DAY 01 Home Country – Mumbai
Leave from your hometown by an Airlines of your choice arriving Mumbai International Airport.
On your arrival into Mumbai International Airport you need to collect your luggage, complete all the formalities with the concerned officials like customs, immigration, etc. and then move towards the exit gate of the Airport where our representative will receive and assist you onto the vehicle, after which you will be driven straight towards your hotel. After freshening up you may visit few places in and around the hotel (All depending upon the time available – Only if you wish to and feel like Otherwise you may visit few of the places mentioned as per your Choice OR If you are tired you may rest in your room for the entire time) as mentioned below:-
* Crawford Market: Crawford Market is situated to the north of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus of Mumbai. It lies just opposite the headquarters of Mumbai Police. Officially known as Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Market, Crawford Market is counted amongst the popular shopping areas of the city.
* Fashion Street: Fashion Street is one of the premier markets of Mumbai, popular for housing a wide variety of readymade garments. The market is nothing but a cluster of 130 to 140 clothes stores.
* Flora Fountain: Flora Fountain was built in the year 1864, to commemorate the memory of those martyrs who laid their life in the formation of Maharashtra State. Owing to the purpose for which it had been built, the fountain was later renamed as the Hutatma Chowk or Martyr’s Square.
* Gateway of India: One of the most prized possessions of the country, the Gateway of India is situated on the waterfront in South Mumbai. Anyone coming to Mumbai from this harbor is greeted by the huge monument.
* Marine Drive: Marine Drive Beach is situated along the shoreline of the Arabian Sea and stretches right from the Nariman Point to the foot of Malabar Hill. The two ends of the beach come across as completely contrasting, with the Nariman Point being a concrete jungle and Malabar Hill being resplendent with nature’s beauty.
* Chowpatty Beach: Chowpatty Beach is situated at the northern end of the Marine Drive, near the Malabar Hill of Mumbai. It is the place where you can come and enjoy, after a hard day at work. The serene waters of the sea, combined with the cool sands of the beach, let you relax completely.
* Haji Ali Dargah: Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most popular religious places in Mumbai, visited by Hindus and Muslims alike. It is basically the tomb of Haji Ali, a wealthy merchant who renounced all the worldly possessions and became a saint, after he returned from a pilgrimage to Mecca.
* Mahalaxmi Temple: Mahalaxmi Temple is one of the popular Hindu Temples in Mumbai, dedicated to the three shaktis – Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswathi and Goddess Kali. It is situated on the Bhulabhai Desai Road, on the northern side of the Malabar Hills.
* Mount Mary Church: Mount Mary Church is a Roman Catholic Church, also known by the name of ‘The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount’. It is located in the Bandra suburb of Mumbai and dates back to the year 1640. One of the most popular churches of Bombay, it is visited by people of all religions.
Overnight stay at Mumbai.
DAY 02 Mumbai – Bhavnagar – Velavadar
Early in the morning you will be picked up from your Mumbai Hotel and driven towards the Mumbai Domestic Airport, where you need to take the Jet Airways Flight No: 9W 2507 departing Mumbai at 0710 hours; arriving Bhavnagar at 0820 hours.
You will be received by our representative and assisted onto your vehicle. From here we will move towards Bhavnagar and visit the following places: (Here we have mentioned few other places which you may visit ONLY if you feel like as they may be of importance especially for Photography)
* Gaurishankar Lake: It comprises a very good bird-viewing area with an impressive checklist of birds possible over a three or four hour walk along the park trails and on the embankments of the lake.
* The New and Old Port of Bhavnagar: It also offers good bird-viewing, including huge Western Reef Egret heronries.
* Pill Garden: This city-centre park are breeding areas for the near-threatened Painted Stork. Here you may see the huge colony of roosting and nesting storks.
* Khodiyar Mata: Khodiyar Mata was the family Goddess of the rulers of the former Bhavnagar State. There is a shrine dedicated to the Goddess nearby. The deity of the temple is taken in high regard. The shrine boasts of exquisite architectural beauty and presents breathtaking sites. It has 36 pillars and a huge mandap to add on to its beauty.
* Bhavnagar Station: Bhavnagar Station perhaps the only station in India where you will see women porters, Victoria Park, Major Jain Temples and Mahatma Gandhi’s (Father of the Nation) High School where his certificate is hung.
