velavadar national park

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velavadar national park overview

#9 of 75 Places To Visit in Gandhinagar
velavadar national park
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Velavadar National Park, Gandhinagar
entry fee
vehicle entry fee
All days of the week
6:30 AM - 8:30 AM
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
visit duration
2 to 3 hours

about velavadar national park

Velavadar National Park is a beautiful National Park. Before Independence, Velavadar was a part of the princely state of Bhavnagar, with the grasslands acting as private grazing lands for the maharaja’s cattle. After Independence, the government revised policies drastically and converted most of the grasslands into agricultural lands. With the government also providing free arms licences to local people, the number of blackbucks declined dramatically from 8,000 to a meagre 200 in 1966. It was around then that a sanctuary, covering 8.9 sq km, was established to protect the blackbucks. The area was increased to 17.88 sq km and then to 34 sq km in 1976, when the sanctuary was declared a National Park under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Hunting of blackbucks is now strictly prohibited, and their population has skyrock eted. With Gujarat being a wintering ground and a crucial link in the migratory flyways of millions of waterfowl (including cranes, ducks, geese and numerous waders) that travel from Central Asia and Western Europe to Peninsular India, the park is rich in bird life. It’s well known as a destination for migrating harriers. In 1991, 1,500 harriers roosted here, making it the largest roost of harriers since a 19th century one recorded at a marsh in West France. Velavadar is the only tropical grassland in India to be given the status of a National Park. Its ecosystem houses four distinct habitats — grassland, shrubland, saline land and high tidal lands. 

There are two gates facing each other with a road in between that leads into the Velavadar National Park. On the left is the Kaliyarbhavan Forest Lodge. The reception attached to the lodge essentially serves as the forest office; this is where you’ll meet the forest guard and pay the entry fee. A short distance ahead is the Nature Interpretation Centre, a rather basic affair that does, however, provide some idea of the birds and animals you are likely to find in this saline and prone to high tides region. The trail is largely a straight path, with small watchtowers scattered around on both sides. The ‘wetland’ is a slight detour (3 km left from the gates) along the path and a great spot to check out most of the park’s bird life. This is also where we spotted the wolf.

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