Velavadar National Park
The Velavadar National Park is a hidden gem, one of the last stands of grassland remaining in the massive alluvial plain running along the Gulf of Khambatt called Bhal. The Bhal is a tapestry of cotton, wheat and other agricultural fields, saline flats, grasslands, pastures, freshwater wetlands and coastal marshes. Nearly forty species of grasses have been identified from Bhal. The dominant grass species are Dicanthium annulatum, Sporobolus virginicus,
S. Coromandelianus and S. Maderspatensis.
The national park is a beautiful 35 sq km tract of largely treeless Savannah grasslands and bushes that makes a stunning and enchanting sight. It is wonderful to watch the grasslands changing colour at different times of the day, and also in different seasons of the year, from bright gleaming greens to golden browns, and the grasses swaying in gentle breezes. The beauty of the grassland is enhanced by its abundance of wildlife from butterflies and dragonflies to India’s largest antelope, the Nilgai.
*15th June to 15th October Park remains closed
Velavadar’s Savannah grasslands and scrub provide optimum habitat for the Blackbuck, the handsome Indian antelope. Some of India’s largest herds of this antelope can be seen in this park. Another antelope commonly seen in Velavadar, the nilgai or blue bull gets its name from the resemblance to a cow. The key predator of Velavadar is the Indian wolf, an endangered species. Velavadar is also one of the most likely places to view a striped hyena, a species that is rarely seen elsewhere because of its nocturnal habits. The drivable tract through the national park can also yield sightings of many smaller mammals like the golden jackal, jungle cat and hare. Indian fox could be seen in the scrub habitat outside the park.