Asan Barrage Bird Sanctuary ‘A Bird Watcher’s Paradise in Doon’
Asan Barrage Bird Sanctuary flanked on the Uttarakhand-Himachal Pradesh border is cocooned near Dhalipur village nestled in the Dehradun district. Its proximity to Doon Valley makes it a popular tourist place to visit. The Asan reservoir is fed from river Asan and the discharge channel of Yamuna through Dhalipur powerhouse.
The reservoir is a minuscule wetland measuring 287.5 metres long, with its river bed raised to an elevated height of 389.4 metres above sea level. The wetland sprawls over 4 sq. km area and has a water level of 403.3 metres. The area around the reservoir is mushy and is abundant in avifaunal species that lures many bird watchers to visit here.
Asan Barrage- A Haven for Bird Watchers:
If you are an avid bird watcher then you’ll fall in love with this place as birds like Shoveler, Mallard, Ruddy Shelduck, Pond Heron, Wagtails, Coot, Cormorant, Egrets and Wagtails are the first to arrive here. One can feast their eyes on birds of prey like Pallas Fishing Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Greater Spotted Eagle, Osprey and Steppe Eagle.
Asan has the privilege of hosting more than thirty-year-old nesting site of the Pallas Fishing Eagle which it re-constructs every winter. While rest of the year this nest is shared by other birds of prey. During winters, 90% of the water-bird population comprises of these 11 migratory species namely Brahminy Duck, Red-Crested Pochard, Gadwall, Common Pochard, Mallard, Coot, Wigeon, Common Teal, Tufted Duck and Shoveler.
History of Asan Barrage Bird Sanctuary:
Asan Barrage also spelt- Assan or Aasan Barrage was created in 1967 as a small man-made wetland, on the confluence of two mighty rivers namely Eastern Yamuna and Asan river. Since it is located near Dhalipur Power Plant, therefore, it is referred to as Dhalipur lake. The barrage is flocked by many birds some of which are globally endangered species that are listed in the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red Data Book.
Since the barrage serves as a winter retreat for the trans-Himalayan migratory birds. These feathery pals can be seen here on their way to southern India (October-November) and again on their way back (late February-March). By the end of October, the sanctuary welcomes the migrants from the Pale arctic region. More than 53 species of water birds have been recorded here and about 19 European and Asian migratory birds have also been spotted.
Water Sports Activities at Asan Barrage:
Experience the adrenaline rush in your veins by engaging in water sports activities offered by GMVN Watersports complex at Asan Barrage. This water sports resort was set up in the year 1994 by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam. The resort offers a plethora of water sports like water skiing, paddle boating, rowing, kayaking, motor boating and canoeing that attracts many adventurous souls here.
Route to Asan Barrage Bird Sanctuary:
Vegetation and Flora in Asan Barrage Bird Sanctuary:
Asan Barrage reservoir is a breeding ground for several aquatic species commonly consisting of water hyacinth, fennel pondweed, elephant grass, and hornwort. The surrounding bushes include cocklebur, false daisy, morning glory, touch-me-not, prickly chaff flower, knotweed, shy-leaf, stone breaker, heartleaf, miniature beefsteak and west Indian lantana. While the agricultural field encircles the southern side of the reservoir. Move towards the south and you’ll notice mixed forest in the Shivalik range comprising of Sal, Dhaura, Sheesham, Indian ash tree and Red Silk Cotton Tree.
Weather & Climate in Assan Barrage Bird Sanctuary:
Best Time to Visit Asan Barrage Bird Sanctuary:
Winter months are the best suited for indulging in bird watching at Asan Barrage as many migratory birds flock here but, for serious bird watchers other months of the year also offer great opportunities. One can admire the local migrants like Painted Stork, Open Billed Stork and Nigh Heron from early May to September end. A flock of 25-40 painted storks can also be spotted here every year.
Things to do in and around Asan Barrage Bird Sanctuary:
Known for being the winter abode of migratory birds, Asan Barrage is the hot-spot for bird watchers. Since the place is known for its virgin beauty, one can engage in several recreational activities ranging from nature walks to boating. If you want to trek nearby then you must traverse through the Sal forest of Timli which is rich in vegetation.
Many budding wildlife photographers come here to capture candid pictures of the avifauna richness found here. While exploring the Asan Barrage Sanctuary, don’t forget to visit the Ashoka Pillar Rock Edict at Kalsi which was built in 450 BC, representing the post-warfare era when King Ashoka converted to Buddhism. Some of the other nearby attractions to visit from Asan Barrage are Dakpathar, Vikasnagar and Paonta Sahib.
Arrival and Departure of Birds at Asan Barrage in Dehradun:
Birds: Greylag, Brahminy, C.Teal, Mallard, C. Pochard
Birds: Gadwall, Wigeon, RC pochard, Tufted
Birds: Pintail, Shoveller
How to visit Asan Barrage Bird Sanctuary in Dehradun:
Asan Barrage Bird Sanctuary is located on the confluence of river Yamuna and Asan near Dhalipur village. It is approximately 42 km west of Dehradun on Dehradun-Paonta road. The sanctuary is only 11 km from Vikasnagar, 22 km from Kalsi and around 66 km away from Chakrata. Dehradun railway station at 42 km away is the nearest railhead to Asan Barrage and Jolly Grant airport at 71 km away is the nearest air connectivity.