Ramsar site is a piece of land that is conserved as a part of International treaty, where wetland in any country has to be safeguarded to provide natural habitat for future sustainability. Ramsar is name of city in Iran, and the name is given to these sites because of the first treaty of Ramsar Convention was signed here in 1971.
Ramsar Sites are wetland regions of international importance described under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of UNESCO in 1971 in the city of Ramsar of Iran. The Ramsar Convention was agreed for the declaration of the conservation and wise use of domestic, national, and international wetland regions for attaining sustainable development in the world. In the case of India, the Ramsar Convention came into effect on 1st February 1982.
Ramsar Sites in India
There are more than 2200 Ramsar Sites all over the world, where United Kingdom is the country with large number of sites. India is geographically balanced with the landscapes with shallow and hilly terrains. Different types of lands in India have their own significance, of which most of the wetlands in India are considered as Ramsar Sites. At present there exists 26 Ramsar Sites in India.
List of Ramsar Sites
Ashtamudi wetlands: These are located in Kollam District of Kerala, with natural backwaters. Ashtamudi has estuary and is famous for tastiest fish of Kerala, Karimeen.
Bhitarkanika Mangroves: They belong to Orissa, famous for salt water crocodiles. These sites is collection of conservative lands like Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhitarkanika National Park, Gahirmatha Beach and Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary.
Bhoj Wetland: Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal is famous for Bhoj Wetlands that are formed by two different lakes. Different kinds of birds can be observed here. The sarus crane (Grus antigone) famous for its size is seen in flocks of more than 100 in number.
Chandra Taal: It is located in Himachal Pradesh with small area, but located at high altitude. Popularly known as Chandertal Wetland and is beautiful to view during nights.
Chilika Lake: It is located on the banks of Bay of Bengal in the state of Orissa of India. This is reputed for its water lagoon, which is largest in India and second largest of the world. As the area of the site is large, the core area Nalabana Island is designated as Ramsar of Chilika Lake.
Deepor Beel: This site belongs to North Eastern region of India, of Assam state. Asian elephants, amphibians, snakes, turtles and many other fauna are found in these regions. Deepor Beel Bird Sanctuary is located near to this site, that hints the existence of birds residing in the Ramsar region sites.
East Calcutta Wetlands: This site is located in West Bengal and got prominence all over the world with its multiple usage of Wetlands. These lands are used for fishing, growing vegetables, and solar power is used along with these sites providing livelihood for many.
Harike Wetland: Located in Punjab. Importance of the site is that they are leased for private firms depending on fisheries. Two lakes and thirteen islands include in this site.
Hokera Wetland: It is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that provide vegetation water birds, as this is caused by perennial waterflow becoming important source of food.
Kanjli Wetland: This is environmental tourism spot in Punjab and is spiritually associated with Guru Nanak Dev Ji as the stream is perennial. It was constructed to stack water for irrigation initially, later got importance as Ramsar Site.
Keoladeo National Park: Site in Rajasthan that accommodates different types of species which includes primates, cats and ungulates. There is field research station for all the environmental investigations.
Kolleru Lake: It is small piece of land with 901 square kilometers, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. This place is famous as largest freshwater lake in India.
Loktak Lake: It is considered to be the largest freshwater lake in North-Eastern part of India, which is in the state of Manipur. This lake is famous as it allows Keibul Lamjao National park to float on it, which is the only national park in the world to float. Sendra Tourist hub is beautiful place to visit near Loktak Lake.
Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary: Located in Gujrat near Thar Desert that provides largest freshwater naturally. Sarus Crane is one of the migratory birds in Central Asia Flyway which refuges at this sanctuary during summer season. Indian Wild Ass is most famous as it resides here providing lifeline in dry season.
Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary: This site in Tamil Nadu state provides shelter for Greater Flamingos and Spoon Billed Sandpiper during winter season and is popular as dry evergreen forest.
Pong Dam Lake: This site is in the state of Himachal Pradesh, have identified more than 220 bird species of which 50 were of waterfowl. This reservoir is constructed on the Beas River. Fishery industry have raised rapidly to provide direct employment for more than 1500 fishermen as there exists 25 types of fish species.
Renuka Lake: Water flow from lower Himalayan regions towards Giri River, located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, and is organized by Shimla Forest Department. Ungulates and more than 100 bird species have been identified of which 60 are residents are abundant in this site. This place is also observed by most of the pilgrims as it is associated with the mother of Parashuram, thus welcomes number of tourists.
