Dudhwa National Park
Dudhwa National Park, in Lakhimpur-Kheri District of Uttar Pradesh, adjacent to Nepal border, is one of the major projects for wildlife preservation in India. Spread over an expanse of approximately 811 sq km of marshes, grasslands and dense forests, it is a home for over 38 species of mammals, 16 species of reptiles and numerous species of birds. It has two core areas: Dudhwa National Park and Kishanpur wildlife sanctuary. They are 15 km apart with agricultural land between them. Unlike other major national parks in India like Corbett, Kaziranga etc., its uncommercialized environment makes it an ideal place for animal and bird lovers to spend a day or two in peace, closest to nature.
Located on the Indo-Nepal border of the Lakhimpur Kheri district in Uttar Pradesh, India, Dudhwa National Park (680 square kilometres), along with two other adjacent parks, the Kishanpur Wild Life Sanctuary (204 square kilometres) and Katerniaghat Wild Life Sanctuary (440 square kilometres) is now named as the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve under the Project Tiger. It represents some of the best natural forests and grasslands left in the Terai district of Uttar Pradesh and is today the last viable home of the Royal Bengal Tiger in the state, along with species such as swamp deer, Indian one horned rhinoceros and the elusive hispid hare. Arguably, it has some of the best forests of 'Sal' tree in the world, amongst other flora and is a virtual unexplored paradise for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers.
After independance of India in 1947, the locals starting encroaching the wilderness of the jungle and the forests started being replaced by paddy and sugarcane. Its location on the Indo-Nepal border provides ideal environment for poachers who hunt for the animals here and sell their products in Nepal, which being a tourist place gives them a huge market for these things. It was a heaven for poachers, game lovers and locals. It is due to the untiring and single-handed efforts of 'Billy' Arjan Singh that this park now stands with its richness. The area was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1965 which received a lot of criticism from the people benefitting from the area. Standing up to the point of being obsessive, Billy favoured the decision and went on to convince the erstwhile Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, to declare the forest as a National park in 1977. In 1984-85, seven rhinos were relocated from Assam and Nepal to Dudhwa to rehabilitate a rhino population which lived here 150 years ago. Four years later, it was declared a Tiger Reserve under the Project Tiger and currently is a major habitat for tigers in India.
The forest is located on the foot-hills of the Himalyas with the flat land covered by spreads of grasslands, swamps and dense forests of tall sal trees. The area is an extremely fertile vast alluvial plain. This mix of ecosystems plays a key role in sustaining a large number living species. The swamps and vast grasslands with tall, yellow grass provide a natural habitat for tigers, deers, rhino etc while dense forests support a variety of other animals and birds also.
Flora and fauna
Dudhwa National Park is a home for 38 species of mammals, 16 species of reptiles, 400 species of birds and 90 species of fish. The main attraction of Dudhwa is swamp deer. Half of the world's 4000 swamp deer live here. Apart from this, four more types of deer found here: hog deer, spotted deer, barking deer and sambar. The officials figure on the population of tigers is 101 but according to Billy himself there is not enough prey to support more than 20 tigers. The rhino population has increased from 7 to 16 since 1984. There are a few leopards also and recently a hispid hare has also been seen. Wild boars, elephants and bears also give an occasional sighting here.
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.), Gola Gokaran Nath (70 Kms).
Nearest Airport: Lucknow, Dhangarhi (Nepal, 35 kms).
The forest provides no jeep safaris or guides. Jeeps and mini buses can be hired to move around inside the park. Elephant rides through the Park are also available and moreover the mahouts or Elephant drivers also double up as guides.
The park has only one canteen, located in the Main Office of the park. They serve vegetarian food of reasonable quality at moderate prices. Orders have to be given in advance from the menu.
Karavan Heritage and Nature Society organizes National Environment Science Camp at Dudhwa National Park every year in the months of November -December and January. The theme of the Camp this year is Re-discover the Garden of Eden. The objective of the Camp is to Observe, Experience and Conserve our Pristine Environment by the means of great games and stimulating activities. The Camp has been structured on the lines of a formidable Decathlon; an Olympics Race with 10 challenging dares. Some really interesting personalities will grace the Camp; Javaman, an extinct ancestor; Major yA-mA, the fierce Warden of Dudhwa and tricky Po-Ching, the dread of Dudhwa. Jungle Tents: Pick your Luxury Suites: Banke, Tara, RLS, Billy, Jogi and many more. Our Jungle Tents are named after the legends of Dudhwa. The tents are large roomy, spacious and comfortable. They are made of Canvas and each tent can accommodate 8 students. The tents can be zipped open and closed. The entire tent can be sealed and secured. Our tents provide warmth in winters and are cool in summers. They are highly aesthetic and the layout is perfect. The color merges with the surroundings and gives you a feeling of being a pioneer naturalist a la Corbett. We provide cozy and comfortable bedding consisting of mattresses, sheets, pillows and quilts (or sleeping sheets, as per the season) Every room tent is provided a semi-permanent toilet tent.
Delicious Food: Karavan's logistics team toils its heart out to arrange for healthy, wholesome, mouthwatering dishes, desserts, soups, great snacks. The culinary delights of our logistics team are not to be savored elsewhere.
Hygiene and Sanitation: As a matter of principle and also from the practical point of view, our Campsite is always spic and span. If the hygiene and sanitation of a Campsite is found wanting, the best experience stands ruined! The fact that our campsite is always tidy has been highly appreciated. The Forest Department extends its cooperation to us for this very reason. We encourage the Campers to abide by the concept of Zero-Pollution throughout the camp and we have received excellent support.
Environment Policy: We observe a very strict environment policy of Zero-Pollution. Wastage of resources (fuel, lighting, water, paper etc.) is minimal. We make a conscientious effort not to disturb the wildlife by noise and loud music. We serve only vegetarian food. Waste is properly segregated. All the organic waste is disposed in a pit. Bio-non degradable waste is collected in sacks and taken away for municipal disposal. We vacate the Campsite in its original state. It is difficult to imagine if it was here that someone lodged here at all.
Karavan arranges for quality transport: good busses and jeeps.
Humble Luxuries: A Jungle Camp experience ought to be made mandatory. It instills a certain discipline and attitude of toughness. In these circumstances of limited resources, Karavan provides things of such convenience that it fills you with joy; because their utility cannot be visualized. It is a sheer surprise to find it with you when you need these ‘little things’ most.
A Personal Touch: you will find our entire staff very disciplined and courteous. All your concerns will be addressed to sincerely.