Saturday, April 13, 2024

Tourism      Wildlife      National Parks      Uttarakhand     Pithoragarh    

Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary




Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand State

Nearest town


Didihat (28 km)

Best time to visit


April to September

Main attraction


Musk Deer



6:00 Morning to 5:00 Evening

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Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary is located 54 km from Pithoragarh district near Askot in Uttarakhand State. Askot town lies on the famous Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage route. The name Askot is derived from 'Assi Kot' or Eighty Forts, many of which are situated in Nepal.

This sanctuary was set up primarily for to protect the musk deer (Moschus leucogaster) and its habitat. Established in 1986, the sanctuary covers an area about 599.93km².

Set amidst snow-capped peaks, glaciers, ridges, beautiful valleys and pristine forests in the Indo-Nepal border, the sanctuary is really a haven for wildlife, birds and butterflies. The two main rivers Dhauli and Ikli rivers originate from here and and Gori Ganga flows amidst the unending stretches of pine, shisham, oak and sal trees through the sanctuary.

Perched on the ridge of Kumaon Himalayas, at an elevation of 5,412 feet makes Askot sanctuary is a stunningly scenic sanctuary. It offers magnificient view of the famous peaks such as Panchchuli, Neodhura, Naukana, Chhiplakot and , Najirikot.

The famous pilgrim places such as Bhanar, Chiplakot, Niirikot, Panchachuli, Kalapani and Chota Kailash (Adi Kailash) form a part of the Sanctuary.

Jungle cat, Snow leopard, Civet Cat, Serow, Goral, Barking deer, Musk deer, Himalayan black bear and Brown bear are the main inhabitants of this sanctuary. Among the bird species Snow cocks, monals, Pheasants, White throated tit, and chukors and other high altitude birds are also found.

Among the reptiles found in this sanctuary are Bonnet macaques, Kraits, Darters, Vipers, Bison, Little cormorants and Black eagles.

The lush sanctuary area dotted with many temples. The nearby place to Askot is Pithoragarh. It is Kumaon’s third largest city. The town acts as an important base for the Indian Army as Pithoragarh shares its border with Nepal. It is also famous for its international passess such as Lipu lekh, Lumpiya lekh, Manghshy Dhura Pass and Nuwe Dhura Pass. There are numerous small treks all around as well.

The town has the famous Pithoragarh Fort, which gives the town its name. Set at the top of a hill, it was built by the Gorkhas when they took over the town in 1789. There is also a reserved forest named Pithoragarh Banya Udyan, and a small golf course. The other nearby attraction is Panchchuli Glacier. It is a Himalayan glacier located in the easternmost part of Kumaun. Panchachuli group of glaciers includes Meola, Sona, Uttari Balati and Dakshini Balati. It is in the west and east of five peaks of Panchchuli on the Johar Valley and Darma Valley. The other famous glacier Uttari Balati glacier is situated north to this. It is also the source of the Yuli River.

The other famous glacier Meola Glacier is located at the base of the five peaks of Panchchuli in the Lassar Yankti valley. This glacier combines with the Sona Glacier to form the famous Panchchuli Glacier. Sona glacier is situated north to Meola glacier. Sona and Meola glaciers serve as the route to climb the Panchchuli peaks from the east. The snout of the Meola glacier is a famous one hour trek along Duktu Nala from Duktu village. The snout of Meola is situated at an altitude of 3,600 m (11,800 ft). This place acts as base camp for Panchchuli expeditions.