A wildlife haven near the famous Shiva temple
KEDARNATH WILDLIFE SANCTUARY is the largest protected area in the Western Himalayas, covering 975 s km. Located in the Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts of Uttarakhand, the sanctuary was primarily established to protect the Himalayan musk deer. Hence, it also known as Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary.
The sanctuary, known for its great biodiversity, was formally established in 1972. Spectacular snow-covered mountain ranges, lakes and glaciers, beautiful valleys and the shimmering holy rivers Mandakini and Alaknanda, make it one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in the country.
The density of the flora varies with the elevation. It starts from sub-alpine forests to alpine shrubs and Himalayan flowers to permanent ice and snow lines where little or no vegetation is to be found.
Apart from Himalayan musk deer, jackals, Himalayan black bears, leopards and snow leopards, langurs and vipers are found here.
The sanctuary is also famous for the Kedarnath Temple, one of the holiest sites for Hindus, located within the premises. The temple was built in the 8th century AD and is home to one of the 12 jyotirlingas.
GETTING THERE: The nearest airport is at Jolly Grant, near Dehradun(approx 250 km) and nearest rail-head is Rishikesh(approx 230 km). By road the sanctuary is connected to the town of Chamoli
BEST TIME TO VISIT: May to November