Renuka Sanctuary is home to the well bred majestic Asiatic lion, and is one of the smaller yet captivating sanctuaries of the country.
Renuka Sanctuary comprises of Renuka Reserve Forest area, which is a protected area and no rights are recognized here. Around 300 hectare of the area located outside and contiguous with the sanctuary has been declared as a buffer zone.
The sanctuary falls under the bio-geographical zone IV and bio-geographical province IV as per the classification done by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). The forest type is mainly of dry mixed deciduous forest and dry Sal forest.
There are thousands of colourful butterflies that flutter their wings here along with a number of birds. The small aviary inside the sanctuary plays host to a large number of aquatic birds, red jungle fowl, black pheasant, and you can also spot the national bird of India the peacock here.
Flora: Anogeissus, Lucinea, Terminalia, Khair, Shisham, Carrie, Cordia and a variety of climbers in moist depressions.
Fauna: Asiatic lions, spotted deer, lion tailed macaques, nilgai (large grey Indian antelope), barking deer, Himalayan black bears, and more.
Avian-Fauna: Black pheasant, peacock, red jungle fowl and water birds, bulbul, common cooots, greenm pigeons, and more.
Lion Safari: An armoured van run by the Department of Forest provides the opportunity to get a closer glimpse of the king of the jungle, Lion, wandering in its natural kingdom. Its said that there are around two-dozen lions roaming in the sanctuary area.
Renuka Mini Zoo: This is the oldest zoo in the state of Himachal Pradesh, and was started in the year 1957. Initially, it provided shelter to the rescued, stray and deserted wild animals from the forests, and later was converted into a zoo. Today, it houses wild animals like lion, sambhar, chinkara, hogdeer, black buck, and more.
Exact Location: The Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary is located near Nahan in Sirmour district in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
Area: 4.028 sq. km
Route: The sanctuary is well connected by a network of roads. There are regular bus services from Nahan to Dadahu. Reaching Dadhu, which is nearly 2 km from the sanctuary, a forty minute walk will lead you to the sanctuary.
There are daily buses that connect Nahan to cities like Manali, Delhi and Hardwar. If you are coming by train then the closest railway stations are located at Ambala, Chandigarh and Kalka. Ambala railways station is around 100 km from Nahan and there are regular trains from Ambala to Delhi.
The nearest airport is at Chandigarh, and there are taxis available from here to Nahan. Dehradun is 65 km away from Nahan
Best Time to Visit: All year round
Things to keep in mind
Rest houses are at Dadahu (closest town to the Sanctuary) and Renuka
Other Attractions in the Vicinity
Renuka Temple: The early 19th century temple is located on the banks of Renuka Lake. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Renuka, mother of Lord Parashuram. It is believed that this beautiful temple was built overnight by Gorkhas. One can also enjoy a fair here that is organised annually in the month of November.
Renuka Lake: This is the largest natural lake (circumference 2.4 km) in Himachal Pradesh and is located in a valley bounded by thick wooded slopes. Its said that the beautiful lake resembles a reclining woman, and is the personification of goddess Renuka. Another lake adjoins this lake, and which according to the locals, is sacred to Renukas son Parashurama. You can enjoy boating in the Lake.