* Gandhi Memorial: Gandhi Memorial is also known as Gandhi Smriti Museum. The museum has a collection of some rare photographs and memorabilia associated with Mahatma Gandhi.
* The Barton Library: Barton Library is one of the oldest libraries in Gujarat. It is located in the center of Bhavnagar. There is also a museum in the building which is a worth visiting spot in the city.
We will then leave for The Velavadar National Park (45 kms – 55 mts drive). The Park is more than 34 sq km and its main species, the Blackbuck an exclusively South India antelope the largest population found here. Other species found here are Nilgai, wolf, jackal, jungle cat and fox. It also attracts birds such as pelicans, flamingoes, White storks, Painted storks and Sarus cranes.
* The Savannah-like grassland of Velavadar National Park is one of the most important sites in India for the vulnerable Stolizca’s Bushchat.
* The Sarus Crane is another vulnerable species seen at Velavadar. This park is also good for Grey and Painted Francolins, quails, larks, wheatears, swallows and other birds.
* Three species of sandgrouse could be seen coming to the waterholes in the park for their mid-morning drink.
* In the monsoon months, Velavadar is one of the most important breeding sites for the Lesser Florican that displays by jumping in the grasslands.
* The park is usually closed at this time of the year but the surrounding Bhal area could yield a sighting of this endangered species. The park is also the hunting ground of Imperial, Steppe, Greater Spotted and Short-toed Eagles, many species of falcon, and hawks.
* A winter evening is the time for Velavadar’s greatest spectacle, the arrival of Montagu’s, Pallid and Marsh Harriers in numbers known to exceed 1500 from nearby cotton fields and grasslands, for their evening roost.
Overnight stay at Velavadar.
DAY 03 Velavdar – Amreli / Dhari
Early in the morning you may visit the Velavadar Sanctuary and observe the birds enjoying the early morning chill; after which return to your hotel for breakfast. From here we shall leave for Amreli (Witness many a water bodies and see varied kind of birds) & Dhari (160 kms – 3 hours drive) which is a jewel near to Ambardi Interpretation Park.
* Here you may get a chance to see at Ambardi Interpretation Park Asiatic lions, leopard, spotted deer, Hyaena, Sambar, Blue bull, Chinkara, sambar, crocodiles, squirrels, Monkeys etc.
* Along with the animals you shall see monitor lizards, pythons, king cobras and flying lizards.
* Birds like darters, cormorants, ibises, gray herons, mynas, flycatchers, orioles, wood pigeons, wood pickers, kingfishers, kites, ospreys, thrushes, and parakeets add to the attraction of Ambardi Interpretation Park.
* You may watch the animals on the move from the permitted vehicles on the move or from watchtowers only after prior permission & finishing formalities.
* Along with animals the place is also home to the Ness’s – The Local Maldhari Community. This is a place where the Maldharis live deep in the jungles amongst the lions of Dhari Forest and is unheard of seen anywhere in this area. This beautiful and amazing people are extremely warm, shy but the real protectors of Lions in the entire area.
Overnight stay at Dhari.
DAY 04 Dhari – Sasan
After enjoying your breakfast we will start towards Sasan – The Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary (135 kms – 2 & ½ hours drive)
* Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is internationally known as the remaining habitat of the Asiatic Lion. For birdwatchers, Gir is an interesting place to see raptors like the critically endangered White-backed and Long-billed Vultures, near threatened Red-headed Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, vulnerable Greater Spotted Eagle and the endangered Pallas’ Fish Eagle. Crested Serpent Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle and other magnificent birds of prey nest in the forests of Gir.
* Even non-birdwatchers will enjoy seeing attractive birds like the Asian Paradise Flycatcher that looks fairy-like as it flies with its tail feathers trailing behind, the brilliant golden yellow Black-hooded Oriole, the Blossom-headed Parakeet, the Painted Francolin, Painted Sandgrouse, the colourful Coppersmith Barbet and myriad flycatchers.
* The water bodies like Kamleshwar Dam are also good sites for birdwatchers. Darters, Painted Stork, Woolly-necked Stork, motley species of ducks and other waterfowl can be seen at this dam and at other wetlands of Gir, and the vulnerable Indian Skimmer is also known to visit the water bodies in the sanctuary.
