Overa Aru Biosphere Reserve is one of the famous reserves in India. It is situated in the southwest of Srinagar around 76 km away from the capital of Jammu and Kashmir. It is perched in the beautiful snow clad mountains of the Himalayas. Jammu and Kashmir is blessed with consummate natural beauty which attracts thousands of tourists from different parts of the world throughout the year. The Sanctuary has contributed a lot in elevating the status of the state as a tourist attraction. The geological structure of the place is quite characteristic and the sanctuary enjoys a complete ecosystem replete with valuable flora and fauna. The forests here offer a safe habitat to the various species of animals.
The Sanctuary is spread over a sprawling area of 400 sq km. It plays a host to a number of rare and endangered species of animals as well as birds. Canopy of lush green trees makes the sanctuary a safe home for these animals and birds.
About ninety percent of the forests of Overa Aru Bioshpere Reserve are covered with the dense conifers. To name a few important floral species, Abies pindrow, Pinus griffithii, Cedrus deodara, Aesculus indica, etc can be mentioned. There are a number of prominent species of shrubs found in these forests like Viburnum spp., Indigofera heterantha, Sorbaria tomentosa, etc. Moreover the ground off the Reserve is covered with Dicotyledonus herbs.
Main Wildlife Attractions:
The Reserve plays host to a number of faunal species. Some of them are also on the brink of extinction and due efforts are being taken to save them. It is a treat to watch these animals in their true colors in the forest. Some of the prominent species found here are Musk Deer, Snow Cock, Leopard, Hangul, Monal, Brown bear and Koklas. In addition to these animals like Serow, Hare, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Mouse, Grey Langur too are seen here in plenty. Every year, thousands of birds from far off places like Siberia flock in the Sanctuary during winter and thus the place becomes a paragon for bird watching. Both domestic as well as migratory birds make the Reserve their home and grow here in plenty. Among the important avian species existing in this area are Snow Cock, Blue Rock Pigeon, Koklas, European Hoopoe, Kashmir Roller, Griffon Vulture, Monal, etc.
The fact that the Biosphere Reserve is replete with the rich flora and fauna draws many scientists, researchers, students of botany and zoology and wildlife photographers to this sanctuary.
Best Time to Visit:
You can visit the sanctuary any time of the year but we recommend September to March as you will get to see the rare species of animals. If you are a bird watcher, the period between March to May is ideal for you. You can have a thrilling experience of getting face to face with the animal world which we otherwise see on the TV channels.
How to reach?
- By Air: Srinagar (87 km) is the nearest airport from the sanctuary.
- By Rail: Jammu (280 km) is the nearest railhead from the Reserve.
- By Road: Good network of roads connects the sanctuary with the important places in the state like Srinagar (76 km) , Anantnagh (40 km) and Pahalgam (11km). So you can reach the Sanctuary from any part of the world pretty easily.
You can get quality accommodation at Pahalgam. There are many tourist cottages and private accommodation facilities available here.
Leopard, Snow Cock, Musk Deer, Brown Deer, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Mouse and various species of birds