International wetland at Nagrota Surian in Kangra, popularly known as the Pong Dam is in the news again. Migratory Birds from across the world have started flocking at the dam site. Freezing temperatures in the mountains send these birds to this wetland from the Himalayas in Tibet.
According to official sources, every year more than 90 species of migratory birds make this wetland a temporary habitat during the winters. By the end of the mid November, more than 30, 000 migratory birds have already landed at the dam site.
Migratory birds from the high ranges of Siberia, China and Europe visit the Pong Dam site every year. The Forest Department expects a record number of birds to arrive at the dam site this year considering the harsh winters of 2012.
The migratory birds started landing at the dam site in 1984 and since then it has become a ritual, an unsaid rule at this wetland. Every year hundreds of birds come and leave with a promise to come back again, unfailingly.
The Pong Dam Lake is spread over an area of 307 square kilometers and the environmental characteristics of this property make it the best winter habitat for these birds coming from the distant corners of the globe.
From 2010 onwards, these birds started breeding in the wetland region. The state government has established Village Development Committees and Flying Squad teams that ensure safety of these birds from poachers and hunters.
- 1983: Pong Dam Lake declared a Wild Life Sanctuary by the State Government.
- 1984: Migratory Birds seen in the Pong Dam region for the first time.
- 1994: Indian Forest and Environment Ministry declares the Pong Dam Lake a Wetland
- 2001: One Hundred Thousand migratory birds landed at the wetland region.
- 2002: Ramsar Site declared a wetland of International Importance.
A close look at the ten year data will make things even more exciting and interesting:
Pong Dam is one of the best photography locations in India suited to click migratory birds. The best time to visit Pong Dam lake is during the November-January Period.