It’s one thing to travel to beaches and hills, gorgeous locales with the best of accommodation and completely something else to be one with wildlife and nature. Gujarat as a state is home to many gorgeous national parks and wildlife sanctuaries that have beautifully preserved endangered species and animals and birds that are literally found nowhere else in the world.
The next time you’re in Gujarat, make sure you include these in your itinerary along with the many temples, forts and palaces and shopping places. It’ll add a whole new dimension to your trip.
Here are our top favourite:
Gir Forest National Park
Home to the Asiatic lion in all of India, Gir National Parks is a 1412-sq-km sanctuary about 65 kms from Junagadh. Taking a safari through the thick, undisturbed forests is a joy independent of the excitement of spotting lions and other wildlife. The best time however, is to visit is from December to April.
The sanctuary was set up in 1965, but the 259 square km core area was declared a national park only in 1975. Since it was set up, the numbers of the lion have drastically increased. Other mammal species in the sanctuary include the spotted deer, large deer, four-horned antelopes, gazelles and rarely seen leopards. The park is a great place for bird spotting too; with more than 300 resident bird species found here.
Wild Ass Sanctuary
Indian wild asses graze between dawn and dusk. The animal feeds on grass, leaves and fruits of plant, crop, Prosopis pods, and saline vegetation. It is one of the fastest of Indian animals, with speeds clocked at about 70 – 80 km. per hour and can easily outrun a jeep. Stallions live either solitarily, or in small groups of twos and threes while family herds remain large. Mating season is in rainy season. When a mare comes into heat, she separates from the herd with a stallion who battles against rivals for her possession. After few days, the pair returns to the herd. The mare gives birth to one foal. The male foal weans away by 1–2 years of age, while the female continues to stay with the family herd. #wildlifeindia #wildlifeindiaofficial #littlerannofkutch #wildasssanctuary #gujarat #newpost #newpostalert #india #incredibleindia #cntraveller #wildlifeworld #nikon #photogtaphy #wildlifephotography #naturephotography #gamedriveA post shared by Uzair Kasbati (@uzair_kasbati) on
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This approximately 5000 square km sanctuary covers a chunk of the parched land of the Little Rann and is the only place on earth where you can find the chestnut-coloured Indian Wild Ass (locally known as ghudkhar), as well as bluebulls, blackbuck and chinkara. A good time to go there is from October to March when you can also spot a wide variety of birds (also one of the few areas in India where flamingos breed in the wild). About 130 kms from Ahemdabad, it is easily accessible by road.
Blackbuck National Park
This beautiful, 34 square km park is located in Valabhipur, in the district of Bhavnagar. It encompasses large areas of pale, custard-coloured grassland (that’ll remind you of the African Savannah) stretching between two seasonal rivers and is famous for its beautiful, fast blackbucks. Some other animals inhabiting the space are: bluebulls (India’s largest antelope) and birds such as wintering harriers from Siberia and also wolves.
Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary
Located 60km southwest of Ahmedabad, this sanctuary protects the Nalsarovar Lake and its surrounding wetlands. Between November and February, the sanctuary sees flocks of indigenous and migratory birds, with as many as 250 species making way. It’s best to do bird-spotting on a boat during daybreak and dusk; that way you’ll get to see ducks, geese, eagles, spoonbills, cranes, pelicans and flamingos.
Marine National Park
Marine National Park is an area rich in wildlife facing growing challenges from industrialisation. During low tide, the sea falls back miles and the hidden sea floor reveals corals, octopus, anemones, puffer fish, sea horses, lobsters and crabs.
There are three sections of the park: Narada, Poshitra and Pirotan Island. Narada is where you can spot a variety of sea life; Poshitra’s main draw is the coral, you won’t get to see many animate creatures there; and Pirotan Island is where you can take a boat ride for dolphin and bird-spotting. The best time to visit the park is December to March, when wintering birds are plentiful.