The Vansda national Park established in 1979 in Navsari district, Gujarat got its name Vansda as the area was privately owned by the Maharaja of Vansda. The Park covering an area of 24 sq.km is nestled in the mountains of Western Ghats or Sahyadris and is under the control of the government. Even though the park is small, it is extremely dense and has a wide variety of flora and fauna. Some parts of the park are dark even during daytime. The park lies close to the National Highway – 8 and is bisected by the Waghai-Vansda State Highway.
The types of forest found in the park are mainly Moist deciduous and Dry deciduous covered with bamboos, tall teak trees, mango groves and gigantic creepers. In all there are over 250 species of plants, including many variety of Orchids. During rainy reason, the park gets a heavy rainfall of over 2000 mm. which encourages the dense plant growth. The landscape is beautiful with trees, small streams and beautiful hills and valleys. Ambika river flows through the north eastern boundary of the park. Tourists have to get permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden, of Gandhinagar or DFO, Ahwa to visit the park.
The forest is a habitat to Leopards, python, four-horned antelope, pangolin, rusty-spotted cats, Jungle Cat, Civets, Mongooses, Macaques, Barking Deer, giant squirrels, Hyenas and a wide species of birds like Great Black Woodpecker, Malabar Trogon, Shama and Emerald Dove, Grey Hornbill, Racket-Tailed Drongo, Paradise Flycatcher, Leaf birds, Thrushes, Sunbirds, peafowls etc.
Small creatures with their amazing diversity are the real treasure of the park. Among these are over 60 species of butterflies and 121 species of spiders. The largest of the spiders of Gujarat, the Giant wood spider is common here and around 30 species of snakes are found here. Besides there are numerous varieties of insects, centipedes, millipedes and snails as well as about 11 types of frogs and toads.
The park has dwellings of local tribals belonging to Bhil, Gamit, Warli, Kokni, Kunbi and Dangi tribes. All the tribals have their unique culture and systems which are interesting. Other interesting places near Vansda National Park are Gira Water falls adjoining the Park, Botanical Gardens and wood workshop at Waghai, Mahal forest ( Purna Game Sanctuary ), Hot-water spring at Unai etc. Saputara, the only hill-station of Gujarat state, is only 52km away from the park.
In and Around
Waghai Botanical Garden
This Botanical Park is 2 kms. past Waghai. There is a Garden and a Bio Diversity Conservation Centre from where one can learn to identify plants and its use as food and as medicines. There is a nature education trail that leads to the Vansda National Park. This garden is open from 8 am to 6 pm and there is a lot of educational literature available at the centre.
This is a waterfall with a 30 metre natural drop in the River Ambika. The waterfall is beautiful and comes alive only after the monsoons. This place is 51 kms. away from Waghai and is approachable by road. The state road to the place is scenic.
Kilad Nature Education Campsite
On the way to the Waghai Botanical Park, the campsite is at the south eastern part of the park and near the banks of River Ambika. The campsite is a place to stay for the night and in the morning accompanied by a guide, who will mention the kind of trees and their uses, show the hoof and pug marks of various animals who have visited the area. The campsite is a great place for bird watching. Permission to the campsite is required and can be obtained from the Range Forest Officer. The campsite has an orientation centre, 4 cottages, 10 tented accommodations with bathing and toilet facilities, 3 huts, separate kitchen and dining facilities, an area for campfire and areas for wildlife viewing on machans.
Believed to be the place where the Pandavas stayed for sometime while on exile, this cave is 51 kms. from Waghai and is accessible by road. There are buses plying on the route.
Unai Hot Springs
Near Waghai, there is a hot spring that has the power to cure ailments of skin diseases not curable otherwise. The spring is a mixture of sulphur and phospherous.
Temple of Ram and Sita
There is a 6000 year old temple near the Unai hot springs, which is dedicated to Lord Rama and Goddess Sita.
Unai Mata Temple
Another old temple dedicated to Unai Mata who is the sister of Mata Amba is a famous pilgrim centre.
About 2 kms. from Unai is a temple , where it is believed that Lord Rama. Goddess Sita and Lord Laxman had encamped during their exile. The legend states that the ashes of the yagna performed by Lord Rama have been preserved in this temple.
The ideal time to visit it is in the months between October and May.
How to Reach
Nearest Airport is at Surat at a distance of about 120 km.
Nearest Railway Station is at Waghai, just 4 km away. More number of trains is available from the rail head Billimora which is at a distance of about 40 km.
The park lies close to National Highway 8 and is bisected by the Waghai-Vansda State Highway. The nearest town is Waghai, 4km away. It is 28 km from Ahwa, 40 km from Billimora, and 60 km from Saputara. The area is easiest explored with a private vehicle, but public transport is available, though less convenient. There are buses from Surat, Billimora, and Valsad to Vansda village, and from there you can hire a jeep to the park for about Rs 50/- per person. There are no taxi operations close to Vansda, but you can also get a cab from Surat, Bilimora or Valsad. By ST bus, Ahwa, the district headquarters and on a plateau from which begins the ascenscion from Waghai to Saputara, is often the most convenient place to arrive in the Dangs.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
There is a PWD Guest house and a Panchayath Guesthouse at Vansda and Waghai. There is a Forest Rest House at Waghai also.
Chitrakoot Hill Resort
Sunset Road,District Dang,
Saputara, Gujarat 394720
Opp. Boating Club, Nasik Road,
Saputara, Gujarat 394720