* The Gir National Park the only Asiatic Abode of the Lions with a current lion population of 411 is set up across 1153 sq km area of which 258 sq km inside the sanctuary is declared as a National Park.
* At the Lion’s abode spend couple of hours sightseeing at Sasan Gir, the lion habitat, home to other forms of wild life like the leopard, wild boar, fox, wildcat, chinkara, nilgai, spotted deer, sambar, blackbucks, Pangolin and chowsinghai.
* The forest has about 300 species of birds including King vulture, Crested serpent eagle, Great horned owl, Bush quail, woodpecker and hornbill.
* To orientate the floods of visitors, the Forest Department has set up a special Gir Interpretation Zone (GIZ) at Devalia, 12 km west of Sasan Gir.
* We will then visit the nomadic Maldhari Community who live in harmony with the king of the jungle and later on to the Siddhi Community originally from Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia) in East Africa who came to India during the second millennium AD as slaves, sailors, mercenaries and merchants. The Siddhis of Jambur and Jamvala in Gir belong to the more deprived segments of this community. They are strikingly different from other tribes anywhere else in India. They have regained their music and dance heritage and perform a kind of music called Goma which has African origins.
Overnight stay at Sasan.
DAY 05 Porbandar – Barda Hills Sanctuary – Porbandar
After your breakfast we will leave for Porbandar (175 kms – 3 & ½ hours drive) where you may visit the town which has a Bird Sanctuary but on most visits you will find more birds at the creeks. This is a mind-blowing area to view and photograph Flamingos that allow you to get quite close as they are used to the bustle of the town surrounding them.
* We will be visiting the Barda Hills (20 kms – 45 mts drive) – The forest which is endowed with very rich floral composition.
* Kileshwar, a temple and camping site developed by ‘Jamsaheb’ of Jamnagar, is a beautiful site in the heart of the forest.
* Amongst the mammal’s rattle, leopard and wolf are threatened and amongst the reptiles found here, crocodile and chameleon are rare and endangered. Of the four common venomous snakes, three are found here. The avifaunal species also displays high diversity. At least two species of birds, which were found in the Sanctuary, are rare/ endangered, to name a few: Spotted Eagle and Crested Hawk-Eagle.
* Apart from this, the Sanctuary exhibits great variety of invertebrate species including variety of butterflies. Lion, Chinkara, Sambar and Spotted Deer found in the recent past, are now exterminated from Barda.
* Although the area of Sanctuary is small a wide variety of other wetland birds can be seen in town and on the road to Dwarka, and also, coastal species by the sea.
* Porbandar is best known as the birthplace of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (The Father of the Nation) often called the “White City” for the white local stone used in many of the buildings.
* Visit the Sudamapuri Temple associated with a popular tale of Krishna and his dear friend Sudama, Kirti Mandir the three storey house where Gandhiji was born in 1869.
Overnight stay at Porbandar.
DAY 06 Khambhaliya – Khijadia – Jamnagar
After your breakfast we will leave for Khambhaliya (90 kms – 1 & ½ hours drive) on another route, interesting for birdwatchers is the road from Jamnagar to Dwarka with reservoirs located off the highway like Sinhan and Khambaliya that are excellent for cranes, ducks, pratincoles, plovers and other birds.
* Closer to Dwarka is a detour to Charakla, with its salt-works, fisheries and shrimp breeding centres, which is an important bird area listed by International Bird Conservation Network.
* Thousands of flamingos and hundreds of pelicans can be seen here. There are chances of seeing four or five species of gulls in a single visit and a good number of terns.
* This is one of the few places in the Indian peninsula where the Caspian Tern nests.
We shall then continue our journey towards Khijadia (45 kms – 50 mts drive) Here you need to take permits beforehand to visit the Two Sanctuaries (Marine National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary & Khijadia Bird Sanctuary).
* The Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary is one of the top sites for the Indian Skimmer, a vulnerable species that most birdwatchers want to have on their list of sightings in India.
* The Indian Skimmer is a delightful bird to watch with its striking red bill and black-head standing out against its predominantly white body. A unique feature of the Indian Skimmer is its bill that has a longer lower mandible than the upper one enabling it to feed while flying over the surface of the water with only the tip of its beak skimming the surface, a graceful sight to behold.
