Visiting the National Park by the name of Vansda could be a thrilling experience. The area where the Park exists today was formerly a private forest owned by the King of Vansda. The Park covers an area of merely 24 square kilometers. One is required to acquire permits from the Chief of Wildlife Warden to visit the Park. Vansda National Park is home to the giant squirrel, the four horned antelope, the tiger, python, leopard, rusty-spotted cat, the pangolin and the python, among others.
Purna sanctuary is spread over an area of 160 square kilometers. This sanctuary is a section of a thicket of deciduous trees in the Western Ghats of Gujarat. The Purna and Gira Rivers form a junction at this sanctuary at a place called Mahal Bardipura, which is 60 kilometers away from Dang. The trekkers love this place for the trails contoured with bamboo trees.
For tourists visiting Saputara during the monsoons, a place not to be missed is quite near from here. 52 kilometers away from Saputara is the outstanding Gira Waterfalls.
There are numerous activities that one can partake in over here. The forest is a lovely place to set up camp. The experience of going on a boat ride at a Lake in the forest is unparalleled. If you wish to visit places around Saputara, you could go to the historical Pandava caves, which will fill you with a sense of our grand mythological past. The Pandava caves are also known as Aravalem caves. It is believed that the Pandavas spent some time here during their exile in the forests.
There are several places one can visit here. The Museum, Saputara Lake, The Ropeway, Nageshwar Mahadev Temple, Vansda National Park, Unnai Mata temple and hot springs, Purna Sanctuary, Ambapada, Sunset Point, Artist Village, Waghai, Gira Falls, The Botanical Gardens, Vanil Udyog and Valley View Point.
The Sunrise Point is a tourist magnet. If you walk 1.5 kilometers towards Waghai you will arrive at Sunrise Point, which presents you with a sight beyond compare. Although this place has a great vista, people mostly visit here in the mornings for the sunrise. It can be equally breathtaking at any time of the day. There has been a suggestion by Tata Consultancy Services to rename it as Valley View Point so tourists would visit here at all hours of the day. The considerable expanse of the Dang Forest can be seen in all its glory from the Sunrise Point. The remote villages in the dense forests can be observed from this height.
The name says it all about the next place to visit. Rose Garden boasts of a variety of roses in addition to scores of other flowers. The garden is a superb example of flower cultivation. The array of colors lends aesthetic value to the garden. Besides this, you could visit the step gardens. It has a huge place for kids to play around freely. Situated in the middle of the garden is a forest hut for a comfortable stay. The Lake garden too is an exceptional site for a picnic. It is situated on the embankment of Saputara Lake. The evenings are well spent at this place for a respite peace and to relax.
Saputara is Gujarat’s very own hill station in the Dang district of the Sahyadri ranges, which is at a distance of approximately 160 kilometers from Surat. It is on the borders of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The hill station is a well designed manmade resort with every modern amenity. The word Saputara literally means the abode of serpents. The tribal folk celebrate Holi at the banks of the River Sarpgana after worshipping the snake idol there. Saputara sits on a hill approximately 1000 meters above sea level. Situated on the second highest plateau of the Sahyadri range makes the climate affable. Coupled with the panorama, it makes a heady combination.
The tribal villagers dwelling in the surrounding dense forests offer you entertainment by way of folk dances. The climate here is so good that the maximum temperature even during the summer months does not exceed 28 degrees Celsius. The woodlands, streams, hills, lakes and waterfalls serve to enhance the beauty of Saputara. The stunning sunrise and sunsets add to Saputara’s assets. Even the gardens here are manicured and preserved well. The city folk love to visit Saputara for its magnificent landscape. The best time to visit would be in the months of March right through to November; still the invigorating climate is dazzling throughout the year. It is the ultimate getaway for people who are tired of the scorching sun on the plains. Even the monsoons are enjoyable because the waterfalls come to life.
Private cars, taxis, State transport buses and luxury buses are the only way to travel to Saputara. Some people trek their way up to the plateau. The closest domestic airport is in Surat and the closest International airport is in Mumbai, which is at a distance of 255 kilometers. The railway stations in close proximity would be Waghai, which is at a distance of 51 kilometers. This is on the Bilimora-Waghai narrow gauged section of the Western Railway. For those arriving from Surat, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, the best place to alight would be Billimoria station. The tourism of India offers you a host of facilities which include package tours, escorts, guides, transport, economy hotels and other accommodations.
There is an abundance of bric-a-bracs that visitors can shop for in Saputara. A cache of jewelry, paintings, key chains, pottery, vases, pen stands and other objects and trinkets made from bamboo and other local materials await the tourists at Gandharvapur Artist Village as mementos. Tribal canopy works on bamboo trees is another major item abundantly sold here. So if you’re fond of collecting beautiful artifacts, handicrafts, gift items and souvenirs, Saputara is a great place to shop!
The craftsmen here also operate a workshop where children can learn to make easy trinkets. This is a good creative change from the computer games which urban children are mostly addicted to. The Bastar community is famed for its metal artifacts which are also available here. You could also shop for paintings made with dyed vegetable paints.
You can also purchase grapes and strawberries at the farms where they are grown in huge quantities. Dried raisins are also very cheaply available and are of good quality. The government shopping centre is just opposite Shilpi Hill Resort.
Hotel Vaity coordinates a ropeway at Sunset Point. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to be on one, it is a stimulating experience.
Although there are more than 300 villages in the Dang district, the population of most of these is less than 100. The majority of these are tribal. The museum here is dedicated to initiate tourists to the traditions and conservationism of the district. It is a platform for exhibiting the apparel and lifestyle of the various communities such as the Kunbir, Warlis, Gamits and Bhils. Then there is information on Kothewali potters too. These display the customs of the neighboring communities and the utensils and weapons. There is one more museum here besides the tribal museum, called Winchester Museum. It has been named after the Assistant Collector of the area.
Located in the heart of Saputara, the lush landscape surrounding Saputara Lake is truly lovely. A person can be one with nature in this atmosphere. The aura here sets the rhythm to come together with nature. You will find several varieties of Hibiscus flowers beckoning the tourists. Row boats and paddle boats are available on rent. There is a garden here on the lake. You will find a growth of uncommon trees here. For those who would like to take home some of these plants, they could be purchased at the Nursery at reasonable prices.
Named after Gopi, the patron saint of Surat is Gopipura. Here one can set eyes on sculpture at its best at the immense mansions. Some of the finest woodwork has been done to adorn the mansions. The Agama temple and other Jain temples and monasteries are the focal points at Gopipura.
For the religious minded people, the Nageshwar Mahadev temple, which is not too far from here, is a must see. It is an archaic temple on the coast of Saurashtra. Here Lord Shiva can be found in an underground sanctorum. This is in the area between Bet Dwarka and Dwarka. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlings of Lord Shiva. The best time to visit is on Shivratri when it is visited by innumerable people. The area surrounding it is as perfect as a picture.