Ropar Wetland: After early Indian Independence, in order to provide water for drinking and irrigation in Punjab, there was a manmade wetland lake with a barrage constructed to divert waters of Sutlej River. Later this site was listed as Ramsar site and now attracts tourists those who love nature, birdwatchers and swimmers.
Rudrasagar Lake: Based on the socio economic and biodiversity of this lake located in Tripura, Ministry of Environment and Forest have observed it as Ramsar Site. Thus it conserves the amount of wetlands, to gain international importance. Pollution affected this site during early times, as there was no proper awareness about the importance of wetlands. Many other polluting causes added problems to this site in degrading wetlands.
Sambhar Lake: Located in Rajasthan, is largest inland salt Lake of India. Flamingos and other birds that migrate from North America reside at Sambhar Lake is the reason behind its International importance as Ramsar Site.
Sasthamkotta Lake: This is small Ramsar site in Kollam district of Kerala, yet the largest freshwater lake of Kerala. Replenishing mechanism is destructing which results in depletion of this Lake.
Surinsar-Mansar Lakes: Surinsar and Mansar lakes are of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located at an altitude of 500m above the sea level. September is the best time to experience the beauty of Surinsar and Mansar lakes. Bird watching is also famous in this site, and Summer seems to be the best season.
Tsomoriri: A brackish freshwater lake in Jammu and Kashmir which is above 4595 m above the sea level is famous as, the only site that provides breeding for the black-necked cranes and bar-headed geese in India. The highest cultivated land in the world is at Korzok with barley fields. With the increase in tourists to this site, there is potential threat anticipated.
Upper Ganga River(Brijghat to Narora Stretch): In the State of Uttar Pradesh, there exists a shallow stretch of Ganges with deep pools and reservoirs, providing habitat for Dolphin, Crocodile, Gharial, otters, turtles, fish and birds. Cremations and Holy Baths by thousands of pilgrims for spiritual purification associated with the religious importance of this Ganga River, and thus creating disturbances in conserving this site.
Vembanad-Kol Wetland: This is the largest lake of Kerala which is most famous for their houseboats, attracts more number of tourists to Kerala, along with different varieties of fish foods and paddy fields. Lake covers across Ernakulam, Kottayam, and Alappuzha districts and is below the sea-level.
Wular Lake: It is also one of the largest freshwater lakes in India, located in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Rice cultivation, tree farming, wintering, staging, breeding birds and providing water for irrigation and domestic use are the significant characteristics of this site.
There are few more Ramsar sites expected to be added to the existing list as there are few proposals made, for example Thane Creek Wetland in Bombay. People are unaware of the significance of these Ramsar sites and indirectly degrade the quality of sites, as these sites play vital role in conserving different types of biodiversity.
Recently India has added 11 more wetlands in Ramsar Sites in India. This latest addition of 11 wetlands makes a new total of 75 Ramsar Sites in India.
List of Ramsar Sites in India
As per the Reports of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), wetlands have been recognized as one of the most threatened ecosystems in India. Hence there is a need for hours to conserve these wetlands. The nomenclature of wetlands in the form of Ramsar Sites contributes enough to aware people. There is a total of 75 Ramsar Sites in India. Eleven new wetland sites were declared as Ramsar Sites of India last year. Till now, the state of Tamil Nadu hosts the maximum number of 14 Ramsar Sites in India.
