Covering an area of 614 km, Dudhwa National Park is located on the Indo-Nepal border in Lakhimpur-Kheri district. The area is the last remnant of the Himalayan Terrai ecosystem. Established initially as a wildlife sanctuary for the swamp deer in 1958, it was declared a national park after two decades. In 1988 the park got the status of tiger reserve along with Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary. Besides the grassland and swamps, Dudhwa has one of the best Sal (Shorea robusta) forests in the country. A large number of rare and endangered species including the tiger, swamp deer, Hispid hare, Bengal Florican can be found here.
The Big Five attractions of Dudhwa are – the tiger, rhinoceros, Barasingha, crocodile and Bengal Florican. A protected tiger reserve, as many as 100 big cats have found home here. The almost extinct Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros has been successfully reintroduced here due to Project Rhino. Among the most famous inhabitants of Dudhwa are the swamp deer or the Barasingha, which are almost synonymous with the grasslands. As many as 1800 of these majestic animals live in the protected reserve today as a consequence of the focused effort that has gone into their conservation. In fact almost half of the world’s total population of Barasinghas are found in Dudhwa. The other wildlife attractions are sloth bear, ratel, civet, jackal, the lesser cats like the leopard cat, fishing cat and jungle cats. Pythons and monitor lizards inhabit the river banks. The wetlands of Dudhwa are also the winter home to lakhs of migratory water birds.
Permits: Entry permits can be obtained from the director of the park, district headquarters, Lakhimpur-Kheri. Mini buses and jeeps can be hired from the national park office at Dudhwa for travelling inside the park. Elephants are also available for wildlife viewing.
When to visit: The best time to visit Dudhwa is October to April. December to February can be extremely cold.
Accommodation: Forest Rest House, Dudhwa, Forest Rest House, Sathiana,Tharu Huts, Dudhwa, Forest Rest House, Bankatti, Bharat Lodge, Palia, etc
How to reach:
Air: You can fly to the state capital Lucknow which is 238 km away and then drive to Dudhwa.
Rail: Dudhwa is connected via Mailani to Lucknow and Nainital.
Road: State and private buses ply frequently from the nearby town of Palia (10 km) to Lakhimpur Kheri, Shahjahanpur, Bareilly, Delhi, etc.