Bhavnagar Blackbuck National Park

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Time Required : Winters - December to March

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Bhavnagar Blackbuck National Park, Bhavnagar Overview

Bhavnagar Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar is located in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, India. This national park is known to provide a magical experience to its visitors. The wilderness of this national park is unrivalled. From grasslands to mud flats Bhavnagar Blackbuck National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers. Know that this sanctuary has been primarily declared for the conservation of Blackbucks. You can, however, find a horde of other mammals and birds.

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Entry Fees, and Fees for these activities

The entry fee to this National Park is as listed below:
  • For Indians: INR 20/per person
  • For Indian children (3 to 12 years): INR 10/per person
  • For Indian students’ Educational Tour: INR 10/per person
  • For Non-Indians: the US $5/per person
  • For Non-Indian children (3 to 12 years): the US $5/per person
People wanting to opt for a vehicle to move around the National Park will have to pay a fee as listed below:
  • For Indians: INR 200 (for 6 people), INR 500 (for 15 people), INR 1750 (for 60 people)
  • For Non-Indians: US $20 (for 6 people), US $50 (for 15 people), US $175 (for 60 people)
Still Camera Photography charges are as follows:
  • For Indians: INR 100
  • For Non-Indians: US $10
You can also opt for a guide with you to know the place more deeply. The guide fees are as follows:
  • For Indian (for four hours): INR 50/- (INR 20 for every subsequent hour)
  • For Non-Indians (for four hours): US $10 (the US $5 for every subsequent hour)

About Blackbuck National Park

Velavadar Blackbuck National Park is spread in an area of 34.52 sq km. This place is ideal for visitors who are interested in natural history. You can easily find shrublands, grasslands, mud flats, and saline plains. These provide veritable support to a variety of grass, species of flowering plants, mammals, birds, and reptiles. Besides, the Alang and Paravalio Rivers, two check dams, three artificial ponds, and coastal marshes are ideal for the growth of aquatic flora and fauna.

The National Park was established in the year 1976. Situated in the Bhal region of Saurashtra, Bhavnagar Blackbuck National Park is strictly reserved for the betterment of the wildlife. The boundaries of this park are well protected and circumscribed to prevent activities like forestry, poaching, grazing, and hunting. Historical accounts say that the grassland or Vidi belonged to the Maharaja of Bhavnagar (then a princely state). He used to hunt blackbucks with the help of hunting cheetahs.

It was after the independence of India that the grassland was subjected to unchecked hunting. There were no rules and regulations to counter the same. Hence, in 1976 it was declared as a sanctuary by the Government of India. According to Hindu Mythology, Blackbucks are sacred animals. It has various names like Askailyar in Gujarati, Krishna Sara, Krishna Mruga, and Sarang in Sanskrit. However, 1982 saw the worst cyclone ever, and it killed around 311 blackbucks.
Blackbuck in Bhavnagar National Park
Blackbuck in Bhavnagar National Park

Geography of Blackbuck National Park

During the initial years of establishment, the protected area was about 18 sq km. It was in 1980 that another 16 sq km was added making it to a total of 34.08 sq km. The National Park is approximately 42 km away from the district headquarters city of Bhavnagar. To the South of the National Park is the Gulf of Khambhat, wastelands and agricultural fields surround the Northern side. The portion of the park which adjoins the gulf is known for the high tides and is prone to flooding. Hence, the semi-arid conditions of the region along with the water received during monsoon allows the survival of the fauna.

The National Park area consists of 7.57 sq km of dense grassland, 9.91 sq km of sparse grassland, 5.05 sq km of shrubland, 5.13 sq km of saline land, and 5.08 sq km of high tidal mudflats. It has been classified as the 4B Gujarat-Rajwada Biotic Province of the Semi-arid Bio-geographical Zone.

Biodiversity of Blackbuck National Park

The biodiversity of this National Park is rich in every aspect. With flat land and dry grasses, visitors are keen to find a herd of antelope flocking in this region. Typical to a grassland ecosystem, Bhavnagar Blackbuck National Park is known for the ongoing conservation programs for animals like the Blackbuck, Wolves, Lesser Florican. It is sad to know that the Lesser Florican has become an endangered species. They were once found throughout the country, and now the number is limited only to this park. However, the number of local wolves has increased significantly in recent years.

