Nestled amidst the pristine wilderness of the Himalayas, the Kanchula Kharak Musk Deer Sanctuary in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This sanctuary is located at an altitude of 2,000 to 3,600 meters above sea level and covers an area of about 6,000 hectares. The sanctuary is named after Kanchula Kharak, a peak that is located within its boundaries.
The sanctuary is home to a variety of flora and fauna and is particularly famous for its population of musk deer, which are the main attraction here. The musk deer is an endangered species and is found only in a few pockets of the Himalayan region. Kanchula Kharak Musk Deer Sanctuary is one such place where these animals can be spotted in their natural habitat.
Apart from the musk deer, the sanctuary is also home to other rare and endangered species of animals such as the Himalayan black bear, brown bear, leopard, serow, goral, bharal, and several species of birds. The sanctuary is a birdwatcher's paradise, with more than 100 species of birds being spotted here, including the Himalayan monal, koklass pheasant, and cheer pheasant.
The sanctuary is also known for its rich plant diversity, with a large number of medicinal plants and herbs growing here. The forests are dominated by deodar, pine, fir, and oak trees, and the lower reaches of the sanctuary are covered with alpine pastures and meadows.
The sanctuary offers several trekking routes, which are a great way to explore its natural beauty. The treks vary in difficulty level and can range from short day hikes to longer treks spanning several days. The trek to Kanchula Kharak, after which the sanctuary is named, is particularly popular among trekkers.
The best time to visit the sanctuary is from April to June and from September to November when the weather is pleasant and the wildlife is most active. The sanctuary is closed during the monsoon season, from July to August, due to heavy rains and the risk of landslides.
To reach the sanctuary, one can take a bus or taxi from Chamoli town, which is well connected by road to other major cities in Uttarakhand. The nearest railway station is at Rishikesh, which is about 235 kilometers from Chamoli, and the nearest airport is at Jolly Grant in Dehradun, which is about 250 kilometers from Chamoli.
In conclusion, the Kanchula Kharak Musk Deer Sanctuary is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Its pristine wilderness, rare and endangered species of animals and birds, and rich plant diversity make it a unique and fascinating place to explore. So, pack your bags and head out to this hidden gem in the Himalayas for an unforgettable experience.