Weekend Birding trip to Pong Dam from Delhi in Winters


Winters and Wetlands together ring a bell when we think about birding opportunities in North India. In the past, we have shared about birds and the wetland experiences from different parts of the country, but one of the lesser known wetland with brilliant birding opportunities is Pong Dam in Himachal Pradesh. We have shared multiple times about Pond Dam and its birds, but we never shared about planning a birding trip to Pong Dam and other important places to explore around this beautiful place in Himachal Pradesh. 



Where is Pong Dam in Himachal Pradesh and how to reach there?

Pong dam is part of Kangra district region of Himachal Pradesh which has Punjab on other side. It has moderate hills and a huge lake which makes it a perfect place for migratory birds. One can see thousands of bar headed geese and cormorants at same time. Without digressing much on this let's talk about how to reach Pong Dam from Delhi. 

If we are talking about weekend trip, I highly recommend taking overnight Volvos (the ones which go to Kangra, Dharmshala, Palampur or Baijnath) and chose the same while coming back. 

Nagrota Suriyan is the place for which you need to book the bus. Not all Volvo buses go to Nagrota Suriyan and Volvo can be booked for only selected stops. So what you need to do is book your ticket for Kangra. When you board the bus, talk to your bus conductor and inform that you want to go to Nagrota Suriyan, so that he remembers to drop you at right place if bus is not going to Nagrota Suriyan. From the place, where they would drop you, you have 2 options - wait for next bus towards Nagrota Suriyan or take taxi. You will find taxis around the place you get down.



Nearest Railway Station : You can also chose to have overnight train either to Pathankot or Una. And thereon, you can take taxi to Nagrota Suriyan. 

Nearest Airport : There is good news that Kangra has an airport at Gaggal and there is one early morning flight. If you prefer taking flight, I will recommend booking the tickets in advance because ticket price is little higher because of lesser frequency. Low capacity planes fly to Gaggal from Delhi. 

Should you think about driving down to Pong Dam or Nagrota Suriyan. I would say no unless you have more than 3 days - because it's 10-11 hrs drive from Delhi. 


Now that you understand how to reach the base station for Birding tour around Pond Dam Lake, let's talk about places to stay around this place.

  1. There is one HPPWD Guest House and another guest house of Forest Department. One needs to book in advance but you can try your luck if you have no booking and have time to explore options. HPPWD guest house is close to the bus stand of Nagrota Suriyan while forest guest house is little away from the market. 
  2. Home stays can be other option.
  3. I am not aware of hotels in Nagrota Suriyan but certainly you can find few options around this region of Himachal Pradesh.

What else to consider for exploration around Pond Dam Lake ?

One of the must visit places around Places around Pong Dam is Monolithic temples of Masrur and if you are interested in more, Bathu temple is another great place to visit/explore. And when I suggest these, it's because of their special architecture and proximity to Nagrota Suriyan.

Anything about Birding?

There are different regions around Pong Dam Lake for boring but one of the recommended way is to walk from Nagrita Suriyan Market to the closely shoreline and walk around it. If you find boats around with people manning them, it can be worth a ride and watch some of the birds from close proximity. 

200+ bird species can be seen around Pong wetland, so plan a visit soon and make best of the birding experience in Himachal Pradesh.

If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling - 


1. Manage your waste well and don’t litter Use dustbins.
2. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin. 
3. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem. 
4. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits. 
5. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite

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