Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 16th January 2014, 15:11   #1
BHPian
 
Subrat Seet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 305
Thanked: 344 Times
Default Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Somehow, i was more fascinated with the backbuck along with Hyena and Wolfs. The blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is an ungulate species of antelope native to the Indian Subcontinent. There are few places in India where one can see these three species at one place. Also, various Raptors, like Montagu harriers are available in plenty, who come for roosting in large numbers. So, the Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar is one of those few places where all these combinations can be found. Most importantly, an animal with winter coat is just phenomenal. Therefore, December was a suitable month for travelling to this amazing place.

Prologue

As i decided to visit Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar during December 21-24, 2013, first thing i enquired is that the availability of accommodation at the Forest Department’s guest house. Basically, there are two options for stay i.e., Forest Department’s Guest house which consists of one air conditioned and three non-air conditioned rooms. Another option is the Blackbuck Lodge, which is pricey but seems to be the only very good option.

One can call the park headquarters, Bahumali Bhavan in Bhavnagar (Tel: +91 278 242 6425, between 10:30am and 6pm) or call the park directly at Tel: + 91 278 288 0342 to book accommodation.

Once i got the confirmation of my stay, i finalised the trip to Velavadar for 3 nights with 5 rounds of safari. From there, i planned to proceed to Little Rann of Kutch for another 3 to 4 days.

Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar, Gujarat

It was the private grassland of the Maharaja of Bhavnagar, where he used to hunt blackbuck with his Cheetahs. It was created in 1976 and the area was doubled in 1980 and the park’s current area is covering around 34 square k.m. Balackbucks are endangered to India subcontinent. As per the Gujarat Tourism “the blackbuck population has risen from a low of 200 in 1966 to around 3400 now”. The name justifies the park as one can find Blackbuck almost everywhere in the park, grazing, jumping and crossing roads like spring bucks. The park also has another antelope called nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) is the largest Asian antelope.

The park also has small predators like, stripped hyena, Indian Wolf, jungle cat, jackal and fox. The striped hyena is a species of true hyena native to North and East Africa, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Middle and Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. Sightings of Hyena and wolfs are little tricky being their secretive nature. Hyenas are basically scavengers with bone crushing jaws always look for dead and decaying preys in the grassland.

The place is one of the largest roosting sites for raptors. Thousand of raptors come from central Europe to spend the cooler months in Velavadar. One can see hundreds of raptors in the evening flying around the park and many sitting on the tracks. Every year, Raptors come during October for roosting and stay till March.

The park has two sides i.e., Grassland and wetland side. In the wetland side, one can see different variety of birds’ viz., flamingos, darters, pelicans, heron, spoonbills etc. I happens to see an wolf but could not capture. The Lesser Florican, one of the 50 rarest birds in the world, breeds here in Monsoon.


Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a8910-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a8868-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a8861-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a8873-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a8963-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a8948-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a0104-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a9033-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a9231-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_mg_5184-copy.jpg
Subrat Seet is offline   (45) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2014, 15:53   #2
BHPian
 
Subrat Seet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 305
Thanked: 344 Times
Default re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

December 21, 2013: Mumbai to Velavadar by my most trusted Honda City

During October 2011, when we were going for our 10 days maiden trip to part of Rajasthan, we started around 4.00 a.m. to reach Udaipur early, however, faced lots of problem due to fog outskirt of Mumbai. So, contemplating whether to start at the same time or start little late. In back of my mind, it was going on that we should reach early and do the evening rounds of safari. Though, there are sayings and it is true that ‘enjoy the journey too rather than only destinations’ but if you ask a wildlifer, he will say that when i will reach my destination to enter the park to click some good pictures of wildlife and enjoy the natural habitat.

As the Google map shows that it will take around 8 hours 45 minutes to cover 575 k.m., i told my travel partners to start atleast by 4.30 a.m. and reach early to avoid traffic congestion. Finally, i was on the steering wheel at 4.49 a.m. I was suppressing my aggression to reach early, because it may lead to fast driving.

