The government of Himachal Pradesh is instrumental in preserving the wildlife sanctuaries to maintain the ecological balance.

The dense forests of Himachal Pradesh have provided shelter to a variety of wild and untamed animals and beautiful flora. Not only visiting these wildlife sanctuaries rejuvenates your mind but gives a whole other level of satisfaction. 

Himachal Pradesh is home to several wildlife sanctuaries and the more you travel within the rocky terrains and dense forests, the more it leaves you wanting for more.

Our best suggestion is traveling to these wildlife sanctuaries through trekking. Exploring the flora and fauna of the wildlife sanctuaries on foot leaves an enchanting experience and wonderful memories. And it is for this reason we have listed a few of our favorite wildlife sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh.

List of Important Wildlife Sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh

Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary

Snow Leopard at Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary

The Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary is extremely popular for its snow leopards and Chir pheasants which can be found in the forests of Himachal Pradesh.

The flora and fauna of this region are extremely rare and can be found in their natural habitat within the thick foliage of tall trees. This is the territory of the elusive snow leopard living a life of serenity. And if the stars are in your favor, you might just end up getting a glimpse of this endangered species.

Situated seven kilometers from Sunder Nagar town in Mandi, Bandli Wildlife Sanctuary becomes a top priority if you wish to experience a day with the fauna of Himachal Pradesh.

It is one of the most beautiful wildlife sanctuaries where you can spend the entire day watching various animals. A trip to this sanctuary only promises an enjoyable experience.

Moreover, that’s just not all. The wildlife sanctuary also provides other major wildlife attractions. Animals such as the snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, Common Palm Civer, barking deer, Goral, Indian hare, rhesus macaque are popular. The best time to visit this wildlife sanctuary is between May and October.

Chail Wildlife Sanctuary

Deers at Chail Wildlife Sanctuary
Deers at Chail Wildlife Sanctuary

When in Himachal Pradesh, make sure to visit Chail Wildlife Sanctuary. It is considered one of the best wildlife refuges or sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh.

The sanctuary extends over an area of 110 sq. km. Established in 1976, the sanctuary was declared as a protected area under the concern of the Government.

Densely covered by Oaks and Pine trees, the wildlife sanctuary is located in Chail and is the abode of several varieties of flora and fauna.

The sanctuary remains popular for its boar, goral, sambar, spotted deer, Himalayan black beer, common langur, Indian porcupine, flying squirrel, and many more. The former Maharaja of Patiala introduced the European deer to the park. Unfortunately, the sighting of the animal remains extremely rare.

The park also offers the sighting of a huge variety of birds like Chir Pheasant, Golden Eagle, Grey Headed Flycatcher, Khalij Pheasant, and many more. 

Chail Wildlife Sanctuary is a vast area of wonder and one must visit this sanctuary when the climate is pleasant. This sanctuary remains full of bird, nature and wildlife lovers throughout the year.

And despite the fact that the park remains open all round the year, we suggest visiting it from March to October. This is the period that one can enjoy spotting several animals, birds, and the dense forests with large varieties of flowers.

Churdhar Wildlife Sanctuary

Peacock at Churdhar Wildlife Sanctuary
Peacock at Churdhar Wildlife Sanctuary

Established in 1985, Churdhar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the famous wildlife sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh.

Situated in the Sirmaur and Shimla districts of Himachal Pradesh, the sanctuary offers a variety of flora and fauna. Covered in alpine trees and green grassy pastures, the site is popular among nature lovers. The sanctuary is of religious importance as well as it is a holy place of Lord Shirgul Maharaj.

What is striking about this sanctuary is its sheer natural beauty and abundance of wildlife present in the area.

Located at a height of 3647m above the sea level, visitors can relish the view of wild Gangetic plains and the Satluj River on its south and Badrinath in its north.

The sanctuary remains popular for its variety of renowned medicinal plants. Himalayan wild cherry, Aloe Vera and Amaranthus spinosus are some of the best aromatic and medicinal plants found in this region. The main trees found here are oak and deodar.

But the striking factor of this wildlife sanctuary is the variety of wild, untamed beasts like Monal, Himalayan Black Bear, Musk Deer, Barking Deer, Leopards and Langur, Asiatic Black Bear, Pika, Indian peafowl, red jungle fowl, koklass pheasant, and many more could be found lurking on the verdant pastures.

Daranghati Wildlife Sanctuary 

Believed to have been a game reserve of the Raja of Bushahr, Daranghati Wildlife Sanctuary is now home to different species of pheasants. Situated at the northern and southern sides of the Dauladhar mountain ranges, this sanctuary spreads over an area of almost 167.40 sq. km. 

The view of the beautiful landscapes from the sanctuary is simply exhilarating to the mind and pleasing to the eye.

