In India, when one hears the word ‘Blackbuck’, the instant thing that hits the mind is Salman Khan’s name. As an animal only it would never have been as famous as it has become after Salman Khan’s case. For many people, the existence of blackbucks is restricted to his case only. But today, we’re taking you to the place which is a castle of blackbucks and the place is known as Blackbuck National Park.
Located at Velavadar in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, Blackbuck National Park is predominantly known for preserving the blackbucks. Positioned between the two rivers Parvalia and Alang, it stretches in an area of just 34 square kilometers and is identified as a dry and open scrubland. Despite its small size Blackbuck National Park is divided into two parts by a road. One is called Grassland area while other is called Wetland Area. The northern portion of the Blackbuck National Park is called Grassland Area which is embedded by the sprawling wastelands and agriculture fields, whereas the southern portion of the park is tagged as Wetland Area and it rims the Gulf of Khambhat. This small but prominent Bhal region of Saurashtra was declared as Blackbuck National Park in 1976.
Blackbuck National Park
Like many other national parks of India, Blackbuck National Park too has a royal history of its yesteryears. Formerly, this entire Blackbuck National Park region was the private grassland and the pastures ground of the Maharajas of Bhavnagar. They used to hunt Blackbucks and the grasslands were also used for grazing. After the independence, the lands were declared autonomous and the authority was given to local inhabitants to use the lands freely. As a result, by 1966, the population of blackbucks diminished drastically.
This was when Government woke up to preserve the remaining around 200 blackbucks and established a sanctuary in an area of 8.9 square kilometers. Later in 1976, a small patch was added to it and the entire region was named as Blackbuck National Park. In 1986, the Blackbuck National Park suffered from a devastating Cyclone and 311 blackbucks were killed. However, it didn’t majorly affect the population figure and presently, the Blackbuck National Park impressively houses 3400 blackbucks.
Talking about the mythological significance, blackbucks are considered sacred animals in Hinduism and in Gujarat they are associated with valor and strength.
Velavadar National Park
Best Time To Visit Blackbuck National Park
The Blackbuck National Park is open all year long. You can visit anytime. But if you want to experience the best of Blackbuck National Park, do visit in the winter and early summer season. Means, between November to May. Avoid visiting in Monsoon season, because during this time the Wetland Area is flooded with water.
Velavadar National Park Timings
7.00 AM – 6.30 PM Everyday.
How To Reach Blackbuck National Park
Getting Blackbuck National is really trouble-free. Bhavnagar is the closest airport and the nearest railhead to Blackbuck National Park. Interestingly, both the Bhavnagar Railway Station and the Bhavnagar Airport are 65 km away from the park. From these two halts you can get unnumbered of regular buses, autos, and taxis plying to Blackbuck National Park.
You can also take a halt at Dhala, another railway station which is, in fact, nearer than Bhavnagar but from Dhala there is no regular transport availability. You might end up waiting hours or maybe the whole day. So, Bhavnagar is the best approach. If you’re planning to explore the Blackbuck National Park by your own vehicle, none can beat this option. Blackbuck National Park gives full authority to access the park by your own vehicle. You only have to take permission from the park administration.
Special attraction of Blackbuck National Park
There are very few places in India that can give you the vibes of foreign countries and Saurashtra is one of them. If you ever dreamt of exploring the African Savannah but could make it happen due to some reasons, a trip to Saurashtra would definitely slake your wanderlust. First, the roaring lions of Gir Forest National Park and then the alluring blackbuck of Blackbuck National Park can make your trip unforgettable.
If in Blackbuck National Park, you would look out for special attractions, you won’t find any such places which can be called ‘special attractions’. The entire Blackbuck National Park with rambling shrub grasslands, mud flats and custard-colored plains where the herds of blackbucks are grazing, is itself the catchment of the eye. At the very first sight of golden and spiral-horned antelope, you’ll forget even to blink your eyes.
Blackbucks are the signature species of Blackbuck National Park. If you’re a photo freak, this place will urge you to capture every single moment. From the wilderness of forests to the magical charisma of flora and fauna, the awe-inspiring panorama of nature, a calm evening stroll through the lush grasslands, and to the chirping of birds, Blackbuck National Park will certainly leave you astonished. This park encompasses a unique grassland ecosystem and is the only tropical grasslands in India to be called as a National Park.
Flora of Blackbuck National Park
The natural beauty and the vegetation richness of Blackbuck National Park are one of the immaculate things that can’t be sighted elsewhere. Due to a rich source of water, Blackbuck National Park boasts a wide range of floral diversity. Within this small tropical region, there are four types of grasslands – plain grasslands, shrub grasslands, saline grasslands and high tidal lands. The floral diversity of Blackbuck National Park abounds in a huge variety of grass & plants, and 95 species of flowers. Some of them are endemic and definitely a pleasure to watch. The region is a captivating Savannah habitat and is enriched with grasslands. Banyan Jambu, Karanj, Charal, Sirus, Amli, and Vad are some of the prominent tresses of Blackbuck National Park.
Fauna of Blackbuck National Park
The faunal diversity of Blackbuck National Park is as rambling as the horns of blackbuck itself. It is the largest conservation center of blackbucks in India. Here, darting blackbucks, the fastest mammals in the world, are a sight to behold. Earlier, the blackbucks could be seen throughout the country but now only Blackbuck National Park offers this pleasure.
Moreover blackbucks, another hoofed mammal Nilgai, the largest antelope of India, also call Blackbuck National Park their home. Indian Grey Wolf, Fox, Indian Jackal, Jungle Cat, and Hyena are the other eye-to-spot mammals of this park. In total Blackbuck National Park houses 14 species of mammals and numerous species of reptiles.
Blackbuck National Park is paradise for bird lovers as it is declared an important Bird Area by Bird International. Around 187 species of birds including Lesser Floricans and other migratory birds grace the Blackbuck National Park. The park also houses a huge number of harrier species and earned the fame to be the world’s largest roosting site of harriers.
Near-by Places to Visit:
- Takhteshwar Temple
- Piram Island
- Gandhi Smriti Memorial
- Gaurishankar Lake
- Victoria Park, Bhavnagar
- Khodiyar Mandir, Bhavnagar
Blackbuck National Park Accommodation
National Park offers very good stay facilities. It has two its own lodges and visitors can stay there for days, weeks or months. They are-
Kaliyar Bhavan Forest Lodge
Located adjacent the entry gate, this lodge is owned and managed by Forest Department of Velavadar. There are four rooms in this lodge but the amenities are basic. Ideally, it is for common living standard people. The tariff rate for this lodge is 500/- for Indians and USD30 for foreigners.
If you want luxurious stay out, the Blackbuck Lodge is the most appropriate option for you. Stretched in 70 acres, the lodge has 14 colossal, air conditioned, and well-equipped rooms. Here, you’ll find every modern facility. There are also two restaurants. Means, this hotel is no less than a five-star hotel. As quality holds a bolder price tag the tariff rates of this lodge are much higher than kaliyar Bhavan Lodge. The tariff rates range from 8500-11000 that too excluding food. And rate varies according to the season too.
If you’re having a hard luck and the both lodges are already bursting at the seams, you can either go for tent accommodation or can book hotels in Bhavnagar. Camping is allowed in this park. You just have to take permission from the administration. But choose this option at your own risk because wild animals keep roaming in the whole park every time. Better you book rooms in ‘Blue Hill’ or ‘Nilambagh Palace Resort’ in Bhavnagar.