* The bird sanctuary is unique in having fresh-water lakes on one side of the road bisecting it and salt water marshes on the other. Driving or walking on the road offers a good opportunity to scan both kinds of wetlands to see a variety of wading birds that are characteristic of each.
* The sanctuary is an important stronghold of Sarus Crane. The sanctuary has resident populations of Nakta or Comb Duck, Spot-bill and other ducks and also attracts large flocks of migratory ducks like Shoveler and Pintail.
* It is also an important site for the Baer’s Pochard. The Black-necked Stork nests at Khijadiya. This is also one of the few sanctuaries in peninsular India where the Crested Grebe breeds. Khijadiya is also the breeding area for a number of wading birds.
Late evening we shall return back towards Jamnagar (35 kms – 45 mts drive) for dinner and stay overnight.
Overnight stay at Jamnagar.
DAY 07 Marine National Park – Jamnagar
After your breakfast we will leave for The Marine National Park (35 kms – 45 mts drive) and Wildlife Sanctuary which were created in 1980, the Marine National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the intertidal zone (the area between the lowest and highest tide levels) along the northern coast of Jamnagar District and the islands in the Gulf of Kachchh.
* Offshore from the southern coast of the Gulf of Kutch, 42 islands sit like little gems in the Arabian Sea. Fringed by coral reefs and mangrove swamps, these islands are a treasure-trove of marine species and a paradise for birdwatchers. In 1980, Gujarat notified India’s first Marine Sanctuary covering about 460 sq km of the coastal zone including most of the islands, and two years later about 162 sq km from this was accorded further protection as India’s first Marine National Park.
* The park is like an underwater forest and a treasure trove of coral reef and sponges, giant sea anemone, jelly fish, octopus and starfish to name just a few species. On occasion you might spot a dolphin. The whale shark also inhabits the surrounding sea. Considered the largest fish in the world, it feeds off plankton.
* About 80 bird species are recorded on the islands including Crab Plover, Kentish Plover, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Sanderling, Little and Temmick’s Stints, sandpipers, herons and godwits.
* Narana and Pirotan Island are two of the park’s popular tourist destinations for viewing marine invertebrates. The highlight of islands like Pirotan and Narara is seeing large flocks of Crab Plover. The swamp forests of the islands, featuring about seven species of mangrove, have breeding colonies of near-threatened species like Painted Stork, Darter and Black-necked Ibis, and other birds like egrets and herons. The islands are also breeding areas for terns and other birds.
* On the boat crossing to the islands, there are chances of seeing Pallas’ Fish Eagle, Osprey and other raptors.
After an exhilarating experience we will return towards Jamnagar where we will move towards the Lake which is also an excellent site for birdwatchers. Large flocks of White Pelican can be seen at Lakhota or Ranmal Lake in Jamnagar, and nearby water bodies in the city, which also attract a variety of ducks and waders. More than 75 species of birds have been recorded in and around the lake.
Overnight stay at Jamnagar.
DAY 08 Morbi – Bhuj
After your breakfast we will leave for Bhuj (250 kms – 5 & ½ hours drive) via Morbi the town which welcomes visitors with larger than life statues of Maharaja Lakhdev Bahadur and his horses at the entrance. Pay a short visit to The Green Chowk, Mani Mandir, Art Deco New Palace, Willingdon Secretariat.
We will then proceed straight towards Bhuj in Kachchh (225 kms – 3 & 1/2 hrs drive); which is situated in the Kutch district of Gujarat. It is the administrative city of Kutch and therefore occupies an important place. (At Bhuj you need to register with the NRI/ Foreigner Tourist Office for acquiring Permit to visit the restricted areas of Banni. – Our Representative on your behalf will manage all the procedures. You may need couple of hours to formalize to proceedings by which time it would become quite dark to travel hence you have to stay at Bhuj)
Only if you feel like & have sufficient time you may visit the Bhuj town comprising of the following places:
* Aaina Mahal: Aaina Mahal is one of the most exquisite monuments in Bhuj, located in the fort complex along with the Parag Mahal. The Palace is a sheer work of art and a must watch for all. The architecture of the Mahal is greatly influenced by the European style. Aaina Mahal was converted from a dream to reality by the master architect Ramsinh Malam. He undertook training in Holland to make Aaina Mahal an architectural marvel it is today. The palace is a two storied building with Darbar Hall, hall of mirrors, and suites for royal family. It stands adorned with mirror work, tile work and fountains.
