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Jamnagar is a well-known city in Gujarat; however, what many people do not know is that it is a great destination for birding as well. The region is blessed with a mix of marine and freshwater, mudflats and coasts, beaches and marshes, scrubs and farms thus providing rich grounds for the resident and migratory avian species to flourish.
The city was designed by Jam Saheb Sri Ranjitsinghji and developed later by Jam Saheb Sri Digvijaysinghji in 1940. The city was a part of the princely state, Nawanagar. Today amongst other things, it is known as the home to the Reliance Industries.
How to reach
Jamnagar is the fifth largest city of Gujarat and easily accessible. Rail – Jamnagar is a railway station by itself Air – Jamnagar also has its own airport. One can also fly to Ahmedabad or Mumbai and reach Jamnagar via rail or road. Road – The city is extremely well connected via road to Ahmedabad and other Gujarat cities.
What to see
There are many bird species found in close proximity to Jamnagar at different locations. The hot spots for sighting are as follows:
1. Khijadia Bird Sanctuary – A dam built on the Ruparen River, has over the years acted as an excellent bird flocking area due to its unique ecology of the marine and fresh water proximity. Birds of both the sea and shore are found here and include the celebrated crested Grebe, balck Ibis, black necked stork, black wing stilt, cattle egrets, brahmini kite, common crane, purple moorhen, Indian robin greygal geese, Flamingoes, Dalmatian Pelicans, and duck species. The other wildlife found in the sanctuary is the jackal, rabbits, mangoose, jungle cat, blue bulls and cobra.
2. Marine National Park – Found in Narara this national park is special because of the corals that are seen here. The corals are visible without having to dive into the water, and during low tides, one can casually walk over the water and discover the corals and underwater wildlife. You can spot the sea turtles, crabs, lobsters, octopus, jelly and star fish, puffer fish and many other microhabitats as well as exquisite marine floras. Rare migratory birds such as the Oystercatcher and Crab Plover are found here.
3. Lakhota Lake - Found right in the heart of the city, also called Ranmal Lake has over 75 species during the winters.
4. There are many water reservoirs and lakes that surround the city and act as excellent birding sites. These include the Vijarkhi Dam, Sasoi Dam, Ranjit Sagar Dam and Sinhan Dam. Great picnic spots these are also a delightful locations for bird watching.
5. Charakhala Salt Pans – On the way to Dwaraka this quiet area is where one can spot the pelicans, flamingoes, grebs, terns and ducks.
6. Pirotan Island - One of the islands in the Gulf of Kutch, several species such as the egrets, herons, crab plovers, painted stork, black necked ibis, osprey, Pallas Fish Eagle are seen here.
7. Barda Hills Sanctuary –The hill is wooded and has lush green grasslands and is home to the pond heron, cattle egret, great breasted warlbler, spotted munia, Indian pitta, green pigeon, iora, peafowl, plain prinia, spotted owlet, white breasted kingfisher and many more.
8. Dhichda – With lots of water bodies this is a great place to watch the birds.
9. Gaga Wildlife Sanctuary – This sanctuary is home to the Great Indian Bustard, flamingoes, patridge, sandgrouse, larks and more. Besides bird watching, there are many monuments and historical locations to visit in the city. Jamnagar is also known for its textile works, such as bandhini and batik works. While not birding make sure to shop and visit the major tourist attractions of the city such as, the Pratap Vilas Palace, the various temples, Lakhota Palace etc.
Day 1 – Arrive in Jamnagar by noon, check into the hotel and enjoy a hot lunch. We start toward the Lakota Lake and encounter our winged friends here. Enjoy a great Gujarati dinner after indulging in some shopping in the evening.
Day 2 – We shall visit the Marine National Park and Khijadia Sanctuary today. Return to the hotel at night for dinner.
Day 3 – We will head out to some of the reservoirs around the city for the final quest of birds today. Enjoy the picnic, sunshine and the sighting of the birds. You may proceed for your onward destination in the evening.
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