Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary

3.6 / 5 69 votes


Weather:

Ideal Time: 2-3 hours

Timings:

7:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Entry Fee:

No entry fee,
Forest Reserve Entry Permit: INR 250
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Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary, Dalhousie Overview

Thick deodar foliage, a plethora of wildlife, snowcapped mountains, carpets of verdant grasslands and easy on the eye streams of fresh water make up the Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary. Also called the Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary, it is located in the picturesque hilly Chambal district of Himachal Pradesh. The name Kalatop means 'black cap', which probably refers to the thick black forest cover on the highest hilltop in the sanctuary. Situated a few kilometres away from the Chamba dam and Chamera reservoir on the river Ravi, it is known to be rich in flora and fauna. Hundreds of small streams of freshwater empty themselves into the Ravi river to the north of the sanctuary. Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect weekend getaway destination, with very few other places coming close to its natural charm.

The well laid out trekking and hiking trails in the Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary offer a pristine, mesmerizing experience with nature and are arguably the best means to explore the beautiful untouched forests of the park area. Views of the towering and immaculate Pir Panjal range from the enigmatic Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary resthouse is a breathtaking sight to immerse yourself in. The countryside landscape is sure to provide you with a sense of astonishment and wonder. Over the years, it has gained popularity as an extremely scenic picnic spot and a great place for trekking and nature walks. 

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The exotic wildlife sanctuary holds a great diversity of flora and fauna. Animals that reside in the forest area include the black bear, Himalayan black marten, barking goral, leopard, wild cats, deer, serow (goat-like/antelope-like mammal) etc. The Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary is an ornithologists' paradise, with a plethora of aviary species such as the Eurasian jay, chestnut billed thrush, blackbird, grey-headed canary, pheasant, Himalayan monal etc.

Trekking: A lot of the tourists undertake the trekking expedition from Dalhousie to Kalatop Wildlife Sanctuary. The well laid out trekking trails meandering amidst towering deodar, coniferous, rhododendron, oak and fir trees are something out of a fairytale.

Sunset Viewpoint: Views of the towering and breathtaking Pir Panjal range from the enigmatic sunset viewpoint at the top of the sanctuary is blissful.

Adventure Park: There is a small adventure park inside the sanctuary, ideal for kids to have some fun time.

Local Snacks: Enjoy some local snacks and tea provided at a small canteen located inside the wildlife sanctuary. Must have - Pakoras, tea and Maggi.

Forest Guesthouse: The Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary has a small guesthouse located inside the premises. What makes it interesting and much loved is the fact that it featured in the Bollywood movie "Lootera". For staying at the guesthouse, you need to make prior reservations (booking at least 10 days from the date of stay is preferable).

Summer months from March to May are the times when the forest area is at its verdant best apart from the monsoon months when it can get uncomfortable to travel around. The post-monsoon season from September onwards are pleasant and are favourable to enjoy whatever nature has to offer you.

1. Be careful of the bears in the area.
2. You need to take permission from the District Forest Officer, Chamba for rest house and vehicle entry.
3. No guided tours are offered by the forest department.
4. Taxi services can be easily hired at Dalhousie if you want to sightsee around.
5. The nights are a stargazing haven here, so carry your binoculars or telescopes!

During the rule of the princely states under British regime, the place was famous as hunting and sporting grounds for the Chamba rulers. The area under the Kalatop Khajjiar Sanctuary was notified as a natural reserve during the early 1960's but efforts to protect and preserve the pristine area was undertaken only during the 1970's when it was declared a sanctuary. The lush oasis has always been an open forest sanctuary, meaning that there are no enclosures of any kind and animals are free to move in and out of the area.

The closest nearby major settlement to Kalatop Khajjiary Sanctuary is the important hill station and resort town of Dalhousie, which is at a distance of 8 kilometres. You can hire a taxi from Dalhousie and proceed towards the Karelnu road or onto the Chamba/Khajjiar road to enter the forest area. Parking facility is available inside the park. However, the road from the entrance to the parking is a stretch of narrow and broken unpaved trail. Many tourists prefer covering this bad stretch on foot.

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