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The lake was created by the architect Le Corbusier in 1958 by diverting the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream that flows down the Shivalik mountain ranges. The tree-shaded shores is a favorite spot for strolling and bird watching. It is an artificial, manmade lake spread over 3 square kilometers. Sukhna lake has facility for paddle boats and yachting and is the venue of the Asian rowing championships. As night descends, lights reflect in the lake from the hill resort nearby presenting a bewitching sight. The lake which is the spot for many festive celebrations has been declared as a protected national wet land by the Government of India. The lake is open to public on all days.
The sanctuary is home to for many exotic migratory birds and from December through February, one can see many species of aquatic birds from Central Asia and Siberia.
The average 'sambar' cluster size here is 4.7, and according to the experts it is a very strong signal for any sanctuary. Most of the sanctuaries across the country, the average size of their cluster is just 3. The recenly concluded wildlife census report, the population of 'sambar' in Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is about 1,000. There are 193 water bodies in the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.
Large number of water holes, grazing grounds and good plantations including natural regeneration of indigenous species provide an ideal habitat for the wildlife in the Sanctuary. The sanctuary has shrubs, herbs, grasses and climbers. Some of the dominant evergreen tree species are Acacia catechu (Khair), Acacia modesta (Phulai), Acacia Arabica (Kikar), Acacia leucophloea (Raeru), Dalbergia sisoo (Shisham), Anogeissus latifolia (Chhal), Azadirachta indica (Neem), Bombax ceiba (Semal), Butea frondosa (Dhak), Bauhinia racemosa (Kachnar), Emblica officinalis (Amla), Morus alba (Tut), Lannea grandis (Jhingan), Diospyros montana (Kendu), Murraya koenigii (Kari patta), Prosopis juliflora (Musket), Cassia fistula (Amaltas), Zizyphus jujoba (Ber), Vitex negundo (Bana or nirgundi), Carissa spinarum (Karaunda), Adhatoda vasica (Vasaka), Saccharum sararoxb (Moonj), Tinospora cordifolia (Giloe), Abrus precatorious (Rati) etc.
Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary is an abode of wide variety of Mammals, birds, reptiles, butterflies, honey bee and other micro-organisms.
Mammals in the sanctuary include Leopard, Wild boars, Spotted Deer, Jackals, Sambar, Pangolin, Small Indian Civet, Jungle Cat, Porcupine, Hanuman Langur, Rhesus Monkey, Indian Hare, Common-Mongoose, Red Jungle Fowl, Common rat, Squirrel etc.
The sanctuary attracts more than 150 varieties of birds including aquatic birds. Some of the other interesting birds in the sanctuary include Red jungle fowl, Grey partridge, Cuckoos, Night jars, Golden Oriole, Kingfisher, Swifts, Hoopoes, Hornbills, Barbets, Woodpeckers, Rollers, Barn owls, Parrots, Doves, Jacanas, Plovers, Coots, Hawks, Geese, Swan, Ducks, Grebes, Black drongo, Tree pie, Jungle crow, Bulbul, Hill myna, Koel, Bee-eater, Common Myna etc. The sanctuary also has around 950 peacocks.
Reptiles include Turtle, Common Monitor, snakes like Indian python, Cobra, Common Krait, Russell's viper and others.
Note that the sanctuary allows maximum 200 persons everyday. All permits are issued on first come first basis. Visitors have to take prior permission from the Chandigarh forest department for visiting the sanctuary.
Parking fee is Rs.50/- per school bus and Rs.200/- per