Sarus Cranes
Sarus Cranes

Also, did you know that Bhavnagar National Park is the only tropical grassland in India? This tropical grassland is home to several migratory birds during the winter season, and the wetland to the south of this park attracts birds like flamingoes, ducks, coots, white storks, sarus cranes, etc. This place has also earned popularity as the largest Roosting Ground for four species of migratory birds in the world.
Bhavnagar National Park is heaven for a diverse variety of flora and fauna. Nature lovers and wildlife photographers will have a good time in the National Park.

Flora of Blackbuck National Park

Being the only tropical grassland of India, it has a fascinating savanna habitat with a few pockets of Prosopis chilensis. One will find dense meadows in the Park with thirty-nine species of grasses and forty-six species of sedges, shrubs, and trees. The dominant grasses found in this region are Dichanthium annulatum, Sporobolus virginicus, Sporobolus coromandelianus, Sporobolus madernspatensis. Prosopis julifora is a shrub which covers the significant portion of this Park. The medium-sized trees found in the National Park are Acacia, Karanj, Umro, Vad, Kalam, Charal, Banyan Jambu, Sirus, Amli.

Fauna of Blackbuck National Park

From migratory birds to the exclusive Indian Blackbuck, Bhavnagar National Park is an abode for visitors if the trip is planned at the right time.

Migratory birds from Central Asia, Siberia, and Europe find shelter in this place to escape the extreme weather conditions of the winter season. Bird lovers can easily spot birds like Pelicans, Flamingoes, Waders, Painted Storks, Spotted Eagles, Steppe Eagles, Rufous-tailed Lark, Chestnut Bellied Sandgrouse, Quails, Laggar Falcon, Eurasian Hobby, Kestrel, Red-necked Falcon, Ashy-crowned Sparrow, Singing Bushlark, Indian Bushlark, Tawny Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Short-toed Eagle. Endangered species of Vultures also visit Velavadar National Park.

Besides migratory birds, visitors can also get a view of several mammals very closely because of being a Flat Grassland. As the name of the Park suggests, this National Park is exclusively made for the Indian Blackbuck and its protection. The other mammals commonly found in this National Park are the Nilgai, Wild Boar, Indian Grey Wolf, Indian Fox, Jungle Cat, Hare, Mongoose, Wild Pigs, Field Mice, Striped Hyena, Golden Jackal, Gerbil, Hedgehog, Rodents, etc. This region is also a habitat for reptiles like Saw Scaled Vipers, Common Cobra, Sand Boa, Rat Snake, Krait, etc.

Safari and Other Activities at Blackbuck National Park

A wildlife safari to this National Park is sure to prove a lifetime memory for its visitors. The safari will allow you to watch the prolific wildlife of the region very closely. So do not forget your camera and binoculars to miss out any action going in the Park.

Takhteshwar Temple
Takhteshwar Temple

Also, you can visit the Takhteshwar Temple which was built in 1893 by the local royal family of the district. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Best Time to Visit Blackbuck National Park

The best time to visit this National Park is during the Winters, i.e. December to March when the minimum temperature is around 15℃. Besides, it is the perfect time for birdwatchers to capture countless migratory birds who visit the Park this season. You can either stay in the rest house or bungalows provided by the forest department or choose a hotel at Bhavnagar. However, booking is recommended in either of the options.

Although several animal species of  Bhavnagar Blackbuck National Park are feared to be endangered, conservation programmes have been carried out to save them. Notwithstanding this, the Park provides a perfect package for tourists who would want to capture the best set of migratory birds and diverse variety of animals and yet feel the wilderness of this place at the same.

Tips while Visiting the Blackbuck National Park

Earthy colour clothes like dark brown, green, grey, and beiges are recommended to wear if you plan to visit Bhavnagar National Park. Also, do not forget to carry a sunblock, a hat, good walking shoes, torch, binoculars, and a camera. A pullover or a jacket should be taken during winters. You will find many vegetarian and non-vegetarian food options but do not forget to try the Kathiawadi cuisine which is unique to this place.

How to Reach Blackbuck National Park

By Rail: If you opt to reach this place by rail, then the nearest railway station is the Bhavnagar railway station which is 65km away from the National Park.
By Road: All major cities of India are well connected to Velavadar National Park. You can also use the government or private vehicles which frequently go to the Park.
By Air: The nearest airport is the Bhavnagar Airport which is 65km away from the National Park.

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