sohagi barwa Forest Rest House

Welcome To The Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary

Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary is an ideal home for many majestic animals like the Tiger, Leopard, Jungle Cat, Small Indian civet, Toddy cat, Monkey, Squirrels, Barking Deer (Kakad), Spotted Deer (Cheetal), Hog Beer (Padha), Porcuipine (Shahi), Wild Pig, Wild boar (wild swine), Avi-Fauna-Little cormorant, Snake bird, Brahmini Duck, Common Teel, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Paddy Bird, Pin Tail, Whit Ibis, Black Ibis, Spoon Bill, Grey Koyal, Grey Parties, Swamp parties, Red Jungle Foul, Blue Rock Pigeon, Pee Foul, Indian Pied Hornbill, Little green bee eater, Papad Heron, Pied King Fisher and Reptiles like Crocodiles, Alligator, Cobra, Karait, Rat Snake and Python etc. The Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary lies in Maharajganj and Kushinagar districts of Uttar Pradesh, between 26° 58’ to 27° 25’ N and 83° 23’ to 84°10’ E. On the northern side, the Sanctuary shares the international boundary with Nepal and on the eastern border is Bihar’s Valmiki Tiger Reserve under the purview of Champaran district. Due to natural, ecological, floral, faunal and geological reasons, Sohagi Barwa was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in June 1987. The intention was to protect the large mammalian fauna of the Terai and Bhabhar forest types of Uttar Pradesh such as Tiger Panthera tigris and Leopard Panthera pardus, and their prey species—Chital Axis axis, Sambar Rusa unicolor, Hog Deer Axis porcinus and Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak.

The Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Division was previously part of Gorakhpur Forest Division which was divided into North Gorakhpur and South Gorakhpur Forest Division by the Government order 4052/14-A- 575/1973 dated 29/30 June 1964. Until 1987, Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Division was being managed as North Gorakhpur Territorial Forest Division. Later, with reference to the UP Govt. Van Anubhag-3 letter No. 3270/14-3-63/1986, dated 29.06.1987 Annexure No. 1, the UP Governor, using power under Sec 18(1) of WildLife Act 1972, declared the area spread over 42,820.1 ha/428.201 sq. km. of North Gorakhpur Forest Division as a Sanctuary and named it as Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Division. In 1993, due to the presence of wildlife, the Pakadi range of Gorakhpur Forest Division was also added in Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Division by the Govt. order No. 5554/14-1-1993-30{5}/80 T.C. dated 16-12-93. In 2004, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), the BirdLife International Partner in India, recognized Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary as an “Important Bird Area” based on the A1- (IBA) Criteria, i.e., presence of threatened bird species (Islam and Rahmani 2004). This area is also listed as Priority III grassland (Madhwalia and Nichlaul) considering the conservation requirements of the typical fauna of the Terai region (Rahmani and Islam 2000). No detailed studies had been conducted on the bird life of this interesting Sanctuary, except for a survey by Rahmani et al. (1990) in search of the Bengal Florican Houbaropsis bengalensis, and later by Salim Javed in search of Swamp Francolin Francolinus gularis in mid 1990s. Some grasslands in Compartment No. 16 of Nagwa and Compartment No. 31 of Sunari blocks along with adjoining blocks constituting about 260 hectares were considered potential habitat for the Bengal Florican. Although half of this grassland was planted by the Forest Department, the remaining area has perfect grass cover for Florican (Rahmani and Islam 2000). As Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary is connected with Valmiki Tiger Reserve and Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal, both IBAs where the Bengal Florican is still found (BirdLife International 2001), there is still a chance that if the grassland habitat is protected, this Critically Endangered florican could appear in Sohagi Barwa. Rahmani (1988) had highlighted the significance of a water body, Singraina Taal, as a wintering home to hundreds of water birds, including 45-50 resident Sarus Crane Grus antigone and Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, further enhancing the importance of this little-known Sanctuary. For these reasons, this Sanctuary was designated as an important IBA site.

