Chakrashila Wildlife Sanctuary in Dhubri and Kokrajhar districts of the northeastern Indian state of Assam is famous for its resident population of Golden Langurs. Spread over an area of 45.56 sq km, the sanctuary serves as the second protected habitat for the Golden Langur in India. The sanctuary is spread across two districts of lower Assam that come under the jurisdiction of Bodoland Territorial Council – Dhubri and Kokrajhar. Kokrajhar, located about 6 km from the sanctuary, is the nearest town, about 222 km west of Guwahati and 130 km east of Cooch Behar. The sanctuary is a safe spot for many animals and birds, many of them endangered. The main attraction of the sanctuary is the Golden Langur which can be spotted only in the region along the Indo-Bhutan border.
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Declared a reserve forest in 1966, the Chakrashila Hill and the region around it was declared a sanctuary in 1994 by the Assam government. A local group of environment activists known as Nature’s Beckon played a crucial role for the region to be recognized as a sanctuary. The sanctuary is dominantly a hilly tract that extends from north to south. There are two lakes in the sanctuary – Dheer Lake and Diplai Lake. The lakes are bio-diversity hotspots and critical to maintain the ecosystem of the sanctuary. The forest was declared a sanctuary to secure the endangered species and to protect their natural habitat. There are 30 species of mammals that have been spotted in the sanctuary like leopard cat, bengal fox, chinese pangolin, Asiatic jackal, Indian pipistrelle, Indian flying fox, short-tailed mole and rhesus macaque.
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More than 250 species of birds including many rare and endangered birds can be spotted in the sanctuary. Open Billed Stork, Greater Adjutant Stork, Little Egret, Shrikes, Pond Heron, Drongoes and Darter are some of them. Hornbills are the most exotic among the birds. There are 23 species of amphibians and reptiles found in the sanctuary which include turtles, frogs, lizards and snakes. Over 40 species of butterflies and over 60 species of insects can be found in the sanctuary. The sanctuary provides opportunities for trekking, bird watching and wildlife photography. Observation posts inside the sanctuary are well suited for wildlife photography and bird watching.
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The climate in the region is classified as tropical moist with maximum annual rainfall of 4000 mm. Sanctuary receives most rainfall during July and August. The weather in and around the sanctuary reaches a maximum temperature of 30 degree Celsius during the summer and can drop down to 9 degree Celsius.
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Basic accommodation is available in Chakrashila Wildlife Sanctuary. There is a forest rest house near Kokrajhar that offers budget accommodation. Mid-range and budget hotels are located a few more kilometers away. There is a canteen for tourists and officers in the sanctuary near the entrance. However, it is best to carry food and water when visiting the sanctuary.
Image: Doniv79/Wikimedia Commons
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