05 hand-picked vacation destinations that are worth a visit in Gujarat


  1. The north west desert ( rann of Kutch )

The white sands portrayed in the tourism of ‘Khushbu Gujarat Ki’ are well within travel reach. This place is an ideal for winter travel as daytimes are less hot while night are really entrancing.

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White Rann of Kuch

Special attraction: there is a place in the Banni Grasslands which is adjoining the Rann of Kutch where according to locals one can see floating lights move around the air. Locals call the phenomenon ‘cheer batti’ or ghost lights which can be seen 2 to 10 feet off ground. Scientists believe the lights are scientific photo emission by oxidation of Phosphine and Disphosphane gases however local legends can be fun to hear over a full moon for adrenaline seeking travelers.

  1. Gir Forest and Girnar
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Cubs been fed my Lioness at Gir Lion National Park, Sasan Gir 

This region between Junagadh and Amreli district are known for its diverse wildlife. It is home to the Asiatic Lion and the Girnar Mountain. This place can be of great adventure for people who find solace in the wild.

Special attraction: the place is the world’s second home to Lions outside Africa. One can also get a chance to mingle with the local ‘siddi’ population whose ancestry can be traced back to African tribes. The mountain Girnar is also a host to ‘Naga Babas’ or naked saints and witnessing them is considered a good omen. It is also a known fact that the formation of this mountain is older than the Himalayan Range.

  1. The deep forests of Dang
Saputara Picnic

Saputara, only Hill Station of Gujarat in Dang Forest Region

Popular among travelers as Saptuara forest; this place is a good winter retreat. The place has a lot to offer for tourists ranging from treks and hiking to a whole unexplored wildlife.

Special attractions: there are a lots of hotels that offer stay in three houses which can be of interest. There might also be a few waterfalls to visit in this area. Taking a good day’s hike in the forests can be of great adventure.

  1. Dwarka & Somnath
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Somnath Temple overlooking Somnath Beach 

These places are of high religious importance. Each of them has a unique spiritual experience to offer.

Special attraction: dwarka is home to ‘bet dwarka’ which is like the lost city of Atlantis and is submerged in water. Somnath is one of the ‘Jyotirlings’ which lord Shiva himself has established which makes it a very significant destination for religious and spiritual people alike. Somnath also has a beach.

  1. Diu & Daman
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Diu 

Contrary to popular befief, Diu & Daman are far away from each other. However both of them offer a good winter gateway with coastal climate and beaches.

Special Attraction: it wouldn’t be wrong to mention it is one of special attractions for anyone wanting to unwind a bit. Daman is soon to be host to onshore gaming complexes (casinos) and it has recently been host to Sunburn Music Festival. Diu is known for its Diu Fort and the Naida Caves.

When the travel bug bites all these places can be on the list for the various special attractions they have to offer. Tourists not wanting to travel far off lands can find proximity in all of these places. After all; all of them have ‘Khushboo Gujarat ni’ in common.

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Family Holidays – Kids Please


Five destinations guaranteed to put a smile on children’s faces…

1)      Orlando, Florida

orlandoThere are many reasons Orlando remains a top destination for families: the sun usually shines, there are hotels to suit all tastes, but above all, it’s home to two of the best theme parks in the world. Walt Disney World, Florida, is where you will find the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and the Hollywood Studios, plus the brilliant water parks at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Trust us, even if you don’t consider yourself a Disney fan, resistance to the charms of the House of Mouse is futile – one ride on the superb Soarin’, Splash Mountain or The Tower of Terror and we guarantee you will be hooked and singing it’s a Small World for ever more.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure (www.universalorlando.com), meanwhile, is home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – a mind-blowing recreation of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, complete with rides, talking portraits and shops selling wands. Universal also has roller coasters such as The Incredible Hulk and a whole section dedicated to Dr. Seuss, which will appear to younger children and those who remember The Cat in the Hat books first time around. Just over an hour’s drive away is Daytona, with its glorious sandy beach, ideal for surfing, and the Nascar racetrack, where you can take a spin inside a real stock car. A holiday in Orlando is exhilarating, but exhausting and requires lots of advance planning.

2)      Rome, Italy

romeKids fans of Horrible Histories? Then take them to Rome, where at the Colosseum, one of the best preserved Roman Amphitheatres in the world, they can run around and imagine what life must have been like for the gladiators and animals that fought here nearly 2000 years ago. You can even enrol them at Gladiator school for the afternoon while you go off to explore the designer shops along the Via Condotti. They will marvel at the apparent traffic chaos by the impressive Vittorio Emanuele II monument where you can see foolhardy tourists riding Segways (our advice is not to try this); at the Trevi Fountain they can throw a short walk to the magnificent Pantheon, built in AD126. Rome is, of course, also a fantiastic place to introduce your children to the wonders of authentic Italian gastronomy where you opt for a pizza in Piazza Navona, pasta in Trastevere or gelati (ice cream) on the banks of the Tiber River, Rome offers a feast for all the senses.

 

 

 

 

3)      Sydney, Australia

australiaAs the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge discovered on their recent trip to Sydney, this Australian city has heaps to offer – and while Prince George is perhaps a little too young to enjoy it right now, for children aged two and up, it is an absolute paradise of wildlife, history and, of course, all those fantastic beaches, including Bondi, which has a children’s pool and playground. At the excellent Featherdale Wildlife Park (www.featherdale.com.au) they (and you) can cuddle up to Koalas, hand-feed kangaroos, see dingoes or check out the crocs and snakes. No child will be able to resist the Tyrannosayrs exhibition at the Australian Museum (www.australianmuseum.net.au), a homage to the most feared of all the dinosaurs. Much-loved Luna Park has lots of rides and a giant Ferris Wheel, while children aged 10 and up (and their brave parents) will jump at the chance to climb the Harbour Bridge (www.bridgeclim.com). Sydney is a very easy city to get around and children will also enjoy a ferry ride over to Manly Bay, particularly if it is a bit choppy. If you have a few days to spare, combine a trip to Sydney with a visit to Uluru (Ayers Rock) or Queensland for the Great Barrier Reef and you will have a holiday to remember.

4)      Kerala, India

keralaIf you want to introduce your children to the fabulousness of India, vibrant, colourful Kerala, with its breathtaking landscapes, glorious beaches, distinct cuisine and amazing wildlife, is the perfect place to do it. Once firmly on the hippie tourist trail, it has evolved to become the hottest destination in India and it is easy to explore. Your children will see wild elephants and jungles, and magnificent natural wonders including the beautiful Athirapally Falls and the Chalakudy River; banana, rubber and tapioca crops; and at Periyar National Park they can look for real-life animals straight out of The Jungle Book, including, if they are very lucky, tigers. (Our advice is not to make any promises, just in case the big cats are feeling a little shy when you visit.)

5)      Stockholm, Sweden

stockholmStockholm is known for being cool city for adults. But it’s also officially one of the most child-friendly cities in the world, with a whole island, Djurgarden, dedicated to families. At Skansen open-air museum you will find traditional Swedish homes, experience life in the 19th century, and at its open-air zoo you can see native wildlife including adorable Swedish brown bears. For fans of Vikings and Disney’s Frozen there is the Vasa, a museum housing the only preserved 17th-century ship in world. There is lots of creative play to be held at Junibacken, dedicated to children’s character Pipi Longstocking and Emil. You may even persuade your kids to visit the brilliant Abba Museum (www.abbathemuseum.com), which has lots of interactive exhibits. Visit Stockholm in the summer, when it’s the midnight sun and there is a non-stop calendar of festivals to experience. Your children will enjoy the novelty of nights that never get dark as well as medieval performances, hot-air balloon races and fireworks against the bright sky. And you will also love exploring Nordiska Kompaniet, or NK, quite simply one of the most stylish luxury department stores in the world.

Courtesy by G.N.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE


India’s forests, wetlands, deserts, mountains, rivers and rainforests host a diversity of bird and wildlife that is one of the richest in the world. We give you practical tips and suggestions about where to sight…

Asiatic Lion: The only place in the world where you are likely to spot the wild, uncaged, endangered Asiatic lion, is ironically, at the former hunting ground for the king of the jungle – the Gir National Park in Gujarat, which has a population of about 400 Asiatic lions. Since, as a rule, lions are known not to attack once they have had a good meal, if you are lucky, you might chance upon a pride of lions in post-prandial hushful response.

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Bengal-Tiger-4Bengal Tiger: The ultimate lone ranger, the Bengal Tiger survives by itself, often hunts in the dead of the night, is mighty sneaky and pretty spry and the sound of its roar can be heard three kilometres away. Though critically endangered, you are most likely to spot the Bengal Tiger at national parks like Bandhavgarh, Corbett, Kanha and also at the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve.

 

 

 

leopardLeopard: The leopard is superjock – an excellent swimmer, a superb climber and armed with plenty of stealth, muscles and power, it makes for a formidable predator in the wild. The best places to spot the leopard are the Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka and the tiny hamlet of Bera in Rajasthan. You can also try your luck at the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka or at Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand.

 

 

 

desert foxDesert Fox: The best place to spot the desert fox, also known as the white-footed fox, is in the massive parchedness of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan or in the salt marshes of the Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Ran of Kutch in Gujarat. While in the sanctuary, you might as well appreciate the Indian Wild Ass, that exists only here and in the high plateus of Tibet.

 

 

 

hyenaHyena: May be it’s the singular sound they make or maybe it’s the fact they are scavengers, but hyenas have, for centuries now, endured general contempt and obloquy. They don’t quite deserve it though, for they are usually smart, surprisingly monogamous and generally step out of their dens only when it’s dark. Head to the Blackbuck National Park in Velavadar, Gujarat for a sure-shot sighting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

indian_wolf_jpg_69460Indian wolf: The wild dog-like Indian wolf can look misleadingly demesticable. But know that even though it is smallest of the wolf subspecies, the Indian wolf is ferocious and known to prey on human when natural prey is not available. They usually move in packs of six or eight and hunt by ambush. To check them out, head to the Blackbuck National Park in Velavadar, Gujarat or to the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in Nannaj, Maharasthra.

 

 

 

golden langurGolden Langur: There are only two places in the world where you can see the lush beauty of golden langur: India and Bhutan. An herbivore, the golden langur lives on fruits, nuts, seeds and leaves. Today, the golden langur is endangered and very few individuals survive in the wild. Head to Manas National Park in Assam and try to look upward on high trees to see if you can catch a glimpse of this gorgeous primate.

 

 

 

 

ridlet turtleOlive Ridley Sea Turtles: These turtles make their way to the sea after hatching at the Rushikulua, Devi and Gahirmatha in Odisha from the largest breeding ground for these turtles in India. The synchronised nesting (anywhere between 100000-500000 annually) and march of these turtles towards the seas makes for a spectacular site that is not one to be missed.

Lion Deaths Rattle Government


The Gujarat government has ordered a high-level inquiry into the Tuesday night’s incident where two lions were run over by a speeding vehicle near Jafrabad in Amreli District ( Rajkot, Gujarat ) additional chief secretary, forest and environment department, H.K. Dash said on Wednesday that the inquiry will be conducted by the chief wildlife warden.

The lions, both about 18 months old, were run over when a pride was crossing the coastal highwat near Hemal Village on Bhavnagar – Somnath Highway. This was the first incident of lions being killed in road accident forest
department, on Wednesday registered a case against the driver of an unidentified vehicle in this case.
While wildlife activists in Amreli ( Rajkot, Gujarat ) have blamed the string of lion deaths recently in this coastal belt on the laxity of forest department, the government has said that it has taken a series of measures after the January 22 incident where two lionesses, one of them pregnant with three cubs, were run over by a train near Pipavav Port.

“This was waiting to happen as there is no night patrolling and enough staff in Rajula and Jafarabad forest range to track the lions’ movement. There are over 40 lions settled in Rajula – Jafarabad coastel belt but no regular monitoring of lions is done. Since lions have settled around industrial area, railway track and busy roads, there is an urgent need to constantly track them to avoid such accidental deaths,” said Vipul Laheri, honorary wildlife warden, Amreli ( Rajkot, Gujarat )

Meanwhile, Dash said that on February 14, the forest department and railways had a meeting to discuss ways to avoid such incidences. “As many as 82 trains drivers have been trained on precautions to take in the area. They have been given maps of sensitive areas where lions frequently cross the tracks.”

“We have also called a meeting with National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to chalk out ways to prevent any such occurrences on reads,” he said. A senior forest official told TOI that they have also trained 20 trackers in the Rajula belt to monitor.

Courtesy:- Times of India

Walking in the wild


A valley to soothe your soul
Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks ( Uttarkhand )

Trekkers, naturalists, artists and poets love to map the glaciers, rivers and streams of the Nanda Devi and Valley of flowers National Park, with its gentler landscape and placid alpine meadows, beautifully complements the rugged, inaccessible, high-mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi. Both parks are ripe with flora and fauna, with a sizeable population of the elusive Himalayan musk deer and even the snow leopard. For bird watchers, the place is an absolute treat.

Tip:- The trek can be arrange through the DMVN Mountaineering and Trekking division in Rushikesh

Highlight:- During and post monsoons, the floor of valley of flowers us covered with a carpet of rare flowers like brahmakamal and blue poppy!

Best time to visit: – July to October. (Valley of flowers) and April – October (Nanda Devi National Park).

