barrage.

Archaeologically rich places : Lauriya Nandan Garh and Someshwar Fort. Lion pillar of Ashoka at Lauriya Nandan Garh is a single block of polished sand stone.

Dy. Conservator of Forests,
Champaran Forest Division,
P.O.Betia, Distt. Champaran

Some Facts :

Mahrishi Valmiki, the author of Ramayan, set Valmiki Ashram on the banks of Gandak here. Sita gave birth to Luv and Kush at Valmiki Ashram.
The 20th chapter of Sabhaparva in Mahabharat mentions that the Pandavas accompanied by Krishna had crossed this area, then known as Gandaki Pradesh

A dam is built on the river Gandak (Gandak Project). This dam and its channels are the lifeline of north-western part of Bihar. This channel also irrigates some portions of eastern U.P. This dam is also generating hydro-electricity. This dam has been handed over to the nation by late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru the then Prime Minister.

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