The Asan Barrage Bird Sanctuary, popularly known as Dhalipur Lake, is a man made wetland created in the year 1967 at the confluence of the river Yamuna and Asan. It is found just 40 kms from Dehradun. Though just a mere 4 sq km in size it is a major bird watching paradise for the sheer abundance of birds that visit it. Plenty of the birds found at Assan Barrage are recognized as globally threatened listed in the IUCN Red Data book. The specialty of this bird sanctuary is that it serves as a winter passage halt for trans-Himalayan migratory birds. The lake attracts a large variety of water birds both waders and divers while the Sal forest nearby teems with many woodland and scrubland bird species.
The sanctuary is at its best during winter when it gets flooded with migratory birds from as far as the arctic region taking over 90% of the water bird population. The water vegetation of the reservoir consists of tall plants such as eichhornia crassips, potamogeton pectinatus, typha elephantina, and ceratophyllum demersum and bushes include xanthium strumarium, eclipta prostrata, Ipomoea sp as well as mixed forest if we go further south in Siwaliks.
Avifauna: Due to its convenient location and abundant bird life, Assan is growing in popularity as a bird watching destination. The Sanctuary attracts around 53 species of avian fauna out of which 19 are winter migratory birds from Eurasia. Brahminy duck, pintail, red crested pochard, gadwall, common pochard, mallard, coot, wigeon, common teal, tufted duck, and shoveller are some of the main migratory birds seen here.
When the water level of Asan reservoir reduces and the swampy islands in the middle become visible, plenty of marsh-loving birds like egrets, herons and lapwings, can be seen there.
When To Go: The best time to visit is from October to December when migratory birds come flocking en route to south India and back again from February to March. Professional bird watchers can also have a wonderful time between the months of early May to September end.
How To Get There
Air: The nearest airport to Dehradun is Jolly Grant, 23 km from the city centre.
By Rail: Dehradun is the nearest railhead.
By Road: There are state run and private buses from Assan and Dehradun. Once can also hire taxis from the Dehradun Roadways bus stand or the railway station.
Where To Stay: There are plenty of government rest houses in Dehradun such as the PWD Inspection House, Railway Rest House, Forest Rest House, 5 Tilak Road, F.R.I Inspection House, Survey of India Guest House, Y.M.C.A. guest house.