Sprawling an area of 2073 sq kms along the banks of India's most revered river Ganga, Hastinapur Sanctuary is a subject of interest for zoology and botany students for its rich biodiversity. It is found in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh covering areas such as Meerut which is just 30 kms away, Ghaziabad, Bijnore and Jyotiba Phule Nagar. It was established in the year 1986 its main attraction being the swamp deer and blue bull. The diverse biological structure of Hastinapur and its rich ecosystem is evident in the vast array of both flora and fauna found.
Wild Animals: The chief faunal wealth of Hastinapur comprises mammals, birds, reptiles both snakes and lizards, amphibians such as frogs and toads, butterflies and fishes mostly of the invertebrate groups such as the scorpions, centipedes, dragon and damselflies, hymenoptera such as wasps, bees, etc. However, the chief animals found are swamp deer and blue bull and they almost always make an appearance. Apart from the two, there are plenty of wild animals to feast your eyes on such as antelope, sambhar, cheetal, blue bull, leopard, hyena and wild cat. Other inhabitants include the sloth bear, jackal, wild pig and the lesser cats- fishing cat, leopard cat, jungle cat and civet.
The Sanctuary is also home to a great number of alligators while spottings of the Gangetic dolphins are frequent especially along the river between Haridwar and Bijnor. Invertebrates mostly scorpions and centipedes and reptiles including the Indian Rock Python have been seen here. Termites and lepidoptera comprise over 60 species.
Birds: Hastinapur Sanctuary is a bird watchers paradise where flocks and flocks of
birds both resident and migratory fill the marshy land along the Ganga. Over 350 species of birds have been counted here including the painted stork, black and white necked stork, sarus crane, few night birds of prey such as the great Indian horned owl to the jungle owlet, colourful woodpecker, barbet, kingfisher, minivet, bee-eater and bulbul.
Other than that, over 42 pairs of sarus cranes have been spotted in the Bhimkund area of the sanctuary. Plenty of peacocks, the national bird of India, are found at Hastinapur.
Best Time To Visit: Hastinapur Sanctuary enjoys pleasant climate throughout the year. However, it is best to visit within the months from mid-November to April.
By Air: The nearest airport is Delhi, which is around 110 kms away.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is Meerut 30 kms away.
By Road: Hastinapur is on the National Highway 119 Delhi-Meerut-Pauri road. It is well served by roads to other areas of the state.
Where To Stay: For overnight lodging, there is a Forest Rest House and a PWD Inspection House at Hastinapur. Prior booking must be made with the concerned authorities. Alternatively, there are many dharamsalas in the area.