Surrounded by coniferous trees such as blue pine, silver fir and spruce on all its sides is Daranghati Wildlife Sanctuary. There is a large variety of endangered and non-endangered species who can be seen living in their natural habitat.

Wild animals such as Brown Bear, Flying Fox, Barking Deer, Goral, and Himalayan Ibex Leopard are found here. Other animals include Serow, Blue Sheep, Indian Hare, Common giant flying squirrel, Himalayan Palm Civet, and Himalayan Weasel.

The avifauna population within the sanctuary attracts the crowd very much. Jujurana, which is also called ‘king of the birds’, can be spotted easily in this area. Western Tragopan, which is a vulnerable pheasant, is the main attraction of Daranghati Sanctuary.

Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary

Blackbear at Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary
Blackbear at Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary

Situated between Dalhousie and Khajjar, Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is popular among the tourists.

Cedar, blue pines, oaks like moru and ban, deodar trees, rhododendron, firs, and many medicinal plants encircle the sanctuary. In the middle of the sanctuary, there is a large lake which offers splendid picturesque views to tourists.

Spreading over an area of 30.69 sq. km. The sanctuary is popular for sheltering a huge variety of fauna.

Animals such as Himalayan Black Bear, Leopard, Barking Deer, Goral, Squirrels of various kinds are found here. Others include Serow, Jackal, Langur, Himalayan Thar, Muntjak, and Himalayan Ibex. Among the avian population, birds like Black-headed Jay, Chestnut Billed Rock Thrush, Grey-headed Cannery Flycatcher, etc.

Kanwar Wildlife Sanctuary 

Located in close proximity to Shacha and Satupurna mountain peaks, Kanwar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the famous attractions in Himachal Pradesh. Endowed with the most varied geographical divisions, the sanctuary houses the ferocious animals and colorful flora.

Set up in 1954, the sanctuary spreads over an area of 60.7 sq. km. Covered with thick canopies of deodar and fir trees, it is located at quite an elevation. From temperate deciduous and mixed coniferous to west Himalayan subalpine and alpine dry scrub, the forest cover inside the sanctuary is a combination of various types.

One of the main attractions of Kanwar Wildlife Sanctuary is the Western Tragopan and Himalayan Thar. Cheer Pheasant and White Cheeked Tit are the most popular among the avian population. Animals that can be found here are yellow-throated marten, flying squirrel, snow leopard, brown bear, golden jackal among others.

Renuka SanctuaryRare Bird at Renuka Sanctuary

Renuka wildlife sanctuary is yet another place to witness the spectacular wildlife in Himachal Pradesh. Established in 1983, the sanctuary encloses Renukaji Mini Zoo which is the oldest zoo in Himachal Pradesh. Located in Sirmour District of Himachal Pradesh, the sanctuary spreads over an area of 4.028 sq. km. Known among the natives as a highly revered pilgrimage destination, the park is famous for housing Asiatic lions.  It is for the temples of mother and son duo, this region of Himachal gains high importance among the believers.

According to Wildlife Institute of India or WII, the sanctuary falls in the bio-geographical zone and shelters a mixture of dry mixed deciduous forest and dry sal forest. Furthermore, the forest of this park is covered by a mixed crop of Lucinda, Anogeissus, Khair, Terminalia, Carrie, Shisham, Cordia and many other varieties. 

But the wonder factor of this sanctuary does not just end here. If you are a butterfly lover, then this sanctuary might just be the place for you.  A small aviary inside the sanctuary houses various kinds of aquatic birds, red jungle fowl, black pheasant, Black Partridge. Other birds include Hill Crow, Drongos, Bulbul, Blue Jay, Scarlet Minivet, Green Pigeons, Common Coots, and Peacocks. Animals that can be found in this sanctuary are Sambar, Leopard, Spotted Deer, Indian Hare, Barking Deer, Jackal, Palm Civet, Jungle Cat, Porcupine, and many more. 

We hope this list is convincing enough for you to pack your bags for the next Himachal Pradesh trip. Also if you want to get more of the ultimate experience of flora and fauna altogether, ‘because the more the merrier’, then make sure to check our Top 5 National Parks in Himachal Pradesh. Last but not least, happy traveling!


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By Abhishek Saraswat

Abhishek (@himalayan_gypsy) is a travel photographer and blogger known as Himalayan Gypsy over the internet. Academically from an engineering background and born the Himalayan valley of Dehradun, he found himself in love with nature and ever since he has been on a journey to travel India and showcase the beauty of the country through his pictures, motivating and encouraging people on the go to feel the same and also take responsibilities to conserve our rich heritage, culture and environment. He is a Certified Digital Marketer and a Travel Influencer who is efficient to create visually appealing content for Travel Brands, Property Owners, Cafes and other Product Shoots. He also specializes in running Facebook & Instagram Ad Campaigns for Brand Awareness, Brand Promotion and Online Reputation Management.

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