Traffic was smooth except near eastern and western express highway joint; however, we did not caught there with traffic. As decided to have lunch at Velavadar, we took the first break at 9.00 a.m. for breakfast. So, as far our calculation, we were on time and will reach by 2.30 p.m.

The route: MapmyIndia - Mumbai-Bharuch-Karjan (leave NH 8 before the bridge)-Borsad-Tarapur-Vataman-Velavadar.

Note: Once take a left turn before the Karjan Bridge, the state Highway starts. Roads are good but need to cross through the village to reach Vadodara highway. Though this is not a problem but i missed the right turn to Borsad on the Vododara highway and went more than 20 k. M. Ahead and realized that i am in a wrong route. Again returned and took the correct highway.

Due to the mistake, we wasted around 1 hour. Finally back into the highway and the time to destination was extended from 2.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. Finally, we reached velavadar at 4.00 p.m. I took a right turn from Bhavnagar highway (Velavadar is 10 k.m.) and it is a narrow route. As we drove in, the first encounter was a huge male Blackbuck. Now, it was assured that we are nearing our destination. Wife was contemplating whether to go for safari or not? We had our lunch and i just took 10 minutes to set up my gear for the safari. As nothing is available at that place, i had booked a vehicle (Bolero) from Patdi, Little Rann of Kutch to come down to Velavadar for safari. One can do safari in his own vehicle but i wanted to be hands free from steering to press shutter of my camera.

Safari timings at Velavadar: Basically it is from sunrise to sunset with two hours break (12 noon to 2.00 p.m.). However, timings are like Morning safari: 7.00 a.m. to 12 noon and evening safari: 2.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.

First Safari – December 21, 2013

Took the jungle entry permit from the reception and they allotted a guide. The entry permit upto six person is `250 and Camera charges `100 per camera. Guide charges are very minimal at `50 per safari. Wife and younger one decided to take rest; however, the elder one accompanied me for the first safari.

Things were not as per tiger reserves, i mean only blackbucks were visible. We were hardly 1 K.M. inside the route and saw a herd of blackbuck grazing. Suddenly, one of them start moving and we could predict that they will cross the road and move to other side of the grassland. So, i positioned my camera and here is the scene.


Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a0179-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a0250-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a0287-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_mg_5153-copy.jpg

Name:  _T4A91692 Copy.jpg
Views: 11963
Size:  282.2 KB

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a9974-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-372-copy.jpg

Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-228-copy.jpg
Subrat Seet is offline   (34) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2014, 15:57   #3
BHPian
 
nidhin0816's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 45
Thanked: 46 Times
Default re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Stunning Photography, Picture no 1 elaborates the picturesque ambience out there.

Last edited by GTO : 17th January 2014 at 13:28. Reason: Typo
nidhin0816 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 16th January 2014, 16:03   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
girishglg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: KA-05
Posts: 1,079
Thanked: 424 Times
Default re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Some wonderful pics out there of one of the most beautiful animals in the wild and you must be very luck to get the hyenas up so close.

Good to learn about the Blackbuck National park in Gujarat which is most famous for its Gir lion sanctuary. Keep the pictures coming.
girishglg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2014, 10:27   #5
BHPian
 
Subrat Seet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 305
Thanked: 344 Times
Default re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Quote:
Originally Posted by nidhin0816 View Post
Stunning Photography, Picture no 1 elaborates the picturesque ambiance out there
Thank you so much. Yes, the ambiance is just wonderful there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
Some wonderful pics out there of one of the most beautiful animals in the wild and you must be very luck to get the hyenas up so close.