Spot the Elusive snow leopard
Hemis High Altitude National Park ( Jammu and Kashmir )

The high – altitude park derives its name from the Hemis Gompa, a famous Buddhist monastery situated near Leh ( India ). The confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers cordons the park and is a treat for the eyes. “ While the park is most sought – after for its snow leopard sight – seeing, it’s also home to bharal or the blue sheep, Ladakhi urial, Himalayan Marmots and Tibetan Wild ass,” says seasoned trekker and photographer Neelima Vallangi. The fact that these areas are protected makes them pristine minus any litter. However, there is a high chance of coming down with Acute Mountain Sickness ( AMS ) on this trek, if not acclimatized enough. The only place to stay during these treks is in campsites by pitching your own tents.

Tip: – Light crampons might be useful in crossing snow – ridden sections;

Highlight: – The trek offers some of the most rugged landscapes in the country that keeps changing color and form every few hours;

Best time to visit: – July to September

Waterfall of hope
Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary ( Himachal Pradesh )

Virtually explored, the Kugti wildlife Sanctuary leads you through steep slopes, rough terrain, snow and glaciers. The mountains on this trek are replete with greenery and the slopes are lined with many waterfalls making for beautiful scenery along the way. High – altitude Himalayan fauna species have made this sanctuary their home, including the endangered goat called Himalayan Thar. It also houses the famous Manimahesh Temple that is annually visited by thousands of pilgrims.

Tip:- Ensure all your supplies for the trek are bought at Bharmour since you don’t get much beyond rice and dal at the Kugti village

Highlight :- The trek has medicinal plants along the way with some rare floral species as well.

Best time to visit:- September is a good time as the snow melts and the pass is open for crossing.

A view of Mt. Everest
Singalila National Park ( West Bengal, India )

steal a look at the Everest on this trek located in the higher ridges of Darjeeling Himalayas. One can reach the start of the trel at Moneybhajan by the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and further from there in vintage Land Rover jeeps. The trek can be done in three days or more with an option of a side trip of Phalut, through the ridge where one gets unrivalled panoramic views of Mr. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Everest! As you trek, you will pass through areas full of oaks, ferns, silver firs, bamboo and flowering plants like rhododendrons, wide range of orchids, magnolias and a lot more.

Tip :- there are government – run trekkers’ hut that provide basic accommodation. One can also stay at government – run lodges in Ghoom, Darjeeling or Siliguri

Highlight:- Home to exotic red panda and Himalayan black bear

Best time to visit:- March – April

For Trekking Packages contact us on adler-tours@hotmail.com or visit us at http://www.adler-tours.com

Lion territory doubles in three years


Big cats now rule 20,000 sq Km area

The king of the jungle has conquered new territories. About one – third of the Saurashtra region has been marked as Asiatic Lion inhabited areas by the state forest department. A recent study based on frequent ion kills and compensation given to farmers says the big cats rule over a huge 20,000 sq km of area – almost double the 10,500 sq km recorded in the May 2010 census.

A detailed analysis reveals that there are about 1,500 villages in Saurashtra where lions regularly venture out to kill domestic as well as herbivorous animals. Most of these villages are located in Junagadh ( Gujarat, India ), Amreli ( Rajkot, Gujarat, India )and some even in Bhavnagar ( Gujarat, India ).

Experts say this is a result of good conservation efforts put in by the state government. The Gir National Park ( Sasan Gir, Gujarat, India ) and sanctuary is unable to contain the growing population of the lions – the numbers have constantly grown from 284 in 1990 to 304 ( 1995 ), 327 ( 2000 ), 359 ( 2005 ) and 411 according to the last census held in 2010. The first census of independent Gujarat state conducted in 1968 had put the lion population at 177.

The next census, due in 2015, will be carried out over an area of 20,000 sq km.

Forest department officials believe that out of 411 lions recorded in the last census, 114 have started into newer areas. Since the big cat can live close to friendly human habitations, It has moved out of forest corridors where is feeds on domestic cattle.

Sandeep Kumar, deputy conservator of forests, who conducted the study says, “The study does not take into account stray kills. We have identified areas where the lion presence has been continuous over longer periods”.

Courtesy:- Times of India 

Sasan Gir ( Junagadh, Gujarat ) named best protected area


Gir Sanctuary ( Junagadh, Gujarat )  has been recognized and awarded the best protected area by a Mumbai based wildlife magazine.

The awards were instituted in 2000, to recognize and draw national attention to the contribution of individuals working for the protection of wildlife and natural habitats in India.

