Valmiki Nagar, Bihar Overview
Located in the West Champaran district, Valmiki National Park is situated on the India- Nepal border on the banks of river Gandak. Sprawling over a humongous area, the park is divided into two sections- the wildlife sanctuary declared in the year 1978 covers and area of 545 sq km and the national park which was established in 1990 covering an area of around 335 sq km. The only wildlife reserve in the state of Bihar, Valmiki National Park is covered in dense green forests of the Himalayan Terai landscape. Flaunting of a flourishing wildlife with extensive varieties of flora, fauna and avifauna, the highlight of the region is Bengal tigers (22 in the region as of 2013). The government further plans to convert 800 hectares of the forest area into grasslands to make it the largest grassland in the country. Valmiki National Park gets its name from Valmiki Nagar- the adjoining town to the forests which is also the only possible entrance to the wildlife reserve.
Best Time To Visit Valmiki NagarValmiki Tiger Reserve stays open from the 1st of October to the 31st of May. The best season to visit the sanctuary is between November to March for the reason that you can take the treks also easily without any exertions as the weather is pleasant; also, because you can spot the maximum number of wildlife- flora, fauna and avifauna during this time. However, winter months of December and January are a little cold when the mercury falls down to 3 - 4 degrees. In this season, remember to
Tips For Visiting Valmiki NagarSilence and discipline is expected from the visitors.
Littering or feeding the animals is not allowed.
It is advisable to be soft and not yell or shout.
Don't wear vibrant colour clothes. It is preferable to wear khaki, brown or green colours so they merge into the surroundings.
Use of strong perfume is not allowed.
Wear comfortable footwear. In case, you are trekking it is advisable to wear jungle safari boots.
Carry enough drinking water.
In case you encounter animals, let them cross first and be sure not to scare them.
Flora and Fauna in Valmiki National ParkValmiki National Park boasts a varied species of animals, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, butterflies, flowering and medicinal plants cosily habitating the champa forests. Some of the prominent fauna species include Bengal tigers, Indian rhinoceros, black bear, Indian sloth bear, Indian leopards, wild dogs, boars, barking deer, spotted deer, antelopes, Sanbar, blue bull, striped hyena, leopard cat, Indian flying fox, flying squirrel etc. Among the many reptiles residing in the ecosystem are pythons, king cobras, krait, banded kraits, domuha snakes, gharial, monitor lizard etc. The parks also houses a whopping variety of birds. At present, there are 241 bird species inhabiting the place- Nepal kaleej pheasant, flycatcher, waders, ibises, storks, pitta, grey shrike, green willow warbler, tree pipit, white eye, green barbet, plovers, three-toed quail, snipes, pied hornbill, emerald dove etc. The forests are also home to different kinds of moths and butterflies like lime butterfly, great Mormon, glassy tiger, great eggfly etc. In addition to that, there are seven different types of forest types and several mixed vegetation types.
Terrain of the Valmiki National ParkBased at the foothills of Himalayan Shivaliks, the terrain is a blend of gorges, cliffs, ridges, hills, streams, rivers, valleys, grasslands, woodlands, swamps, and riverine fringes. Located in the bio-geographical zone of the Indian Gangetic, the area is a combination of bhabar and terai tracts. The terai tracts are formed by the fine rich deposition of boulder and pebble. The rivers also deposit alluvium and sandy soils with variegated clay making the land fertile. River Gandak forms the western border of the national park, and the area is marked by meandering rivers, man-made canals, swamps and glossy grasslands. Two rivulets Sonha and Panchnad join the forests in India forming the ?Triveni? also known as the holy confluence. Besides, there are numerous other rivers enriching the landscape like Manor, Bhapsa, Koshil, Singha, Dhonghi, Ganguli, Dhoram etc.
The region boasts of a socio-cultural diversity with several tribes inhabiting the place. ?Thanu? is a prominent scheduled tribe residing in the area. It is believed that the community migrated to the foothills of Himalaya from Rajasthan some 400 years ago. The prime occupation is agriculture and farming. The staple diet consists of chicken, pork, snails, fish and other wild animals. They also make their own liquor from jaggery which is considered a delicacy in the area. The people predominantly speak Bhojpuri and worship the common Hindu deities. Other tribes are collectively called Dhangar which is a combination of four different tribes- Oraon, Munda, Lohra and Bhuiya. They are believed to have migrated from the Chota Nagpur Plateau region. The two tribes collectively occupy 90% area of the region. Other minority tribes are called Baaji who are mostly outsiders and they practice agriculture or other professions in the village outside the forest.
How To Reach Valmiki National ParkThe nearest airports to Valmiki National Park are Gorakhpur and Patna. The region is also well-connected through an intensive network of roadways and railways. It takes only 2 hours to reach the sanctuary from Gorakhpur. Several roadways buses ply on the route and you can also hire a private vehicle to drive down.
Direct trains are also available to reach the forest reserve from major cities of the country. It falls on the Gorakhpur- Muzaffarpur route. From other cities, you can arrive at Bagaha which is the western part of the sanctuary or Narkatiaganj which is the central or eastern part of the sanctuary. Otherwise direct trains to Bagaha and Narkatiaganj are also available from Gorakhpur or Muzaffarpur.