Valmiki National Park is among the most prominent tiger reserves in India. Located near the Indo-Nepal border in West Champaran district of Bihar, the tiger reserve is spread over an area of about 880 sq km.
The Valmiki Tiger Reserve comprises of the Valmiki National Park and the Valmiki Wild Sanctuary. It is the 18th tiger reserve in the country and with 10 tigers ranks fourth in terms of tiger population.
In 1978, the reserve had an area of 464 sq km. In 1989, the national park and wildlife sanctuary were added to the area of the reserve and in 1990 the total area of the reserve was increased to the existing 880 sq km area.
The national park gets its name from Valmiki Nagar, a small town located within the forest area. Due to dense forest cover in the region, the only entrance to the tiger reserve is through the town of Valmiki Nagar. The tiger reserve borders the Chitwan National Park across the border in Nepal
There are two rivers that flow through the park – Gandak and Masan River. The Gandak River with the Himalayan range in the distance offers a great view and is a haven for photographers. There is a healthy diversity of animals along with tigers in the tiger reserve like leopards, fishing cats, deers, black bucks and rhesus monkeys.
Valmiki Ashram near Valmiki Nagar holds great religious importance for Hindus. According to popular belief, it was the ashram of sage Valmiki and wrote the Ramayana here. There are many temples like the Jatashankar Temple, Kaleshwar Temple and the Nardevi Temple located within 5 km of the tiger reserve.
WHERE TO STAY
Irrigation department maintains rest houses which are affordable and value for money within the reserve. You can find budget and mid-range hotels near Gandhi Nagar and on National Highway 64.
WHERE TO EAT
A canteen inside the reserve provides snacks.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit the national park is between November to February.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
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