Saturday, August 12, 2023

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is known for its picturesque landscapes, two interconnected lakes - Surinsar Lake and Mansar Lake, and the diverse flora and fauna it harbors. 

The sanctuary provides habitat to various species of animals, including mammals, birds, and reptiles. Some of the wildlife species found in the sanctuary include leopards, barking deer, wild boars, Indian peafowls, and various species of migratory birds.

The Surinsar and Mansar lakes are also significant religious and cultural sites, attracting visitors and pilgrims alike. These lakes are believed to be associated with Hindu mythology and are considered sacred by the local population.

Table of Contents

  • Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Location
  • Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary History
  • Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Area
  • Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary River
  • Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Lake
  • Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Flora
  • Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptile
    • Turtle
  • Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Location

The Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The Sanctuary spreads over three districts vis-à-vis Jammu, Udhampur and Samba. The major part of the sanctuary falls in the Jammu District.

The sanctuary encompasses the area around the interconnected Surinsar Lake and Mansar Lake. Surinsar and Mansar situated almost at two corners of the sanctuary separated by 16 km distance from each other and are important natural and cultural landmarks in the region. 

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Airport:

The nearest airport is Jammu Airport, which is approximately 65 kilometers from the sanctuary. It is well-connected to major cities like Delhi, Srinagar, Chandigarh, Mumbai, and others.

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Nearest Railway Station:

The main railway station is Jammu Tawi Railway Station, located about 62 kilometers from the sanctuary. Additionally, there are two other railway stations nearby: Samba Railway Station, which is around 30 kilometers away, and Manwal Railway Station, which is approximately 13 kilometers from the sanctuary.

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary History

The Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary has a history that is closely intertwined with the natural and cultural heritage of the region.

Establishment: The establishment of the Surinsar-Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary was formalized by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir through a significant notification, SRO 138, dated 10th April 1990. This crucial step was taken in accordance with Section 17 of the Jammu & Kashmir Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1978, a legal framework aimed at safeguarding the region's diverse wildlife and natural habitats. 

Name Origin: The sanctuary derives its nomenclature from the distinctive twin lakes, Surinsar and Mansar, which hold pivotal positions within the sanctuary's boundaries. These two lakes, strategically located at opposite corners of the sanctuary, are separated by a distance of approximately 16 kilometers, lending a unique geographical character to the area.

Ramsar Recognition: A testament to the ecological significance of Surinsar and Mansar lakes is their inclusion as a Ramsar site, a prestigious designation under the international Convention on Wetlands. This recognition was secured in 2005, highlighting the lakes' importance as vital wetland ecosystems with exceptional biodiversity and ecological value. 

National Conservation Efforts: Furthermore, the lakes' significance is mirrored at the national level, as they have been incorporated into the esteemed National Wetland Conservation Programme, a commendable effort spearheaded by the Government of India. This dual recognition underscores the commitment to preserving and nurturing these invaluable wetlands for current and future generations.

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Area

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of approximately 97.82 square kilometers. This area includes the region around the interconnected Surinsar Lake and Mansar Lake, as well as the surrounding landscapes that support diverse flora and fauna.

The topography of the area is hilly with moderate to steep slopes interspersed with small drainage nallas. It has an elevation varying from 547 mtrs to 834 mtrs from the MSL. 

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary River

Surinsar-Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary's boundary touches the Tawi River on its northern side. This interaction with the Tawi River contribute to the sanctuary's ecosystem and provide an important natural feature for the wildlife and habitat within the sanctuary.

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Lake

The Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary is characterized by the presence of two interconnected lakes: Surinsar Lake and Mansar Lake. These lakes are integral to the sanctuary's landscape, biodiversity, and cultural importance. Here are the details about each lake:

(1) Surinsar Lake:

Surinsar Lake is semi-oval in shape with a maximum depth of 24.04 meters. It spans a length of 888 meters and a width of 444 meters. According to Hindu mythology, the lake's origin is associated with Arjuna, the warrior of the Mahabharata. Legend has it that Arjuna's arrow created a spring that turned into Surinsar Lake. It was formerly known as Surangsar before being named Surinsar. The lake features a small island at its center, providing a habitat for various bird species.

(2) Mansar Lake:

Located 65 kilometers from Jammu, Mansar Lake is semi-oval and boasts an average width of 680 meters with a depth of 37.8 meters. It holds significant cultural and religious importance. The eastern bank of the lake is home to a shrine dedicated to Sheshnag, a serpent deity with six heads. Ancient temples of Umapati Mahadev, Narsimha, and Durga are in its vicinity. 

