Dudhwa Tiger Reserve covers an area of 495 sq. miles, located in the Bahraich and Lakhimpur Khiri districts of Uttar Pradesh. Dudhwa National Park, Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary combined together forms the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve. Under “Project Tiger”, it was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1987. On its Northern and Southern boundaries lies River Mohana and River Suheli respectively.
Dudhwa tiger reserve is a great attraction for the wildlife lovers and nature enthusiasts. The surrounding is lush green with dense forests and vast grasslands. The rich and fertile Gangetic plains enrich Dudhwa with diverse flora and fauna. The forest comprises of Tropical Moist Deciduous Forest, Tropical Semi-Evergreen Forest, and Riparian Forest and swamp. The park is home to Sal trees. Among other flora are Asan, Java Plum, Bahera, Cotton Tree and Indian rosewood.
This rich natural habitat is conserved due to the efforts of conservationist “Billy” Arjan Singh who safeguarded this place from poachers. He was the one who initiated the idea of a National reserve in 1965 and in 1977 he approached the government to get it declared as a national park.
Dhudhwa tiger reserve is home to over fifty species of mammals, reptiles and birds. Among its preserved residents are Tigers, Rhinoceros, Swamp deer, Elephant, Sambar, Hog deer, Cheetah, Kakar, Wild pig, Rhesus monkey, Langur, Turtles, Python, Monitor lizard, Mugger, Gharial, Sloth bear, Blue bull, Porcupine, Otter etc. Around four hundred and fifty bird species are also found here which include the Hornbill, Red Jungle Fowl, Pea fowl, Bengal Florican, Fishing eagle, Serpent eagle, Shama, Indian Pitta, Orioles, Emerald dove, Osprey, Paradise flycatcher, Woodpeckers etc. In winters many species of migratory birds also fly in here and make it their home.
There are several tiger reserve and wildlife parks in India to see tigers like Ranthambore, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Bandipur etc but the tigers of Dudhwa Tiger reserve has a unique distinct shining in their coat due to the cold weather and dense grasslands.
Five different species of deer are found here. These are spotted deer, hog deer swamp deer, barking deer and sambar. In summers, one can spot Barasinghas near the Jhadi Lake in Kishanpur wildlife sanctuary. After their extinction in 1878 due to poaching, one-horned Rhinoceros were reintroduced here in 1984 from Assam. Their population now is around 30. Other than wildlife sanctuaries and National Parks of Assam and other north eastern states, Dudhwa is the only place where one can see them in wild.
In the national park there is a Frog Temple which is a major tourist attraction. Its unique architecture based on the maduk tantra was built in 1860-70. It is a Shiva temple, believed to be built on a frog’s back. Surat Bhawan Palace is one more attraction for those who are interested in ancient architecture. It was built in Indo-Saracenic style in 1894. It’s a big palace with ten bedrooms, a large dining room with cellar and lounges.
Safari arrangements are available in Dudhwa Tiger reserve for the wildlife lovers and nature enthusiasts. Elephant Rides are also available. Elephants are accompanied by mahouts who serve as both driver and tour guides.
In Winters, from mid-October to mid-March, average temperature at this place is between 20-30°C with minimum temperature could be as low as 0°C in late December and January. During the summer months, tourists should preferably carry light cotton clothes. In the winter season people are suggested to carry light woolen during November and February and heavy woolen clothes in December and January. Best time to visit is during November to April when it’s a little cold and weather is pleasant.
The different means to reach the Dudhwa Tiger reserve are by Air, rail and by road. The nearest airport is the Nepal airport at a distance of 35 km. The Lucknow airport is at a distance of 238 km. Dudhwa Railway station at a distance of 4 kms is the nearest railhead. One can travel from Delhi to Shahjahanpur (301 km) and then on road to Dudhwa (107 km). While travelling from Lucknow one can choose the route from Lucknow to Mailani which is 37 km from Dudhwa tiger reserve, or to Palia which is 10 km from Dudhwa tiger reserve. Buses are also available between Palia and Lakhimpur Khiri, Shahjahanpur, Bareilly and Delhi.