* Prag Mahal: Prag Mahal was designed by the famous architect Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins. It took 10 years to build the monument, at an astounding cost of rupees 20 lakh. The palace serves as a fine example of Italian Gothic style, combined with some European style elements.
* The Kutch Museum: The Kutch Museum was earlier known as Fergusson Museum. It was built by Maharao Khengarji III in 1877 AD. The museum is constructed in Italian style and located on the banks of the Hamirsar Lake. It is one of the famous museums in the entire state and has a rich collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions, various archeological objects, fine collection of arms and specimens of various crafts of the Kutch region.
* Other Places of Interest: Other places of interest at Bhuj are Cenotaphs of Kutch rulers, Snake Temple at Bhujiyo Hill Fort, Swami Narayan Temple, The Darbargadh Palace, Sharad Bagh Palace, Chattardi, Harmisar Lake, Hathisthan, Vegetable Market, Hatkeshwar Temple and Alfred High School.
Overnight stay at Bhuj.
DAY 09 Naliya – Nakhatrana
After your breakfast we will leave for Naliya (135 kms – 2 & ½ hours drive) another significant grassland habitat of Kutch is the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary at Lala near Naliya in Abdasa taluka. Though covering only about 20 sq km of area, this grassland is very important for birdwatchers as perhaps the only sanctuary in India where three species of bustard are found – the endangered Great Indian Bustard is resident here, the endangered Lesser Florican breeds here during the monsoon months, and the near-threatened Macqueen’s Bustard is a winter visitor.
* There is a good drivable track through the sanctuary that offers a chance of seeing the endangered Great Indian Bustard and a variety of other birds like the Black and Grey Francolin, Spotted and Indian Sandgrouse, quails, larks, shrikes, coursers and plovers.
* This sanctuary is also interesting for birdwatchers as vulnerable species like the Stoliczka’s Bushchat and White-naped Tit could also be seen.
* It is also important for birds of prey like the Imperial Eagle that visits in winter.
* The sanctuary extends north towards the creeks of Jakhau along the coast of Kutch where large flocks of flamingos, herons, egrets, sandpipers and other birds can be seen.
Overnight stay at Nakhatrana.
DAY 10 Than Monastery – Dinodhar Hill – Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary – Banni – Hodka
After your breakfast we will be leaving for The Dinodhar Hill, 386 meters high, stands near Aral village. On its summit is a temple dedicated to Dhoramnath, who is said to have performed rigorous penances here for 12 years. This is a good tracking spot with ample wildlife and flora. At the foot of Dinodhar is the Than Monastery with another Dhoramnath Temple and several other shrines.
From here we will be leaving for the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary – The largest wildlife reserve in Gujarat is the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, comprising more than 7500 sq km which includes part of the Great Rann of Kutch.
* This sanctuary is specially noted for the area called the Flamingo City near Solanki Bet. The marshes of this great sanctuary.
* The breeding of the White Pelican and Avocet also been recorded here and nowhere else in India, and many other interesting species of birds can be seen at the marshes of the Great Rann of Kutch.
* Most of the mammals seen in the Wild Ass Sanctuary are also found here.
From here we will leave for Banni (90 kms – 1 & ½ hours drive) which is like the Rann of Kutch, the Banni area is a low-lying plain said to have been formed from the silt left by the Indus River that once flowed through this region. This is one of the largest grassland tracts in India with an area of over 3800 sq km with around 40 different species of grasses.
* This area is widely recognised as important for birds because of its location on the flyway for many migratory species and migration studies have been conducted here by well-known organisations like the Bombay Natural History Society.
* The main focal point for those interested in birds is Charri Dhand, a lake near Fulay village, which in years of good rainfall is a birdwatcher’s dream destination. This lake is visited by large flocks of Demoiselle and Common Crane, said to be a large share of the world population, and equally impressive flocks of myriad duck species.
* The mix of grasslands, scrub and wetland also make this a heaven for raptors (birds of prey) with the Tawny Eagle and Bonnelli’s Eagle breeding here and Greater Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle and Steppe Eagle wintering in the Banni area.
* Endangered species like the White-backed and Long-billed Vulture are seen in the Banni area. White-naped Tit is a vulnerable species of the Banni region.
