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Velavadar

Distance from Nadiad: 110 KM

The Velavadar National Park is approximately 2 hours (110 Kms) from Nadiad. The park covers an area of (34 sq km) and was formerly private grassland of the Maharaja of Bhavnagar. It extends to the high tidal zone of the Gulf of Khambhat in the south and floods periodically. The rest of the park is surrounded by wastelands and agriculture fields. Its main species, the Blackbuck, is found mainly at the northern end, in grassland that lies between the Parvalia and Alang rivers, which drain into the Gulf. Conservation of Blackbuck in Velavadar has been a remarkable success story. An exclusively South Asian antelope, it was once abundant in grasslands throughout India, but today its largest population is found here. The Blackbuck has sharply pointed ringed horns, up to 70 cm long, that spiral through three or four turns. Its movements are visible from long distances and most striking as it jumps over stands of grass. The chances of spotting Blackbuck in the sanctuary are high. Courtship among these animals is quite ferocious. The males fight each other to win females, sometimes leading to the death of the weaker animal. Other species found here are Nilgai, wolf, jackal, Jungle cat and fox.

A small wetland next to the gulf attracts birds such as pelicans, flamingoes, White storks, Painted storks and Sarus cranes. The park is a haven for Demoiselle cranes, Common cranes and a variety of raptors. It provides one of the world’s best roosting sites to thousands of harriers that arrive here from Central Europe for wintering. With luck, you may sight the courtship display of the Lesser florican, one of the 50 rarest birds of the world.