Ramsar Sites in India For Environmental Protection


Ramsar Sites in India

Ramsar site is a wetland that is marked as international importance under the Ramsar convention. Ramsar Convention is a treaty established by UNESCO in 1971. The sites that are recognized as Ramsar under this convention are given high importance not only in India but also worldwide. These Ramsar sites (wetlands) help control flooding by absorbing the stormwater and reducing the water flow. Currently, we have 27 Ramsar sites in India occupying an area of 1,056,871 hectares.

Here is the list of 27 Ramsar Sites in India For Environmental Protection

1. Ashtamudi Lake, Kollam

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The second largest lake in Kerala, Ashtamudi Lake is situated in the Kollam district. The lake runs over a length of 16 kilometres and covers almost 30% of the town of Kollam. Its name, Ashtamudi has been derived from two words 'Ashta' meaning eight and 'Mudi' meaning branch, thereby stating the fact that lake has eight branches. All the eight branches converge into a single channel that meets with the Arabian Sea.

2. Sundarban Wetland

Sundarbans Wetlands is a beautiful mangrove forest in the delta formed by the confluence of the river Ganga, Bramhaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal covering parts of India and Bangladesh. This breathtaking wetland and Ramsar site in India encompasses islands intertwined with mazes of rivers and creeks, making it one of the most spectacular sites. Today it is not just one of the protected sites listed under the Ramsar Convention, but it is also a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO.

3. Chandratal Lake, Spiti

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A camper and trekker's paradise, Chandratal Lake is often referred to as one of the most beautiful lakes located at an altitude of about 4300 m in the mighty Himalayas. The stunning lake is situated on the Samudra Tapu plateau which overlooks the Chandra River. The name "Chandra Taal" (Lake of the Moon) comes from its crescent shape.

4. Chilika Lake, Puri

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Chilika Lake is the largest internal salt water lake in Asia, it is a paradise on earth for bird watchers and nature lovers. The pear-shaped lake is dotted with a few small islands and has fisheries and salt pans around its shore. The Chilika Lake also houses the most accommodating ecosystems in the world, which means that a wide assortment of flora and fauna can be spotted here.

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5. Dipor Bil, Guwahati

Located in the Kamrup district of Assam, 18 km southwest of Guwahati city, Dipor Bil (also spelt Deepor Beel) is a freshwater lake in the former channel of the Brahmaputra river. Sprawling over a vast area of 40 sq. km, the lake was declared as a Bird Sanctuary in 1989 owing to its rich biodiversity and heritage. Home to a vast variety of exotic bird species, Dipor Bil is a major tourist attraction of Assam.

6. Harike Wetland and Bird Sanctuary, Amritsar

Harike Wetland & Bird Sanctuary is the largest wetland in North India. This man-made wetland spreads into Tarn Taran Sahib, Ferozepur and Kapurthala in Punjab, making it a famous destination for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. Tourists can spot up to 7 species of turtles including the endangered Testudines turtle. The previously extinct Indus dolphin was recently seen at Harike Wetland, giving visitors a rare opportunity to catch a sight of these beautiful creatures.

7. Loktak Lake and Sendra Island, Imphal

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The largest fresh water lake in the country, Loktak Lake and the Sendra Island on it, are one of the most beautiful attractions of the state. Situated about 50 km from Imphal, Loktak Lake is situated in the valley of Imphal and is home to all the rivers and rivulets that run in the state of Manipur. Loktak Lake and Sendra Island present a combination of beauty unmatched anywhere else in the country.

8. Pong Dam, Kangra

Built on the Beas River in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, Pong Dam is an earthfill reservoir constructed for generating hydroelectricity and for irrigation purposes. Constructed in 1975, the dam is based on the foothills of the Shivaliks and is a place of surreal beauty and bounteous natural environment. Also known as the Beas Dam, the region boasts of rich wildlife and is a breeding ground of commercially viable fish.

