Ralamandal Sanctuary is Indore’s small wonder

One of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh, the Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary was once the hunting ground for the royal family members of Holkars and is today a popular tourist spot, writes Tej Narayan.
Last Updated : 15 June 2024, 19:09 IST

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In ancient times, living in harmony with nature was common worldwide. However, as humanity drifted away from nature, there arose a need to recreate natural habitats in cities to allow people, especially children, to learn about wildlife and birds. The Assam State Zoo and Botanical Garden in Guwahati, approximately 6 km from the railway station, exemplifies such efforts. Established in 1957 and opened to the public in 1958, the zoo covers 175 hectares, and the botanical garden spans 82 hectares. The zoo hosts the state wildlife emblem, the one-horned rhino, along with 112 other species, including tigers and golden langurs, in spacious enclosures.

Similarly, Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, lies on the city’s outskirts near the large Bhopal Lake, nestled in lush, forested hills.

Recognising a similar need, the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department developed a dense forest area 12 km from Indore, the state’s largest city, into the Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary in 1989.

Covering 275 hectares, it is named after the nearby village of Ralamandal. The sanctuary is divided into three zones: wildlife, tourist, and deer safari zones. Historically, the Holkar dynasty used this forested area for hunting, and atop a high hill stands the Shikargah, a two-storey red-brick building built in 1905 by Shivaji Rao Holkar for royal relaxation. The park offers tours in a single motor-driven golf cart, providing a thrilling experience as deer approach the cart for photographs. The deer have been trained to come close with a single call, allowing tourists to interact with them.

Due to the lack of natural water sources, the forest department has constructed water reservoirs, supplied by nearby tube wells, to provide drinking water for wildlife and birds. Separate water facilities and umbrella-shaped concrete seating areas are available for tourists to relax and immerse themselves in nature.

Near the entrance, the range officer’s office and an awareness centre with an auditorium showcase films and exhibitions about the sanctuary’s features and display fossils, as the area was once home to dinosaurs during the Mesozoic era.

Ralamandal Sanctuary also includes a rescue centre with trained veterinarians to treat injured wildlife from nearby districts.

The sanctuary’s main attractions are the abundant blackbucks, blue bulls, spotted deer, hyenas, wild boars, and jackals.

It is a valuable resource for the people and students of Indore to connect with nature, just 12 km from the city.

Published 15 June 2024, 19:09 IST

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