Ramsar Sites in India Complete List
|Ramsar Site (State/UT)||Inclusion Year||Key Notes|
|Chilika Lake (Odisha)||1981||It is the world’s second-largest coastal lagoon and the country’s first largest lagoon. It is located at the mouth of the Daya River on the eastern coast of India. It was the first Ramsar Site in India. It hosts rare Irrawaddy dolphin species.|
|Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan)||1981||It is a popular avifauna sanctuary situated in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan. It is placed under the Montreux Record due to the danger of water shortage and the growth of invasive grass. It is famous for the migratory bird Siberian Crane.|
|Wular lake (Jammu & Kashmir)||1990||It is the largest lake among all freshwater lakes in India. It is known for its floating vegetation like Water Chestnut. It also helps the government to earn revenue from its fishing industry, paddy cultivation, etc.|
|Sambhar lake (Rajasthan)||1990||It is the largest lake among all inland saline lakes in India. It is an important wintering region for migratory birds like flamingos travelling from northern Asia. It has geological importance also as it provides evidence of the Tethys Sea.|
|Loktak lake (Manipur)||1990||It is considered the largest freshwater lake in the northeastern states of India. The world’s only floating national park is Keibul Lamajo which spreads over it. It is well known for the Phumdis Vegetation. It is the last natural abode of Sangai Deers (Dancing Deers).|
|Harike Wetlands (Punjab)||1990||It is the largest wetland region in the northern part of the country. It is a shallow water reservoir consisting of 13 islands. It is located near the confluence of two rivers namely Beas and Satluj. It is a breeding zone for various species of Anatidae.|
|Ashtamudi Wetland (Kerala)||2002||It is a large palm-shaped natural backwater wetland. It makes an estuary with the sea at the point of Neendakara. It is also a popular fishing zone in the state. It is said that the tastiest fish in Kerala named Karimeen comes from this lake.|
|Bhitarkanika Mangroves (Odisha)||2002||It is in the mangrove forest region near the catchment area of Brahmani and Baitrani Rivers. It is considered the second largest mangrove ecosystem in the country. It is known for Olve ridley turtles and Saltwater crocodiles.|
|Bhoj Wetland (Madhya Pradesh)||2002||It is made of two lakes namely Bhojtal/ Upper lake and Lower lake in Bhopal. The Upper lake acts as the lifeline of the city of Bhopal as it supports around 40% of its potable water supply. The largest bird of India named Sarus Crane is also seen here.|
|Deepor Beel (Assam)||2002||It is a permanent freshwater lake which is situated in the former channel of the Brahmputra River. It is the sole big stormwater storage water basin for Guwahati. It serves as the wetlands representative under the Burma Monsoon Forest Biogeographic Region.|
|East Kolkata Wetlands (West Bengal)||2002||This wetland was named by Dhrubajyoti Ghosh of IUCN. It is a mixture of natural and man-made wetland regions. It helps to treat the sewage of the city of Kolkata. It is an example of a multi-use wetland. It is conserved and maintained with the help of the local community.|
|Kanjli Wetland (Punjab)||2002||For providing irrigation facilities, it was made by building a barrage across the Bein River which is a tributary of the Beas River. The common reptile found in this wetland is a tortoise.|
|Kolleru lake (Andhra Pradesh)||2002||It is a large natural eutrophic lake located between the river basins of Godavari and Krishna Rivers. It acts as the natural soaking agent to check the flood-like situations here. It makes the largest shallow lake among all the freshwater lakes in Asia.|
|Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu)||2002||It is situated along the Palk Strait at Point Calimere which meets the Bay of Bengal. It was constructed for the conservation of the Blackbuck Antelope, and other endemic mammal species. It is known for the congregation of greater flamingos.|
|Pong Dam lake (Himachal Pradesh)||2002||It is also called Maharana Pratap Sagar Lake. It was constructed by having the highest embankment dam in the country on the Beas River. Mahseer Angling fish found in this wetland is considered to be the only one of its type in the country.|
|Ropar Wetland (Punjab)||2002||It is a man-made wetland that was built by having a barrage for diverting the water from the Satluj River. It is a well-recognized breeding place for hog deer, sambar, smooth-coated otter, etc.|
|Sasthamkotta lake (Kerala)||2002||It is called the largest freshwater lake in the state of Kerala. It is named after the primitive pilgrimage center Sastha Temple situated on the banks of this lake. The smallest migratory birds named common teal/ dabbling duck are seen here.|
|Tsomoriri (Ladakh)||2002||It is considered to be the sole breeding zone in India for the bar-headed geese. It is the only breeding region outside China where the endangered black-necked crane is spotted. The Barley field of Karzok located here is believed to be the world’s highest cultivated land.|
