Kalesar National Park

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Kalesar National Park
Park
Kalesar National Park is located in Haryana
Kalesar National Park
Kalesar National Park
Location in Haryana, India
Kalesar National Park is located in India
Kalesar National Park
Kalesar National Park
Kalesar National Park (India)
Coordinates: 30°22′N 77°32′E / 30.367°N 77.533°E / 30.367; 77.533Coordinates: 30°22′N 77°32′E / 30.367°N 77.533°E / 30.367; 77.533
Country  India
State Haryana
District Yamunanagar district
Government
 • Type Government of Haryana
 • Body Forests Department, Haryana
Time zone UTC+5:30 (IST)
Website www.haryanaforest.gov.in
Indian leopard is found at Kalesar
Asiatic elephant is found at Kalesar

Kalesar National Park (13,000 acres (53 km2)) and adjacent Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary (13,209 acres (53.45 km2)) are protected areas in Yamunanagar district of Haryana state in India, 122 kilometres (76 mi) from Chandigarh.[1] Both are also contiguous to Simbalbara National Park in Himachal Pradesh and Rajaji National Park in Uttrakhand. Kalesar is a popular destination for leopards, panthers, elephants, red jungle fowl and bird-watching.[2][3] This forested area in the Shivalik foothills is covered primarily with sal with smattering of Semul, Amaltas and Bahera trees as well.[2][4] Wildlife jeep safaris are available on 3 tracks.[5] Park is closed July to September and during the remaining months visiting hours are 6 am to 10 am and 4 pm to 7 pm during summers, and 7 am to 11 am and 3.30 pm to 6 pm during winters.[5]

History[edit]

Kalesar National Park spread across 13,000 acres (53 km2) was notified on 8 December 2003 and adjacent 13,209 acres (53.45 km2) Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary was notified on 13 December 1996.[5][6] However, it is alleged, absence of sufficient funds from the Centre is proving to be a hindrance in wildlife conservation in the national park.

Etymology[edit]

Kalesar National Park is named after the Kalesar Mahadev temple located in this national park.[2]

18th and 19th Century[edit]

Afghan invader Ahmad Shah Abdali camped at Pinjore Gardens in 1765 and British Raj soldier Rollo Gillespie camped in these hills in 1807 for tiger hunting in these hills. By 1892-93, the count of tigers and panthers had dwindled due to excessive hunting. Consequently, by 1913 Sirmur State had banned the hunting.[7]

Kalesar Mahadev temple[edit]

The ancient Kalesar Mahadev temple takes its name from the a corrupted form of Kaleshwar, a moniker of Hindu deity lord Shiva. It is located near NH 907 on the east side and just 400 meter north of Kalesar Dak baglow (rest house) and 8.5 km north of Hathni Kund Barrage. There is also another later era Shiva temple north of Kalesar Mahadev temple.

Colonial Dak Bungalow[edit]

This area, excellent for the bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts, has a 100-year-old colonial dak bungalow.[2] It is located near NH 907 on the east side and just 400 meter south of Kalesar Mahadev temple and 8.1 km north of Hathni Kund Barrage. The forest rest house is at a picturesque point and commands a sweeping view of the Yamuna river. Surrounded with multi-layered gardens, and as typical of the Raj bungalow architecture, there are high-ceiling rooms, exquisite parquet flooring and teak paneling along walls. A fireplace with a mantelpiece above and antique furniture completes the period setting.

Geography[edit]

The Kalesar national park and wildlife sanctuary are located on both sides of Yamuna Nagar-Paonta Sahib Road in Yamuna Nagar district in Haryana, about 8 km from Hathni Kund Barrage, 15 km from Paonta sahib,[5] 55 km from Dehradun,[5] 43 km from Yamunanagar, 119 km via bitumen-paved Bilaspur road through forest or 122 km via NH 7 from Chandigarh. It is bounded by Yamuna river to the east, Rajaji National Park in Uttrakhand to the northeast, Simbalbara National Park in main Shivalik Hill range to the north on Haryana's border with Himachal Pradesh, Morni Hills and agrarian farms to the west, and agrarian farms in planes of Yamunanagar district to the south.[5] There are many local and Haryana Roadways-operated buses that take tourists to the park. Visitors can also hire taxis/cabs to reach the park.

Wildlife Safaris[edit]

Jeep safaris are available on the following 3 motorable tracks only during the designated park opening months and hours: 20 feet wide route-1 of 7 km, 60 feet wide route-2 of 6.5 km and 60 feet wide route-3 of 6 km.[5] Private vehicles are not allowed on these routes, except only those pre-registered with the wildlife department for the purpose of operating safaris.[5] Park is closed July to September and during the remaining months visiting hours are 6 am to 10 am and 4 pm to 7 pm during summers, and 7 am to 11 am and 3.30 pm to 6 pm during winters.[5]

Shivalik foothills[edit]