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This year, among various categories, Gir Sanctuary ( Junagadh, Gujarat ) was awarded for the best protected sanctuary. Chief conservator of forests R.L. Meena received the award on behalf of Gujarat. C.N. Pandey, the principal chief conservator of forests said: “The award was recognition of the conservation efforts of the state and especially the people of Saurashtra who have protected lions as their family. It was because of this convection that the population of lions increased to 411 according to the 2010 census.”

Officials said that talk of relocating Asiatic Lions from Gir ( Junagadh, Gujarat ) meet vehement protests from local maldharis. Despite the wild cats preying on nearly 6,000 domesticated animals in the forests, satellite areas and villages, locals consider the lions to be a part of their family.

Gir Forest ( Junagadh, Gujarat ) was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1965 with the main area declared a national park. Gradually, more lion habitats in adjoining regions were also declared sanctuaries and ultimately Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary ( Junagadh, Gujarat ) was created in 2007.

Several ecological studies were also conducted to identify problems and prepare a conservation project. This was followed by implementation of the Gir Lion Sanctuary project in 1973 to resettle maldharis.

Courtesy:- Times of India

Caracal trapped in gando baval (Prosopis juliflora) rescued


The forest department rescued a female carcal (a wild cat known for its reclusive behavior) that had got trapped in gando baval weeds ( Prosopis juliflora ) in Jatavira Village of Nakhatrana taluka in Kutch district ( Gujarat, India ) on November 23. This is perhaps the first instance of a caracal being rescued after it got struck in wild weed.

Caracal, Felis caracal, Augrabies Falls National Park, N. Cape, South AfricaCaracals usually venture out of their lair at night. There are around 50 of them in the state and are found only in Kutch. One of these wild cats was last spotted by the officers of the Gujarat forest department in 2006. The conservator of Forests D.K. Sharma said that the rescued caracal was female and around three years of age.

When the rescued animal was found on November 25th had injuries on its front left feet. “ On getting information about it, officials rushed to the spot. After clearing the bushes, the caracal was brought to Nakhatrana ( Kutch, Gujarat, India ) for veterinary care. The services of two expert veterinary doctors were taken to cure the animal,” said Sharma. He further said that the animal had got stuck in thick thorny dry bushes while trying to capture a prey.

Deputy Conservator of Forests Pravinshinh Vihol said that the species is considered rare in India. It has also been listed in annexure – 1 of the CITES (‘Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora’, also known as the Washington Convention) and is also a schedule – ` animal under the Wildlife Protect Act.

According to Dr. Naveen Pandey, veterinarian f the Corbett Foundation who treated the rescued animal, said the paw of the caracals’ lift forelimb, had mild abrasion between the second and third fingers of the toe.

Courtesy: – Times of India

Wildlife Package

Tourists flock Gir Lion Sanctuary (Junagadh, Gujarat) on opening day of season


Dekho dekho kaun aaya? Sher dekhne India Aaya! The first day of the opening of the Gir sanctuary (Junagadh, Gujarat)  saw a historic rise in the number of people from the length and breadth of the country thronging the Gir National Park (Sasan Gir, Junagadh, Gujarat) to have a dekho at the king of Jungle – the Asiatic lion.

As many as 1,785 people visited Gir (Junagadh, Gujarat) – double the number last year – on the day the park was opened for visitors post monsoon on Wednesday. On October 16th last year, when the sanctuary reopened, about 935 people had visited the park.

Abdul Kadir, a businessman from Kolkata came all the way to spend Eid holiday with the Asiatic Lion. He spotted six lioness and cubs in the Kardi in Gir Sanctuary (Junagadh, Gujarat). “I booked online and would have gone back happy had I spotted even one lion’.

Officials said the major attraction among tourists were the five cubs who are in lodged Devalia Interpretation (Sasan Gir, Junagadh, Gujarat) zone. It was during the wildlife celebrations that the forest department had named the male cubs as Shardul, Yuvraj and Vanraj, while the female cubs will be identified as Heer and Mallika.

Another tourist, Mahendra Gard, said, “We had relatives from Kerala who had come to visit Dwarka and Somnath. We decided to visit Gir first and were lucky to sight two lionesses. It was a great experience to see a lion in the green as the forest is still lush because of the extended monsoon.”

Local guide Hitesh Solanki said that he has never seen such a rush in his 13- year- long stint here. According to conservator of forest, R.L. Meena, the Amitabh Bachchan campaign had played a major role in increasing the tourist flow.

 

Courtesy:- Times of India

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