A former hunting ground of the Maharaja of Patiala, Chail Wildlife Sanctuary is amongst the lesser known wildlife sanctuaries in the country. It was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1976. Chail Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 63 km from Shimla and on the outskirts of Chail that overlooks the Sutlej Valley. Sprawling over 110 sq km, Chail Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most well-maintained wildlife sanctuaries and has a rich collection of flora and fauna. Situated in the Himalayan ranges at a height of 7152 feet, the wildlife sanctuary boasts of salubrious climate, magnificent views and a rich cover of greenery. The sanctuary is a paradise for nature lovers and bird watchers.
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Chail Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a variety of fauna and flora. Some of the most popular animal species of the park include European red deer, wild boar, goral, spotted deer, sambar, common langur, Himalayan black bear, flying squirrel, Indian porcupine, etc. The European red deer was introduced in the park by the then Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh, almost hundred years ago. The park is also home to a variety of birds. Chir pheasant and khalij pheasant are the most popular birds that can be sighted in the sanctuary. Golden eagle and grey headed flycatcher flying in the sky offer a majestic sight. The sanctuary is also home to a wide range of flora. One can find a large number of pine and oak trees in the Chail Wildlife Sanctuary. The slopes of the sanctuary have a rich cover of lush green grassland.
Apart from experiencing the exotic wildlife, one can also indulge in adventurous and leisurely activities such as trekking, angling and bird watching. Angling is a popular activity undertaken in Gaura River. Several trekking trails pass through the sanctuary. Kandaghat-Chail, Chail-Shimla via Junga, Chail Rajgarh, etc. are some of the most popular trails that pass through the park. Small treks from Kali ka Tibba conclude at Gaura River and Jhajjha in the park. Chir Pheasant Breeding Centre situated in Blossom and Jhajjha is a popular place to visit in the wildlife sanctuary. The Chir Pheasant breeding and rehabilitation programme was started in 1988.
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There are no accommodation options within the park. However, one can find quite a few options for stay around the sanctuary. Chail has innumerable hotels and resorts. Lodges in Chail provide options for budget stay. HPTDC cottages are also available in Chail which provide budget and mid-range accommodation. Heritage hotels like Palace Hotel, the erstwhile royal palace of Maharaja of Patiala, is a fantastic option for luxury stay.
There are no eating options within the sanctuary. However, one can find a few dhabas in Lower Market in Chail which serve delicious hot meal. It is advisable for tourists to carry the required amount of eatables and water supply on their trek to the wildlife sanctuary. Almost all the hotels of Chail have in-house restaurants that serve Indian, Chinese and Continental delicacies.
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One can experience cool climate throughout the year in Chail Wildlife Sanctuary. It is an all-weather destination. March-July and September-November are the best time to visit Chail Wildlife Sanctuary as most animals can be spotted during these months.
Photograph courtesy: Utsav Verma/Creative Commons
BEST TIME TO VISIT CHAIL
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Chail is as given below. The best time to visit Chail is also specified.