9. Renuka Lake, Nahan

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Located just 38 kilometres away from Nahan, the Renuka Lake is the perfect place to visit for people who are into nature and the solace it offers. Unlike other lakes in the area that is famous for their pristine beauty and surroundings, the Renuka Lake is renowned for its cultural history. Not only is this the largest natural lake in Himachal Pradesh regarding area (the lake covers a circumference of about 3214 meters); this fantastic water body is shaped in the form of a reclining woman, and hence is considered to be a personification of the Goddess Renuka.

10. Ropar Wetlands, Anandpur-sahib

Situated in the lower Himalayan Shivalik range, and 50 km away from Anandpur Sahib, this ecological zone is a human-made wetland that was created in 1952. Because of its unique features and great biodiversity, it was declared to be a World Heritage Site in 2002. This reserve spreads over 1365 hectares and is home to at least nine different species of mammals, 35 different kinds of fish, nine species of arthropods, ten protozoan species, 11 rotifer species and more than 150 species of birds.

11. Sambhar Lake, Ajmer

Sambhar Lake is located 64 kms from Ajmer enveloping the Sambhar town, on the National Highway 8 and is the largest saltwater lake in India. Lately, it has also been designated as a Ramsar site due to the presence and habitat of pink flamingos and waterfowl birds.

12. Surinsar Lake, Jammu

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A natural bounty with mythical significance, the Surinsar Lake is the ideal spot for a relaxing picnic. A captivating lake placed in the setting of the densely wooded mountain ranges, it is a favourite among locals and tourists, serving as a perfect getaway for those looking for a change of pace from the din of the city. The Surinsar lake and Mansar lake are considered twin lakes. As per the legend of the Mahabharata, these are the lakes that arose from the earth when the hero Arjuna shot an arrow into Mansar.

13. Tso Moriri, Ladakh

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The lesser known of the many lakes within the Changtang Wildlife sanctuary, Tso Moriri lake is a twin to the Pangong Lake. This lake offers a scenic place of peace and tranquillity, measuring about 28 km in length from north to south, and about 100 feet average in depth. The enchanting Tso Moriri lake is surrounded by barren hills, with the backdrop of beautiful snow-covered mountains. Since this is the lesser known of the two lakes, the crowd is less too.

14. Vembanad Lake, Alleppey

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Vembanad Lake is a lagoon located in the district of Alleppey in the South-Indian state of Kerala. This expansive lake/ lagoon is longest lake in the country and the largest Lake in Kerala, accessible from Kottayam, Kuttanad and Kochi. Vembanad Lake for its tranquil backwaters amidst mesmerising natural surroundings which backwater tourism what it is today. Vembanad Lake is known by different names in different regions of Kerala. It is called the Kochi Lake in Kochi, the Punnamada Lake in Kuttanad and as Vembanad in Kottayam.

15. Wular Lake, Srinagar

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One of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia, the pristine beauty of Wular Lake is in Bandipora district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The majestic lake has a breathtaking view and attracts a huge number of visitors around the year. Wular Lake's basin was formed as a result of tectonic activity, due to which the area covered by the lake varies throughout the year, a phenomenon which is unique to this destination. The lake, calm in its appearance, is known for the fierce winds that sometimes blow heavy currents all through its way.

16. Sasthamkotta Lake, Kollam

Sasthamkotta Lake or Sasthamcotta Lake is a wetland and the largest freshwater lake in Kerala. The lake has been named after the Sastha temple situated at the banks of the lake. The water from the lake is used for drinking, irrigation and fishing.

17. Bhitarkanika Mangroves

One of the oldest and beautiful Ramsar sites in India, The Bhitarkanika Mangroves forest, is home to over 55 species of mangroves and 170 species of birds. The wetland is truly breathtaking full of lush green mangroves, wildlife, and birds which enchants visitors. It is also home to the endangered Oliver Ridley Turtles. The best time to visit is between October and January to watch them lay eggs and make the most of your experience.

18. Bhoj Wetland

The Bhoj Wetland forms one of the crucial parts of the heritage of Bhopal. The place is distinctly identifiable by the twin lakes- one being the Upper Lake and the second one being the Lower Lake. The lake's history dates back to the 10th Century when it was built by the ruler of Malwa Paramara Raja Bhoj. This beautiful lake is spanned with different types of flora and fauna is one of the most serene sites to enjoy nature in its purest form.

