Valmiki National Park is among the most prominent tiger reserves in India. It is located near the Indo-Nepal border in West Champaran district of Bihar, the tiger reserve is spread over an area of about 880 sq km.
The Valmiki Tiger Reserve comprises of the Valmiki National Park and the Valmiki Wild Sanctuary. It is the 18th tiger reserve in the country and with 10 tigers ranks fourth in terms of tiger population.
In 1978, the reserve had an area of 464 sq km. In 1989, the national park and wildlife sanctuary were added to the area of the reserve and in 1990 the total area of the reserve was increased to the existing 880 sq km area.
The national park gets its name from Valmiki Nagar, a small town located within the forest area. Due to dense forest cover in the region, the only entrance to the tiger reserve is through the town of Valmiki Nagar. The tiger reserve borders the Chitwan National Park across the border in Nepal
There are two rivers that flow through the park- Gandak and Masan River. River Gandak forms the western boundary of Valmiki wildlife sanctaury. It enters in India at Valmikinagar, where two rivulets Sonha and Pachnad joins it forming a holy confluence ‘Triveni’. The Gandak River with the Himalayan range in the distance offers a great view and is a haven for photographers. There is a healthy diversity of animals along with tigers in the tiger reserve like leopards, fishing cats, deers, black bucks and rhesus monkeys.
Valmiki Ashram near Valmiki Nagar holds great religious importance for Hindus. According to popular belief, it was the ashram of sage Valmiki and wrote the Ramayana here.
The best way to travel around the park is various jungle safaris that are arranged by the forest department. Fees for these safaris depend upon the type and duration of the safari.
In and Around
There are many temples like the Jatashankar Temple, Kaleshwar Temple and the Nardevi Temple located within 5 km of the tiger reserve.
There are some areas of historical importance which are located in the same district and these sites are not far away from Valmiki Tiger reserve.
The Bhitiharawa Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi near Gaunaha in the eastern end.
The Ashokan Pillar (polished stone) at Lauriya.
The Baudh Stupas at Lauriya Nandangarh.
The Ashokan Pillar is also located at Rampurwa.
Elephant and Jeep Safari is organized by the Bihar Tourism Department. You may enjoy Bullock Cart Safari also, which is traditional in Bihar.
Trekking along the Foothills of Himalayas and the neighbouring Forests in the Valmiki National Park is one of the most memorable experience one can have. Short Trekking of 4 -6 hours is also organized by State Tourism Department.
VTR is one of the favorite destination for Bird Watchers. Presently some 241 bird species have been reported from VTR. These include, Nepal kaleej pheasant, three-toed quail, flycatcher, grey shrike, green willow warbler, tree pipit, white eye, green barbet, waders, ibises, storks, pitta, plovers, snipes, pied hornbill and emerald dove. There are five types of green pigeons and purple wood pigeon found in VTR. One can easily sight nocturnal birds like owls, owlets, nightjars after Sunset.
The best time to visit the national park is between November to February.
How to Reach
The Nearest Airport is Gorakhpur however it has infrequent commercial Flights.
Patna International Airport, is located 275 km from the VTR and is well connected by regular flights to most Indian Cities including New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.
Valmiki Nagar is the nearest railway station which is connected to places such as Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi and Kolkata. Bettiah Railway Station is located some 70km from the Tiger Reserve. Other major Railway Stations in vicinity are Muzaffarpur (200km) and Gorakhpur (125 km).
The sanctuary is about 275 km from Patna, the capital city of Bihar; 200 km from Muzaffarpur, major city and railhead of North Bihar; 70 km for Bettiah, district headquarters of West Champaran; and 125 km from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, by road. Vehicles can be hired from these places to reach the sanctuary.
Stay / Eat
Where to stay
Irrigation department maintains rest houses which are affordable and value for money within the reserve. You can find budget and mid-range hotels near Gandhi Nagar and on National Highway 64.
Where to eat
A canteen inside the reserve provides snacks.