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Ramsar Wetland Sites in India (Complete State-wise List)

Ramsar Wetland Sites in India

What is Ramsar Wetland Sites?

· The convention on wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) called ‘Ramsar Convention’ is an intergovernmental treaty that represents the commitment of its member countries to maintain ecological character of their wetlands of international importance and to plan for their sustainable use.

· Some of the Major obligations of countries which are party to the Convention are –

§ Designate wetlands for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance.

§ Promote, as far as possible, the wise use of wetlands in their territory.

§ Promote international cooperation especially with regard to transboundary wetlands, shared water systems, and shared species.

§ Create wetland reserves.

· In other word, the Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value.

· Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty adopted in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. It came into force for India on 1st February, 1982. Those wetlands which are of international importance are declared as Ramsar sites.

What is Wetland?

· A wetland is a place where the land is covered by water. Marshes, ponds, the edge of a lake/ocean, the delta at the mouth of a river, low-lying areas that frequently flood — all of these are wetlands. Wetlands of international importance are also known as Ramsar sites.

· Wetlands are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. They occur where the water table is at or near the surface of the land, or where the land is covered by water. Once treated as transitional habitats or seral stages in succession from open water to land, the wetlands are now considered to be distinct ecosystems with specific ecological characteristics, functions and values.

· Under the “three pillars” of the Convention, the Contracting Parties commit to

§ Work towards the wise use of all their wetlands;

§ Designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management;

§ Cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.

Why are Wetlands Important?

· Wetlands are the vital link between land and water.

· They mitigate floods, protect coastlines and build community resilience to disasters, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality.

· Wetlands are critical to human and planet life. More than one billion people depend on them for a living and 40% of the world’s species live and breed in wetlands.

· They are a vital source for food, raw materials, genetic resources for medicines, and hydropower.

· They play an important role in transport, tourism and the cultural and spiritual well-being.

· They provide habitat for animals and plants and many contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else.

· Many wetlands are areas of natural beauty.

· Wetlands also provide important benefits for industry. For example, they form nurseries for fish and other freshwater and marine life and are critical to commercial and recreational fishing industries.

Objectives of Ramsar Convention

· The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.

·  Ramsar Convention has two fold objectives – Conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands; and stop the encroachment and loss of wetlands.

·  This treaty is not a legal binding treaty and is not a part of UN & UNESCO conventions.

·  The scheme was initiated with the following objectives:-

§ To lay down policy guidelines for conservation and management of wetlands in the country;

§ To undertake intensive conservation measures in priority wetlands;

§ To monitor implementation of the programme; and

§ To prepare an inventory of Indian wetlands.

Wetlands in India

·  In India, the scheme on conservation and management of wetlands in India was initiated in 1982.

·  On the recommendation of National Wetlands Committee, 115 wetlands in India have been identified for conservation under this programme.

·  The main wetlands of India of International importance have been listed below.


What is Wetlands?, Importance, Ramsar Wetland Sites in India Map, Ramsar Wetland Sites in India, Wetlands in India, List of Ramsar Wetlands in India, Interesting Facts....
Ramsar Wetland Sites in India Map

Complete State-wise List of Ramsar Wetland Sites in India

Following is the Complete State-wise List of all Ramsar Wetland Sites in India of International Importance under Ramsar Convention.









Andhra Pradesh

Kolleru Lake



·A natural eutrophic lake, situated between the two major river basins of the Godavari and the Krishna.

·It provides habitat for a number of resident and migratory birds.

·It was previously a lagoon, but now it is several kms inland due to the coastline of emergence and delta formation.



Deepor Beel



·A permanent freshwater lake in a former channel of the Brahmaputra River.

·The beel is a staging site on migratory flyways. Some globally threatened birds are supported, including the spot-billed pelican, lesser and greater adjutant stork, and Baer’s pochard.

·It is a few kms to the left of Guwahati whereas Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is around 35 km away to the right.



Kanwar Taal or Kabar Taal Lake



·Covers 2,620 hectares of the Indo-Gangetic Plain in Begusarai.

·The site is an extensive floodplain complex during Monsoon. During the dry season, areas of marshland dry out and are used for agriculture.

·Significant biodiversity is present, with 165 plant species and 394 animal species recorded, including 221 bird species.

·This Wetlands in India is an important stopover along the Central Asian Flyway, with 58 migratory water birds using it to rest and refuel.

·Five critically endangered species inhabit the site, including three vultures – the red-headed vulture, white-rumped vulture and Indian vulture and two water birds, the sociable lapwing and Baer’s pochard.



Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary



·A natural freshwater lake (a relict sea) that is the largest natural wetland in the Thar Desert.

·The area is home to 210 species of birds.

·It is an important stopover site within the Central Asian Flyway, with globally threatened species.

·The vulnerable sarus crane takes refuge there during summer when other water bodies are dry.

·This Wetlands in India  is also a lifeline for a satellite population of the endangered Indian wild ass which uses this area in the dry season.


Himachal Pradesh

Chandra Taal



·A high altitude lake on the upper Chandra valley flowing to the Chenab River of the Western Himalayas (4,337 m) near the Kunzam pass joining the Himalayan and Pir Panjal ranges.

·It supports the CITES and IUCN Red Listed snow leopard and is a refuge for many species like the snowcock, chukor, black ring stilt, kestrel, golden eagle, chough, red fox, Himalayan ibex, and blue sheep. 


Himachal Pradesh

Pong Dam Lake



·A water storage reservoir created in 1975 on the Beas River in the low foothills of the Himalayas on the northern edge of the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

·It is also known as Maharana Pratap Sagar.

·The site is located on the trans-Himalayan flyway where more than 220 bird species have been identified.


Himachal Pradesh

Renuka Lake



·A natural Wetlands in India with freshwater springs and inland subterranean karst formations, fed by a small stream flowing from the lower Himalayas to the Giri River.

·The lake is home to at least 443 species of fauna and 19 species of fish representative of lake ecosystems like Puntius, Labeo, Rasbora and Channa.

·Prominent vegetation ranges from dry deciduous plants to aquatic plants.

·There are 103 species of birds of which 66 are resident, e.g. crimson-breasted barbets, mynas, bulbuls, pheasants, egrets, herons, mallards and lapwings. Among ungulates, sambar, barking deer and ghorals are also abundant in the area.


Jammu and Kashmir

Hokera Wetland



·Located in the northwest Himalayan Pir Panjal range (1,584 m), Hokera Wetland is only 10 km from Srinagar.

·A natural perennial wetland adjoining to the Jhelum basin.

·It is the only site with remaining reedbeds of Kashmir and pathway of 68 waterfowl species like large egret, great crested grebe, little cormorant, tufted duck and endangered white-eyed pochard, etc. coming from Siberia, China, central Asia, and northern Europe.


Jammu and Kashmir

Surinsar-Mansar Lakes



·A freshwater composite lake in semi-arid region, adjoining the Jhelum Basin.

·Surinsar is rain-fed without permanent discharge, and Mansar is primarily fed by surface run-off and partially by mineralised water through paddy fields.

·The lake supports CITES and IUCN Red Listed Indian flapshell turtle and Indian softshell turtle.

·This composite lake is an attractive habitat, breeding and nursery ground for migratory waterfowl like the Eurasian coot, common moorhen, black-necked grebe, tufted duck etc.


Jammu and Kashmir

Wular Lake



·The largest freshwater lake in India with extensive marshes of emergent and floating vegetation, particularly water chestnut.

·The area is important for wintering, staging and breeding birds.



Ashtamudi Wetland



·A natural backwater in Kollam district, Kerala.

·The rivers Kallada and Pallichal drain into it.

·It forms an estuary with the sea at Neendakara which is a famous fishing harbour.

·National Waterway 3 passes through it.



Sasthamkotta Lake



·It is the largest freshwater lake in Kollam, Kerala.

·The Kallada River had a unique replenishing system through a bar of paddy field.

·The lake is now depleting due to destruction of replenishing mechanism.



Vembanad-Kol Wetland



·It is the largest lake of Kerala, spanning across Alappuzha, Kottayam and Ernakulum districts.

·It is also the longest lake of India.

·The mouths of the Pamba and Achankovil rivers in Vembanad forms part of the Kuttanad.

·It is below sea level and is famous for exotic fish varieties and paddy fields that are below sea level.



Tso moriri



·A freshwater to brackish lake lying at 4,595 m above sea level, with wet meadows and borax-laden wetlands along the shores.

·The site is said to represent the only breeding ground outside of China for one of the most endangered cranes, the black-necked crane, and the only breeding ground for bar-headed geese in India.

·The great Tibetan sheep or argali and Tibetan wild ass are endemic to the Tibetan Plateau.

·The barley fields at Karzok have been described as the highest cultivated land in the world.

·With no outflow, evaporation in the arid steppe conditions causes varying levels of salinity.



Tso Kar



·It is a high-altitude wetland complex, found at more than 4,500 m above sea level in the Leh district, Ladakh.

·It includes two connected lakes, the freshwater Startsapuk Tso and the larger hypersaline Tso Kar.

·It is also an important stopover ground for migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway.

·It is one of the most important breeding areas in India for the black-necked crane. Some of the species found here are endangered saker falcon and Asiatic wild dog or dhole, and the vulnerable snow leopard.


Madhya Pradesh

Bhoj Wetland



·Consists of two lakes located in the city of Bhopal.

·The two lakes are the Bhojtal (Upper Lake) and the Lower Lake.

·It is a man-made reservoir.

·White storks, black-necked storks, bar-headed geese, spoonbills, etc., that have been rare sightings in the past, have started appearing.

·The largest bird of India, the sarus crane (Grus antigone) gathers here.



Nandur Madhameshwar



·It is a mosaic of lakes, marshes and riparian forest on the Deccan Plateau.

·Construction of the Nandur Madhameshwar Weir at the confluence of the Godavari and Kadva rivers helped create a thriving wetland.

·With 536 species recorded, the site hosts some of India’s most iconic species, such as the leopard and Indian sandalwood.

·It also provides sanctuary to critically endangered species including Deolali minnow, Indian vulture and white-rumped vulture.



Lonar Lake



·An endorheic basin, almost circular in shape, formed by a meteorite impact some 50,000 years ago, onto the basalt bedrock in Buldhana district.

·It is one of the four known, hyper-velocity, impact craters in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth.

·It is high in salinity and alkalinity.

·Fauna includes the vulnerable Asian woollyneck and common pochard and the grey wolf.

·It is a National Geological Monument recognized by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).

·It is the only Crater Lake in the country formed by the meteorite impact.



Loktak Lake



·The largest freshwater lake in the north-eastern region of the country, which is famous for the phumdis floating over it.

·Keibul Lamjao, the only floating national park in the world, is located near Moirang, Bishnupur.

·The Keibul Lamjao National Park is the last natural refuge of the endangered sangai or Manipur brow-antlered deer, one of three subspecies of Eld’s deer.



Bhitarkanika Mangroves



·In 1975, Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary was declared. The core area of the sanctuary, with an area of 145 km2, was declared Bhitarkanika National Park in 1998.

·Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, east to the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, was created in 1997.

·Bhitarkanika Mangroves which is part of the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, were designated a Ramsar wetland of international importance in 2002.

·It is also famous for its salt water crocodiles and olive ridley sea turtle.



Chilika Lake



·A brackish water lagoon at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal.

·It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest lagoon in the world.

·The lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season.

·In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Wetland in India of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

·Nalbana Island is the core area of the Ramsar designated wetlands of Chilika Lake which was designated as a bird sanctuary in 1973.

·Chilka is home to the only known population of Irrawaddy dolphins in India.



Beas Conservation Reserve



·A 185-kilometre stretch of the Beas River.

·More than 500 species of birds are documented along this stretch, along with more than 90 fish species.

·The reserve also hosts the only known population in India of the endangered Indus river dolphin.

·Further threatened species include the endangered mahseer & hog deer as well as the vulnerable smooth-coated otter.

·In 2017, a programme was initiated to re-introduce the critically endangered gharial.



Harike Wetland



·A shallow water reservoir with thirteen islands, at the confluence of two riversBeas and Sutlej.

·Dense floating vegetation covers 70% of the lake.

·It is an important site for breeding, wintering and staging birds.



Kanjli Wetland



·A permanent stream, the Kali Bein, converted by construction of a small barrage in 1870 into a water storage area for irrigation purposes.

·The stream is considered to be the most significant in the state from the religious point of view, as it is associated with the first guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak.



Keshopur-Miani Community Reserve



·The reserve is a mosaic of natural marshes, aquaculture ponds and agricultural wetlands.

·It is heavily human influenced, and includes a series of managed fishponds and cultivated crops such lotus and chestnut.

·Support a variety of flora, with 344 species of plants recorded in the area.

·In this way, the site is an example of wise use of a community-managed wetland, which provides food for people and supports local biodiversity.

·Threatened species present include the vulnerable common pochard & the endangered spotted pond turtle.



Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary



·Located in the Shiwalik Hills of Punjab.

·It supports abundant flora and fauna including threatened species, such as the endangered Indian pangolin, Egyptian vulture and the vulnerable leopard.

·It occupies a human-made reservoir constructed as part of the Bhakra-Nangal Project in 1961.

·The site is of historic importance also, as the Indian and Chinese prime ministers formalized the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence there in 1954.



Ropar Wetland



·Artificial wetland of lake and river formed by construction of a barrage for diversion of water from the Sutlej River.

·The site is an important breeding place for the nationally protected smooth-coated otter, hog deer, sambar, several reptiles, and the endangered Indian pangolin.

·Some 35 species of fish play an important role in the food chain, and about 150 species of local and migratory birds are supported.



Keoladeo National Park



·A complex of ten artificial, seasonal lagoons, varying in size.

·Vegetation is a mosaic of scrub and open grassland that provides habitat for breeding, wintering and staging migratory birds.

·Also supported are five species of ungulates, four species of cats, and two species of primates, as well as diverse plants, fish and reptiles.

·Additionally, the invasive growth of the grass Paspalum distichum has changed the ecological character of large areas of the site, reducing its suitability for certain waterbird species, notably the Siberian crane.



Sambhar Lake



·India’s largest inland salt lake.

·It is a key wintering area for thousands of flamingos and other birds that migrate from northern Asia.

·The specialized algae and bacteria growing in the lake provide striking water colours and support the lake ecology that, in turn, sustains the migrating waterfowl.

·There is other wildlife in the nearby forests, where nilgai move freely along with deer and foxes.


Tamil Nadu

Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary



·One of the last remnants of Dry Evergreen Forests.

·It is a coastal area consisting of shallow waters, shores, and long sand bars, intertidal flats and intertidal forests, chiefly mangrove, and seasonal, often-saline lagoons.

·Some 257 species of birds have been recorded, 119 of them water birds, including the vulnerable species spoon-billed sandpiper and grey pelican and greater and lesser flamingos.

·The site serves as the breeding ground or nursery for many species of fish, as well as for prawns and crabs.



Rudrasagar Lake



·It is a reservoir in the northeast hills, fed by three perennial streams discharging to the Gomti River.

·The lake is an ideal habitat for IUCN Red Listed three-striped roofed turtle.


Uttar Pradesh

Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary



·It was renamed as Chandra Shekhar Azad Bird Sanctuary in 2015.

·A shallow marshland 45 kms from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.

·It is a haven for birds, with 25,000 water birds regularly recorded and 220 resident and migratory species documented.

·Among these are the endangered Egyptian vulture and Pallas’s fish eagle as well as the vulnerable lesser adjutant and woolly-necked stork.


Uttar Pradesh

Parvati Aranga Bird Sanctuary



·A permanent freshwater environment consisting of two oxbow lakes.

·These Wetland in India offer exceptional habitats for water birds, providing both roosting and breeding sites.

·The sanctuary is a refuge for some of India’s threatened vulture species; the critically endangered white-rumped vulture and Indian vulture, and the endangered Egyptian vulture have all been recorded.

·Meanwhile ancient temples around the lakes provide religious significance and encourage tourism.


Uttar Pradesh

Saman Bird Sanctuary



·It is a seasonal oxbow lake on the Ganges floodplain.

·The sanctuary regularly provides refuge to over 50,000 water birds of about 187 species and is particularly important as a wintering site for many migrants including the greylag goose.

·Vulnerable species including the sarus crane and greater spotted eagle.


Uttar Pradesh

Samaspur Bird Sanctuary



·A perennial lowland marsh typical of the Indo-Gangetic Plain in Raebareli.

·Its six connected lakes are heavily relevant on monsoon rains.

·The sanctuary harbours threatened species such as the endangered Egyptian vulture, Pallas’s fish eagle, and vulnerable common pochard.

·At least 46 freshwater fish species use the wetland, with some migrating in from nearby rivers during monsoon floods.


Uttar Pradesh

Sandi Bird Sanctuary



·A freshwater marsh in the Hardoi, the wetland is typical of the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

·Rich in aquatic plants, it is home to over 1% of the South Asian populations of common teal, red-crested pochard and ferruginous duck and vulnerable sarus crane.

·It is also designation as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.


Uttar Pradesh

Sarsai Nawar Jheel



·A permanent marsh in the Etawah, this typical wetland of the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

·It is an example of co-habitation of humans and wildlife.

