Guide To Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh

green leafed trees

The rare snow leopard and Chir pheasant can be found in Himachal Pradesh’s Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary. These animals can be seen living in peace and serenity among the thick foliage of the tall trees. This is the elusive snow leopard’s domain. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of this animal. A few pleasant, peaceful hours spent watching animals in their natural habitats can be considered time well spent.

Bandli Sanctuary- Himachal Pradesh, located seven kilometres from Sunder Nagar town, Mandi, is a must-see if you are in the vicinity of Himachal Pradesh. In order to balance the state’s wildlife sanctuaries and parks, the Himachal Pradesh government is actively involved in their preservation.

Major Wildlife Attractions of Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary

The rare Snow Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Common Palm Civet, Barking Deer, Goral, Indian Hare, and Rhesus Macaque can all be found here.

Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary is best visited between May and October.

How To Reach Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary

Air: The nearest airport is Bhuntar, which is about 57 kilometres from Mandi.

Rail: The broad gauge railhead is 210 kilometres away in Pathankot. The narrow gauge railway connects Pathankot to Joginder Nagar, which is 55 kilometres from Mandi.

Road: Mandi is well connected to the rest of the world by road. The main bus station is located just above an open playing field, where the National Highway-21 continues along the river’s left bank to Pandoh.

Himachal Pradesh ranks third among all states in terms of the percentage of total state area covered by Protected Areas (PA). Its 32 sanctuaries and two national parks cover 13.6% of the state’s land area, compared to the national average of 4.7%. (HPFD 2004b).

While two of the state’s sanctuaries cover an area of more than 1000 km2, sixteen of the thirty-two sanctuaries have an area of less than 75 km2.

The Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary is one of these, a small Protected Area of 41.32 km2 located about 8 kilometres from Sundernagar, District Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. It stretches north from 31o25’21” to 31o29’02” and east from 76o52’04” to 76o56’54”.

The Sanctuary was established in 1962, and the final notification for its gazettement was issued in 1999. (HPFD undated, Singh et al., 1990). It is a representative of the Himalayan biogeographic zone 2 A’s North-West Himalaya province (Rodgers et al., 2002).

Topography of Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary

Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary is located in hilly terrain with elevations ranging from 600 to over 2000 metres. The elevation change is abrupt and steep, with the highest point of Bandli Tibba at 2162 m. The terrain is made up of steep rock and cliffs, with about 5% of the area covered by precipitous rocky slopes.

Rock and soil type of Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary

The predominant rock type is calcite limestone, with a few shale bands and grey coloured dolomite with quartz veins. The base rock has resulted in shallow textured soils that are generally well-drained. Because of repeated burning, the soil in open areas near human settlements is depleted of organic matter. Certain areas in the northern and eastern aspects have nutrient-rich soil.

Climate of Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary

The cold, dry, and wet seasons are distinct, with temperatures ranging from 36oC in summer to -1oC in winter. Every year, mild snowfall falls in the area’s highest reaches. Ground frost is common in the winter, and mild fog persists for a short time during the monsoon season. The annual rainfall in the area is approximately 1500 mm. Most of the year, wind conditions are mild, with high velocity winds occurring only on hilltops.

Vegetation of Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary

According to Champion and Seth, the vegetation of the area corresponds to the forest categories of Northern Dry Mixed Deciduous Forests 5B/C2, Himalayan Subtropical Chir Pine Forest 9/C1b 12/C1/1a, and Lower West Himalayan Temperate Forest – Ban Oak Forest (1968).

Northern Dry Mixed Deciduous Forest is found on the Sanctuary’s southern and partly western slopes, occurring in the lowest areas of Bandli WLS from about 600 m up to the higher reaches till about 1300 m. Some of the major species that characterise this forest type in the Sanctuary are

Acacia catechuKhair
Cassia fistulaAmaltas
Emblica officinalisAmla
Terminalia bellericaBahera
Bauhinia racemosaSafed kachnar
Dalbergia sissooShisham
Syzygium cuminiJamun

The ban oak or Quercus leucotrichophora (previously known as Q. incana) forest covers the lower Himalayan belt, especially in the outer ranges and on southern aspects. Q. leucotrichophora trees form a relatively closed canopy in patches where they are well-developed in Bandli WLS, whereas in others, the trees remain short-boled and form a more open forest. A variety of deciduous trees contribute to the main canopy along nalas or moist ravines. Trees of Cinnamomum tamala (tej patta) are also commonly found interspersed with Q. leucotrichophora.

Patches of grassland dotted with Phoenix trees can also be found in the Sanctuary area. Bandli WLS grassy slopes occur in steep terrain, often with precipitous slopes inaccessible to humans and large livestock, and serve as important forage areas for wild ungulates, particularly goral (Naemorhedus goral).

Fauna of Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary

Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a variety of mammalian species, including carnivores such as the leopard and leopard cat. Goral and barking deer are among the wild ungulates found here.

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