Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems, including forests, meadows, and alpine grasslands, and it is situated within the mighty Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas. The sanctuary derives its name from the Dhauladhar mountain range.

The sanctuary is known for its rich biodiversity and is home to various species of flora and fauna, including a variety of bird species, mammals, and plant life. Some of the animals found in the sanctuary include Himalayan black bears, leopards, Himalayan tahrs, monal pheasants, and a variety of other species. It also hosts a mini zoo called Gopalpur Zoo.

The Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary is not only important for conservation efforts but also serves as a popular destination for ecotourism and trekking. The area's stunning landscapes, pristine forests, and snow-capped peaks attract nature enthusiasts and trekkers.

Table of Contents

  • Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Location
  • Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary History
  • Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Area
  • Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Mountains
  • Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary River
  • Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Flora
  • Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
  • Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Location

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It spans a portion of the Dhauladhar mountain range in the northern part of the state. 

It is widely regarded as one of the state’s most beautiful protected areas. It is bordered on three sides by snow-capped mountains, with a gorgeous green valley in front. 

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

 Gaggal Airport (also known as Kangra Airport) is the nearest airport to the Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary. It is located near Kangra town in Himachal Pradesh, India. The airport is situated at a distance of approximately 20-25 kilometers from the sanctuary.

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

Pathankot Railway Station is the closest major railway station to the Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary. It is located in Pathankot, Punjab, which is around 90-100 kilometers away from the sanctuary. From Pathankot, you can continue your journey to the sanctuary by road.

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary History

Establishment: The Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary was formally established by the wildlife department of the Himachal Pradesh government in the year 1994. This significant step marked the official recognition of the area's ecological importance and the need for its conservation. 

The sanctuary's creation was likely a response to growing concerns about habitat degradation, species protection, and the desire to promote sustainable development within the region.

Designation as an Important Bird Area (IBA): The Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary, along with the surrounding Reserved Forests, holds a notable distinction as an Important Bird Area (IBA). This designation underscores the sanctuary's significance as a habitat for various avian species, including both resident and migratory birds. 

IBAs are globally recognized sites identified by BirdLife International, indicating their critical role in the conservation of birds and their habitats. The IBA designation highlights the sanctuary's contribution to the preservation of avian biodiversity and emphasizes the need for continued conservation efforts in the area.


Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Area

The Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary spans over an area of approximately 944 square kilometers. This expansive sanctuary encompasses a diverse range of landscapes within the Dhauladhar mountain range, including forests, meadows, and alpine regions, making it a significant area for biodiversity conservation and natural habitat protection. 

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Mountains

The Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary is located within the Dhauladhar mountain range, which is a part of the Himalayas. The sanctuary is situated amidst the stunning Dhauladhar mountains, and its landscape is characterized by the majestic peaks, alpine meadows, dense forests, and diverse ecosystems that are typical of this region.

The Dhauladhar mountain range is renowned for its scenic beauty and snow-capped peaks. The name "Dhauladhar" translates to "white ridge" in English, which is indicative of the striking appearance of the range when covered in snow. The mountains in this range provide a crucial backdrop for the sanctuary's conservation efforts, and they play a vital role in shaping the sanctuary's unique ecology and biodiversity.

The sanctuary's proximity to the Dhauladhar mountains contributes to its significance as a habitat for various wildlife species and a destination for nature enthusiasts, trekkers, and researchers. The rugged terrain and diverse altitudes within the sanctuary area are influenced by the imposing presence of the Dhauladhar mountains, making it a captivating and ecologically important area within the Indian Himalayas.

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary River

The Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and is known to be intersected by several rivers and streams that originate from the surrounding Dhauladhar mountain range. These rivers and streams contribute to the sanctuary's diverse ecosystems and provide essential water sources for the wildlife and plant life that inhabit the area.

One of the prominent rivers that flows near the Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary is the Gaj Khad, also known as the Gaj River. The Gaj Khad originates from the Dhauladhar mountains and flows through the sanctuary, eventually joining the Beas River. The river's presence supports the rich biodiversity within the sanctuary and is vital for the survival of various species of flora and fauna.

The sanctuary's location amidst the Dhauladhar mountain range ensures a network of watercourses that not only nourish the ecosystem but also contribute to the picturesque landscapes that draw visitors and researchers to the area. 

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

The Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary boasts a diverse range of flora, owing to its varied elevations, climate, and ecosystems. The sanctuary's vegetation includes a mix of temperate, alpine, and subalpine species, contributing to its ecological richness and biodiversity. 

Some of the notable flora found within the sanctuary include:

(1) Temperate Forests:

Lower elevations of the sanctuary are covered with temperate forests composed of various tree species such as oak (Quercus spp.), rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.), deodar (Cedrus deodara), and blue pine (Pinus wallichiana). These forests provide essential habitat for a range of wildlife.

(2) Alpine Meadows:

As you ascend in elevation, you'll encounter alpine meadows and grasslands. These areas are home to a variety of grasses, herbs, and flowering plants adapted to harsher conditions. These meadows are known for their vibrant display of wildflowers during the blooming season.

(3) Subalpine Flora:

In the transitional zone between temperate and alpine ecosystems, you may find a mix of coniferous trees like fir (Abies spp.) and spruce (Picea spp.), along with shrubs like juniper (Juniperus spp.).

(4) Medicinal Plants:

The sanctuary is known to harbor a range of medicinal plants that have traditional and cultural significance. Local communities often rely on these plants for various health remedies.

(5) Bamboo Groves:

Bamboo patches can also be found within the sanctuary, providing important resources for both wildlife and local communities.

(6) Mosses and Lichens:

Due to the sanctuary's cool and moist environment, mosses, lichens, and other epiphytic plants can be found on trees and rocks.

The diverse flora of the Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary supports a variety of wildlife species, providing food, shelter, and nesting sites. It also contributes to the overall ecological health and balance of the region. 

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

Which animals are found in Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary?

The Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse array of fauna, reflecting its varied ecosystems and altitudinal range. The sanctuary provides habitat for numerous species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and other wildlife. 

Here are some of the notable fauna found within the sanctuary:


  • Leopard
  • Goral
  • Barking Deer
  • Toddy Cat
  • Himalayan Yellow-throated Marten
  • Himalayan Weasel
  • Himalayan Mouse-Hare
  • Black-naped Hare
  • Indian Porcupine
  • Red Flying Squirrel
  • Common Langur
  • Red Fox
  • Jackal
  • Asiatic Black Bear
  • Leopard Cat
  • Jungle Cat
  • Brown Bear
  • Himalayan Tahr
  • Ibex
  • Serow
  • Blue Sheep
  • Snow Leopard


  • Himalayan Monal
  • Koklass Pheasant
  • Kaleej Pheasant
  • Hill Partridge
  • Cheer Pheasant
  • Chukar Partridge
  • Snow Partridge
  • Himalayan Snowcock
  • Western Tragopan
  • Booted Eagle
  • Golden Eagle
  • Lammergeier
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Long-legged Buzzard
  • White-eyed Buzzard
  • Eurasian Hobby
  • Common Kestrel
  • Mountain Hawk-eagle
  • Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  • Imperial Eagle
  • Greater Spotted Eagle
  • Lesser (Indian) Spotted Eagle
  • Oriental White-backed Vulture
  • Red-headed Vulture or King Vulture
  • Cinereous Vulture
  • Tytler’s Leaf Warbler
  • Solitary Snipe
  • Spectacled Finch 
  • Wood Snipe


  • Himalayan Pit Viper
  • Common Skink

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. Where is Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary?

A. Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, India. It encompasses a portion of the Dhauladhar mountain range, which is part of the larger Himalayan mountain system.

Q. What is Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary famous for?

A. The Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for its stunning natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, and rich biodiversity. Here are some of the key aspects for which the sanctuary is renowned:

(i) Breathtaking Scenery: The sanctuary is located within the picturesque Dhauladhar mountain range of the Himalayas, known for its awe-inspiring landscapes, snow-capped peaks, and serene alpine meadows. The name "Dhauladhar" translates to "white ridge," a testament to the range's striking appearance, especially when covered in snow.

(ii) Diverse Flora and Fauna: The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including rare and endangered ones. Its varied elevations and ecosystems support species ranging from Himalayan black bears and leopards to colorful pheasants like the Himalayan Monal and the Western Tragopan. This biodiversity makes it a haven for nature enthusiasts, researchers, and wildlife photographers.

(iii) Avian Diversity: The sanctuary is especially famous for its birdlife, with numerous bird species inhabiting the different altitudes and habitats of the region. The presence of globally threatened and restricted range bird species, including the Wood Snipe, adds to its ornithological significance.

(iv) Ecotourism and Trekking: The sanctuary attracts trekkers, hikers, and adventure enthusiasts due to its pristine trails, serene landscapes, and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The area offers opportunities for eco-friendly tourism and outdoor activities.

(v) Important Bird Area (IBA) Designation: The sanctuary and its surroundings have been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA), highlighting its significance as a habitat for various bird species, including several that are globally threatened or restricted to this region.

(vi) Cultural Significance: The Dhauladhar range holds cultural and spiritual importance for the local communities. Its pristine landscapes, dense forests, and glistening peaks have inspired numerous legends, stories, and traditions.

Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary

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