The foothills of Shivalik Hills range, where this park lies, runs parallel with the Himalayan range from Haridwar on the Ganges to the banks of the Beas, with a length of 200 miles (320 km) and an average width of 10 miles (16 km). The intermediate valley lying between the outer hills and the Mussoorie. The elevation varies from 2000 to 3,500 ft (1,100 m). Geologically speaking the Shivaliks belong to the tertiary deposits of the outer Himalayas and are chiefly composed of low sandstone and conglomerate hills, the solidified and upheaved detritus of the great range in their rear. There are a number of pebbled dry rivulets, which come alive during the monsoon season. A dirt road diverts from the highway where a faded billboard announces entry into the reserve forest mainly consisting of Sal trees.[2]

Flora[edit]

Dense old forest[edit]

Kalesar has 53% dense forest, 38% open forest, 9% scrub. Total forest cover is about 71%. Spread over an area of 11,570 acres (46.8 km2), Kalesar reserve forest is the only one of its kind in Haryana. Besides the tall, leafy sal trees that constitute the dense age-old forest belt of the Doon valley, there are other trees like Semul, Amaltas and Bahera.[2] khair, shisham, sain, jhingan, chhal (Anogeissus latifolia) also found in the forest. It is the only forest in Haryana with a natural Sal tree belt. Among the flora is the small sindoor tree — it has dainty flowers, which turn into pods to produce the vermilion sindoor that adorns the tresses of married women. Climbers snake up the tree stems, and the forest floor is littered with fallen leaves and foliage plants. Sculptural anthills dot the landscape. There is a long stretch of man-made forest clearing and a 'fire line' which helps in containing forest fires.

Medicinal plants[edit]

In the jungle, there is a machaan (high observation tower) with a dangerous-looking service ladder. From top the effort is rewarded by a sweeping panorama of the 11000 acres (45 km2) of the great sal forest; criss-crossed by fire lines and meandering rivulets. About 20 km away on the Chuharpur road, is the Ch. Devi Lal Herbal Nature Park, a project of the Forests Department, Haryana. The park, spread over 50 acres (200,000 m2) with 61,000 shrubs of herbs and 6100 medicinal tree plants.

Fauna[edit]

Wild animals[edit]

Khol Hi-Raitan Wildlife Sanctuary and Bir Shikargah Wildlife Sanctuary are only 3 km aerial distance from each other, both are also only few km away from Kalesar National Park, all of which lie in the Shivalik hills of Haryana. All these three sanctuaries have similar species of wild animal that migrate from one sanctuary to another.[8]

In 2016, survey recorded Indian leopard, leopard cat, rusty-spotted cat, jungle cat, Indian jackal, Asiatic elephant, chital, sambar, barking deer, goral, nilgai, Indian crested porcupine, small Indian civet, common palm civet, gray langur, rhesus macaque, Indian gray mongoose, wild pig and Indian hare.[3][9]

Earlier May 2004 survey in collaboration with Wildlife Institute of India found wild boars, sambhars, hares, red junglefowl, porcupine, monkeys, chitals etc.

Leopard[edit]

In 2016, the annual two-month animal counting survey done by the Wildlife Institute of India using installed camera, found 19 species of mammalians including 42 Indian leopards.[3][9]

Panthers[edit]

In 2015, Kalesar also has endangered panthers.[10] A 1989 biodiversity report noted 19 panthers in Kalesar.[2]

Elephants[edit]

Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary has natural population of the wild elephants. Adjacent to it is the Ch. Surinder Singh Elephant Rehabilitation Centre (ERC) at Ban Santoor, which is a sanctuary to rehabilitate the rescued abused, exploited and sick elephants.[11][12] It was set up by the Harayana Forests department in association with an NGO called Wildlife SOS, with the help of Government of India grant under the Project Elephant. ERC has elephant shelters, veterinary services, elephant husbandry and fodder service, elephant walking and exercise trails, etc.[12] In 2015, it had 3 rescued female elephants, namely Erica, Ella and Lilly.[11] Wild elephants also roam Kalesar and adjoining Rajaji National Park and Tiger Reserve spread across Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh. In January 2018, Delhi Forests department planned to rescue all the 7 domesticated elephants of Delhi kept in captivity, 2 of which will be sent to Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary in Haryana and 4 will be sent to Rajaji National Park and Tiger Reserve in Uttrakhand.[13] and

Wildlife preservation[edit]

Eight watering holes have been dug up across the forest area to ensure that the wildlife does not stray into human habitats on its fringes in search of drinking water. Earthen dams have also been constructed to conserve rainwater for use of wildlife. There is a plan to build a fence around the area.

Wildlife protection force and courts[edit]

As for the steps taken to ensure protection of wildlife and environment, the forest staff have been given weapons by the state government to tackle the menace posed by poachers. The state had also set up two special environmental courts in Kurukshetra and Faridabad to deal with crimes related to poaching and illicit felling of trees from the area.

Monitoring and census cameras[edit]

The Forests Department, Haryana, with funding provided by the Wildlife Institute of India, installed 80 cameras at 40 locations across the park in December 2014, primarily to monitor the movements of tigers, leopards and other animals in the park, as well as to conduct annual two-month long animal species and animal count survey.[3][6]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

See also[edit]

Citations[edit]