|Vembanad Kol Wetland (Kerala)||2002||It is the largest lake in the state of Kerala and the longest lake in the country. It is considered the second largest Ramsar Site in India. It is situated below sea level and is known for the exotic fishes and unique paddy fields. The famous boat race happens over it.|
|Chandra Taal (Himachal Pradesh)||2005||It is situated near the origin of the Chandra River on the Samudra Tapu plateau. It is called one of the highest Ramsar Sites in India. It is home to several species like the golden eagle, snowcock, red fox, Himalayan ibex, etc.|
|Hokera Wetland (Jammu & Kashmir)||2005||It is situated at the back of the Pir Panjal ranges of Himalayan Mountain. It is a natural perennial wetland site that is next to the Jhelum River Basin. It is considered to be the only region having the remaining parts of the reedbeds of Kashmir.|
|Renuka lake (Himachal Pradesh)||2005||It is the largest lake areawise in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is named after the deity named Renuka (Mother of Sage Parshuram). There is the beautiful sight of freshwater springs and inland karst formations.|
|Rudrasagar lake (Tripura)||2005||It is that wetland in the northeast region of India where three perennial streams meet. These streams discharge into the Gomti River. It is a lowland sedimentation reservoir.|
|Surinsar- Mansar lakes (Jammu & Kashmir)||2005||It is situated in the semi-arid zone of the Jammu area. It covers the catchment area of the Jhelum River. Mansar site is fed by mainly surface run-off while Surinsar site is rain-fed without having permanent discharge.|
|Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch)||2005||It is a shallow stretch of the Ganges River. Six species of turtles are found here. It is home to the Ganges River Dolphins, Gharial, Crocodiles, etc.|
|Nalsarovar Bird sanctuary (Gujarat)||2012||It is the largest natural wetland site in the biogeographic region of the Thar Desert. It is a large natural freshwater lake. It is said to be the lifeline for the endangered Indian Wild Ass population.|
|Sarsai Nawar Jheel (Uttar Pradesh)||2019||It is a permanent marshy region of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. It is a bird sanctuary designated as Ramsar Site to conserve the waterbirds like the vulnerable Sarus Crane here.|
|Sunderban Wetland (West Bengal)||2019||It is the largest Ramsar Site in India in terms areawise. It is situated in the world’s largest Mangrove Forest ecosystem. It is a deltaic region formed by the confluence of rivers namely Padma, Meghna, and Brahmaputra.|
|Beas Conservation Reserve (Punjab)||2019||It is a 185 km long stretch of the Beas River and is situated in the northwestern part of Punjab. It is the last abode of the Indus River Dolphins in India.|
|Keshopur-Miani Community Reserve (Punjab)||2019||It is a composite wetland where natural marshy lands and agricultural fields are present. It is influenced by human interference. There are fishponds and crop fields for lotus and chestnut.|
|Nandur Madhameshwar (Maharashtra)||2019||It spans the riparian forest and marshy region of the Deccan Plateau. It is a bird sanctuary which is also called the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary of Maharashtra. It is near the confluence of the Godavari and Kadva rivers.|
|Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary (Punjab)||2019||It has historical importance also as Panch Sheel Principles were signed by both Indian PM and Chinese counterpart. It hosts many floras and faunas like Indian Pangolin, Egyptian vultures, etc.|
|Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary (Uttar Pradesh)||2019||It has been renamed the Shahid Chandra Shekhar Azad Bird Sanctuary. It hosts species like lesser adjutant, golden jackal, Palla’s sea eagle, etc. The invasive species of common water hyacinth poses threat to the ecosystem.|
|Parvati Arga Bird Sanctuary (Uttar Pradesh)||2019||It is a permanent freshwater lake having two oxbow lakes. It provides both breeding grounds as well as roosting sites for several waterbirds. It is a refuge for the Egyptian Vultures, Indian Vultures, White-rumped Vultures, etc.|
|Saman Bird Sanctuary (Uttar Pradesh)||2019||It is a type of oxbow lake that is seasonal in nature. It is located in the Ganges floodplain which receives rainfall during the southwest monsoon. Various threatened species like the greater spotted eagle, greylag goose, etc can be seen here.|
|Samaspur Bird Sanctuary (Uttar Pradesh)||2019||It is a perennial lowland marshy region which is situated on the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The majority of species found here are exotic in nature. It harbors Palla’s sea eagle, common pochard, Egyptian vulture, etc.|
|Sandi Bird Sanctuary (Uttar Pradesh)||2019||It is a freshwater marshy land on the Indo-Gangetic Plain that is heavily dependent on monsoon rainfall for its water. It is also an Important Bird Area (IBA) recognized by Birdlife International.|
