Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar




Brief


Blackbuck National Park Velavadar, in the Bhal region of Saurashtra is a unique grassland ecosystem that has attracted fame for the successful conservation of the blackbuck, the wold and the lesser florican. Once found in open plains throughout the country and the state of Gujarat, its largest population at present occurs in Velavadar National Park. This exclusively Indian animal is perhaps the most graceful and beautiful of its kind. It has ringed horns that have a spiral twist of three to fours turns and are up to 70 cm long. The body’s upper parts are black and the under parts and a ring around the eyes are white. The light brown female is usually hornless. There are two gates with a road in between which leads to the park. The reception attached to the Kaliyarbhavan Forest Lodge is the place where the visitors pay the entry fee to the park. The park interpretation centre located at a short distance from here provides basic information about the animals and birds found in the area.

Velavadar is dry and arid. The greenery in the forests can be seen during the monsoon season. The summers, from April to June, are harsh with temperatures rising to 40°C. the winters, from December to February are cool and comfortable. The tourists need to carry light woolens during the summers and heavy woolens during the winters.

Acacia and Banyan trees. A distinct belt of vegetation is found along the main rivers and streams. Species like the Jambu, Karanj, Umro, Vad, Kalam, Charal, Sirus and Amli are found here. These trees are mostly broad leaved and evergreen, giving the area a cool shade and the moisture content.

The ecosystem of the park houses four distinct habitats, grassland, shrubland, saline land and high tidal lands. One of the most thrilling sights in the area is the unusual mating rituals of the blackbuck, which involves a spectacular vertical leap of upto 2 mts by the male. The park is home to over 187 species of birds including residents and migratory birds such as Harrier, Partridge, Pelican, Duck, Crane, Stork, Eagle, Sand Grouse, Lark and Lesser Florican. Besides the blackbuck, other commonly found mammals include the Nilgai, Wolf, Wild Cat, Jackal, Indian Fox, Wild Boar, Porcupine, Hare and Rodent, while the reptile kingdom constitute of Saw Scaled Vipers, Common Cobra, Krait, Rat Snake and Sand Boa

In and Around


Bird Watching and Wildlife at Velavadar
Velavadar National Park lies 50 kms from Bhavnagar on the Bhavnagar – Ahmedabad highway and is visited for its Blackbuck population (largest in India) and migratory birds in Winter (Nov-Feb is best season). Park is open throughout the year.

Swaminarayan Temple Gadhada
Gadhada Dham or Gopinathji Temple or Swaminarayan Temple Gadhada all refer to an 1828 temple built by Lord Swaminarayan himself and now a famous pilgrimage centre. Gadhada dham became famous for being Gujarats version of a Golden temple when 70 Kgs worth of Gold was used in plating here.

Palitana Jain Pilgrimage
Palitana Temples (60 kms from Bhavnagar) are situated on a Shatrunjay hilltop, Palitana has over 863 temples, built in the 11th and the 12th century and are carved in marbles. It is said all the Jain Tirthankars, excepting Neminath, had attained nirvana here. Palitana Temples is a complex built over a hill with 3000+ steps having hundreds of temples. It is most significant pilgrimage in Jainism and is a very popular destination for all guests travelling to Gujarat.

Lothal – Harappan Escavations
Lothal is one of the most prominent cities of the ancient Indus valley civilization dating from 2400 BCE. Lothal is visited enroute on Ahmedabad – Velavadar / Bhavnagar / Palitana route and also a popular excursion ex-Ahmedabad.

Best Time


Although the Velavadar National Park is open throughout the year, but the period between October to mid-June is considered to be the best time to visit the park. Evening is the best time to view these animals at the Velavadar national park.

How to Reach


By Air
The nearest airport is located at Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad. Bhavnagar is located at a distance of 72 km.

By Rail
The nearest railway station are located at Ahmedabad and Dhola, which is about 52 km away.

By Road
The nearest town, Valabhaipur, is 32 km away, and Ahmedabad 145 km away. If you come by private vehicle, the Black Buck National Park is entered from Valabhaipur on the old highway or Adhelai on the Bhavnagar-Ahmedabad highway. Otherwise, the park is accessed by bus from Bhavnagar (72 km away). Two buses travel daily between Bhavnagar and the park; leaving the city at 2 or 3:30pm and returning from the park at 6 or 6:30am the next morning. For a day trip you will need your own vehicle; taxis can be hired in Bhavnagar for Rs. 700-1000 per day.

Stay / Eat


Where to Stay
The Blackbuck Lodge
Velavadar National Park,
Velavadar 364313, India

Accommodation can be arranged at the Kaliyar Bhavan Tourist Lodge at the Park. Another alternative is to stay at Bhavnagar.

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