Nestled just 10 km away from the vibrant city of Jamshedpur in the state of Jharkhand, Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary is a haven for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Established in 1975, this sprawling sanctuary is home to a thriving population of the majestic Indian elephant and boasts a rich biodiversity that will leave you in awe.
Spanning over 195 square kilometers, Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary stretches from Chandil to 40 km east, encompassing the scenic Dalma Hills. As you venture into this sanctuary, you’ll be greeted by hills that rise as high as 915 meters above sea level, creating a picturesque backdrop for your wildlife exploration.
The sanctuary is conveniently located around 100 km from the capital city of Ranchi and a mere 15 km from the bustling steel city of Jamshedpur. Running parallel to NH-18, Dalma Sanctuary offers easy accessibility for visitors eager to immerse themselves in its natural wonders.
Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary is a treasure trove of diverse ecosystems, with forests spanning the East Singhbhum and Saraikela-kharsawan districts of Jharkhand. Within these forests, you’ll discover the enchanting “Dry peninsular Sal” and “Northern Dry Mixed Deciduous Forest” categories, which are known for their unique flora and fauna.
During the scorching summers, the forests shed their leaves, only to burst into a vibrant bloom as the monsoon season arrives. However, it’s important to note that the forest cover has suffered due to selective pilferage by timber mafia over the years, resulting in a significant loss of vegetation and creating challenging conditions for the sanctuary’s animal inhabitants.
Speaking of animals, Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary is teeming with a variety of fascinating species. The Indian elephant takes center stage, with its significant population drawing visitors from far and wide. These majestic creatures often make their way downhill during the monsoons and winter, occasionally venturing into nearby villages and towns of Jharkhand and West Bengal. While this natural phenomenon adds to the allure of Dalma, it can sometimes lead to conflicts between humans and elephants.
In addition to elephants, the sanctuary is home to a plethora of other captivating creatures. Keep an eye out for the Indian giant squirrel, sloth bear, barking deer, wild boar, porcupine, mouse deer, pangolin, and mongooses as you explore the sanctuary’s trails. The avian enthusiasts among you will be delighted by the presence of falcons, golden orioles, Indian tree pies, paradise flycatchers, grey hornbills, Indian peafowl, and a variety of kingfishers, herons, egrets, mynas, pigeons, racket-tailed drongos, magpie robins, and more.
A recent census conducted in 2019 revealed encouraging numbers, indicating the resurgence of wildlife in Dalma. The waterhole census spotted 66 elephants across 43 waterholes, a positive sign that these gentle giants are once again finding Dalma to be a safe and conducive habitat. The census also recorded an increase in the population of wild bears, wild boars, porcupines, langurs, monkeys, reed squirrels, peacocks, rabbits, snakes, jackals, and jungle fowls.
For those seeking a closer encounter with the sanctuary’s inhabitants, there are small hideouts strategically placed within the sanctuary, providing a glimpse into the animals’ natural habitat without disturbing their routines. These hideouts offer a unique opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts to observe and appreciate the beauty of Dalma’s wildlife up close.
Beyond its wildlife, Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary offers more than meets the eye. The sanctuary is a paradise for trekkers, with its undulating terrain and breathtaking vistas providing the perfect setting for an adventure-filled trekking experience. As you traverse the trails, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views that will take your breath away.
Adding to the sanctuary’s allure is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, attracting a large number of devotees during the auspicious festival of Shivratri. This spiritual aspect of Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary adds a touch of tranquility and reverence to the overall experience, allowing visitors to connect with nature on a deeper level.
While Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary has seen a decline in tourist numbers in recent years due to the presence of Naxalite activities in the surrounding areas and the volatile situation in the region, efforts are being made to promote tourism and ensure the safety of visitors. The sanctuary is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, wildlife encounters, and cultural experiences.
In a significant development, Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary recently became the proud host of the country’s first Phenocamp. This innovative initiative aims to study the impact of climate change on ecosystems and biodiversity, further highlighting the sanctuary’s importance in the realm of conservation and research.
So, whether you’re a nature enthusiast, wildlife lover, trekking enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary promises an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in the wonders of this sanctuary, witness the harmony between humans and wildlife, and create memories that will last a lifetime.