Overnight stay at Hodka.
DAY 11 Little Rann of Kutch – Zainabad
After your breakfast we will leave for Zainabad (315 kms – 6 hours drive) which is known for Desert Coursers – self contained huts for a true Rann experience. Once part of the Arabian Sea, the Great and the Little Rann of Kutch were separated from each other and from the Gulf of Kutch by silting and other geographical forces. In the monsoon, the Great and the Little Rann of Kutch are inundated with water. As they dry in winter, the land gets converted into a salt-encrusted desert landscape interspersed with elevated areas called `bets’ or islands that are vegetated as they fall above the water-level and wetlands. This unique landscape harbours a rich and varied birdlife typical of the habitat.
* This sanctuary is a paradise for birdwatchers because of its range of habitats from the salt-encrusted desert landscape to vegetated elevated patches called bets that were probably islands when the Little Rann was an arm of the Gulf of Kutch to wetlands left behind after the monsoon months when the Rann is inundated with water.
* Indian and Spotted Sandgrouse, Desert and Pied Wheatear, more than 10 species of lark, and other birds characteristic of the desert habitat are seen when driving around the Rann. White-eared Bulbul, Indian Courser, Stone-plover and shrikes are seen in the scrubby and grass-covered areas of the sanctuary.
* In winter, the sanctuary is visited by the near-threatened Macqueen’s Bustard. It is also an important area for critically threatened vulture species and vulnerable species of eagle.
* The wetlands attract large congregations of birds and are best visited in winter when migrating birds join the residents. Both the species of flamingo found in India and all the three species of pelican have been seen at the wetlands, and the marshes of the Little Rann are the breeding site of thousands of Lesser Flamingo.
* Large flocks of Demoiselle and Common Cranes, a variety of ducks and two species of geese visit the wetlands in winter. This sanctuary is also the habitat of the Sarus Crane. Three species of ibis, Spoonbill and flocks of godwits, stints, sandpipers, shanks, moorhen and other wading birds can be seen at the water bodies.
We will also be visiting the tribal villagers around Zainabad. If time permits you may take the evening Safari into the Rann desert and stay overnight at The Desert Coursers Resort at Zainabad.
Overnight stay at Zainabad.
DAY 12 Zainabad – Modhera – Patan
After your breakfast we will continue sightseeing of the villages in and around Zainabad which includes:
* A fiat, salt-cracked vast barren desert, hissing sand storms and the majestic Ghudkhar roaming over mirage waters make the little rann of Kachchh an unique and one of the most fascinating wilderness of the world. Here we shall visit a totally different environment where locals are residing. You would spend time with these tribals while enjoying the Little Rann of Kutch.
* The Wild Ass Sanctuary is the last home of the Indian Wild Ass. This handsome, chestnut brown and white endangered species can be seen while driving across the Rann of Kutch. Other species that could be seen during wildlife viewing drives in the sanctuary are the Nilgai or blue bull antelope, Blackbuck or Indian Antelope, Chinkara or Indian Gazelle, the endangered Indian Wolf, Desert and Indian Foxes, Jackal, and smaller species characteristic of the desert habitat.
* The unique geography of the Little Rann of Kutch also makes it a good place to watch birds typical of the desert. The Rann is especially good for larks and wheatears. The Macqueen’s Bustard can be seen in winter.
Late in the noon we will (Enroute visit Sankeshwar famous for its architectural works, Baucharaji (Goddess Bachuccharaji) the temple is dedicated to the Sun-God) move towards Modhera (60 kms – 1 hours drive), a site of great importance at one time. Today, Modhera is a virtually deserted hamlet. Far more off the beaten track and much less well known than the Konark Sun temple, Modhera retains a great deal of its atmosphere and charm. Modhera is known for the 11th century Sun temple.
* The Sun Temple: It was built by King Bhimdev I in 1026-27 AD. This temple is one of the finest Hindu temples in Gujarat, built by the great Solanki dynasty. This temple and the Konark Sun temple in Orissa are very similar. This similarity is that this temple was also designed in such a way so as to let the dawn sun shine on the image of Surya, at the time of equinoxes.
From here we will leave for Patan (55 kms – 55 mts drive), a dusty, little visited town, but its narrow streets are lined by the elaborate, faded wooden houses and more than 100 Jain temples, which are worth exploring.