|Asan Barrage (Uttarakhand)||2020||It is located in Doon Valley on the border of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. It is at the confluence of the Asan River and Yamuna River. Around 49 fish species are found here. It is also home to red-headed vultures, Baer’s pochard, etc.|
|Kanwar Lake or Kabal Taal (Bihar)||2020||It is one of the 18 wetlands situated on the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Several times, the water of this lake causes floods in Bihar. It is a stopover in the stretch of the Central Asian Flyway.|
|Sur Sarovar (Uttar Pradesh)||2020||It is also called Keetham Lake. It was built for providing water supply to the city of Agra. More than 60 fish species are found here. It harbors species like wallago catfish, greylag goose, greater spotted eagle, etc.|
|Lonar Lake (Maharashtra)||2020||It is an endorheic lake that is circular in shape. It is also called the Lonar crater which was made by a meteorite impact in the basaltic rock. It is recognized as the Geo-Heritage Monument of India.|
|Tso Kar Wetland (Ladakh)||2020||It is a fluctuating saline lake on the Rupshu Plateau. It is a high-altitude wetland situated in Ladakh. It consists of two lakes namely Startsapuk Tso and hypersaline Tso Kar. It is home to the Snow leopard, Asiatic wild dog, etc.|
|Sultanpur National Park (Haryana)||2021||It is situated in the Gurugram district of Haryana. It is considered a paradise for birdwatchers. This protected area was highlighted by Peter Jackson who was a bird lover.|
|Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary (Haryana)||2021||It is a man-made wetland site that houses freshwater lakes. It is considered the largest wetland areawise in the state of Haryana. It is under the ecological corridor across the Sahibi River.|
|Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary (Gujarat)||2021||It is a shallow freshwater lake that is a human-made wetland site. It is situated on the Central Asian Flyway. So many species like Sociable lapwing, Sarus crane, and White-rumped vultures rest and recharge here.|
|Wadhvana Wetland (Gujarat)||2021||It is a man-made water reservoir situated in the semi-arid agricultural zone of Gujarat. It is surrounded by rice and wheat fields. During the winter season, the rare red-crested pochard duck is spotted here.|
|Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary (Gujarat)||2021||It is a unique wetland site as it comprises the nature of both wetlands namely freshwater and saline water lakes.|
|Haiderpur Wetland (Uttar Pradesh)||2021||It is situated within the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is a man-made wetland site created by building the Madhya Ganga Barrage on the Gangetic floodplain.|
|Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary (Uttar Pradesh)||2022||It is the largest wetland in India in terms of the natural floodplain. It gives secure wintering grounds for various species in their path of the Central Asian Flyway.|
|Karikili Bird Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu)||2022||It is that protected area in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Andu where around 100 species have been spotted recently.|
|Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest (Tamil Nadu)||2022||It is a freshwater marshy region in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is believed to be the only surviving wetland region of the city of Chennai. It is one of the last natural wetlands left in southern India.|
|Pichavaram Mangrove Forest (Tamil Nadu)||2022||It is counted as one of the largest mangrove forest ecosystems in the country.|
|Pala Wetland (Mizoram)||2022||It is Mizoram’s largest natural wetland site. It is surrounded by green woodland forest.|
|Sakhya Sagar Lake (Madhya Pradesh)||2022||It is an important ecological part of Madhav National Park of Madhya Pradesh.|
11 New Ramsar Sites Added in India
Eleven wetland sites have been included recently in the list of Ramsar sites in India. It has increased the total number of Ramsar Sites to 75. These 75 Ramsar Sites are coincidentally in line with the celebration of the 75th Year of Independence in India. These total Ramsar Sites cover an area of 13,26,677 hectares in India. The 11 new wetland sites recognized as the new Ramsar Sites in India are tabulated given below. Of these new Ramsar Sites, four are from Tamil Nadu, three from Odisha, two from Jammu and Kashmir, and one each from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
|S.No.||New Ramsar Site||State/UT|
|4||Yashwant Sagar||Madhya Pradesh|
|5||Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary||Tamil Nadu|
|6||Suchindram Theroor Wetland Complex||Tamil Nadu|
|7||Vaduvur Bird Sanctuary||Tamil Nadu|
|8||Kanjirankulam Bird Sanctuary||Tamil Nadu|
|10||Hygam Wetland Conservation Reserve||Jammu and Kashmir|
|11||Shallbugh Wetland Conservation Reserve||Jammu and Kashmir|