Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, consisting primarily of a 120.82-square-kilometre lake and ambient marshes, is situated about 64 km to the west of Ahmedabad near Sanand Village. Mainly inhabited by migratory birds in winter and spring, it is the largest wetland bird sanctuary in Gujarat, and one of the largest in India. It was declared a bird sanctuary in April 1969.
A black tailed godwit gracefully descends upon the tranquil water, flutters its wings and sails on. A small, brown and white wader with a slightly up curved bill, the bird has traveled 3500 kms from its nesting ground in Central Europe to spend the winter at Nal Sarovaar in Gujarat. Clouds upon clouds of more than 200 types of birds land in this lake having made an equally long journey to escape the harsh winter of their nesting areas. Hear they dined food and warmth. These migrant birds visit Nal Sarovaar every year from November to February. During these four months water is plentiful and fish, insects and aquatic plants abound in the lake – an ideal environment for the birds. Nal Sarovar at this time is a bird watcher’s delight.
When food and water are scarce in Nal Sarovar, some birds go away for short periods to nearby areas and return to the lake after monsoon to a feast of fish and insects. These are the resident birds.
The lake – Nal Sarovar – and the wetlands around it were declared a Bird Sanctuary in 1969. Spread over 120 sq. Kms, the lake and the extensive reed beds and marshes are an ideal habitat for aquatic plants and animals. The lake attracts a large variety of birds like Plovers, Sandpipers and Stints.
There are 360 – odd islets in the lake. Most of them lie exposed when the water level is low. The lake gets filled with water that drains from the adjoining Surendranagar and Ahmedabad Districts in the monsoon. With this fresh water inflow, brackishness in the lake is reduced considerably.
The migratory birds arrive in vast numbers, homing in on the lake. There are flocks of Pelicans, Flamingoes, Ducks, Demoiselle Cranes, Common Cranes and several waders occupying huge patches of the lake during the season.
With the approaching summer the lake water dries up making it brackish, and the fish and other insect life becomes scarce. The migratory birds and most of the resident birds, such as Cormorants, Grebes and Openbill Storks, begin to leave by April.
The sanctuary lies in the Surendranagar and Ahmedabad Districts. It is 64 kms from Ahmedabad and 90 kms from Gandhinagar, 82 kms from Surendranagar, 160 kms from Vadodara and 40 kms from Viramgam.
BEST SEASON TO VISIT:
November to February
EVOLUTION OF THE LAKE:
The Nal Region is a low – lying area between the plains of the central Gujarat and eastern Saurashtra. Owing to its low-lying topography, it is believed to represent a filled up sea link, that previously existed between the little ran in the North and the Gulf of Khambhat in the South. Remnants of this sea are thought to be represented by the Nal Sarovar.
TIPS FOR VISITORS:
O Wear dull clothes that blend with the surroundings.
O Do not take radio sets, tape, recorders, musical instruments etc., inside the sanctuary.
O Do not go too close to the birds, you will scare them away.
O Take along a good bird identification guide and a pair of binoculars.
O Shoot only with a camera.
O Do not litter the sanctuary. Take back your garbage with you.
O A better environment starts with you… enjoy the wetlands and its life.
What to See and Do
To see about thousand species of birds like flamingos and other water birds migrate in the Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary during winter. Some indigenous species of birds also come here after breeding. Various variety of birds like kingfishers, egrets, darters, storks, cormorants, jacanas, moorhens, coots, grebes and ducks can be seen in the Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary.
Where To Stay
Some Resorts are there near to Nal Sarovar. However, it is very near to Ahmedabad and one can stay at Ahmedabad.
How To Get Around
The Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary can be easily reached from Ahmedabad, which is about 60 kms. away.
Nearest railway station : Viramgam- 40 km
Nearest petrol pump :Bagodra – 28 km
Nearest airport : Ahmedabad- 64 km