* Subapura: Besides wildlife sanctuaries of Gujarat, the state has a number of other wetlands that are also good for birds like Subapura in Patan District.
* Rani ki Vav: It is an excellent example of subterranean architecture of Gujarat. This Vav was constructed by Udaymati, the queen of Bhimdev and represents the finest of the Indian sculptures and architecture. Sahastralinga Talav, an artificial tank was built by the Siddhraj Jai Singh in Gujarat. The architecture of this tank integrated the great sense of water management and sanctity of water in Hindu religion.
* Patola Silk: The place associated with Patola is Patan. Patola silk is often termed as the queen of all silks. Patola sarees of Gujarat are one of the finest hand-woven sarees produced in India today. Here, exquisite patterns are woven on sarees with great precision. Here you need to spend couple of hours understanding the work each artisans are doing.
Overnight stay at Patan.
DAY 13 Patan – Vijayanagar
After your breakfast we will leave for Vijayanagar (145 kms – 2 & ½ hours drive) which has a 60 kms loop which includes a tour of ancient temple ruins, a dam and palace. After checking in to the hotel we shall move in and around Vijaynagar one of Gujarat’s most beautiful and strategically located Tribal belt.
* Vijaynagar is covered by the Polo Forest, which is currently in Sabarkantha District of Gujarat. Amidst the Aravali Range it is surrounded with the dense forest of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
* Polo Forest which is just few kilometers from Vijayanagr is a dense forest of Teak wood, Flame of the forest trees (few had already started blooming), Bamboo Trees and “Khakhro” trees. Forest is so dense that sunlight can hardly pass through in certain areas. But the real treasure of Polo forest is ruins of 10th and 15th century of Hindu and Jain temples. Here you shall surely enjoy amongst the thick jungles and the tribal villagers settled in these areas.
* The Polo jungle is a dense forest which houses many species of birds and animals. The fig trees, when in fruit, are good places to look out for the endangered Grey Hornbill and Brown-headed Barbet who will come to nibble. Grey Hornbills can also be found at a Banyan tree when it is out with its bright red fruit. On another tree look for woodpeckers, and fruit birds and prey birds at the top, especially during a particular half hour in the afternoon (the exact time of which changes).
* The 400 square km area of dry mixed deciduous forest is most lush between September and December after the monsoon rains when the rivers are full, but at any time of the year it provides a rich wildlife experience. There are more than 450 species of medicinal plants, around 275 of birds, 30 of mammals, and 32 of reptiles. There are bears, panthers, leopards, hyenas, water fowl, raptors, passerines, and flying squirrels (mostly heard, rarely seen), all living under a canopy of diverse plants and trees. During winter, all manner of migratory birds occupy the forest; during the rainy season there are wetland birds.
Overnight stay at Vijaynagar.
DAY 14 Vijayanagar – Thol Sanctuary – Ahmedabad
After your breakfast we will be leaving for Thol Bird Sanctuary (165 kms – 3 & ½ hours drive) which comprises a lake created in 1912 when the Maharajas of Baroda ruled parts of this district.
* There are good chances of seeing the Sarus Crane in the fields flooded by channels and overflow from the lake and a huge variety of birds can be seen when approaching the lake at the pools and canals.
* The lake is a good place to see White Pelican and Painted Stork in large flocks and a variety of ducks. Here we need to be careful so as not to ignore the scrub along the embankments where a good number of birds can be watched. The low trees along the lake sometimes harbour nesting birds.
From here we will leave for Ahmedabad (45 kms – 55 mts drive) for your dinner and stay overnight.
Overnight stay at Ahmedabad.
DAY 15 Nalsarovar Sanctuary – Ahmedabad
After your breakfast we will be leaving for Nalsarovar Sanctuary (55 kms – 1 hours drive) which is the highest count of birds in the state, a shallow freshwater lake that is among the largest of its kind in India with hundreds of islands dotting its expanse of more than 100 sq km.
* About 250 species of birds have been recorded at this sanctuary and a birdwatcher can hope to record 100 or more on a winter day when Nalsarovar is one of the most important wintering areas for waterfowl in Gujarat with a waterfowl count yielding 190,000 birds.
