Valmiki Nagar Tiger Reserve

Valmikinagar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary and Valmiki Tiger Reserve (the only Tiger Reserve in Bihar) are located nearly 100 kms from Bettiah in the northern most part of the West Champaran district, bordering Nepal. The extensive forest area of Valmikinagar was previously owned by the Bettiah Raj and Ramanagar Raj until the early 1950s. It is a small town with scattered inhabitation, mostly within the forest area and a railroad station in the district of West Champaran close to the railhead of Narkatiyaganj.

The Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) and Valmiki Wildlife Sanctuary forest area covers 899.38 square kilometres which is 17.4% of the total geographical area of the district West Champaran. As of 2013, there were 22 tigers in the Reserve. It is the 18th Tiger Reserve of the country and ranked fourth in density of Tiger population.  In the north, the protected areas are bordered by Nepal while the Indian state Uttar Pradesh bounds the sanctuary from western side. Bihar Government is turning 800 hectares of forest in VTR into Grassland making it India's biggest grassland.

The main fauna of Valmiki Tiger Reserve consists of Tiger, Leopard, Fishing Cat, Chital, Sambar, Hog Deer, Black Buck, Gaur, Sloth Bear, Langur and Rhesus Monkey, while the flora consists of Sal (Shorea robusta), Asan, Karama, Semal, Khair, Cane (Calamus tenuis), Jamun, Siccharrum, and Teak etc. The Reserve has rich avifaunal diversity. Over 250 species of birds have been reported.

Adjacent to the sanctuary in the forest in Chitwan National Park of Nepal, lies the historic Valmiki Ashram surrounded with temples. The place has the major religious and historical attraction of the Valmiki Ashram. Although it is located in the deep forest of Chitwan National Park in Nepal, but one has to travel through the forests of Valmikinagar for 7 kilometers to reach the Ashram, and that is through India. Even the Nepalese have to travel through Valmikinagar, in India to reach the Ashram.

Rishi Valmiki had written the great epic, “Ramayana”, here. Various points of interest around the ashram are: Birthplace of Luv & Kush (the two sons of Lord Ram and his divine wife- Sita); Sita’s ‘Falahar’ eating place; Meditation place of the great Sage-Valmiki; the place where the Ashwamedh horse was tied; Amrit Kuan; Vishnu Chakra; Gagristhan and the Hawan Kund.

Various temples, located in the periphery of 3 - 4 kms around the Valmiki Ashram, are the Jatashankar Temple, Nardevi Temple and Kaleshwar Temple, surrounded by green forest in the backdrop of the Himalayan Mountains. Triveni Temple is located across the Gandak barrage in the Nepal territory at a motorable distance of 2-3 kms from Gandak barrage.

The overall climate of Valmikinagar is pleasant. The summer is from March to June, while the Rainy season is July to September. The pleasant winter months are November to February. The temperature in Valmikinagar is Minimum 8° C and Maximum 36° C.

With Valmikinagar as base, a tourist can find expression to his nomadic instincts by visiting a number of places, the grandeur and beauty of which are bound to make one experience the heights of ecstasy.
Archaeologically rich places in and around Valmikinagar are Lauriya Nandan Garh and Someshwar Fort. There is a lion pillar of Ashoka at Lauriya Nandan Garh, which is a single block of polished sand stone. The pillar is 32’- 9.5” in height with a diameter of 35.5” at the base and 26.2” at the top. The pillar though being over 2000 years old is still in excellent condition.

Nandan Garh is a huge mound composed of bricks and is about 80 feet high. According to the authoritative source, it is an Ashoka Stupa, in which ashes of Lord Buddha’s funeral pyre are enshrined.
Someshwar Fort is situated in Narkatiyaganj sub-division, near Nepal border, on top of Someshwar Hill at 2884 ft. above M.S.L. It is in a ruined state but its remains are well defined.

Close to Valmikinagar is Triveni, which is a holy place for Hindus. The name is derived from the fact that three river, namely – Naraini, Sohna and Pachnad - merge here, to form Gandak, soon after they emerge from the hills. Triveni is also believed to be the site at which the fight commenced between the Lords of Forest and Water (Gaj and Grah or the Elephant and the Crocodile).

Functional Information

By Air: Connected from Gorakhpur airport in Uttar Pradesh and Loknayak Jay Prakash Narayan airport at Patna.

By Road: Being located at the border point of India-Nepal, Buses to Valmiki Nagar are available at regular intervals from Patna, Bettiah, Motihari, and other local places. VTR is about 275 km from Patna - the capital city of Bihar; 200 km from Muzaffarpur, major city, and railhead of North Bihar; 70 km for Bettiah, district headquarters of West Champaran; and 125 km from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, by road. Vehicles for hiring are available from these places to reach the tiger reserve.

By Train: VTR is situated on Gorakhpur -Muzaffarpur (via Narkatiyaganj) rail route. Daily/weekly trains are available from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Siliguri, Dehradun and Amritsar to arrive at Bagaha (to reach the western part of the sanctuary) and Narkatiyaganj (to reach central and eastern part of the sanctuary). Muzaffarpur and Gorakhpur are the nearest major junctions to get passenger/mail/ express trains for Bagaha and Narkatiyaganj - local stations near VRT.

Where to Stay: Valmiki Nagar has a wonderful Government Rest house on the banks of the river Gandak with some mesmerizing views and deep forests. Across the river into Nepal, there are local hotels for stay as well.