Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar
|Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar|
A Blackbuck stag at the grasslands of the national park
|Location||Bhavnagar District, Gujarat, India|
|Governing body||Forest Department of Gujarat|
Established in 1976 in the Bhal region of Saurashtra, the park is located around 42 km from the district headquarters city of Bhavnagar. Hugging the coasts of the Gulf of Khambhat on the south, it is spread over an area of 34.08 km², which was primarily a "vidi" (grassland) of the Maharaja of the princely state of Bhavnagar. On the northern side, it is surrounded by wastelands and agriculture fields. The National park has been classified as 4B Gujarat-Rajwada biotic province of semi-arid bio-geographical zone.
Flat land, dry grasses and herds of antelopes have always attracted visitors to this park which has a unique grassland ecosystem. A successful conservation program for the Blackbuck, the Wolf and the Lesser Florican (a bustard) among others is ongoing. Considered to be an exclusive Indian species, the Lesser Floricans, which were free dwellers throughout the country, have their numbers plummeting in the recent decades almost everywhere in India. Today, the largest population has been sustained in this park. Local wolf numbers are increasing, as are Striped Hyena, with sightings quite frequent during daylight in winter 2012-2013.
In July 1976 when the park was established, the initial protected area was measuring about 17.88 km². Subsequently, in 1980, another 16.22 km² were added, increasing the total spread of the part to the current figure of 34.08 km².
A certain southern portion of the park which is adjoining the Gulf of Khambhat, falls under its high tide zone and gets inundated with water. However, its semi-arid conditions, together with this inundation of seawater during monsoon, creates habitats suitable for various dependent fauna of the Park.
- 7.57 km² of dense grassland and 9.91 km² of sparse grassland
- 5.05 km² of Prosopis shrubland
- saline lands covering about 5.13 km²
- 5.08 km² covered by high tidal mudflats
The fauna population of the park mainly includes Blackbucks, Wolves, Macqueen's bustard, Hyenas and Lesser Floricans, with foxes, jackals and Jungle Cats as the main carnivores species. Other species include wild pigs, hares and rodents, typical of the savannah type grasslands and thorn scrubs.
Among the avifauna family, Sandgrouse and larks are seen in fair numbers. According to Roger Clarke, the British harrier-expert, the harrier roost found at the park is one of the largest in the world.
Though the park is open throughout the year, the period between monsoon and winter (normally, mid-June to March-end) is considered to be the recommended period. The best time to visit Velavadar National Park is from December to March as many species of migratory birds which includes three species of Harriers, Lesser Florican, Eagles, Waders and many other water birds arrive to spend winter.
Bhavnagar airport is connected with the international airports of Mumbai with daily flight frequency. The closet international airport by road is Ahmedabad international airport at 140 miles. The closest railway station is at the town of Dhola, which is about 50 km from the park. The historical town of Vallabhipur is about 30 km away.
The park has a bungalow operated by the Government Forest department where a stay can be arranged by prior booking. Right next to the park, there is a private lodge as well.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar.|
- Gujarat Tourism: Blackbuck National Park
- More photos of Blackbuck National Park
- Blackbuck_National_Park travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Black Buck National Park information from a Bhal region website