Monday, 3 March 2014

Nal Sarovar, birding paradise close to Ahmedabad

Our next destination from Ahmedabad was to Velavadar. As you may know, Velavadar is famous for black bucks; and we had planned to see these beautiful creatures for a long long time.

  However before reaching Velavadar, there were two places for us to cover as both the places fall on the way to Velavadar.

1. Nal Sarovar
2. Lothal

  Nal Sarovar is famous for its birds and Lothal is one of the sites of the famous Indus Valley Civilization.

  Since both me and Ankur are photographers and naturalists, so a visit to Nal Sarovar was well pre-planned. The best time to visit Nal Sarovar is from November to February when the migratory birds arrive. And similar to any wildlife sanctuary, the best time for bird spotting is early morning.

 Nal Sarovar is roughly 65 km from Ahmedabad and the best way to reach there is by hiring a cab. We had booked a cab for 4 days which would take us to Velavadar, Gir and back to Ahmedabad. We started early at 6 AM in order to reach Nal Sarovar at sunrise. The condition of the road is good and we drove past a few villages as we were to enter Nal Sarovar.

Greater Flamingo

  We saw several painted storks, cranes, herons on either side of the road when we were still about 1 km away from the sanctuary gate. We also saw flocks of flamingos flying past the village.

On reaching the sanctuary gate, you are no longer allowed to take your car inside. We brought entry tickets and then got up on a shuttle taxi that took us inside the sanctuary. The shuttle taxi driver told us that we need to wait till the taxi is full or else if we pay 100 bucks he would not wait for passengers and start immediately.

  Since our only aim was to see the flamingos, we opted for the latter option. Waiting for the shuttle taxi to get full would mean delay for us and less chances of flamingo spotting. So instead of the regular Rs 10 fare we gave the driver 100 bucks.

Lesser Flamingo

Flock of Lesser Flamingo, about to land.

  Once inside, we had to take private boats that would take us inside the lake from where the birds could be seen. We were approached by brokers who initially quoted us Rs 6500.

  Both of us were like WHAT(???) 6500 for boat ride? We told them that we had come to see just flamingos and nothing else. We are not interested in any leisure trip or view points. After sometime of haggling, the price was brought down to 1500.





We got onto a boat. There was one boatman and a guide. The lake is shallow and about 4 feet deep. The boatman took us to a secluded place after rowing past places that were filled with tall grasses. And what we saw, we were mesmerized....... hundreds of flamingos were in front of us. There were both greater and lesser ones, all busy in feeding. We had to maintain a minimum distance of roughly 50 mtr from them so that they didn't fly away. We got some of our best flamingo shots.

Into The Wild

The Boatman

Flying Flamingo

Lesser Flamingo

Flock of flying Greater Flamingo

Flock of Flamingos, just before landing

 Once we reached the disembarking place we gave a little token to the boatman; and how happy they were...!
  They are poor people and do not get much money from the brokers so a little token brings a lot of smile on their faces.

Contended with great sightings and photographs we headed for Lothal.

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  1. Hi Ankur, thats really helpful info from all your blogs of Gujarat. I intend to travel to Gujarat in near future. Can you tell me the cost of hiring a vehicle from Ahmedabad - Velavadar - Gir - Nal sarovar - Ahmedabad. I intend to stay at Vdlavadar for a night and 2 nights in Gir. Thanks.

    1. Hi Darshan, thanks a lot.
      We hired a indica vista and the per day the hire cost was 1500/- which included rs 145/- towards driver's meals.
      We booked the cab from a local operator after reaching Ahmedabad.
      Now the cost must have been revised,maybe you can call up any local operators in Ahemedabad and get an approximate.
      Thank you.