|Location||8 km from Railway Station, spread over the 7 km. stretch of River Ganges from Rajghat to Ramnagar, Varanasi, U.P., India|
|Distances||28 km from Babatpur (Varanasi) Airport, by road- Lucknow- Varanasi via Sultanpur-285 km, Via Pratapgarh 302, via Faizabad 323 km|
|Office Address||Warden, Tortoise Wild Life Sanctuary, Sarnath, Varanasi|
|Ideal time to visit||Throughout the year, Best Season- (Oct.-June)|
|Attractions||Nature & Wildlife|
|How to reach||Accessed by Boat through the riverfront of Varanasi|
In India, almost all the rivers are polluted by the adjoining urban settlements. Industrial growth & continuous rapid increase in population has further aggravated this pollution problem. The River Ganges, though considered the most sacred, is one of the worst affected.
In Varanasi, people from all over India bring their dead ones for cremation & last rites, as there is an age old belief that those cremated on the bank of River Ganges at Varanasi will achieve salvation. This in turn leads to further addition to river pollution. In order to check this biological pollution and to make River Ganges free of pollutants, Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase I, has started in the year 1986 by the Govt. of India, with a tortoise breeding project with its breeding centre at Sarnath where tortoise (both herbivores & Carnivores) are hatched and reared for one to one and half year and then are left into River Ganges to remove the bio-pollutants like partly cremated and dead bodies directly thrown in the river. The eggs of these turtles are specially procured from river Chambal. Around 2000 tortoise are released annually in the river. Between 1987 and 2010 around 33,356 tortoises were released in the River Ganges by the Kashi Wildlife Division’s tortoise breeding centre, Sarnath.
To protect these tortoise and secure their habitat Kachhua Sanctuary, spreading over seven km. from Rajghat (Malviya Rail Road Bridge) to Ramnagar Fort, was declared Wildlife Protection Zone, under U.P. Govt. Order (No. 4170/04-3-62/89 dated 21-12-1989) under the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, after launching the Ganga Action Plan (GAP). The existence of motor boats and sand mining in the protected zone of the Sanctuary is prohibited, as tortoise lay eggs in the sand of the river banks. Tortoise Sanctuary has its own importance to clean the water.
In the Kachhua (tortoise) Sanctuary mainly Aspederites Gangetic (self shell turtles), Geoclamis, Hamiltonai, Chitra Indica & Lasimous which are carnivorous species and hard shelled herbivorous tortoise- Pechra, Kachhua, Sundri Kachhua, Kachhua Tentoria, Kachhua Tongoka are in abundance. Rohu, Bhakur, Tengra, Prawn, Nain, Bam etc. fish are also found in the Sanctuary. Gangetic dolphin can also be seen especially during rainy season here. Tortoise and all other aquatic species are conserved/ protected and efforts are being made to increase their population in this sanctuary.
Fishing & any attempt to temper with the habitat of the animals found in the Sanctuary, has been declared a cognizable offence in this stretch of the River Ganges, under 1972 Act.