Shimla Water Catchment Wildlife Sanctuary
At a distance of 9 km from Shimla Railway Station, Shimla Water Catchment Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary situated on the eastern exit of the Hindustan Tibet Road in Shimla. Also known as Reserve Forest Sanctuary, it is one of the best places to visit in Shimla, especially for wildlife buffs and nature lovers.
The erstwhile property of the famous Rana of Koti, the Water Catchment Sanctuary is an important wildlife sanctuary having a great conservation value. The area of the Water Catchment Sanctuary was declared as a protected forest in 1952 and became a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1990. The altitude of the sanctuary varies from 1900 to 2600 m. Till 2006, the sanctuary was taken care of by the Shimla Municipal Corporation but in 2009, Shimla Wildlife Division got the charge of the place.
Covers over an area of approximately 10.25 sq. km, the catchment area is rich in biodiversity, home to an intriguing variety of flora and fauna. The variety of fauna including Leopard, Rhesus Macaque, Barking Deer, Pine Martin, Musk Deer, Himalayan Yellow Throated Porcupine, Goral, Indian Sambar, Kashmir flying Squirrel and common Langur. Also, one can spot foxes, Ghorals, house sparrows, blue Magpies, as well as pythons and other species of snakes. Besides, the sanctuary is also home to many trees including Ban Oak, Mohru Oak, Khasu Oak, Himalayan Spruce, Himalayan pine, etc.
The sanctuary is not only famous for providing some of the best sightings for common and rare wildlife, but it is also the major source of water supply to the city. It has a century-old water harvesting plan which supplies the water to Shimla town based on gravity. The sanctuary has 9 perennial streams flowing through it and the most important ones are the God Ki Nala and Churat Nala. This sanctuary also has a connection to the Chail Sanctuary through a forest corridor. Chail Sanctuary is located on the south of the water catchment sanctuary.
Apart from the wildlife, the catchment area offers a perfect day hike into the woods for adventure seekers. At the entrance of the gate, tickets need to be taken to visit the sanctuary as there is a limit of visitors. The trail starts from the entrance gate of the water catchment sanctuary which is a 7 km walk to a beautiful rest house at Seog. At Seog, visitors can also get the permit to stay in the Forest Rest House for the entire day. Along the way, there are many streams of water, and the beautiful wooden cabins built inside the catchment area facilitate magnificent views of the dense forest and the valley.
Visitors could choose to explore the sanctuary on foot or hire a bicycle at the entrance for a nominal charge. If you are traveling in your cars or bicycles, visitors must seek permits from the reception area. Besides, it is advisable to take a trained guard-cum-guide while hiking or trailing because there are chances of getting attacked by a bear or leopard.
Timings: 10 AM - 4 PM, Closed on Monday
Entry: Rs.25 per person, Rs. 150 for Car, Rs. 100 Bike & Rs. 50 Camera
Forest Rest House (Day Users): Rs. 250 per person for 2 hours.