A hit with many wildlife enthusiasts, the Hazaribagh Wildlife Sanctuary is a retreat that stretches over 184 sq.km of plains, undulating countryside, steep hills and deep drains with thick tropical forests and grassy meadows. Wild animals like the wild boar, sambar, nilgai, chital, sloth bear, tiger and panther are commonly seen in these forests. The best time to visit this place is during early spring when the whole countryside is covered with fresh green sal and other miscellaneous trees. Numerous observation towers that have been placed at vantage positions make it all the more easy for tourists to observe the various wild animals in the sanctuary. Tourists can also have a close encounter with wild life. One gets to see an abundance of wild animals and a number of mammalian faunas. Tigers, being less in number-14 according to the 1991 census-are difficult to sight.
It is indeed a treat to the eyes to see these animals at dusk and dawn gamboling and enjoying themselves at water holes.
The sloth bear might be encountered unexpectedly while the exclusive tiger and panther demand lot of patience and many a time the wait is worth the view.
The flak-top strip of National Highway 33 passes within the sanctuary through its main gate which is situated at Pokharia, 21 km from Barhi and 16 km from Hazaribagh. 111 kms of roads within the sanctuary takes the visitors and motorists to the remotest corners of the reserve. The masonry towers, strategically located, offer excellent opportunities for viewing the wild animals during the months of October to April. Added to all this the quaint tribal hamlets that surround the sanctuary add to its allure and charm.
Etymologically, the word Hazaribagh is made of two words. Hazar means one thousand (1,000) and bagh means tigers. But there are also other versions to the meaning of the word being a thousand gardens. Whatever be the meaning, the place has its own number of attractions.
According to Sir John Houlton, a historian in the British army, the town takes its name from the small villages of Okni and Hazari - shown in old maps of Ocunhazry. The last syllable that is bagh probably originated from a place, a mango-grove, which was the mainstay or a camping ground for troops and travelers marching along the new military road from Kolkata to Varanasi. This road was constructed in 1782. In the following years the Grand Trunk Road that was constructed subsequently replaced the military road in the mid-eight hundreds. Even today one can see the remnants of the dilapidated watch tower meant to guard the military road still visible on the Tower Hill, near Silwar which is very close to Chotanagpur.