Barda Wildlife sanctuary is one among the most celebrated sanctuaries of the country. It is located in the state of Gujarat and lies in vicinity to the city of Porbandar. Barda National sanctuary was designated the status of a sanctuary in the year 1979 before which the area was held as a reserve forested belt merely. The position of the sanctuary ground is such that it faces the Arabian Sea. The land is naturally gifted and versatile by its character as it is dotted with plenty of natural rivulets, plain lands, hilly pathways, and optimum flora and fauna. Agricultural fields as well as waste lands too are found all around the sanctuary ground.
Wildlife at the Park
The sanctuary offers shelter to scores of mammals, birds and reptiles. A number of endangered species such as wolf, hyena, spotted deer, leopard, blue bull, crocodiles, wild boar, Sambar, Chameleon, and Chinkara etc find a congenial setting for habitat at the Barda hills wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary houses the country’s three most poisonous snake species. This sanctuary is looked upon as an Ornithologist’s paradise as it houses many rare bird species such as crested Hawks, flamingos, spotted eagles and many more. Also, government took initiative of preserving Asiatic in this park too. About 650 plant and tree species constitute the flora of the park and that includes trees and plants like Babul, Bamboo, Amli, Jamun, Dhundhlo, Ber, Gorad, Rayan, Dhav etc. Medicinal plants of great use grow profusely within the forested belt of the sanctuary.
The sanctuary had been a part of the private property of Jamnagar and Ranavav (Porbandar), the then princely states. The natives of the area therefore still refer to the sanctuary by names such as Jam Barda and Rana Barda. The sanctuary falls within the two districts of Gujarat, namely Porbandar and Jamnagar.
Topography and Geography
The sanctuary is gifted with remarkable floral diversity through the area covered by the sanctuary is relatively small. To stroll around within the sanctuary, tourists would need entry permits issued from the office of forest department. The verdant greenery at the sanctuary is a perfect mood lifter and several streams meandering their way across the sanctuary add to the scenic splendor of the park. Two major rivers; Bileshvary and Joghri flow across the sanctuary. Two major dams; namely Khambala and Fodara are situated within the sanctuary area, further adding to its beauty. The sanctuary, more precisely, features green vale surrounded by agricultural lands as well as timberland. The forest in the park may be categorized into the following categories- tropical forests, mixed dry deciduous forests, deciduous dry scrub, euphorbia scrub, dry bamboo patches, Anogeissu scrub etc.
The sanctuary is spread across an area of 192.31 sq km and has a hilly topography and an altitude ranging between 79.2m and 617.8m above the sea level. Gentle slopes and rocky patches along with mild grasslands cover the area of the park. Though the sanctuary does not spread across an extensive area, the diversity and richness of the botanical wealth that the park is bestowed with, serve as an amazing crowd puller in case of Barda hills wildlife sanctuary.
Best Time to Visit
The winter months ranging from October until February is the ideal season to travel to Barda Wildlife sanctuary. The weather remains the most travel-friendly during that time. The park visiting hours start in the morning and end in the evening. You are advised to avoid the scorching summer months of April and May and the monsoon months of June-July. Traveling during those months may turn out to be quite uncomfortable.
How to Reach
You can reach the sanctuary by air route, road route and rail route –
Porbandar airport is nearly 20kms away from Barda wildlife sanctuary. Regular flights connect Porbandar to the city of Mumbai. You can take a flight to Porbandar and then complete the rest of the journey by hiring a taxi or cab to the airport.
You can also choose to make a train journey to Porbandar railway station and then reach the sanctuary by means of taxi. Regular and frequent trains run between Porbandar station and the other major stations in the state of Gujarat.
Also, Porbandar is connected to all other major cities of Gujarat via private and public buses and cabs. So, reaching Porbandar by means of road transport isn’t much of a problem.
Places to See
When you are visiting Barda wildlife sanctuary, you should not miss out on the other attractions around the sanctuary such as Kileshwar temple, Porbandar planetarium, Porbandar bird sanctuary, Kirti mandir, Bharat mandir.
Where to Stay
Barda wildlife sanctuary is closest to Porbandar city. There are numerous good hotels to stay at Porbandar. Hotels range from luxury hotels to medium range to budget hotels and each of these hotels come with all comfortable amenities for a comfortable stay. Some of the well-known hotels at Porbandar are Hotel Azura, Hotel Kuber, Hotel Pride, Hotel President, Jalaram home stay etc.
What to Eat
Porbandar city which is just 15kms from the Sanctuary comes with several restaurants as well as small eating joints that offer good quality, delicious food ranging from Punjabi to Chinese to Continental and obviously to the traditional Gujarati ones. Thus, finding good food to eat during your Barda wildlife sanctuary trip isn’t much of an issue. Some of the best places to eat at Porbandar are Adarsh restaurant, Swagat, Kadambari restaurant, Moon palace etc.
Things to Do
The top things to do at the sanctuary are-
- Trekking- The trails passing through Barda hills forest attract trekkers in large numbers. While trekking through the trails trekkers can catch glimpses of spell-bounding scenery and wildlife.
- Bird watching- Bird watching is an important activity that tourists and bird lovers really enjoy at the Barda wildlife sanctuary. Rare bird species that you get to spot within the sanctuary premises makes it a true bird watcher’s paradise.
- Wildlife photography- If you wish to arrest the time spent within the sanctuary; take as many photographs as you can, of the wild animals you see at the sanctuary. Photos of animals in their natural wild habitat taken by you will be a lifetime remembrance of the trip.