Maharashtra in West India is truly a traveler's paradise. It has been beckoning travelers across the globe since ages. What makes this state a favorite of the masses is its innumerable tourist destinations- hills, lakes, beaches, architectural wonders, sculptures and carvings, places of religious significance, etc. Nonetheless the forests including the flora and fauna of the state also attract people to explore the treasure troves. Melghat sanctuary in Amravati District is one of the distinctive sanctuaries in the state.
A trip to this sanctuary is ideal for a family get together or an adventurous getaway. If you want to spend some beautiful moments with the rich biodiversity of Maharashtra, then go through the important details of this sanctuary mentioned below:
The first word of the sanctuary 'Melghat' literally means 'meeting of the ghats'. The topography of the sanctuary is a mixture of narrow valleys, rugged hills and undulating climbs.
The sanctuary was declared as one of the first nine Tiger Reserves notified in 1972-74 under the Project Tiger. But some years later in 1985, it was designated as a wildlife sanctuary with a total area of 1597.23 sq. km.
Area and location:
Today the Tiger Reserve occupies a total area of 1677 sq. Km. The core area of the reserve is named as Gugarnal National Park. It spreads over an area of 361.28 sq. Km. This core area and the buffer area of the reserve along with the Melghat sanctuary (788.28 sq. Km.) were together re-notified by the Maharashtra Govt. in the year 1994 as Melghat sanctuary.
The sanctuary is situated on the southern offshoot of the Satpura Hill Range called Gavilgarh Hill. It is in the northern part of the Amravati District in Maharashtra. The captivating Tapti River flows through the northern end of the sanctuary. The tiger reserve is the catchment area of rivers like Khapra, Sipna, Khandu, Dolar and Gadga; all these are tributaries of the river Tapti.
Flora and fauna:
If you look for variety of flora and fauna, then the place is ideal. Leopard, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Tiger, Wild Dog, Gaur, Barking Deer, Jackal, Sambar, Nilgai, Chital, Chausingha, Ratel, Flying Squirrel, Langur, Rhesus Monkey, Black Napped Hare, Pangolin, Mouse Deer, Porcupine, Python, Otter, Caracal, etc. are the main faunal species of the Melghat sanctuary.
The primary vegetation of the area is southern tropical dry deciduous forests. The predominant tree species is teak. You will find Lannea coromandelica, Terminalia tomentosa, Oujenia oojeinesis, Anogeissus latifolia, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Emblica officinalis and Dendrocalamus strictus.
Almost 700 naturalized plant species have been recorded here which include 99 grass species, 316 herbs spp., 66 shrubs spp., 56 climbers, 90 tree spp., 23 sedges and 60-70 newly identified species.
When to visit?
After reading all these, you might feel like visiting the sanctuary very soon. The best time to explore the animal kingdom is from October to June when the park remains open. Safaris are not allowed from December to June. For tiger viewing, the summer months are considered to be the best. During the winter bird watching can be pursued but other sightings are very less.
Nagpur is the nearest airport. The nearest railhead is at Badnera which is around 110 km away from the sanctuary. If you prefer roadways, then take buses that regularly ply from Paratwada to Dharni and Burhanpur.
Some extra dose:
You can enjoy a lot during your trip to the tiger reserve. The immense archaeological significance of the area cannot be ignored. The Gavilgarh fort on the Chikhaldara plateau and Narnala fort take you to the ancient times. The forests and the lush green surroundings will bless you with tranquility far away from the humdrums of the modern civilization.
There are many important projects carried out in the Melghat sanctuary. Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have been involved in many projects. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has carried out research projects on "Management of Biodiversity in Central India" and "Integrated Bio-diversity Management in Satpura Hill Range".
Many initiatives and programs are planned on eco-tourism, patrolling, village forest protecting communities, education and awareness of the conservation of wildlife. Thus the Melghat sanctuary or Melghat Tiger Reserve has assumed the role of a significant tourist destination in Maharashtra.