Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary

Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary, also known as Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. It is spread over 30.69 km2 with well laid out hiking and trekking trails. The sanctuary is a perfect blend of wildlife, thick deodar foliage, carpets of green grasslands, streams of fresh water, surrounded by snowcapped mountains.

Latitudinal range: 32°02´ to 32°04´ N
Longitudinal range: 76°01´ to 76°06´E
Altitude: 1185 to 2768 m
Temperature: 10 to 35 °C
Mean annual rainfall: 672.3 mm

History

The place was used as hunting and sporting grounds for the rulers of Chamba, during the reign of the princely states under British rule. In the early 1960s, the area under the Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary was established as a natural reserve, but efforts to preserve and protect the area were initiated later. It was started at the time when the region was declared as a sanctuary in the 1970s. The sanctuary has always been an open forest sanctuary where animals are free to move. There are no enclosures of any kind around the area.

Flora

The vegetation of the sanctuary consists of blue pine and deodar forest, with oak.

Fauna

The Sanctuary is home to the diverse animals and birds that include mammals like a bear, langur, Himalayan Black Marten, jackal, leopard, serow, deer, squirrel, and Barking Goral. Moreover, birds like  Blackbird, Grey Headed Cannery Flycatcher, Eurasian Jay, Black-headed Jay, White-winged Black Bird, and Chesnut Billed Rock Thrush habitat here.

Here are a few tips which one should keep in mind while visiting the sanctuary:

  1. Please be vigilant of the bears in the area.
  2. Special permission for rest house and vehicle entry is needed to be taken from the District Forest Officer (DFO), Chamba.
  3. Carry your binoculars or telescopes, since nights are a stargazing haven at this place.
  4. The forest department does not provide any guided tours facility.

Best time to visit

Summer months from March to May
The post-monsoon season from September onwards

How To Reach Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary

The sanctuary lies in between Khajjiar and Dalhousie, which are its closest major settlements and important hill stations. Taxis are easily available from both the hill stations to enter the forest area. The parking facility is accessible inside the park. However, there is a narrow and broken unpaved road from the entrance to the parking, which is preferable to cover on foot.

Entry Fee: No entry fee
Forest Reserve Entry Permit: INR 250
Timings: 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Time Required: 2-3 hours

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