Kugti Sanctuary is the second largest sanctuary in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Its situated at an altitude ranging from 2,195 m to 5,040 m. On the west side, Tundah Sanctuary surrounds this sanctuary by a forest corridor.
The landscape of the sanctuary varies, and it is blessed with abundance of flora and fauna. The area houses a number of medicinal plants along with some of the rare floral species.
High altitude Himalayan fauna species have made this sanctuary their home, including the endangered Himalayan tahr.
There are plenty of water resources here and many of them originats from the glaciers. Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary also houses the famous Manimahesh Temple that is annually visited by thousands of pilgrims.
Flora: Vegetation predominantly consists of moist deodar forest and western mixed coniferous forest. Herbs include Gentiana kuroo (Karu) and Jurinea macrocephala (Dhup).
Fauna: Snow leopard, ibex, brown langur, common cat, leopard, deer, musk marten, Himalayan yellow throated fox, Indian/red Serow, ghoral, Himalayan thar
Avian-Fauna: Monal, snow cock, jungle babbler, red-billed babbler, great hill barbet, black bul-bul, redvented bul-bul, white cheeked bul-bul, crested bunting, greyhead bunting, and more.
Himalayan Tahr: The sanctuary is said to be one of the last homes of Himalayan tahr, which is a large ungulate related to the wild goat. These herbivorous animals have small heads with large eyes and small pointed ears, and are 3 to 4.5 feet long and weigh around 36-90 kg. They are 26 to 40 inches tall. The Himalayan tahr is considered vulnerable by the IUCN (1996) in its home range of the Himalayas.
Kugti Sanctuary is located around 87 km from Chamba in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is located at a distance of about 30 km from Bharmaur and 15 km from Kugti village.
Area: 379 sq. km
Route: The Kugti sanctuary is accessible via Pathankot, Chamba, Brahmar, and Harser. From Pathankot to Chamba (122 km), Chamba to Brahmaur (61 km), then to Harser (13 km). A 13 km trek leads you to Kugti village in the sanctuary.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is Pathankot which is connected to all of the major cities in India. There are buses and taxis available from Chamba and Bharmour till Harser.
Best Time to Visit: April-June and October-November
Tundah Wild Life Sanctuary: Tundah Sanctuary is located around 59 km from Chamba, and is connected with Kugti Sanctuary in the east.
It plays host to a number of rare and endangered species of Indian Wildlife, including Himalayan tahr, Ibex, and pheasants. Also, it houses musk deer.
Bharmaur: This picturesque small town is bounded by high mountain ranges, and is known for its ancient temples and monuments.
Bharmaur is the base for the Manimahesh Yatra, and there are a number of trekking trails that start from here. Apples grow here in plenty.
Best Time to Visit: May-June and September-October
Things to keep in mind:
- Do not litter the sanctuary area
- Avoid feeding wild animals
- Carry binoculars