वन्य जीवन एवं पर्यावरण

International Journal of Environment & Agriculture ISSN 2395 5791


बीती सदी में बापू ने कहा था

"किसी राष्ट्र की महानता और नैतिक प्रगति को इस बात से मापा जाता है कि वह अपने यहां जानवरों से किस तरह का सलूक करता है"- मोहनदास करमचन्द गाँधी

ये जंगल तो हमारे मायका हैं

Oct 5, 2010

Weekend at the Bhat Beat of Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary‏


Haseeb Shaikh* Being a wildlife lover, to me, visiting ‘Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary’ and studying wildlife there has always been thrilling. It sends the blood rushing through my veins and the adrenalin pumps up my energy to finish off my errands in a rush as time to depart for the jungle approaches. A wife, equally fond of nature and an adventurous 9 year old son do make a good company on such excursions. For the passion of the feline we call Leopard (Panthera Pardus), evidently I do knock on to the Forest Office often and for that reason I do enjoy a nice rapport with the Forest Department ‘Baroda Circle’. On one such recent visit to the Forest Office, Baroda Circle, I was suggested by some well wishers who happen to be senior officials with the Forest Department ‘Baroda Circle’ to visit the Bhat Eco-Tourism Centre at the Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary. I had no second thoughts and instantly accepted the alluring suggestion for the weekend ‘night-out’. Though I had regularly visited the Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary for studying the Leopards, this in particular was to be my first at the ‘Eco-Tourism Centre’ located at Bhat. 
While driving to Bhat, on the Pavagadh-Jambughoda road, we sighted a sign board and turned right, into the narrow pathway. As we drove up hill on the curvy dirt road I felt exhilarated to yet again breathe the fresh lush green vegetation.  To me the thrill of entering the forest never dulls as we drove into the Eco Tourism Centre gates and on my first look at the site; I was more than glad that I accepted the suggestion of the well wishers at the Forest Department.  It looked very picturesque and undoubtedly looked like a perfect heaven for true nature lovers. The ‘Eco-Tourism Centre, Bhat’ is located on the slope of a hill; with hills surrounding the area on all sides to give the surroundings a very catchy look. The vegetation on the hills is thick and lush green as the monsoons had just bid adieu. The visitor’s rooms are beautifully done with the walls made of cut up bamboo tied together and then smeared up with mud plaster giving it an ethnic look as in the village huts. The huts are built in a line with each hut rising higher than the preceding one as we climb up hill. The sloped roofs’ of the huts are done in thatched dry grass. Small verandahs under the outer roof the huts look out onto a well maintained lawn area and a garden on the first level, followed by a raised playing area for the children and finally followed by raised circular sitting area under a shade where one can sit enjoy the scenic beauty over a cup of tea or coffee as we go up hill alongside the rising huts.  The kitchen is perfectly located as one climbs down hill on paved walk way between the row of huts and the garden area. Two small dining areas are built near the kitchen, one open with a sloped shade in front and another adjoining semi enclosed dining area under a concrete roof giving a picturesque view of the forest on the three sides.

Wasting no time we refreshed ourselves and begin our adventure climbing a high hill just behind the Eco Tourism Centre. We walked through the thick deciduous forest up hill with sticks in hands enjoying the lush green and thick vegetation dominated by the Khakra, Timru & Mahuda trees. Chirping of various different types of birds and the blowing wind that made the trees sway were like music to my ears and yet it was the pleasing silence of the forest that gave me a feeling of calmness and peace.  We climbed down just before the dusk set in with a satisfied look on our faces as we had seen many a different variety of birds, insects and the foot marks of the ‘Blue Bull’s’ on the hills. Getting back to the base, it was now photography time of the setting sun at dusk around the huts. Pleasing climate, clean breathing air, beautiful eye catching hills, lush green surroundings, orange-red tint of the setting sun in the western skies, adorably built huts and the melodious noise of a peacock calling from the forest, what more could have a nature lover asked for?
As the night fell we had our share of fun n frolic in the verandah area as my son made the most of the play area in the garden and studied his insects with his ‘bug-catcher’ which boasted of a ‘giant-centipede’ (‘kan-khajura’ in the local dialect), then a grasshopper and a fire-ant. Later we enjoyed the company of a group of teachers from as far as Bhavnagar and sat over dinner in the lovely open dining area enjoying some well cooked, mouth watering Guajarati food. As the night creped in we decided to drive to the ‘Vav Beat’ and the surrounding forests in a hope of getting lucky to sight a Leopard. Driving from the Shivrajpur, we took a detour eastwards as we drove to the Vav Beat.

