Boating at  Nalsarovar Delicious Gathiya

Weather :

Timings : Monday to Sunday: 6:00 AM - 5:30 PM

Entry Fees : Weekdays: INR 75 for Adults, INR 30 for Children (INR 200 for Cameras)
Weekends: INR 85 for Adults, INR 40 for Children (INR 200 for Cameras)

Boat Riding Charges : Ranging from INR 220 (for 1 person) to INR 1320 (for 7 persons)

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Ahmedabad Overview

Located near the rustic little town of Sanand, Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary is the largest wetland bird sanctuary of Gujarat. Nalsarovar is home to a beautiful lake spread across a scattered group of marshy islands which are vastly blessed with flora and fauna. Boating on the serene lake or Picnics in the vicinity of wildlife, Nalsarovar makes for a surreal experience.

Nalsarover was declared a sanctuary in 1969, as it saw a perennial glut of diverse varieties of birds flying in to inhabit the area. The sanctuary harbours over 210 species of both endemic and migratory birds, including rosy pelicans, flamingoes, brahminy ducks and storks, across different seasons. The islands are carpeted with a thick forest cover and huge fields of grass wherein the locally famous ‘Pilu’ trees can be found. For its rich biodiversity, Nalsarovar was declared as a Ramsar sight, which heightened its importance at the international level. Bird Watching with binoculars, Snacking in the sumptuous Gujarati cuisine or simply filling oneself with fresh air whilst boating across the lake, the Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary offers endless ecstasy.

Places to Visit In and Around Nalsarovar

1. Lothal

Lothal
Lothal is a famous excavated site of the Indus Valley (Harappan) civilization situated about 40km away from Nalsarovar. Founded in 1954, the site is rife with history as invaluable artifacts like beads, tools and toys from the Harappan era have been found here which have now been preserved in a museum nearby. It is thus, a must visit for tourists as one would definitely dig the vibe here.

2. Utelia

Utelia
Utelia is a small hamlet about 40km away on the Bhavnagar highway. The place is famous for an offbeat heritage hotel located at its heart, which is a travellers retreat. The archaeological sites of Lothal are only 6km away from Utelia, which also has a heritage museum full of history dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization.

3. Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad, or as fondly called Amdavad by the locals, is the largest city in the state of Gujarat. Set along the banks of the Sabarmati river, the city is an amalgamation of a rich culture and urbanization, making it a paradise for travel buffs. It is home to several heritage sites such as the Sabarmati Ashram, ISKCON temple and Ahmed Shah’s Mosque which attracts hordes of tourists every year. Snacking on the mouthwatering Gujarati cuisine, shopping for stunning Bandhani artistry or spending time along the bank of Kankaria lake, Ahmedabad is a must visit destination for travellers.

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Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary
Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary
Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary

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Biodiversity in Nalsarovar

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary sees umpteen varieties of birds throughout the year, which augments the beauty of this place. Right around the monsoon season, the sanctuary is brimming with migratory ‘Waterfowl’ birds, while the shallow ponds on the fringes of the lake attract the ‘Waders’. The winter season brings forth more biodiversity with it, as Moorhens, Pelicans, Herons etc. settle in the area from the north. Besides birds, a few mammalian species such as the Wild Ass and Black Bucks can occasionally be spotted, grazing atop the islands of Nalsarovar. All these animals share a harmonious symbiotic relationship which is an absolute spectacle to witness for any nature lover.

Ramsar Convention Site

Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary was a low-lying area making up a sea-link. With time, as food and water were readily available, the sanctuary saw a vast influx of migratory birds inhabiting the area. The numbers grew to about 210 different varieties, which was why in 1969 it was declared a bird sanctuary. Owing to its immense natural beauty and rich biodiversity, Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary was declared as a Ramsar Convention Site on 24th September 2012, which made it a “Wetland of International Importance”.

Things to Do in Nalsarovar

1. Boat Riding
Boat riding in the lakes of Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary are extremely sought after amongst the tourists. These rides provide a panoramic view of the scenery around and doubles the chance of one spotting rare species of birds. The boats carry you across the islands upto Dhrabla where one can observe the surrounding wildlife through watchtowers installed there.
Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary
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2. Enjoying the traditional cuisine
For anyone who craves for authentic Gujarati food, there are several huts along the periphery of the area wherein one can relish Bajre ki roti, Gudh (Jaggery) topped with Chutney sold by local vendors. One may savour Gathiya, a Gujarati snack, which is especially famous here.
Gathiya
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3. Visitng the information center
Tourists may visit the information center which provides comprehensive details about the sanctuary including the species of birds found, their attributes and origins through images, models and maps. The center is often frequented by entry-level bird watching enthusiasts looking to add to their knowledge base and further develop their newly found interest.

4. Picnics
The vast fields of Nalsarover, covered throughout with lush green grass are ideal for picnics. One may set up their mats and binge on snacks, while kids can play catch and enjoy themselves.

5. Horse riding
Horse riding is also available to the tourists at the bird sanctuary. The ride typically lasts for about 20 minutes and is very enjoyable as one can admire the panoramic view of the lakes around. The rates are bargainable and the duration can be extended with some extra pay.

Best Time to Visit Nalsarovar

The best time to visit Nalsarovar is from December to January. These months see a myriad of migratory birds including the rarer species, flocking in from countries like Serbia, Oman and Yemen. The wintery early mornings are best suited for excursions to spot herons, pelicans, flamingoes etc. and getting your money’s worth. The temperature too, is ideal for sightseeing, picnics and boating, as the mercury takes a dip. The local food stalls are bustling with activity at this time of the year, providing tourists with authentic Gujarati cuisine.

Timing and Fees

The sanctuary is open 7 days a week, between 6:00AM-5:30PM. There is a stark difference in the entry fee structure for India tourists and foreigners. For Indians, the fee is INR 75 per person on weekdays and INR 85 per person on weekends, with discounts of up to 50% available for children. Cameras are allowed in the premises once an entry fee of INR 200 is paid. Boat ride fares range from INR 220 for an individual to INR 1320 for chartering a personal boat for up to 7 persons.

Keys Tips

1. The boatmen are likely to rip off those who aren’t already acquainted with the rates. Thus it is important to bargain well, or contact boatmen beforehand to get discounts.

2. One should carry essentials like binoculars, drinking water and snacks to feed the birds.

3. The sanitation facilities of the sanctuary are not up to the mark. Thus make prior arrangements to prepare for the same.

4. One may encounter connectivity issues once inside Nalsarovar as it is tough to catch a 3G/4G network inside the sanctuary premises.

Interesting Facts about Nalsarovar

1. The bird sanctuary has around 360 islets circumscribed within it.

2. Besides birds, Nalsarovar is also rich in plant life. It contains 72 different types of flowering plants including Cyperus sp., Scirpus sp., Typha Ungustata etc. and 48 different types of Algae.

3. The sanctuary covers a vast area of 120.82 square km.

4. Very recently, a reverse osmosis plant was set up to provide clean drinking water to the visitors.

How to Reach

By Air
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel airport in Ahmedabad is well connected to all the major cities of India and some neighbouring countries as well. Upon reaching the airport, one can book cabs from local operators to reach Nalsarovar.

By Rail
Tourists may also commute to Nalsarovar via Viramgam, which is the nearest railway station. It is situated about 36 km away from the sanctuary which takes approximately one hour to reach.

By Road
Ahmedabad is well connected with an excellent network of roads to various neighbouring cities of India. From here, one can charter private taxis or buses to get to Nalsarovar which is 65km away.

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