The Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Sirmour District in Himachal Pradesh. The nearest town from the sanctuary Dadahu is about 2 kms. From Renuka. The Sanctuary is well connected by the network of roads. The total area of the sanctuary is 402.80 hectare. The entire Renuka Wildlife Sanctuary is comprised of only Renuka Reserve Forest and has been declared as “Abhayaranya” with no rights recognized in this area. Moreover, an area of 300 hectare that lies outside the sanctuary but is contiguous with its boundary has been declared as a buffer belt.
The Area is commonly recognized by its religious and cultural value. Renuka is an abode of temples of mother and son duo of Renukaji and Lord Parshuram. Mythology has it that Renukaji, an incarnation of Goddess Durga, was the wife of Rishi Yamdagini. Parshuram believed to be the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was the youngest of the five sons of the couple. Once to obey the order of his father, parshuram had to serve, the head of his mother. After killing his mother, however, he begged his father to perjure life in his mother, for which the Rishi agreed. Renukaji was extremely beautiful. Sahastarvahu, the emperor wanted to marry her and once when Parshuram was away, he killed Rishi Yamdagini and his four sons to marry Renukaji. To escape the clutches of the emperor and unable to bear the grief of the death of her husband and four sons, Renukaji jumped into small pond known by the name of the Ramsarover at that time, and disappeared into it. Ever since the lake is worshiped as Renukaji Lake.
Flora & Fauna
The area of the Sanctuary falls in the bio-geographical zone IV and bio-geographical province IV as per the classification done by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). According to forest types classification by Champion and Seth, Renuka forest fall under group 5B/C2 i.e. dry mixed deciduous forest and group 5/051 i.e. dry Sal forest. The area forms northern limit of natural Sal forest forest which itself is limited to Badaun Dhar.
The forest of the area mixed crop of Anogeissus, Lucinea, Terminalia, Khair, Shisham, Carrie, Cordia and a variety of climbers in moist depressions.The fauna of the area including the birds are Lepopard, Samber, Spotted Deer, Barking deer Jackal, Hare, Jungle cat, Plam Civet, Porcupine, Blue jay, Black Partridge, Drongos, Hill Crow, Scarlet Minivet, Bulbul, Common Cooots, Greenm Pigeons.
Mini Zoo & Lion Safari
Renukaji Mini Zoo is the oldest Zoo in Himachal Pradesh, Which was initially started during 1957 with rescued, stray and deserted wild animals from the forests. The first animal brought to the Zoo was a male spotted deer named Moti. The visit of Lt. Governor Hon’ble Raja Rajram Bahadur of Bhadari during this time saw the arranging of female chital for Moti. This laid the real foundation of Renuka Zoo. By and by more wild animals like Sambhar, Chinkara, Hogdeer, Black Buck etc. were introduced in the Zoo. All these animals started breeding and multiplying. To accommodate the increasing number of animals, idea of an open park was conceived and the open park was setup in 1983.Black Buck and Nilgai were brought from Pipli Zoo.
A pair of Mithun, gifted to the Chief Minister by Sh. Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, in 1985, was brought from Arunachal Pradesh and another was brought from Nagaland during 1986.A pair of Lions was brought to Renuka Zoo from Zunagarh during 1975.The Lion was named Raja and the Lioness named Rani. Simultaneously an aviary was also setup during 1998-99.The area does not have any recorded rights except the right to worship in the Renuka Temple. To curb the incidence of illicit lopping and grazing, the staff has been strengthened from two Forest Guards for the entire Sanctuary to two beat guards under the charge of one Range Officer who is assisted by one Dy. Ranger. The periphery of the sanctuary is fenced by inter-linked chain fence to restrict the illegal entry of villagers from surrounding villages to the Sanctuary area. At present the Lion Safari, Zoo, Aviary and Sanctuary is being managed as Renukaji Wildlife Range Renuka under the administrative control of Shimla Wildlife Division.
The best place to stay near the lake is Hotel ‘Renuka’ run by the tourism department. In addition to this, an inspection hut of the forest department is also available. A rest house run by State Electricity Board is situated about 2Km. away from Renuka lake at ‘ Dadahu’.