At Vav village I called on at the quarters of the forest Guard S.G. Patel and a local farmer Ranchod who were both pleased to see me with my family. Here were two of the three men who were my companions at the ‘machan’ during the leopard counting census about 6 months back. Enjoying their hospitality over roasted groundnuts and maize we listened to the stories of how the Leopards kill and carry off the stray dogs from the village and now there are only two dogs left. Surrounded by their neighbors we got to learn that the villagers don’t fancy keeping domestic goats as Leopards lift them off too. We learned that the new born calves of the cows and buffaloes are kept indoors fearing that the leopard might carry them off. We learnt that this year the wild boars have increased in numbers and have invaded the farms causing more damage to the harvest than the blue bull.

We left Vav village thanking the villagers and continued our drive in search of the magnificent Leopard.  It was about 11.30 pm and we were accompanied by a local, Sanjay on our long drive to Kundal, in the Ratalmahal range where we hoped to see a sloth bear. Continuing our long drive through the forest road towards Kundal and Ratanmahal, I found that the area was infested with thick dense forest with farmlands in between. We got lucky to see a few foxes, jackals and hares. Just as we entered Kundal area, my wish was granted by Mother Nature as I turned the car on a curve, the head lights of the vehicle caught two bright shining eyes in the farm adjoining the road. It took a while for me to reckon that I was looking at a big feline, the Leopard. Slowly as I drove on in the bright moonlight I could now see it really was a Leopard walking in the farm land. The feline was lazily walking across the farm with its own aura and majestic way. Just as it saw our vehicle driving past the farm on the road it picked up its speed and got lost into the darkness of the thick vegetation on the other end of the farm. We continued with our drive into the night through the thick forest, ravines and hills going up and down with the moon shining bright and clear. We drove through Chhota Udepur, Bodeli and finally came back to ‘Bhat’ at 03.30 am in the night.

Next morning I was up early and continued with my photography of the beautiful surroundings infested with amazing flora and fauna. The morning grew better as the melody in the air was further boosted up by the noise of a peacock calling out loud and clear at small intervals for hours. And the scenic beauty went to its optimum zenith when Sanjay brought me a cup of refreshing tea. Invariably I reckoned that the morning sunrise is a treat to watch as the dawn gradually uncovers the beauty of Mother Nature by revealing different shades and colours of the picturesque landscape. The beauty of the dusk is relived during the dawn with the only difference being the direction of the light, as the dawn shone bright from the East. While I was counting the number of different colours of roses planted in the garden, I saw my wife and son walk down hill to join me in the dining area at about 09.00 am and we enjoyed our breakfast in the beautiful surroundings held by nature at its zenith. The worst part on all my visits to the forest is when it’s time to pack up and leave. It’s hard as none of us wanted to bid adieu to the beautiful and mesmerizing surroundings. Not just limited to me, but even a mere thought of getting ready to leave the forest is always hard for my son as he always wants to stay back in the forest. But then one has to leave to come back and I know I am coming back to the beautiful landscape, back again with my family to the beautiful Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary, which to me is a second home.

Haseeb Shaikh

Graphic Designer
B-5. Shirali Society, Mission Road,
Fatehgunj, Baroda 390 002.


  1. thanks for a nice writeup

  2. Very interesting story.

  3. Very interesting write up, Sheikh bhai. I am thinking to visit Jambughoda Sanctuary since long. Now my eagerness to go there has become more after reading your travelouge.
    Can you please tell us what was count of leopards in last census held ? Are their number going up or down. What about the presence of herbivors like spotted deer, Sambhar etc ? Please write up about your other wild expedition.


  4. Sir can you give me the contact details to book bhat eco tourism centre


  5. Sir can you give me the contact details to book bhat eco tourism centre



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