19. East Kolkata Wetlands

The East Kolkata Wetlands located on the fringes of the eastern part of Kolkata today serves as one of the largest assemblages of sewage fed fish ponds in the city. This huge wetland covers an area of almost 125 km, comprising of salt marshes and salt meadows, sewage farms and settling ponds. The wetlands hold great ecological value and follow a unique waste treatment system of solar purification and natural oxidation by water. Today the East Kolkata Wetlands have been declared as "wetland of international importance" under the Ramsar Convention, 2002.

20. Hokera Wetland

Located in the beautiful and naturally rich state of Kashmir is the Hokera Wetland, which is at the back of the magnificent snow-capped peak of Pir Panchal. Hokera Wetland is rich in a wide variety of flora and fauna and is one of the few Ramsar sites in India providing a home to endangered waterfowl species found in countries like Siberia, China, Central Asia, and Northern Europe. This wetland forms a wholesome ecosystem for plant and wildlife, providing them with a nurturing environment of feeding and breeding grounds. We recommend one to head out there to experience the beauty of nature as well as spot some rare species in their natural environment.

21. Kanji Wetland

Kanji Wetland is a human-made wetland constructed over the Kanjli Lake in the state of Punjab. The wetland is rich in wildlife and home to many species of flora and fauna comprising of aquatic and terrestrial species. Apart from the rich environmental value the wetland also holds religious value for the people of Punjab as it the place where Guru Nanak Dev attained enlightenment.

22. Keoladeo National Park

Keoladeo National Park is one of the most important feedings and breeding grounds for birds in India. History shows that the park was initially a hunting ground and as a game reserve by many Indian kings along with the British. However, realizing the ecological value of the place, it was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is today home to thousands of species of flora and fauna. The local rickshaw pullers have been trained in such a manner that they serve as knowledgeable guides to render one with a truly memorable experience at the Keoladeo National Park.

23. Kolleru Lake

Kolleru Lake is one the largest freshwater lakes in India located in Andhra Pradesh and is home to several species of birds and animals along with many migrating species. The size of the lake can expand up to 100 square miles during the summer monsoons making a home for a host of aquaculture. A visit to the lake will find one caught in a lively atmosphere of chirping birds, fishers rowing their boats across the lake and a playground for children from the nearby villages.

24. Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary is a paradise for all bird watchers and nature lovers in Gujarat. The sanctuary is located over 36 small and beautiful islands spread over an area of almost 120 km and acts as a breeding and feeding ground for many birds. Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary is home to many migratory birds which come in search of food and water from faraway lands up to Northern Europe.

25. Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary

Stretching over an area of almost 1650 acres in the beautiful Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary which is an ideal habitat for many flamingoes along with many other water birds. The sanctuary was established in the year 1857 with the main purpose being the protection of the forests. The place is rich in a wide range of biodiversities like tropical evergreen forests, mangroves, salt marshes, and beautiful grasslands. There are over 250 different species which one can spot at this sanctuary. Get on an adventurous jeep ride to explore the most of this beautiful place.

26. Rudrasagar Lake

One of the biggest attractions in Tripura is Rudrasagar Lake, rich in biodiversity and has also become an area of international importance. The attraction of the Rudrasagar Lake is the famous lake palace of Tripura, which is called 'Neermahal'. Enjoy an exciting boat ride which will take you on the tour of the migratory birds, and beautiful palace all the while when one soaks in the beauty of the place. Watch out for the exciting boat race which is organized either in July or August each year.

27. Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora stretch)

The Upper Ganga River is a beautiful shallow river stretch of water of alternating deep water pools with reservoirs upstream. This lovely stretch of water is rich in biodiversity comprising of many endangered species of animals like Ganges River Dolphin, Gharial, and turtle species. Today, it holds spiritual and holy value for thousands of Hindu pilgrims and is used for various religious purification ceremonies along with cremation purposes.

What's your thought about the astonishing Ramsar sites in India? Do share with us in the comment section given below.

This post was published by Harshitha

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