Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary – Dehradun
Created in 1967 after the construction of Assan Barrage at the confluence of river Yamuna and Asan through Dhalipur power house, Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary is 41.9 Kms away from Dehradun on Dehradun-Ponta road.
In the manmade reservoir Assan Barrage, water level is controlled but it often goes down creating muddy islands in the middle. This attracts variety of birds like egrets, shoveller, herons and lapwings.
Assan Barrage, popularly known as Dhalipur Lake is an ideal destination for bird lovers, ornithologists and naturalists. Every year, hundreds of students of ornithology come to watch and identify birds at Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary.
Trans-Himalayan migratory birds take halt in Assan Barrage during the winter. You can spot birds on their way from southern India during October to November and on their way back from February to March. From early May to end September, you will get to see 53 species of birds among which 19 are migrants form Eurasia. The first to arrive is Shoveller, and then comes Ruddy Shelduck followed by Mallard, Coot, Cormorant, Egrets, Wagtails, Pond Heron and others. 90% of water-bird population during winter months comprises of 11 migratory species- Brahminy Duck, Common Pochard, Common Teal, Coot, Gadwall, Mallard, Pintail, Red Crested Pochard, Shoveller and Tufted Duck.
Besides bird watching, the wanderer tourists would definitely like to walk nearby the Sal forest of Timli. Along with good feelings in the heart, travelers gain knowledge about the vegetation and environment. While in Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary, tourists do not miss to visit Ashoka’s pillar built in 450 BC representing the post-warfare era when King Ashoka converted to Buddhist faith.
If the tourists have longer trip and want to explore Dehradun district, the trip can be arranged like this – first go to Assan Barrage from Dehradun then head towards Vikashnagar, then to Dakpathar Barrage, go to Kalsi village- watch rock edict, walk through the Yamuna, chitchat with villagers and finally go to Chakrata- watch Tiger Falls, Ram Tal, Deoban, Mundali, Kanasar, Tyuni and Hanol. You can explore many other villages in between Kalsi and Chakrata. This trip will not only refresh you but also allow you to know people and places vividly. Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand is worth exploring.
Vegetation and Flora in Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary
The aquatic vegetation of the reservoir consists of common water hyacinth, fennel pondweed, elephant grass, and hornwort. The surrounding bushes include cocklebur, false daisy, morning glory, touch-me-not, prickly chaff flower, knotweed, shy-leaf, stone breaker, heartleaf, miniature beefsteak and West Indian lantana. On the southern side, agricultural fields surround the barrage. Further south there is mixed forest in Siwalik comprising principally sal tree, dhaora tree, Indian ash tree, sheesham tree and cotton tree.
Famous Tourist Attractions near Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary | Places to explore near Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary
There are several famous tourist attractions near Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary in Uttarakhand, India. Here are some notable ones:
Dehradun: The capital city of Uttarakhand, Dehradun, is located approximately 42 kilometers from Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary. It offers a range of attractions, including Robber's Cave, Tapkeshwar Temple, Forest Research Institute, Sahastradhara, and Clock Tower.
Rajaji National Park: Situated around 90 kilometers from the bird sanctuary, Rajaji National Park is a renowned wildlife reserve and a tiger reserve. It is home to diverse flora and fauna, including elephants, tigers, leopards, and various bird species.
Haridwar: Located approximately 96 kilometers from Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary, Haridwar is a holy city situated on the banks of the River Ganges. It is famous for its sacred ghats, such as Har Ki Pauri, where devotees gather to take part in religious ceremonies. The city is also known for the Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years, and the evening Ganga Aarti.
Rishikesh: Situated around 90 kilometres from the bird sanctuary, Rishikesh is a spiritual town known as the "Yoga Capital of the World." It is a popular destination for yoga and meditation retreats. Rishikesh is also renowned for its iconic suspension bridge, Lakshman Jhula, and numerous ashrams along the Ganges.
Mussoorie: Located approximately 70 kilometres from Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary, Mussoorie is a famous hill station nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. Known as the "Queen of the Hills," Mussoorie offers breath-taking views of the Himalayan peaks, lush green valleys, and attractions like Kempty Falls, Gun Hill, Mall Road, and Lal Tibba.
Chakrata: Situated around 66 kilometres from the bird sanctuary, Chakrata is a serene hill station known for its natural beauty and peaceful surroundings. It offers panoramic views, trekking trails, waterfalls, and the historic Tiger Falls.
Activities to do in Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary | Things to explore in Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary
Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary offers several activities for visitors to enjoy amidst its picturesque setting and diverse avian population. Here are some activities you can do in Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary:
Birdwatching: The sanctuary is a haven for birdwatchers, providing an opportunity to spot a wide variety of bird species. Bring your binoculars and explore the sanctuary's trails, watchtowers, and observation points to observe the resident and migratory birds in their natural habitat. Keep an eye out for species like Indian River Terns, Pallas's Gulls, Black-necked Storks, Northern Lapwings, and Sarus Cranes.
Photography: Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary offers excellent opportunities for bird photography. Capture stunning images of the vibrant birdlife, their unique behaviours, and the serene natural surroundings. Be patient and respectful to avoid disturbing the birds or their habitats.
Nature Walks: Explore the sanctuary on foot by taking leisurely nature walks along designated trails. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the wetlands, grasslands, and riverine forests while keeping an eye out for bird sightings and other wildlife encounters. Enjoy the tranquillity and serenity of the sanctuary.
Boat Ride: Take a boat ride on the River Yamuna to get closer to the birds and explore their habitat from a different perspective. Boat rides can provide unique opportunities for birdwatching and observing aquatic species along the river.
Wildlife Spotting: While the focus of Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary is primarily on avifauna, there are chances of spotting other wildlife species such as turtles, fishes, and small mammals. Keep a lookout for these animals as you explore the sanctuary.
Educational Programs: The sanctuary may offer educational programs or guided tours conducted by knowledgeable naturalists. These programs can provide insights into the sanctuary's ecology, avian diversity, and conservation efforts. Participating in such programs can enhance your understanding and appreciation of the bird sanctuary.
Relaxation and Picnicking: Enjoy the peaceful ambiance of Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary by finding a scenic spot for relaxation or a picnic. Bask in the natural beauty, listen to the sounds of birds, and enjoy quality time with friends or family.
It's advisable to check with the sanctuary authorities or local tour operators for any specific regulations, permissions, or guided tour options before planning your activities in Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary.