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Kachhua Sanctuary

Uttar Pradesh is one of the most happening states in the Indian union. This huge province is home to numerous species of the animal kingdom. A complete spectrum of wildlife creatures is found in abundance in various sanctuaries. These sanctuaries were created to provide natural habitat for animals, which were specific to that region. These sanctuaries provide natural shelter for the animals. One such sanctuary is known as Kachhua Sanctuary. Meaning of Hindi word ‘Kachhua’ is Tortoise or turtle. This sanctuary is located in the pilgrimage city of Varanasi. A seven kms stretch along the River Ganga is home to these tortoises and special variety of dolphins. A visitor can find tortoises in River Ganga from Rajghat to Ramnagar. This area is designated as Wildlife Protection Zone, as per government order.


The reason for origin of Kachhua Sanctuary is quite interesting. River Ganga is most sacred to all Indians. However, local population along the banks is instrumental in polluting the river due to pouring of sewerage and industrial wastes. The tortoises were found to reduce the pollutants very significantly. Tortoises would feed on the bio products in the river. The Government understood the utility of tortoises in removing the pollutants from river water and decided to give concrete shape to pollution control plan. This plan is known as GAP – Ganga Action Plan Phase I. The plan consisted of starting a breeding centre for tortoises at Sarnath. The plan was made operational in 1986.

Sarnath breeding centre is engaged in the process of hatching the eggs of tortoises. The eggs are specially brought from river Chambal. Breeding of herbivorous and carnivorous tortoises is done at Sarnath. The tortoises are reared for about one and half years and then entered into the waters of river Ganga. More than 33000 tortoises were entered into river Ganga, between 1987 and 2010. Boating in sanctuary area is prohibited, as the activity may endanger the eggs laying by tortoises in the sandy area of river banks.


The city of Varanasi, where Kachhua Sanctuary is located, experiences a humid subtropical climate. There are large variations in summer and winter temperatures. The maximum temperature can reach as high as 46 degrees Celsius during summer. Minimum temperature can reach as low as 5 degrees Celsius. April to June is the period of the dry summer. June to October is a period of monsoon.



Kachhua Sanctuary is meant for rearing tortoises. Here many varieties of tortoises can be witnessed. Some dolphin species are visible, more in the rainy season. Aspederites Gangetic Tortoise, Geoclamis, Hamiltonai, Chitra Indica, and Lasimous are some of the carnivorous tortoise species found in the environs. Similarly herbivorous tortoises like Pechra, Kachhua, Sundri Kachhua, Kachhua Tentoria, and Kachhua Tongoka are also present. Herbivorous species are hard shelled creatures and others are soft shelled creatures.

Many fish varieties like Prawn, Bam, Nain, Tegra, Bhakur, and Rohu are also present in the river system in the sanctuary area. Fishing activities are prohibited to give protection to fish population.


This sanctuary is essentially meant for aquatic species. Hence birds are not found in abundance.


No specific varieties of the plant kingdom are seen in the area.

Best Time to Visit

People can visit the sanctuary throughout the year. For wildlife lovers the time between October to June is best suited.


Varanasi is a major location for domestic and international tourists. Numerous hotels in the city cater to the needs of all visitors.

How to Reach

By Train

Varanasi is connected to all major cities in India through an extensive railway network. Railway trains ply to and from Varanasi every day at convenient schedules.

By Air

Varanasi is having an international airport. It is 28 kms away from the city centre. Every day many domestic and international flights operate from this airport to various destinations.

By Road

National Highways and State Highways have connected Varanasi to all major cities in Uttar Pradesh. Distance between Varanasi and state capital city of Lucknow is about 320 kms. Efficient Bus and taxi services are available for the benefit of tourists.