Good to learn about the Blackbuck National park in Gujarat which is most famous for its Gir lion sanctuary. Keep the pictures coming.
Thank you so much. The hyena's were far and i have used Canon 300 f/2.8 lens with 2X TC III.
Subrat Seet is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2014, 11:56   #6
BHPian
 
Ddrive's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chennai
Posts: 250
Thanked: 458 Times
Default re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Oh Oh Oh, Stunning pictures there... worldclass.
You got more i presume, keep them comin.
Can see excellent pictures like these only on TBHP.
Ddrive is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2014, 13:04   #7
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 233
Thanked: 337 Times
Default re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

These are amazing pictures Subrat. You have a superb skill.

Please do post more images. These are all wallpaper material.

I had been to the Tadoba Tiger Reserve and the ambiance and the tranquility inside the jungle was so beautiful. I would love to go again on such trips.

Thanks.

Last edited by trek : 17th January 2014 at 13:20.
trek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2014, 13:53   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
Maverick5490's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Thane
Posts: 1,255
Thanked: 615 Times
Default Re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Stunning pictures Subrat Seet. We are planning for Gir in the second week of March, spending 3 days over there. Can we include this as a one day trip in between, where our base will be Gir, drive in the morning to Velavadar and back by evening?
Maverick5490 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2014, 17:12   #9
sun
BHPian
 
sun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Trivandrum
Posts: 105
Thanked: 7 Times
Default Re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subrat Seet View Post
The hyena's were far and i have used Canon 300 f/2.8 lens with 2X TC III.
Did you use a tripod ? Excellent composition of the pics.
sun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2014, 17:22   #10
Senior - BHPian
 
download2live's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,103
Thanked: 387 Times
Default Re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Eye popping photography.
Wonderful composition and stunning post processing work.
You are a professional photography by any chance?
download2live is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2014, 17:39   #11
BHPian
 
akbaree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 585
Thanked: 48 Times
Default Re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Great clicks.
I was in Velavadar just couple of days after you, but did not see hyenas or wolfs. It was still a mesmerizing experience for me.
akbaree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2014, 18:47   #12
BHPian
 
shomshree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 106
Thanked: 234 Times
Default Re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Brilliant travelogue. Superb click. Just one query, is this the tilt-shift effect!!
Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat-_t4a9974-copy.jpg

Eagerly waiting for more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick5490 View Post
Stunning pictures Subrat Seet. We are planning for Gir in the second week of March, spending 3 days over there. Can we include this as a one day trip in between, where our base will be Gir, drive in the morning to Velavadar and back by evening?
One day trip from Gir to Velavadar is possible, but is neither recommended nor suggested. Velavadar is near to Bhavnagar. Try to stay at 'Blackbuck Lodge'. Its the best option there. If you are driving, a small suggestion, from Gir take the Coastal highway through Una to Bhavnagar & visit Alang.
shomshree is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2014, 19:18   #13
BHPian
 
MorePower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 112
Thanked: 44 Times
Default Re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

The cover picture of your TL is the best I've seen in recent times. Just stunning! Captures the story in a single frame. Awaiting some more.
MorePower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2014, 19:51   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
naveenroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1,319
Thanked: 694 Times
Default Re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Wow, spectacular photography! The first pic is a killer!

Let me get back to the post and read it this time.
naveenroy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2014, 21:09   #15
BHPian
 
YanTra Makto's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: India
Posts: 136
Thanked: 378 Times
Default Re: Drive to the Indian Savannah: Blackbuck National Park @ Velavadar, Gujarat

Wow amazing pics,
Can you let us lesser mortals know about the gear and techniques, please ?
YanTra Makto is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wanderlust Traveller: Madhugiri Fort & Jayamangali Blackbuck Reserve mpksuhas Travelogues 7 10th January 2015 22:10
Yellowstone National Park : A Drive to Remember akbaree Travelogues 25 7th October 2013 11:26
A walk in the Park - Bannerghatta National Park Mad Max Travelogues 14 13th September 2013 21:58
Hyderabad to Panna National Park & Khajuraho:Drive on Tuesday ranjitp1 Route / Travel Queries 4 9th January 2012 06:12


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 10:43.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks