Dudhwa National Park: A Place Near Delhi That Transforms An Average Traveller Into A Wildlife Lover

It's a known fact that the only way to do a road trip from Delhi is to start before sunrise, brave the blinding headlights, and get past all the NCR roads before the sun comes up. That’s what we did last Sunday. 

Dudhwa National Park

We had to drive 450 km to our destination, which involved 200km on the state highways of Uttar Pradesh (Bareilly and Pilibhit Roads, to be precise). We reached the lodge that would be our base for the next two days in the Terai forests of Uttar Pradesh after a long but not too difficult drive. 

Dudhwa National Park

Tiger Spotted in Dudhwa National Park

The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is a conservation area that spans the Lakhimpur Kheri and Bahraich districts, and includes the Dudhwa National Park, Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary. They cover a total area of 1,285km. 

Also Read: Top 10 Wildlife Safaris that you must Experience in India

Rhinoceros in Dudhwa National Park

The landscape is divided into two different zones. The first one is Bhabar, a hilly region with rough alluvium and rocks along with unmatched Sal Tree vegetation. The second one is the special Terai region, which is rich in clay swamps and adorned by tall grassland. The Terai is one of the world’s most vital eco-regions because of the large number of mammals found in the area.

Dudhwa National Park

The national park has the Mohana River in the north and the Suheli River in the south, and has one of the highest concentrations of endangered animals and birds in the world. The Dudhwa National Park and Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary are mainly famous for sightings of the Hog Deer, Fishing Cat, tiger, alligator, elephant, rhino, leopard and migratory birds. But the Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique region, which is ideal for spotting gharial, otter, Gangetic Dolphin, Swamp Deer, Hispid Hare, Bengal Florican and the Long-Billed Vultures. 

Also Read: 15 Best Camping Sites in India for Nature Lovers

The Story of Dudhwa National Park

The story of the tiger reserve in Dudhwa, is the story of Billy Arjan Singh. A royal descendant of the Kapurthala family, Arjan Singh was a relentless hunter until one night when he had a change of heart after killing a leopard. From that night, this royal rebel became one of India’s greatest wildlife protectors. 

To keep his promise of saving the vanishing wild animals, Billy found a small spot in the evergreen and swamp forests of Dudhwa. He lived in a small hut (which was later turned into a lodge) and spent his whole life there. He rescued many wild animals, starting with a group of Swamp Deer (Barasingha) on the Sathiana side of the Dudhwana forest. 

Billy Arjan Singh

Arjan Singh began his work with the wild cats by saving and raising Prince, a leopard cub who had lost his parents. He also raised two female leopard cubs, Juliette and Harriet and successfully released the leopards into the wild. After this remarkable achievement, came Tara. A tigress cub saved from a zoo in England. Tara was his life’s biggest and most disputed project. But with the support of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi, he increased the tiger population by a large number. 

Juliette and Harriet with Billey Arjan Singh

With the relentless efforts of Arjan Singh, the forest was named Dudhwa National Park in 1977. In 2006, he received the high civilian honor of Padma Shri for his work towards saving wild animals. The best time to go to Dudhwa National Park is from November to May. The park is open to the public from November 15 to June 15, but the peak summer months might be too hot there.

Also Read: Spotting Tigers in Ranthambore National Park: Expert Tips

What is the Best time to visit Dudhwa National Park and How to get there?

November to May is the ideal time to go to Dudhwa National Park. The park is open from November 15 to June 15, but it might be too hot there in the summer.

You can drive from Delhi without any trouble. It’s about 500 km away and will take around 6 to 7 hours.

You can also take a bus from Shahjahanpur railway station to Paliya. That’s the closest town to the national park.

The quickest way is to fly to Lucknow, and then get a cab to your destination. It will take roughly two hours.

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