·A particular beneficiary of this is the vulnerable sarus crane, with a population of 400 individuals making up the largest flock in the region. The site’s name is derived from this large non-migratory crane.

·Other threatened species present include the critically endangered white-rumped vulture and endangered woolly-necked stork.

·It is recognized by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area.


Uttar Pradesh

Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch)



·A shallow river stretch of the great Ganges with intermittent small stretches of deep-water pools and reservoirs upstream from barrages.

·The river provides habitat for the IUCN Red Listed Ganges river dolphin, gharial, crocodile, 6 species of turtles, otters, 82 species of fish and more than 100 species of birds.

·Major plant species, some of which are said to have medicinal value, include Dalbergia sissoo, Saraca indica, Eucalyptus globulus, Ficus benghalensis, Dendrocalamus strictus, Tectona grandis, Azadirachta indica and aquatic Eichhornia.


Uttar Pradesh

Sur Sarovar



·Established in Agra district.

·The site’s habitat types provides refuge to resident and migratory birds, and more than 60 species of fish.

·Threatened species include the vulnerable greater spotted eagle, sarus crane, and wallago catfish.

·This Wetlands in India is important for bird species that migrate on the Central Asian Flyway.



Asan Barrage



·The Asan Conservation Reserve is a stretch of the Asan River running down to its confluence with the Yamuna River in Dehradun.

·The Site support 330 species of birds including the critically endangered red-headed vulture, white-rumped vulture and Baer’s pochard.

·Two water bird species have been recorded here, these being red-crested pochard and ruddy shelduck.

·There are also 49 fish species, one of these being the endangered Putitor mahseer. Fish use the site for feeding, migration and spawning.


West Bengal

East Kolkata Wetlands



·Multiple use wetlands in India.

·The wetland forms an urban facility for treating the city’s waste water and utilizing the treated water for pisciculture and agriculture.


West Bengal

Sundarban Wetland



·It is located within the largest mangrove forest in the world which encompasses hundreds of islands and a maze of rivers and creeks in the delta of the rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra on the Bay of Bengal.

·It is the largest Ramsar Wetland Site in India.

·The Indian Sundarban, covering the south-westernmost part of the delta, constitutes over 60% of the country’s total mangrove forest and includes 90% of Indian mangrove species.

·They serve as nurseries to shellfish and finfish and sustain the fisheries of the entire eastern coast.




Interesting Facts about Ramsar Convention

· The Ramsar Convention works closely with six other organisations known as International Organization Partners (IOPs). These are –

o  Birdlife International.

o  International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

o  International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

o  Wetlands International.

o  WWF International.

o  Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT).

· The number of contracting parties is 171.

· At the time of joining the Convention, each Contracting Party undertakes to designate at least one wetland site for inclusion in the list of Wetlands of International Importance.

· World’s First Ramsar site was identified in 1974, which was the Cobourg Peninsula in Australia.

· The United Kingdom has the world’s largest number of Ramsar sites i.e. 175.

· February 2 is celebrated as International Wetlands Day as the Ramsar Convention was signed on February 2, 1971.

Interesting Facts about Ramsar Wetland Sites in India

State having Highest No. of Ramsar Wetland Sites in India –

1.      Uttar Pradesh – 7

2.      Punjab – 6

3.      Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir – 3 each


Largest Ramsar Wetland Sites in India –

1.      Sunderbans Wetland, West Bengal (4230 km2)

2.      Vembanad Kol Wetland, Kerala (1512 km2)

3.      Chilka Lake, Orissa (1165 km2)


Smallest Ramsar Wetland Sites in India –

1.      Renuka Wetland, Himachal Pradesh (0.2 km2)

2.      Chandertal Wetland, Himachal Pradesh (0.49 km2)

3.      Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary, Punjab (1 km2)


Oldest Ramsar Wetland Sites in India –

1.      Chilka Lake, Orissa (1981)

2.      Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Rajasthan (1981)


First Ramsar Wetland Sites in India –

 Chilka Lake, Orissa (1981)


Newest Ramsar Wetland Sites in India –

·           Nandur Madhameshwar, Maharashtra (2020)

·           Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve and Nangal, Punjab (2020)

·           Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and Sarsai Nawar, Uttar Pradesh (2020)


 So this was all about the Ramsar Wetland Sites in India & Wetlands in India. To read more such notes on General Knowledge – Click Here.

Similar Notes – UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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