Festivals and rituals take place here, including the tradition of taking a holy dip. Arjuna's association with the lake's origin is another key aspect of its mythology. The lake is situated on an anticline, a geological structure with an upward arch of rocks, and its core contains fractures, faults, and cross-faults that result in springs and a consistent water source.

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Flora

The Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary encompasses a variety of forest types, each contributing to the diverse ecosystem within the sanctuary. The major forest types found in the sanctuary include:

(1) Northern Dry Mixed Deciduous Forests:

These forests are characterized by a mix of deciduous trees that shed their leaves during certain seasons. The species composition may include trees like-

  • Acacia catechu - Khair
  • Acacia nilotica - Babool
  • Acacia modesta - Phulai
  • Ficus racemosa - Gular
  • Ficus benghalensis - Bargad
  • Ficus religiosa - Peepal
  • Butea monosperma - Palash
  • Lannea coromandelica - Jamun
  • Albizia lebbeck - Siris
  • Mallotous philippensis - Kamala
  • Dodonaea viscosa - Sanatha
  • Adhatoda vasica - Vasaka
  • Carissa spinarum - Karonda
  • Colebrookea oppositifolia - Khullu
  • Nerium indicum - Kaner

(2) Himalayan Sub-tropical Scrub Forests:

This sub-tropical scrub is found in the Siwalik chir pine zone. It forms an open formation. This area is dominated by dense/ sparse scrubs mixed with scattered broadleaved species. This subtype is found below the chir zone in low lying area. The general floristics are:

  •  Dalbergia sissoo - Sheesham
  • Acacia catechu - Khair
  • Butea monosperma - Palash
  • Ficus spp. - Various local names depending on the specific fig species (e.g., Bargad for Ficus benghalensis)
  • Acacia nilotica - Babool
  • Dodonea viscosa - Sanatha
  • Adhatoda vasica - Vasaka
  • Carissa spinarum - Karonda
  • Punica granatum - Anar (Pomegranate)
  • Nerium indicum - Kaner
  • Murraya koenigii - Curry Patta (Curry leaf)
  • Lantana camara - Lantana
  • Ipomoea fistula - Amaltas

(3) Himalayan Subtropical Pine Forest:

Pine forests in the sanctuary are likely dominated by various species of pine trees, such as Blue Pine (Pinus wallichiana) and Chir Pine (Pinus roxburghii), which are well adapted to the Himalayan terrain.

(4) Lower Siwalik Chir Pine Forest:

The Lower Siwalik Chir Pine forest type is characterized by Chir Pine trees, which are adapted to lower altitudes and drier conditions. These forests could have an understory of shrubs and grasses.

  • Pinus roxburghii - Chir Pine
  • Acacia catechu - Khair
  • Dalbergia sissoo - Sheesham
  • Butea monosperma - Palash
  • Mallotus philippensis - Kamala
  • Zizyphus jujuba - Ber
  • Syzygium cumini - Jamun
  • Emblica officinalis - Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
  • Ficus spp. - Various local names depending on the specific fig species (e.g., Bargad for Ficus benghalensis)
  • Dodonaea viscosa - Sanatha
  • Woodfordia fruticosa - Dhawai
  • Adhatoda vasica - Vasaka
  • Colebrookea oppositifolia - Khullu
  • Punica granatum - Anar (Pomegranate)
  • Nerium indicum - Kaner
  • Rumex hastatus - Spinach Dock
  • Cymbopogon spp. - Lemongrass

(5) Dodonea Scrub Forests:

Dodonea, commonly known as hopbush, is a type of shrub that can form dense thickets. Dodonea scrub forests may provide important habitat and cover for various wildlife species.

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Fauna (Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary Animals)

What animals are found in Surinsar Mansar Wildlife sanctuary?

The Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a diverse array of wildlife, encompassing various species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and other animals. 


