The first monsoon shower has brought a renewed life to the tranquil hills of Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary. Its calm and picturesque surrounding has turned greener and denser. Rivers that dissect its hills into deep gorges and valleys have swelled up to the maximum; and several waterfalls that lie within the sanctuary are descending with the full force. Monsoon is the time when nature-lovers and picking-goers throng to the sanctuary, to wade through the gushing waters of the Chandraprabha River, to swim in the natural pool, and to witness the majestic fall of the river into the deep I-shaped valley. And Rajdari and Devdari waterfalls are the most preferred places to experience the uncanny beauty of this lesser-known, not-so-famous sanctuary, which, once, was home to Asiatic lions.
The very few (in figurative sense; the very few could be around 50 million in India) know that Varanasi—one of the holiest cities in India—is endowed with immense natural beauty only 50 kms away from its southern limits, and Rajdari & Devdari waterfalls located 2 km east to the entrance of Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary on Chakia-Naugarh road in Chandauli District are one among those. These two water-falls on the Chandraprabha river, a tributary of the Karmnasa river that drains into the Ganges, are in continuum, and there is a steep rapid between them. Rajdari is nearly a horse-shoe shaped step waterfall exhibiting a perfect example of recession of waterfalls.
Despite the state government’s apathy and forest department’s ignorance, this forest has a lot to offer to our stressed environment. Still leopards and other wild animals are spotted in the sanctuary. And luckily, during my visit to this sanctuary in August 2017, I spotted a friendly-looking black-buck roaming around at the entrance to the sanctuary, inviting people for a quick selfi. This forest and the falls have everything to captivate you—abundance of wildflowers, incessant roar of the waters amid absolute silence of the jungle, and millions of water droplets flowing freely in the air kissing your cheeks. The place doesn’t disappoint younger kids either, there’s a children recreational area with swings, seams, hammocks and a library.
How to reach
Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary can be accessed by road and well connected from Varanasi and Mughalsarai (Now Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar) Railway stations. Lalbahadur Shashtri International Airport in Babatpur, Varanasi is the nearest airport.
Private vehicles are allowed in the Sanctuary area. Entry fee for four wheelers is INR 50 only. Larger groups will have to shell out INR 100 for a bus. There is a ticket for cost for the sanctuary–for Indians it’s INR 30 and for foreigners it’s 350. Tickets can be booked from entry gates located at Chandraprabha Dam.
Best time to visit
July to February is good time to visit. However, the sanctuary is the best during the peak of the monsoon.
Where to stay
There is a forest guest house–Rajdari Vanvishram Grah (FRH) –overlooking the majestic Rajdari Fall. The rest house is equipped with good quality of crockery. Self food preparation is facilitated in the rest house. However, I would suggest you to stay in Varanasi since this place can be covered in day for a sight-seeing or picnic. Safety at the night could be an issue.
Accommodations can be booked at:
Divisional Forest Officer,
Kashi Wild Life Division, head quarter at Ram Nagar,
Warnings & Precautions
- Cooking, playing loud music and blowing horn are prohibited in Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary. However there is no one to see if they are obeyed properly.
- Be safe while going into the waters. There is no warning system installed at the Chandraprabha Dam which is only a few kilometers from Rajdari & Devdari waterfalls. You won’t get a minute if water is released from the dam.
- There is no life-guards or even security guards. Go in group and be in group.
- There is poor mobile network connectivity.
- Always wear a shoe, preferably a canvas shoe, even if you are going in the water. Broken beer bottles are everywhere- in the river and under the rocks.
- Check the depth of the water with a stick before going into the river. You never know what may lie next.