EXPLORING INTO THE WILD
Embedded in the heart of India is Uttar Pradesh, a land where cultures have evolved and religions converge. The greatness of Uttar Pradesh lies not only in this confluence, but also in the emergence of cultural and religious traditions along some of the greatest rivers in the Indian sub-continent – the Ganga and the Yamuna. Throughout history, great cities have emerged and established along great rivers. Within India, the Ganga and the Yamuna have nurtured a culture because of which religious faith, rituals, culture and intellectual enlightenment have evolved in places along the two rivers.
Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is one of the finest few remaining examples of the exceedingly diverse and productive Tarai eco-system. The northern edge of the reserve lies along the Indo-nepal border and the southern boundary is marked by the river Suheli. It is well known sanctuary of the swamp deer and is home to tigers, leopards, varieties of deer, antelopes, elephants, jackal, hyena etc, amid thick green forest and grassland. It is also a bird watchers’ haven. A large number of rhinos are also found here. This National Park is home to tigers, leopards, varieties of deer and antelopes, elephants and birds. A quiet, tranquil and green nest in the Tarai foothills about 230 km from Lucknow.
Major attractions of Dudhwa National Park are the tigers (population 98 in 1995) and swamp deer (population over 1,600). Billy Arjan Singh successfully handreared and reintroduced zoo-born tigers and leopards into the wilds of Dudhwa. Some rare species inhabit the park. Hispid hare, earlier thought to have become extinct, was rediscovered here in 1984.
Dudhwa National Park is a stronghold of the barasingha. Around half of the world’s barasinghas are present in Dudhwa National Park. Smaller than the sambar deer, the barasinghas have 12 antlers that collectively measure up to 100 cm. One can spot herd of these rare animals passing through open grasslands. Around half of the surviving population of Barasinghas is found in the park. These animals are smaller than sambar deer and weigh around 180 kg. Due to their slightly woolly, dark brown to pale yellow cloak, the grasslands acts as the perfect camouflage.
The park has 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, minivets, beeeaters, bulbuls and varied night birds of prey. There are also drongos, barbets, cormorants, ducks, geese, hornbills, bulbuls, teal, woodpeckers, heron, beeeaters, minivets, kingfishers, egrets, orioles, painted storks, owls.
Exploring Uttar Pradesh along the mighty rivers takes the visitors on a magical trip. The Heritage Arc in Uttar Pradesh provides an opportunity to explore the state in all its glory. The Heritage Arc signifies heritage in terms of cultural, historical and natural aspects. Moving on this arc from one end of the state to the other, takes travellers through Agra region, Lucknow region and Varanasi region, with several exciting destinations along the way.