Ratanmahal Sloth Bear sanctuary which is perched on the Ratanmahal hills is located in the district of Panchmahals. It is also situated just forty-five kilometers away from Devgadh Baria which is a municipality located in Dahod district in the Indian state of Gujarat. This sanctuary is inhabited by the sloth bears which belong to the insectivorous bear species and a native to the Indian sub-continent. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Gujarat where the tourists can get acquainted with the habits and behaviors of the sloth bear. A recent study revealed that there were about sixty-six sloth bears in the sanctuary back in the year 2006. This sanctuary is also home to some of the elusive species like leopards.
Ratan Mahal which is a triangular isle was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in the year March 1982. It is encompassed by forests comprising of eleven tribal villages. It is one of the frequently visited tourist destination spots by the tourists around the world. This sanctuary is quite similar to a hill station due to its rugged topography. About one fifty hectares of land is currently in the possession of the Gujarat Irrigation Department. Ratan Mahal is regarded as the second highest hill right after Pavagadh which is a hill station and a municipality located in Panch Mahal district. The foothills of this sanctuary are a confluence of the rivers Panam and Orange. It also houses an irrigation dam and a reservoir which was constructed to conserve water.
The sanctuary is a blend of deciduous forest which contains dry teak forests and dry bamboo brakes. It is estimated that there are about five hundred and forty-three wide varieties of plants including one nineteen species of trees, forty species of shrubs, two hundred and thirty-eight species of herbs, forty-eight species of grasses, eighty-seven species of climbers and nine species of orchids. It is also home to various other floral species such as Amla, Sadad, Timaru, Khaki, Dudhlo, Dhavdo, Kakadiyo, Tanach, and Muhudacharoli. It houses numerous ‘Jamun trees’ which is a source of food for the sloth bears especially during the monsoon season.
Ratan Mahal sanctuary consists of exotic varieties of fauna such as hyena, jackal, four horned antelope, mongoose, porcupine, civet cat, jungle cat, fox and nocturnal species like a leopard. It is also a breeding ground for one hundred and forty seven wide varieties of terrestrial species like grey jungle fowl, partridge, quail, Alexandrine parakeet, common babbler, jungle babbler, crested serpent eagle, hoopoe, green pigeon, racket-tailed drongo, golden backed woodpecker, black headed oriole, yellow-cheeked tit, white-eye, iora, tailor bird, purple sunbird and lot’s Sunbird.
Some of the reptiles including King Cobra, common Indian monitor, Russell’s viper, Krait, Python and rat snake are commonly found here. Star tortoise, flap-shell turtle, chameleon and termite hill gecko are spotted here.
Things to Do
After you have arrived at the sanctuary, you may kick-off your journey by proceeding straight towards the Hillsboro by hiring a four-wheeler vehicle or a local bus which are available from Baria Kanjeta. When you have reached the crest of the hill, you can witness the panoramic views of the tribal villages which are spread across the state.
One of the must-visit tourist’s attractions near Ratanmahal Sloth Bear Sanctuary is the Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park which is situated in the Panch Mahal District of the Indian state of Gujarat. It is a fascinating tourist destination spot which was constructed during the 16th century. It was constructed in Hindu styles of architecture.
Food & Accommodation
Those tourists who are scouting around the sanctuary for a suitable hotel or a cottage have plenty of options to choose from. They can either opt for the Forest Rest Houses or tents which is available at Kanjeta and Pipargota. All the necessary assistance for making arrangements will be provided by a team of community-based eco-tourism. Other facilities offered by them are.
- Full-fledge Orientation Center.
- Three cottages with an attached bathroom and toilet facilities.
- Ten tented rooms each having separate bathroom and toilet facilities.
- Well-maintained kitchen and dining facilities.
- Authentic vegetarian, as well as non-vegetarian cuisines, are also served by the Eco-tourism committee.
- Campfire with awesome nature trails.
- Machaan resorts which are exclusively opened for the tourists to view picturesque landscapes and wildlife of Ratan Mahal Sloth Bear sanctuary.
How to Reach
By Road: – The tourists may head straight to the nearest bus stop which is located at Devgadh Baria. It is a quaint little town and a municipality nestled at the foothills across the eastern border of the state of Gujarat. It is located at a distance of about forty-five kilometers away from the Ratan Mahal Sloth bear sanctuary.
By Air: – Those individuals who prefer to travel by flight may proceed to Sardar Vallabhai Patel International Airport which is the nearest airport located at a distance of about one seventy kilometers away from the sanctuary.
By Rail: – Those tourists who wish to travel by train may proceed to Piplod Junction Railway Station which is located at Vadodara-Dahod rail route. Some of the trains available at this station include Dehradun-Bandra Express, Mumbai Firozpur Janta Express, and Kota-Vadodara Passenger. This station is located just forty-seven kilometers away from the Ratan Mahal Sloth Bear Sanctuary.
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to visit Ratan Mahal Sloth bear sanctuary is during the months of October to February. The sanctuary remains closed during the monsoon season. A visit to the Ratan Mahal Sloth Bear Sanctuary in Gujarat offers a delightful experience for the wildlife enthusiasts across the globe.
Ratanmahal Sloth Bear Sanctuary Map