BNHS was assigned one year study by Sarus Sanrakshan Samiti / Uttar Pradesh Forest Department in October 2013 to conduct Avifauna study at Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary with special reference to threatened species such as Sarus Crane, Bengal Florican, Black-necked Stork and Swamp Francolin.

The total area of Sohagi Barwa is 42,820 ha and it is further divided into seven zones for conservation and management. The administrative headquarters of Sohagi Barwa is at Maharajganj. The Sanctuary can be reached via Gorakhpur or Gonda. The Sanctuary is presently accessible by rail and road with Farenda being the nearest meter gauge line station. The nearest broad gauge station is at Gorakhpur. The nearest airport is also at Gorakhpur. The border of Nepal is connected by road from Gorakhpur to Sonauli through the Nautanwa highway NH-29 linking India with Nepal. There are regular taxi and private and government bus services on this route. In the forest area of Chowk, there is a famous pilgrimage—Kanhaiya Baba alias Ramgram. Similarly, to the northwest of Dharmauli village, there are goddesses Sonadi Devi and Bokada Devi temples—again important pilgrim sites. Also the Buddhist pilgrim places located at Siddarthnagar are ideal destinations for both the national and international tourist.

The Tharu and Mushar tribes are present around the Sohagi Barwa forest area. These tribes seem to be considerably dependent on the forest produce for their sustenance. There are also 12 taungya villages with an approximate number of 2,300 families present in and around the Sohagi Barwa. These people have been employed as forest workers since historic times. According to the Management Plan of Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary 2010-11 to 2019-20, apart from the taungya villages, there are more than 300 more villages situated inside and outside this Protected Area and around 90% of the population here are rural. Although there is a consistent movement of people to cities in search of livelihood, cultivation and animal husbandry are the key professions in this area. Most cattle and other animals seem to be quite unproductive. As there is no tradition of stall feeding of livestock, these domesticated animals are taken to the bordering village forests for foraging. Most of the human population here is reported to be below poverty line with small land holdings. Due to flood and drought, the district always faces famine-like situation (Management Plan of Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary 2010-11 to 2019-20). Hence the major management conservation concerns of this forest include illicit felling, grazing and increasing pressure from the taungya cultivators living in and around the area.


Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary area is spread across the sub montane area of Terai in UP. The area of the Sanctuary is a vast alluvial plain. The underlying soil of the area consists of alluvial formation, showing a succession of beds of clay, silt and sands. The temperature ranges between 0 ºC to 40 ºC. The average annual rainfall is >1,500 mm. The earth surface is almost plain and the altitude varies between 95–103 m above mean sea level. However towards the north of the Sanctuary, about 20 km towards the Indo-Nepal International boundary, the hill areas are easily visible. The Sanctuary is situated in the Terai Bhabhar biogeographic subdivision of the upper Gangetic Plains (7a) biogeographic province (Rodgers & Panwar 1988). It represents one of the few remaining examples of a highly diverse and productive Terai ecosystem, supporting a large number of endangered species, obligate species of tall wet grasslands and species of restricted distribution. The vegetation of this area is of North Indian Moist Deciduous type. It has some of the finest Sal forests in the country. The terrain, with its characteristic complex of Sal forests, tall grassland and swamps maintained by periodic flooding, is one of the most threatened ecosystems in India. Most of Terai has succumbed to anthropogenic pressures with agriculture and homesteads replacing the rich natural vegetation of the past.

About 80% of Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary is woodland. Prior to the establishment of the Sanctuary, the area was under intensive management for maximum timber yield on sustained basis. As a result a few timber species were favoured and hence in many places mixed forests were cleared and replaced by monoculture plantation. The Sal forest is the dominant species in this Sanctuary area contributing up to 75% of the forest (Management Plan of Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary 2010-11 to 2019-20). Sal forests have come up on high alluvial terraces as well as on hard clayey soils. Other important tree species found in this Sanctuary are Terminalia alata, Syzygium cumini, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Semecarpus anacardium, Mallotus phillipensis, Trivea nudiflora, Bombax ceiba, Adina cardifolia, Barringtonia acutangula, Mitragyna parviflora, Schliechera oleosa, Mallotus phillipensis, Sterospermum suaveotens, Aegle marmelos and Streblus aspern. Syzygium cumini are present along the stream in pure form as Jamun belt. In areas that are wet throughout, Barringtonia acutangula, locally known as Paniar, takes the place of Syzygium cumini.

The complex of woodland forest, grasslands and swamps contribute immensely towards making the ecosystem as one of the most diverse. These habitats are connected to each other through the Riparian Forests. These forests, which act as a functional net in supporting landscape diversity, also play a vital role in the maintenance of the water and climatic regime of the region. The narrow Riparian forests along the streams have high diversity of transitional species as they are intermediate between several habitats—for instance the Riparian forests in between forest patches and wetlands are home to the Near Threatened Lesser Fish-eagle Icthyophaga humillus and Grey-headed Fish-eagle Icthyophaga ichthyaetus. The taals or ponds among Riparian forests also have a high potential of supporting aquatic fauna such as the Mugger Crocodilus palustuis and various species of turtles. Some important fishes found in this area are Rohu Labeo rohita, Saur Channa marul, Tengur Myshes seenchala, Singhi Heteropneustes fossifis and Barari Velgo attu. Keeping in view the fact that this Sanctuary is adjacent to Valmiki Tiger Reserve and Chitwan National Park, it remains important as a potential area for conservation. The traces of Tiger signs indicate the Sanctuary’s potential to rehabilitate Tigers which are presently not easily sighted in this area.

Topography & Climate

The topography of the sanctuary is almost flat with an average height of 100mtrs above mean sea level. The area gently slopes from North – West to South –East. The sanctuary, drained by great Gandak, the little Gandak, Pyas and Rohin rivers, has a number of ponds, lakes [Tals], swamps and open grass lands. Climate of the area is pleasant throughout the year, with moderately chilly winters, during December & January.


Such a varied area is inhabited by a variety of animals which mainly includes Leopard, Tiger, Jungle Cat, Small Indian Civet, Langur, Deer, Blue Bull, Wild boar, Porcupine etc. The Avifauna is varied with Little Cormorant, Snake Bird, Brahimini Duck, Common Teal, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Paddy Bird, Pintail, White Ibis, Black Ibis, Spoon Bill, Grey Partridge, Swamp Partridge, Red Jungle Fowl, Blue Rock Pigeon Spotted Dove, Pea fowl, Indian Pied Hornbill, Tree Pie, Little Green Bee-eater, Pond Heron, Red-vented Blue Bul, Golden backed Wood pecker, Pied King Fisher, Blue King Fisher etc. The Reptilians are represented by the Python Tortoise, Crocodile, Common Cobra, Common Krait, Rat Snake etc.


The area under this sanctuary consists of beautiful forest cover. Nearly 75% of the area consists of Sal forest and other humid areas are covered with Jaamun [Syzigium Cumini], Gutal [Trewia Nudiflora], Semal [Bombax Ceiba], Khair [Acacia Catechu] Trees, etc. Lower region of the sanctuary, which is water logged during rains, consists of Grass lands and patches of Cane forests.


The forests are interspersed with grasslands. This is a characteristic of Terai Ecosystem in Northern India and the area is probably the last prominent remnant of this type of ecosystem. These openings are very important for animals that forage in the glades and find shelter under the canopy of trees.

The grassland is an important feature of the Sanctuary and constitutes approximately 13% of the area. The major grasslands are located at different parts of the Sanctuary, some along the s/rivers flowing through the region.

An important feature of the grasslands is their seasonal flooding and waterlogging. During monsoon most of the grasslands gets covered by very tall grasses. The grasslands, locally called phantas, are categorized into two basic types: upland dry savannah type and the low-lying wet, tall marshy grasslands. The majority of the grasslands are upland phantas, which remain dry for a long period. Waterlogging occurs for some time during monsoon. These areas are characterized by extremes of wet and dry conditions (Management Plan of Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary 2010-11 to 2019-20). The major grass species are Sachrum munjha, Sachrum spontaneum, Sclerostachya fusca, Vetiveria zizimiodes, Typha elephantina and Demostachya bipinnata. The low-lying wet grasslands have typical marshy conditions. In such areas, the soil is permanently wet and saturated with poor aeration. Waterlogging remains around the year. In such areas, the depressions are colonized by Arundo donax, Typha and Hydroryza.

The grasslands are home to a vast variety of animals. In the predominantly grassy areas, there occur patches of trees called bhojis that prove quite beneficial to a variety of animals and birds. Grasslands with or without patches of trees along major rivers and nallahs> are characterized by Vertiveria imperata, Sclerostachya fusca and Saccharum munjha, and in drier areas by Cymbopogon martini.

Grassland areas of Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary
S.No.     Location Area(Ha)
1 Madhwalia Nagwa-14 377.7
2 Sonari-31 483.3
3 Dudhi-13 435.1
4 Arjunahi-4 199.0
5 Sheopur-3 295.0
6 Nagwa-15B 222.0
7 Sonasri-32 205.0
8 Dudhi-3B 106.0
9 Sonasri-30 161.0
10 Nagwa-11 122.0
11 Nagwa-3B 164.0
12 Nagwa-7B 137.0
13 Nagwa-9B 112.0
14 Nagwa-16 262.0
15 Doma-4B 166.0
16 Nagwa-19B 384.0
17 Nagwa-17 38.1
18 Nichlaul-8 31.8
19 Dudhi-12B 14.4
20 Dudhi-11B 0.6
21 Dudhi-5B 26.5
Total Grassland Area     3942.5

Wetlands at Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary

The wetlands constitute the third major habitat type. They include rivers, streams, wetlands and marshy areas. Many of the major wetlands are perennial with some amount of surface moisture retained round the year. The sanctuary is bestowed with a number of such perennial water sources—the Gandak, Pyas and Rohin rivers are the most important. Due to poor drainage, formation of many ponds or taals and low-lying swampy areas remain throughout the years. The big Gandak, Choti Gandak, Pyas and Rohin, Malaw, Patoh, Dandoh, Ballia Nalla, Padwa Nalla, Rihaw Nalla are the major rivers and streams of the Sanctuary. The greater part of the Sanctuary, especially the Sal area, is situated at the basin of Rapti river which is spread over the bank of Pyas and Rohin, both tributaries of the Rapti (Management Plan of Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary 2010-11 to 2019-20). The extent of area under wetland varies with season. The taals which are associated with grasslands, provide food and water to a vast variety of migratory birds, mammals, fishes, amphibians and reptiles. A total of 21 taals ranging from a minimum of 0.5 ha to 500 ha are present in the Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary. Among the several small and large wetlands, the Singraina Taal is the most prominent and attracts hundred of migratory as well as resident birds as it has water throughout the year. Sometimes there are few birds in Pidari Taal. Chandamani Taal is also an important wetland and seems to be a good Swamp Francolin habitat.

During the present BNHS survey, the team visited most of these wetlands but there were not many birds in significant numbers as many of these wetlands are in between forest areas with very high disturbance from the domestic livestock. Whenever there is sufficient water there are chances of a few birds such as egret, heron and waterhen using these natural wetlands. Singraina Taal, which is the major water body of the Sanctuary, is now over-run by Barringtonia actangula. In order to revive Singraina Taal, Barringtonia has to be systematically uprooted from the taal’s vicinity. This recommendation should be immediately incorporated in the existing management plan/practice of the Sanctuary. Immediate attempts should be made to control Water Hyacinth in Singraina Taal and other water bodies. Extensive collection of Cane Calamus spp is a major threat to the wetland surrounding forest birds.

Water bodies of Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary
S. No Taal/lake/Ponds Name Range Block Detail Area(ha)
Max     Min
1 Singraina Taal North Chowk     Nagawa 12 500.00     100
2 Koriahewa Taall North Chowk Nagawa 11 60.0 25
3 Raiyakhar Taal North Chowk Sonari 11,12 4.00 1
4 Batora Taal North Chowk Nagawa 13 25.00 10
5 Saurdahawa Taal South Chowk Sonari-29 25.00 10
6 Matauha Taal South Chowk Sonari-29 25.00 10
7 Pidari Taal South Chowk Sonari-29 25.00 5
8 Thuthari Taal Madhwalia Basauli     25.00 4
9 Tedwa Taal Pakadi Sadar beat Dudhai 13 4.00 1
10 Gudgudiya Taal Nichlaul Nichlaul – 7 8.00 2
11 Chandamani Taal Nichlaul Doma – 3c 3.00 0.5
12 Jhawai Taal Nichlaul Kalnahi 5.00 1.0
13 Manjhariya Taal Nichlaul Kalnahi 4.00 0.5
14 Darginia Taal Nichlaul Baitholia 3.00 2.5
15 Choti Gandak River Nichlaul Doma 2 & 4 10.00 2
16 Dandoh Naala Laxmipur East Lehda 4 & 8 5.00 0.5
17 Bharto Naala Laxmipur East Lehda 5 & 8 4.00 0.5
18 Khaserwa Taal Laxmipur East Lehda 12 15.00 5
19 Sri Nagar Taal Laxmipur Laxmipur 100.00 20
20 Tandwahiya Taal and Dhekahi Taal     Laxmipur East Lehda 14 5.00 1


As mentioned earlier, the Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary is divided into seven ranges – Pakadi, Laxmipur, North Chowk, South Chowk, Madhwalia, Nichlaul and Sheopur. These seven ranges comprising a total of 39,220.10 ha area (See Table I) has another 3,600 ha area of agricultural land included in the Sanctuary. Hence, the total area of Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary is 42,820.10 ha. At present, the whole area of the Sanctuary is considered as a core zone from the management point of view; however the area from the Sanctuary boundary up to 200 meters inside the forest is considered as the buffer zone for traditional usage (Management Plan of Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary 2010-11 to 2019-20).

Seven Forest Rest Houses are found within the seven ranges of the Sohagi Barwa Wildlife Sanctuary. These seven rest houses, namely Pakadi, Tedhighat, Deibhar, Kushmahwa, Madhwalia, Nichlaul and Doma, are open to tourists on nominal payment. However, visitors opting to stay in these rest houses will need prior approval from the Divisional Forest Office at Maharajganj. Most of these rest houses have two double bedrooms and most of them are inside the Forest Range campus, with easy access to wildlife and nature trails leading to various beats and wetlands prsent in the ranges.

Ecotourism activities available at the various Tourism Zones

  • Viewpoint watching
  • Cycling
  • Trekking
  • Nature walks
  • Camping
  • Bird watching

Travel Information

Sohgibarwa Vanya Jeev Vihar is 65 km. from Gorakhpur Airport and 85 km. from Kushinagar Inter National Airport and about 350 Km. from Lucknow international airport. It is 56 Km. from Gorakhpur Railway station, 22 Km. from Pharenda, 35 Km. from Siswa Railway Stations.

Uttar Pradesh Tourism (commonly referred to as Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department or UP Tourism Department) is a state government agency which is responsible for promotion of tourism in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The department is also responsible for drafting and implementation of the tourism policy, including heritage, air service, and eco-tourism policies for Uttar Pradesh

for more information, please visit Uttar Pradesh Tourism

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