  • Indian Leopard
  • Chital
  • Indian Muntjac
  • Sambar
  • Barking Deer
  • Nilgai
  • Golden Jackal
  • Indian Crested Porcupine
  • Indian Hare
  • Rhesus Macaque
  • Indian Pangolin
  • Small Indian Civet 
  • Red Fox
  • Leopard Cat
  • Indian Boar
  • Indian Grey Mangoose


  • Indian Whiterumped Vulture (CR)
  • Steppe Eagle
  • Black Kite
  • Black-winged Kite
  • Egyptian Vulture
  • Cinereous Vulture
  • Himalayan Vulture
  • Shikra
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Steppe Eagle
  • Oriental Honey Buzzard
  • White-eyed Buzzard
  • Besra
  • Common Teal
  • Common Pochard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Indian Grey Hornbill
  • Common Hoopoe
  • Red-wattled Lapwing
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Eurasian Collared Dove
  • Laughing Dove
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Spotted Dove
  • Common Kingfisher
  • Crested Kingfisher
  • White-throated Kingfisher
  • Indian Roller
  • Green Bee-eater
  • Asian Koel
  • Common Kestrel
  • Black Francolin
  • Grey Francolin
  • Indian Peafowl
  • Red Junglefowl
  • Kalij Pheasant
  • Common Coot
  • Common Moorhen
  • Purple Swamphen
  • White-breasted Waterhen
  • Booted Warbler
  • Long-tailed Minivet
  • Bar-tailed Treecreeper
  • Ashy Prinia
  • Common Tailorbird
  • Yellow-bellied Prinia
  • Grey-breasted Prinia
  • House Crow
  • Large-billed Crow
  • Rufous Treepie
  • Ashy Drongo
  • Black Drongo
  • Crested Bunting
  • Rock Bunting
  • White-capped Bunting
  • Scaly-breasted Munia
  • Barn Swallow
  • Red-rumped Swallow
  • Long-tailed Shrike
  • Jungle Babbler
  • Common Babbler
  • Indian Paradise Flycatcher
  • Grey Wagtail
  • White Wagtail
  • White-browed Wagtail
  • Black Redstart
  • Blue Whistling Thrush
  • Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush
  • Grey Bushchat
  • Indian Robin
  • Oriental Magpie Robin
  • Pied Bushchat
  • Plumbeous Water Redstart
  • Rufous-bellied Niltava
  • White-capped Water Redstart
  • Crimson Sunbird
  • Purple Sunbird
  • Indian Golden Oriole
  • Cinereous Tit
  • House Sparrow
  • Yellow-throated Sparrow
  • Russet Sparrow
  • Grey-hooded Warble
  • Lemon-rumped Warbler
  • Whistler’s Warbler

Migratory Waterfowl:

  • Eurasian Coot
  • Common Moorhen
  • Black-neked Grebe
  • Tufted Duck
  • Common Pochard
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Garganey
  • Gadwall
  • Mallard
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Northern Pintail
  • Eurasian Wigeon


  • Indian Cobra
  • Indian Python
  • Common Indian Monitor (Bengal Monitor)


  • Indian Flapshell Turtle
  • Indian Softshell Turtle
  • Black Pond Turtle

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary UPSC Questions

Q. Where is Surinsar Mansar Wildlife sanctuary located?/In which state is Surinsar Mansar wetland?

A. The Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, India. The Sanctuary spreads over three districts vis-à-vis Jammu, Udhampur and Samba. The major part of the sanctuary falls in the Jammu District.

Q. Is Surinsar Mansar Lakes Ramsar site?

A. Yes, both the Surinsar Lake and the Mansar Lake are designated as Ramsar sites. They were included in the list of Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance in 2005 under the Ramsar Convention, which is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. These lakes hold ecological significance and are recognized globally for their importance in terms of biodiversity and conservation.

Q. What is Surinsar Mansar Wildlife sanctuary famous for?

A. The Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for several reasons:

(i) Biodiversity: The sanctuary is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including various species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and plants. It provides a natural habitat for many species, contributing to biodiversity conservation.

(ii) Twin Lakes: The sanctuary is centered around the twin lakes of Surinsar and Mansar. These lakes are not only scenic and serene but also hold cultural and mythological significance, making them popular destinations for tourists and pilgrims alike.

(iii) Ramsar Site: Both Surinsar and Mansar lakes are designated Ramsar sites, indicating their international importance as wetlands for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.

(iv) Ecotourism: The sanctuary offers opportunities for ecotourism, attracting nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and wildlife photographers who come to explore and appreciate the natural beauty and wildlife of the area.

(v) Mythological and Religious Importance: The lakes have mythological and religious importance in Hinduism. Mansar Lake is associated with legends from the Mahabharata, and both lakes host annual festivals and rituals, drawing pilgrims and devotees.

Surinsar Mansar Wildlife Sanctuary

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