* A country boat ride on the lake is a beautiful experience. As the boatman poles the boat through the aquatic grasses towards more open waters, you are treated to the sight of magnificently-coloured birds – both the species of flamingos and all the three species of pelicans found in India have been recorded at the sanctuary, and spectacular flocks of Demoiselle and Common Cranes, geese and myriad duck species can be seen here in winter. Brilliantly coloured birds like the Purple Swamphen and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, and a number of other wading birds, can be seen working the shallows of the lake. This is also the hunting ground of vulnerable species of raptors like the Pallas’ Fish Eagle and Greater-spotted Eagle. Sarus Cranes breed near the lake and other birds have been known to nest on the islands.
Overnight stay at Nalsarovar.
DAY 16 Ahmedabad – Mumbai – Home Country
Early in the morning you may take a boat and wander around the Nalsarovar Lake observing the different kinds of birds and after a late breakfast we will drop you at Ahmedabad Airport to board your Jet Airways Flight No.: 9W departing Ahmedabad at 0800 hours; reaching Mumbai at 0930 hours.
On reaching Mumbai’s Domestic Airport you need to take the Internal Coach and move towards the Mumbai International Airport to board your connecting flight homewards.
Tour ends with sweet memories…
No of Adult
Eco Lodges- Standard / 2 – 3 Star Hotels / Heritage OR Similar
No. Of Nights
No of Room
Black buck lodge
Asiatic Pride Resorts
Anil Farm House
1Double (AC Cottage)
1 Double (Eco Friendly Bunga)
1 Double (AC Cottage)
Hotel Surya Palace
Vijay Vilas Palace
Hotel Royal Highness
TOTAL PACKAGE COST AS PER ABOVE DETAILS = US$ 2390.00 for a minimum of 02 Adult.
Flight Details: Jet Airways 9W 2507:- Mumbai – Bhavnagar 0710 hours / 0820 hours = US$ 75.00 Grand Total for a minimum of 01 Adult.
Flight Details: Jet Airways (9W 2005):- Ahmedabad – Mumbai 1855 hours / 2000 hours
US$ 87.00 Grand Total for a minimum of 01 Adult.
(Air fares are subject to change without prior notice. All the fares quoted are Instant purchase fares as of now. Actual fares would be known only at the time of purchasing the tickets. You also need to be informed tickets once issued are Non refundable and Non Transferable)
* Accommodations – As per the plan mentioned in the itinerary
* AC Transportation (AC Indica)
* Mumbai – Mumbai
* Toll, Parking, Permit, Border Tax, Driver’s Allowances, Government Tax
* All Tax
* Meals- As specified in the Itinerary.
* EP = Bed, CP = Bed + Breakfast, MAP = Bed + Breakfast + Lunch/Dinner, AP = Bed + Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner
* Entrance Fees at all the locations e.g. Temples, Forts, Palaces, Monastery, Stupas, Heritage Properties, Monuments, Sanctuaries, National Parks, Boat Charges, Museums, Safaris, etc.
* Visa, Airport Taxes, Telephone Calls, Laundry, Drinks, Tips, Camera Fees, etc.
* Guide Charges/Escort Charges
* Domestic & International Air Fares (Mentioned Separately)
* Anything not mentioned under “The Cost includes”
* The programme is subject to availability and liable to change as per the then conditions.
* Cost is based on a minimum of 02 persons.
* Booking confirmations will be provided only after 100% payment reaches our Account.
* Kindly ensure the passengers are totally covered from the point of origin at your Country under the Travel, Medical, Health and Other types of Insurance.
* Rates are based as per the itinerary hence the sector should not be changed.
* If the Fuel Costs increases during the time of travel the Quoted Rates will also increase accordingly.
After confirmation on the booking cancellation charges applicable would be as mentioned below:
* 61 days & above : 50% of the total amount
* 46 days – 60 days: 75% of the total amount
* 31 days – 45 days: 90% of the total amount
* 00 days – 30 days: No Refund
AFTER YOUR CONFIRMATION YOU NEED TO INFORM YOUR BANKERS TO TRANSFER FUNDS AS FOLLOWS:
Bank: ICICI Bank Limited
Branch: Ashram Road Branch, 2/1 Popular House, Ground floor, Ashram Road, Ahmedabad – 380 004, Gujarat, India
Swift Address: ICICINBBCTS
Account No.: 018905000538
Account Name: J N Rao Travel Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd.