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Internet Bulletin : Issue Number 3  
March 30, 2000
Wildlife of Maharashtra

Index to this issue

1.    Status of Maharashtra's Protected Areas

            Part One : CHIKHALDARA Wildlife Sanctuary

            Part Two : DAJIPUR Wildlife Sanctuary

            Part Three : NAWEGAON BANDH Wildlife Sanctuary

            Part Four : RADHANAGARI (PANHALA) Wildlife Sanctuary


2.    Wilderness and wildlife outside protected areas of Maharashtra

            Part One : Malshej Ghat (Western Ghats)

            Part Two : Beaches of Maharashtra

3.    NGOs for Maharashtra's wildlife and wilderness


4.    News and Net Reports

            Part One : Sanctions may affect State forestry project     May 21, 1998

            Part Two : WB lauds join forest management project      February 20, 1999
5.    Bibliography and literature about Maharashtra's Wildlife : Part One

Status of Maharashtra's Protected Areas
Part One : CHIKHALDARA Wildlife Sanctuary
Dist. Amravati - 444 807. Tel: 34.

Situated in the Vidarbha region, this pretty little hill station offers you an abundance of wildlife, view points lakes and waterfalls. n fact, the Dhakana-Kolkaz National Park is famous for its tigers. The Melghat Tiger Project is located here. What's more. Chikaldhara's cool breezy climate makes it an excellent place to repose in summer. And the Semadoh Forest Lodge is a comfortable place to stay.

Getting there:  By Air: Nearest airport is Akola 150 kms. By Rail: Nearest railhead is Badnera. By Road: Bombay-Chikhaldara 763 kms. Nagpur-Chikaldhara 230 kms. Amravati-Chikaldhara 100 kms. State Transport buses ply from Amravati and Nagpur to Chikaldhara. Daily excursions by MTDC to game sanctuaries and sightseeing spots.

Reservation: Bombay, Nagpur and Amravati. Check-out-time: 12.00 noon. Accomodation: Self-contained rooms[20 blocks]


Status of Maharashtra's Protected Areas
Part Two : DAJIPUR Wildlife Sanctuary
Dist.Kolhapur, Tal.Radhanagari.

The Dajipur Bison Sanctuary is situated on the border of Kolhapur and Sindhudurg distict. The Jungle Resort is a scenic spot near the back waters of the Radhanagari dam. It is surrounded by hilly areas and thick forests abundant in wildlife. You can spot bison, wild deer, chital, gava etc. here. You'll find Gangagiri Maharaja's Math in the forest area. The special trekking camp is more than just fun. It's an enlightening excursion; a must for botanical students.

Getting there: By Air: Nearest airport is Kolhapur 80 kms. By Rail: Nearest railhead is also Kolhapur. By Road: Bombay-Dajipur 490 kms. Kolhapur-Dajipur 80 kms. Radhanagari-Dajipur 30 kms. Phonda-Dajipur 20 kms.

Reservation: Regional Office, Kolhapur. Check-out-time: 12.00 noon. Accomodation: Dormitory [l block - 30 beds] and tents. Restaurant service available.


Status of Maharashtra's Protected Areas
Part Three : NAWEGAON BANDH Wildlife Sanctuary
Tal.Saloki, Dist.Bhandara - 441 702. Tel: 54.

Nawegaon, Vidarbha's most popular forest resort, is the ultimate adventure spot. It is said to have been built by Kolu Patel Kolhi in the beginning of the 18th century. There's a picturesque lake set in the midst of hill ranges with watch-towers that enable you to view wildlife.
Make sure you visit the deer part, the Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, the three beautiful gardens and the children's park. Almost 60% of the bird species found in Maharashtra have been recorded in Nawegaon. Every winter, huge flocks of migratory ducks visit the lake. Sign up for MTDC's jungle safari and you may see the leopard, sloth bear, gaur, sambar, chital or the langur.
Also stay in the unique tree-top retreat. And for even more excitement, hire a power or sail boat at the lake.

Getting there: By Air: Nearest airport is Nagpur 145 kms. By Rail: Nearest railhead is Devalgaon 1 km. on South Eastern Railway. By Road:
Bombay-Nawegaon 995 kms. [Bombay-Dhule-Akola-Nagpur-Bhandara-Nawegaon] Nagpur-Nawegaon 132 kms.  (Nagpur - Bhandara - Sakoli-Nawegaon]. Devalgaon-Nawegaon 1 km. State Transport buses ply from Bhandara, Nagpur and Devalgaon to Nawegaon.

Reservation: Nagpur and Nawegaon. Check-out-time: 12.00 noon. Accomodation: Self contained rooms [8 blocks]. dormitories [2 blocks - 26 beds] and tents.


Status of Maharashtra's Protected Areas
Part Four : RADHANAGARI (PANHALA) Wildlife Sanctuary
Dist. Kolhapur - 416 201. Tel: 5048.

Situated at an altitude of 977.2 m., Panhala is a charming hill resort which makes for a complete holiday. Panhala's historic fort throws up memories of Chhatrapati Shivaji, such as his epic escape from the forces of Siddi Johar. Besides, there's the Sambhaji temple, Someshwar temple, Teen Darwaza, Raj Dindi and several other places. Of special interest are the blue basalt temples on the sacred Jyotiba hill 9 kms., the 7th century A.D Mahalaxmi temple at Kolhapur 18 kms., and the wildlife sanctuary at Radhangari 52 kms. What's more, there's abundant natural beauty to luxuriate in.

Getting there: By Air: Nearest airport is Belgaum 123 kms. By Rail: Nearest railhead is Kolhapur 18 kms. on South Central Railway. By Road:
Bombay-Panhala 428 kms. via Kolhapur. Kolhapur-Panhala 18 kms.

Reservation: Bombay,Pune,Kolhapur and Panhala. Check-out-time: 9.00 am. Accomodation: Self contained rooms [14 blocks], dormitory [1 block - 15 beds] and tents.


Status of Maharashtra's Protected Areas

Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), commonly known as Borivali National Park (BNP) is a miraculously preserved green oasis in the center of an urban sprawl. This national park is One of the very few, perhaps the only one of its kind, that is surrounded by a metropolis, sustaining a sizable population of big cats like Panthers. It is hard to believe, that within just less than an hour or so, one is transported from the hectic and fast life of the city to a serene and tranquil atmosphere of pleasingly verdant wilderness, serving as an outdoor museum to preserve the flora and fauna of this area.

This rich and diverse forest holds more than thousand species of plants, 40 species of mammals, 251 species of birds covering migratory, land and water birds, 38 species of reptiles and 9 species of amphibians besides a large variety of fishes, insects and other life forms. Panther is the largest predator of this forest, which can be easily seen in the late hours. Various other animals like Sambar (largest deer in India), Spotted deer, Chowrsingha (four horned antelope), Wild boar, Mongoose, Civet cat, Jungle cat, Langurs (leaf monkeys), Macaques may often be encountered. The park is very rich in bird and insect life specially butterflies, making it a truly naturalists paradise. Rocks and Hills near Kanheri (near the center of park) are ideal spots for Rockclimbers.

The forest cover of the park not only forms the catchment area for Tulsi and Vihar lakes, which are among the important sources of water for Mumbai, but also helps in keeping down the pollution levels of Mumbai by supplying fresh oxygen and acting as a sink.
History : This forest has a history dating back to the 4th century BC., Sopara (Nalasopara) and Kalyan were two ports near Mumbai which use to trade with Greece and Middle East. The trade route connecting the trade centers and these ports passed through this forest. The rock cut caves of Kanheri were ancient Buddhist settlements dating back to the 1st century, on this route and also served as rest houses for travelers.
The word Kanheri is originated from Sanskrit word "Krishnagiri" means, "Black Mountain".  The forests of Yeur and Nagla constituted the state property under the Maratha Empire. When the forest dept. came into existence in 1945, the forests were surveyed and brought under proper management. Earlier the name of the park was "Krishnagiri National Park" and the area was just 20.26 sq. km. In 1969, the park of present size materialised, by virtually piecing together the land of varying ownership. An independent unit of forest dept. called "Borivali National Park Sub-division" was created after adding the adjoining areas and "Krishnagiri National Park" was renamed as "Borivali National Park". In the early 80`s it was named as "Sanjay Gandhi National Park"
Location : This emerald is situated about 40 km away to the north of the trapezoid shaped island of Mumbai city & about 8 km from the Arabian Sea. The area of the park lies between longitude 72°53` to 72°58`E & latitude 19°08` to 19°21` N covering an area of approx. 104 sq. km.

Transport : Suburban trains are a frequent and very popular means of transport in metropolitan area. Borivali is the nearest railway station from where the park entrance is just a km. away. Buses (route no. 188) on regular Sunday and public holiday's schedules transport visitors to Kanheri caves from Borivali station. Chartered vehicles frequently bring groups throughout the week. The nearest airport is Sahar International airport and is about 18 km. from the park entrance.
Geology : The area comprises mainly of basic lava flows. These are commonly referred to as the `Deccan Trap` forming the part of the largest plateau basalt of the upper Cretaceous Eocans times (45 to 60 million yrs.)

Topography : The terrain is undulating with great panoramic views of hills, valleys, lakes and open patches. Rising from an elevation less than about 30 mts. above mean sea level, the terrain culminates into a series of peaks dispersed throughout the park, the highest near the Kanheri caves being 468 mts.

Temperature : The mean annual temperature is 27°C with a range of 15°C - 35°C over the period. Its proximity to the sea has a moderating influence on the climate. The weather is pleasant from Nov. to Feb., when the temp. is below 30°C. The relative humidity is always above 60%, very often exceeding 80% during monsoon.

Rainfall : The southwest monsoon bursts about mid June & continues with vigour till September. The maximum rainfall occurs in July & August. The mean annual rainfall is 2500 mm.
Forest Type :  The forest can be classified into two main classes: South Indian Moist Deciduous & Semi-Evergreen, which can be further differentiated as, a. Moist Teak Bearing forest. b. Southern Moist mixed Deciduous forest. c. Mangrove scrub. d. Western Sub-Tropical Hill forest.
Flora : The park is a tree lovers delight in all seasons, with a great amount of biodiversity ranging from Adina cardifolia (Kadamb), Albizia lebek (Shirish), Pongamia pianata (Karanj), Tectona grandis (Teak), Dalbergia latifolia (Sesum) to species of Acacia, Zizyphus and evergreen patches of Euphorbia. In the drier months from February to May, spectacular flowering of Butea monosperma (Flame of the Forest) is a feast for one's eyes. Flowering of Bombax malbaricum (Red silk cotton) and Erytherina indica (Indian coral tree) add colour. There are large patches of Bamboo, which make the feel of the jungle even better. The forest has a lot of Liana (woody climbers), a remnant from wetter greener past, many species of Orchids and a large variety of shrubs. Every monsoon is riot of colours from the violet of Zingiberaceae Species to the stark white of Costus Species. Among the many spectacular sights, one which definitely is most worthy, is the seven yearly mass flowering of Strobilanthes Species (Karvi). It is a feature of the Western Ghats and one can find extensive flowering in the park. Millions of these flowers cover the slopes giving a purple touch to this beautiful landscape.
Fauna : Small herds of Spotted deer, a solitary Sambhar, a darting Barking deer or being surprised by a Black naped hare running across your path are just some of the pleasant surprises of the National Park, but nothing can really match the awe, fear and goose pimply feeling when one is confronted by a large Leopard. The density of Leopards is one of the highest for any such wilderness, which makes this encounter a very real possibility. Slighting a Porcupine, which is rare, or a Palm civet, hardly seen these days or encountering a striped Hyena can make in a memorable experience. The lucky few can possibly see the elusive Four horned antelope or the extremely shy Mouse deer. The monkey species includes the Rhesus macaque, which is an introduced species, the Bonnet macaque and the completely vegetarian Hanuman langur (leaf monkey). The Indian flying fox is the biggest of the 17 bat species found in the park. The National Park is a bird watchers paradise. From the tiny Tickell's flowerpecker (small bird in India), many species of Sunbirds (old world equivalent of the humming birds) to the majestic Whitebellied Sea Eagle it is a virtual visual feast with birds like the Paradise flycatcher, the elusive Trogon, many species of Kingfishers, Woodpeckers and Drongos the continuous calling of the Large green barbet, the wildly screeching Parakeets, the metallic calls of the Racket-tailed Drongo, the musical call of the Blue flycatcher or the extremely melodious song of the Malabar whistling thrush or the familiar refrain of the Spotted babbler are just a few facets of nature's symphony in this forest. The Reptilian world is well represented by Crocodiles in Tulsi lake, Monitor lizards, Pythons, Cobras, Russess`s viper, Bamboo pit viper and the extremely rare Ceylonese cat snake recently discovered by the staff of Bombay National History Society. Smaller reptiles add to the wonder of this park. The invertebrate world from Crabs to Spiders to insects, Giant wood spiders, Signature spiders, Black wood spider with their large webs in monsoon is a treat to any naturalist. The insect world shows abundant variations in the form of Silk cotton bugs, Beetles and several kinds of Mantis. The Butterfly world is represented in a fascinating range of sizes and colours and includes the spectacular Blue Mormon, the phenomenal artist of camouflage the Blue Oak leaf, the bright Jezebels and Large Yellow and White Orange tips, Monarchs, Egg fly, Sailors which are some of the many attractive butterflies one can find here.
Archeological Features : The Kanheri caves located well within the park area are a major point of interest, presenting an accessible and interesting glimpse of the history and the culture of Buddhist India. Most of these 109 Buddhist caves chiseled out of the volcanic rock are simple small chambers, known as viharas (cells for monks). A few are larger & deeper chambers known as chaityas (for congregational worship). The main one which has colossal figures of standing Buddha, 7 m in height, on each side of the entrance porch, a colonnade of 34 pillars surrounding the interior halls and a overtopped stupa (shrine) at the far end, all carved in to the existing basaltic rock. These caves are dated from 1st century BC to 9th century AD indicating an well-organised Buddhist establishment of monks which existed on an ancient trade route connecting a number of trade centers & Indian ports. In this area there are nearly more than 100 inscriptions, out of which, three are in Pallavi, two in Sanskrit, one in Devnagri & the rest are in Brahmi script. The presence of Burial ground-cemetery is also a rare & interesting site to visit. The most unique and rare Motifs, which appear at Kanheri caves are: 1. The eleven headed Avalokiteshwara. 2. Makara which appears on the Buddha's throne at about shoulder level.

Best Time to Visit: The park is very unique in its nature, making it difficult to specify any particular time as being the best time. For the sheer enjoyment of the greenery, wilderness and tiny waterfalls & streams, monsoon is the best time. For bird watching and general viewing along with climbs at Kanheri hills, November to February are the ideal months. Serious mammal tracking may be possible in April - May when water supply is limited because of which visibility is the greatest.

Number of Visitors : This unique park is visited annually by over 30 lakh people, on an average 8000 to 10000 visitors visit it everyday, making it one of the most visited park in India. On Shivratri (auspicious day of Lord Shiva), the temple near Kanheri attracts more than one lakh devotees and pilgrims.
Recreational Zone : "Krishnagiri Upavan" with an area of approx. 5.5 sq. km. is reserved as a recreational zone inside the park, to cater the educational and recreational needs of the people. Amongst the several attractions of the Krishnagiri Upavan, the Lion Safari is the most famous. The thirteen-hectare Lion Safari park surrounded by a 6.5-m high fence, with crisscrossed roads, offer close encounter with the majestic King, from special buses. Through there is a sustainable population of crocodiles, the King of parks aquatic world, in Tulsi lake, it is very difficult to sight them. For easy sighting of these animals, the park offers a Crocodile park where these reptiles of different sizes can be viewed together.
Another attraction of the recreational zone is "Vanrani", the mini train that is a favorite of young visitors. A 15-min. ride on this train takes one along the fort hills of the famed Gandhi memorial, traverses couple bridges and tunnels and passes over the Deer Park. There are other attractions like boating in the lotus filled lake, gardens and children's parks.
Cottages and Camping facilities : Four rest houses and two camp sheds are available for visitors on prior reservations, which can be done between 10.00 to 17.00 hrs. on working days.
Entrance Fees : Entry to the Park : Timing : 07.30 to 18.30 hrs. The following entry fees are recovered at the park entrance gate.
Adult - Rs. 2.00 per day Child - Rs. 1.00 per day Child below 5 years free Vehicles - heavy (truck, buses) - Rs. 25.00 per day Vehicles - light (cars, tempo etc.) - Rs. 15.00 per day Motor cycles, rickshaw - Rs. 5.00 per day Tanga (horse carriage) - Rs. 3.00 per day

Lion Safari : Timing : Morning session - 09.00 to 13.00 hrs. Evening session - 14.20 to 17.20 hrs. Rate (Per trip) - Adult - Rs. 10.00
Children - Rs. 5.00 Child below 3 yr. - free Buses are available at an interval of 20 min. (closed on Monday)

Mini Train (Vanrani): Timing : Morning session - 09.00 to 13.00 hrs. Evening session - 14.20 to 17.20 hrs. Rate (Per trip) - Adult - Rs. 5.00
Children - Rs.2.50 Trains are available at an interval of 20 min.
Problems of the Park : This precious and verdant park of Mumbai is under tremendous pressure of the oversizing metropolis surrounding it. Encroachment from outside and within the park for human settlements is causing environmental degradation. Careless attitudes of devotees/pilgrims (more than 1 lakh people) on Shivratri pose a threat of fire hazards. The man-animal conflict on the boundary of the park arising because of panthers looking for easy prey like stray dogs near garbage dumps, quarrying on the periphery and quite a few instance of bootlegging are some of the other major threats to the park. .
For Additional Information : Dy. Conservator of forest Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali (E), Mumbai - 400 066 Tel.: 91-22-8860362; 91-22-8860389
Parklovers : This page was designed and complied by Mr. Kalpesh Shroff with the help of other parklovers: Prof. Sudhakar Solomonraj
Mr. Vivek Kulkarni Mr. Parvez Cama Ms. Sharmila Pradhan Please send your comments to or at the following address:
Mr. Kalpesh Shroff, 55, Chandrabhuvan, 1st Carpenter Street, C.P. Tank, Mumbai- 400 004, India. Tel : 91-22-3852208

Wilderness and wildlife outside protected areas of Maharashtra
Part One : Malshej Ghat (Western Ghats)

Monsoon mists in Malshej Ghat
Sourced from

Hidden in the high crevices of the Sahyadri mountains, this exquisite hill resort has monsoon lakes which attract thousands of splendid flamingos, writes Vimla Patil.

The verdant Sahyadri mountains run down the west coast of Maharashtra like a velvety green ribbon. Forested, mystical and silent, these hill ranges are called the Western Ghats. They are not only the climactic barometer of the state, but also the repository of the state's rugged history, religious thought, cultural resilience and spiritual energy. Great warriors and saints who have had a tremendous impact on the psyche of the people here, have touched these mountains with the magic of their valour and love. They have made these brooding mountains a natural, hallowed heritage of the people. Apart from the characteristic beauty of the wooded countryside and its superb animal and bird life, these craggy mountains hold historic forts, high-plateaued forest houses, resorts and sanctuaries and the most venerated rivers which bring vitality to this land.

One such sanctuary is the Flamingo Hill Resort at Malshej Ghat, a hilltop town which lies 150 km from the frenetic city of Mumbai. A journey of only three-and-a-half hours, along a first class highway, brings holidaymakers to this resort, standing 700 metres high in the mountains. The beauty of the resort lies in its forested environs and monsoon lakes where orange and white flamingos make their home each year during the monsoon. The Flamingo Hill Resort is surrounded by misty hills, placid monsoon lakes and cool, fragrant forests.

Nestling in the Western Ghats, the Flamingo Hill Resort sanctuary attracts trekkers and mini-adventure tourists like a magnet. Nature and wildlife lovers watching the exotic migratory flamingos in the monsoon find it a memorable experience. Year after year, these thickly forested hills and valleys respond to the call of the monsoon, with its lakes and dancing waterfalls, mist-circling peaks and craggy precipices. Those interested in history, find climbing up to the Shivneri Fort, the birthplace of Shivaji, which is just 40 km away, a great emotional journey into the valiant past of the state. In addition, there are caves of Buddhist origin in these far-flung hills. Those interested in religious journeys can travel to Ozar and Lenyadri, two Ganesh temples honoured by all devotees. They can also go to Bhimashankar, a centuries old shrine of Shiva, set at the origin of the river Bhima. All these temples are at a close distance.

From June to September, Malshej Ghat is a wonderland of fauna and flora. It offers tourists a quick getaway from the stress of city life. The wind velocity in the peaceful valleys here is an unforgettable experience; the farstretching flamingo lakeview is unique and the landscape is an outstanding example of mountain scenery. The post-monsoon months, leading into the festive season and then the mellow, misty winter in the hills, are a delight for visitors who can enjoy under-the-sky camps with fireflies and crackling wood fires, picnics by the lakeside, walks into the forest glades and the refreshing company of thousands of splendid birds. Many cool weather excursions are possible from Malshej Ghat. Between October and February, Harishchandragarh, a dream peak for trekkers, beckons them because of its nearness-just seven km. The 1,424 metre peak is unique because from here, the semicircular massif of the Konkan Kada offers the fascinating sight of a coin defying the law of gravity by swirling upward when flung into the air, because of high wind velocity. From Puzzle Point, a trekker can lose his way along the jungle paths and wander back at leisure to his safe resort abode.

For an environmentalist, these jungles provide the excitement of adventure along with economy. The well-preserved forest forms the jungle wealth of India and helps a variety of birds and animals to flourish in peace and security. Visitors can experience nature in its full glory even though the resort is very close to highly industrialised cities. The resort gives them an ambience that is just right. They can wake up to the songs of birds to watch the first rays of the sun pierce the thick mists which cover the hills and forests. They can sit by campfires in the night watching the stars twinkle in the firmament. At an altitude of 700 metres, they can experience the beautiful clement weather and take back memories of fun, adventure, beauty, peace and freedom in the limitless space of the green mountains.


Wilderness and wildlife outside protected areas of Maharashtra
Part Two : Beaches of Maharashtra

Come, discover the beaches of Maharashtra
By Achal Dhruva
Sourced from

Maharashtra with all its diversities is a pandora's box of tourist destinations. Here are some more beaches you can try and enjoy this summer.

1. Bhatye     2. Harihareshwar     3. Vengurla      4. Murud-Harnai      5. Murud-Janjira
6. Revdanda      7. Kihim-Alibaug       8. Bordi      9. Umergaon

The whispering casuarinas and the crashing waves lull you to sleep. The dying embers of a bonfire sparkle as you lie on the sand with a bright starry canopy spread above. This is Bhatye beach at its romantic best. Living by the sea in the tented resort of MTDC is an experience one cannot afford to miss. Just on the outskirts of Ratnagiri, this is one of many beaches in the Konkan which has not yet caught the eye of Mumbaikars. Ratnagiri, 356 km by road, is now connected by rail route thanks to Konkan Railways. But the seats have to be booked well in advance if one wish to travel to Ratnagiri by train in summer and travelling by a state transport bus is almost an impossible proposition in the vacation rush. Sunset seen through the casuarinas is a photographers' delight. Also, the view of the setting sun from the hill at the far end of the beach is breathtaking to say the least. Closeby is Pawas where one can visit Swaroopanand Swami Ashram which is famous for its pious and tranquil ambience. The beach, with its proximity to the town, has the added advantage of offering a gastronomical feast of seafood cooked in Malwani style. In fact, at all the beaches in Konkan, one can royaly pamper the palate beginning with the famous solkadi, followed by vade sagote, mutton or chicken served with vadas, a konkan speciality, chicken with that typical coconut gravy and the fresh catch of the day.

Yet another town in Ratnagiri with a tranquil and picturesque beach. The landmark at this beach like Ganpatipule is a temple, the Kalbhairav Shiva temple. For those who are not afraid of sailing in the small fishing boats which dot the coastline, a trip to the north side of the bay is worthwhile to see the original residence of the Peshwas or the prime ministers of the Maratha empire. The route to reach this beach is the famous Mumbai-Goa highway via Panvel-Mangaon-Goregaon Phata 230 km away. Besides just lazing on the beach, one can also visit the Peshwa Smarak and Bankot fort at Bagmandala about four km away. This beach is also not fully exploited by Mumbaikars though the distance of just 230 km is not a very long drive to enjoy a wonderful three to four sunny days at a wonderful beach.

Along with a virgin beach with clear blue-green waters, one can experience a fell of a typical Konkan coastal village at Vengurla. This getaway is for those who are prepared to rough it out as there are very few hotels. Of course, one can always partake the hospitality of the locals. For the adventurous types, camping on the beach is the best bet. In all probability, the group seated around a bonfire will be the only souls answering the call of waves with beam from the lighthouse on Vengurla Rocks (Burnt Island) close by. Located in Sindhudurg district, this far from the madding crowd getaway is 550 km by road. The nearest railhead is Sawantwadi on the Konkan Railway. It is an ideal stopover for a day or two on way to Goa.

This palm fringed beach is famous for its clean white sands and safe waters. At the south end of the beach, you have the old Harnai Fort standing majestically. This fort was built in various levels and is a very interesting piece of architecture. One can also camp on the beach at the MTDC tent resort. Located in Ratnagiri district 247 km by road via Panvel-Pen-Lonar Phata-Dapoli, this beach is at the foothill of what can be called as the only hill station of the Konkan, Dapoli. The nearest railhead is Satara which is 154 km away. Close to Murud-Harnai, one can also visit Panhale Kazi, the famous rock-cut monuments. Dapoli and Murud-Harnai offer the best of both worlds, a beach and a hill station.
Closer home, this beach is quite popular with city tourists. Many visit this idyllic place for a day's picnic. Fringed with swaying palms, it is the best place to tie a hammock and have a siesta with the cool sea breeze blowing. The drive down to Murud is a very pleasant experience from Alibaug onwards. The road is extremely narrow and lined with thick plantation winding its way through small villages occasionally giving a glimpse of the tempting waters beyond. Located in Raighad district, the nearest railhead is Panvel 122 km away. Besides the beach, one can discover the charms of an island fortress. The 300-year-old fortress is an architectural marvel which was once considered impregnable. The fortress is located in the sea and is approachable only in low tide. If one loses track of time within the precinct of this amazing fortress, which happens quite often, one might be stranded with water all around and would have to wait for the tide to receed. The other tourist attractions nearby are the Nawab's palace and the Janjira caves. Besides the MTDC resort, there are plenty of small resorts available at affordable prices. In summer, the locals rent out extra rooms to the tourists.

A sleepy village with an excellent and not-so-well-known beach is yet another wonderful getaway. Right on the beach is Revdanda Fort, one of Shivaji's innumerable forts. Though in ruins now, the fort has withstood the ravages of time quite well and a considerable portion is intact. Time seems to stand still as you stare out to the open sea from the gun turrets of the fort. Between Murud-Janjira and Alibaug, this destination is highly appealing as it has not yet been commercialised. There are just two hotels which have come up recently so the pristine beauty of the beach has been retained so far. It is an excellent place for those who like a quiet and peaceful holiday.

The journey to these two destinations is as wonderful an experience as the beaches, if one travels by ferry. The boat journey of more than an hour from Bhaucha Dhakka or Ferry Warf to Rewas Jetty is simply exhilirating. Sailing with sea gulls for company is not a Mumbaikar does every second day. There are now catamarans from Gateway of India which touch Rewas in 30 minutes flat but don't provide the same romance as that of the ferry. Of course, one can travel by road but it is not the same and is too time consuming. Located in Raighad district, Kihim is 136 km while Alibaug is 124 km away. The nearest railhead is Panvel which is 85 km from Kihim. Rewas Jetty is just six km from Kihim. Both these places have turned into a weekend retreats for the rich and the famous who have their bungalows along the beach and in the interiors. The proximity to the city is the main asset of the beaches and tourists throng them in large numbers. In fact, much of Alibaug's charm has been lost due to the presence of too many people. On Sunday, Alibaug resembles Juhu beach but with greater scenic beauty. In comparison, Kihim with MTDC tented accommodation on the beach, is a more attractive proposition. The attractions around Kihim include historic forts, churches, synagogues and the fascinating tower of St. Barbara. Accommodation is no problem as there are many resorts which have sprung up in the last few years to suit all kinds of budgets. Instead of a day's picnic, one should visit these beaches for three or four days to really enjoy and experience its beauty.

If there is a concentration of good beaches down the coast, there are also a few in the north towards Gujarat. Fringed with casuarinas, Bordi is a very safe beach where the water for half a kilometre does not rise above the waist. The entire stretch of 17 km from Dhanu to Bordi is scenic with a backdrop of orchards of various fruits, especially chikoos. By road, the distance is 145 km. Bordi is also a station on the Western Railway, while the major station is Dhanu 15 km from Bordi. Besides the MTDC resort, there are quite a few hotels near the beach and one can also get accommodation in spacious Parsee bungalows on the beach. An ideal place to unwind as there is nothing much by way of tourist attraction besides the sand and the sea.

This beautiful beach is a place where great mythologies have come to life. Shooting of the serial Ramayan took place at Umergaon. But this destinationa with its sylvan surroundings has been a favourite for tourist who seek a quiet holiday. Located on the border of Maharashtra and Gujarat, one gets to experience the cultures of both states. The beach is in Gujarat, the land of prohibition. So by evening, one can spot the tourists and locals heading east across the railway track to raise their spirits in Maharashtra. Umergaon is also a railway station on Western Railway and by road it is 160 km away. Accommodation is available very close to the beach. Long walks on the beach and hours of swimming on this relatively unexploited beach is the highlight of this destination.


NGOs for Maharashtra's wildlife and wilderness

Nature Trails
 The idea of a nature trail is distinct from a bird watching expedition or a botany excursion. The nature trail as a nature experience covers the sounds, smells colours and shapes, which make up the natural world. It combines instructions with actual experience of nature in all its fullness.
A nature trail group has a maximum of 15 members with an instructor. A trail has parts where participants walk soaking in nature, parts where wonders are pointed out, parts where they discover sights and insights for themselves. The most active phase for nature trails is July to January, where one enjoys the best of monsoon as well as the pleasant onset of winter. The total group size varies from 45 to 70.

The most usual nature trails are the ones exploring different forest areas in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the wilderness area in Mumbai, or to Kakuli lake near Ambernath in the neighbouring township of Kalyan, or Karnala Bird Sanctuary about 65 km from Mumbai. Every year new trail areas are being explored.  Nature trails could be part treks to waterfall areas, and many of the hill forts which dot the Western region of Maharashtra.
Overnight Trails
 These are weekend outings which attempt to incorporate nature orientation inputs, including astronomy as well as the ability to visit wilderness areas a distance over 100 km from Mumbai. These trails include sessions, slide shows, nature conservation music and nature games along with forest walks in the night and nature trails during the day. Overnight trails have been to:

Raigarh Fort - the capital of Shivaji and the 17th century Maratha king - 160 km from Mumbai.
Mahuli Fort - an important hill fort 90 km from Mumbai
Suryamal - a wilderness area 120 km from Mumbai
Karnala Fort - trek up Karnala fort in the night, about 70 km from Mumbai
Bhimashankar - a wildlife sanctuary and hill station around a pilgrim centre 227 km from Mumbai and a climb up of around 4000 ft.
Lohagrah Fort - near Lonavala, a hill station near Mumbai, 120 km away
Rajamachi Fort - a long trek near Lonavala

Nature Camps
The wilderness activity most looked forward at - Twice a year in the vacations - a week, two-week long camp. These camps are organized for fifty students at highly subsidized rates at significant National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries in India. These camps are intensive education camps with inputs in Natural History through interactive and creative exercises, slide shows, panel discussion of issues, astronomy, conservation, lifestyles, action plan, nature music, nature trails and sometimes adventure activities. The nature club also organizes activities and trails and camps for other groups including colleges like Sophia College, Mumbai.  Camps have been to:

Radha Nagari Wildlife Sanctuary in South Maharashtra
Malvan Marine Sanctuary in South Maharashtra
Rehekuri Black Buck Sanctuary in Western Maharashtra
Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Maharashtra
Wilderness areas near Mahableshwar in West Maharashtra and Ratnagiri, in South Maharashtra
Wilderness area around Koyna dam in Western Maharashtra
Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary in North Maharashtra
Tadoba National Park in North Maharashtra
Gir National Park, the only reserve of the Asiatic Lion in Gujarat
Pirotan Marine National Park in Gujarat
Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu
Fobangla Wildlife Sanctuaries and other wilderness areas in Sikkim and wilderness areas near Kalimpong and Darjeeling in North Bengal
Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh


News and Net Reports

Indian Express. Thursday, May 21, 1998
Sanctions may affect State forestry project
Pradip Kumar Maitra

NAGPUR, May 20: The ambitious World Bank (WB) sponsored Maharashtra Forestry Project is likely to get a setback in the wake of the Pokharan nuclear test by the Vajpayee Government.  The WB had initially sanctioned a sum of Rs 413.51 crore for the project in 1992-93 which was later reduced to Rs 350 crore. The Washington-based international financial institution had already released a sum of Rs 270-crore for the project. The WB had assisted only two states in the country on forest development and conservation -- Maharashtra and West Bengal. While it sanctioned a hefty amount for Maharashtra, West Bengal got around Rs 200 crore. The six-year Maharashtra Forestry Project for which Rs 350 crore credit has been received from the Bank, is scheduled to be completed in September 1998.

The State forest headquarters here feels that it will be difficult to get the balance amount of Rs 80 crore after the fallout of the nuclear test as almost all foreign countries have decided to stop financial aide to India.Thoughthe WB is technically independent of the western governments which have applied economic sanctions against India, forest officials feel that the USA will prevail upon the WB to cut down aide. The main thrust of the programme which was launched in 1992, has been on developing 18,000 sq km of forest land, out of 63,767 sq km of forest cover in the State which has degraded forest or is totally wasteland and 1,15,000 sq km of non-forest land.

A major amount was utilised for production forestry and wildlife conservation. A substantial amount of WB loan also used for forest research, education and development. The local forest officials fear that abandoning the project half-way would come in the way of realising the planned result. Much of the amount already spent will become unproductive expenditure. Even need may arise for retrenchment of staff. Both State and central governments should carefully examine the possibilities of alternative source of funding the project. The abrupt discontinuation of theproject will be a disaster, they have warned.

Besides the on-going WB assistance to Maharashtra and West Bengal, the Union government has sent another ambitious National Forestry Action Plan with the financial assistant from the WB for overall forestry development in 25 states and six territories. The proposal includes: the extension of on-going financial assistant of WB to Maharashtra. The action is proposed following the success of the WB sponsored Maharashtra Forestry Project and is also a sequel to the Rio De Janeiro conference on bio-diversity.

The Union Forest and Environment Ministry was expecting over 1,000 million dollars aid for the project. The Union government had prepared the action plan on the basis of proposals submitted by each State and Union Territory regarding their respective foreign aid requirement for the project. The Maharashtra forest department also sent a comprehensive proposal on it to continue its on-going forestry project for further few years. It is apprehended that thistoo will be adversely affected due to the new development.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


News and Net Reports

Indian Express. Thursday, February 20, 1999

WB lauds join forest management project
Pradip Kumar Maitra

NAGPUR, FEB 19: The World Bank has appreciated the State Forest Department's joint forest management programme, where forest and wildlife conservation is undertaken through peoples' participation. The department has taken a loan from the International Monetary Fund for the programme, introduced in the State in 1996. An eight-member World Bank team led by I A Khan, which has been touring the State's forest areas and evaluating the World Bank-aided works from February 10, appreciated the joint forest management, particularly in Buldhana district.

The team, which visited Nagpur, Bhandara, Gondia, Yavatmal, Wardha, Chandrapur, Amravati, Melghat, Akot, Akola, Buldhana, Nashik, Thane and other forest areas of the State, also appreciated work in the field of wildlife conservation, the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM)'s plantation programme, progress of its seed unit at Nagpur, the village eco-development programme of the Social Forestry Department and root trainer project of the FDCM atNashik.

The team also had a word of appreciation for the work undertaken by the Wildlife Wing of Vidarbha towards conservation of Chaprala wildlife sanctuary in Gadchiroli district and Bor Wildlife Sanctuary, Wardha. Both the sanctuaries are relatively new. The evaluation survey will be completed by February 20. A joint meeting has also been organised at Mantralaya in Mumbai with Chief Secretary P Subramaniam and senior forest officials on February 22 to evaluate the work completed thus far. The chief conservator of forests (CCF), Maharashtra Forestry Project, Jwala Prasad and Arvind Kumar Jha, CF of the project, assisted the team in their review while senior forest officials accompanied the team.

The World Bank had sanctioned Rs 431 crore for the development and conservation of State forests in 1992. The Maharashtra Forest Department was the first in the country to have received financial assistance from the World Bank for developing its various wings. The International Monetary Fund has alreadygiven about Rs 270 crore, and will give more by March 2000.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

Bibliography and literature about Maharashtra's Wildlife : Part One

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Bustard, H.R. (1982). Crocodile breeding project. In Saharia, V.B. (Ed.), Wildlife in India. Natraj Publishers, Dehra Dun. Pp. 147-163.

Champion, H.G. (1936). A preliminary survey of the forest types of India and Burma. Indian Forest Record (New Series) 1: 1-286.

Champion, H.G. and Seth, S.K. (1968). A Revised Survey of the Forest Types of India. Govt of India Press, Delhi. 404 pp.

Collins, N.M., Sayer, J. and Whitmore, T.C. (eds) (1991). The Conservation Atlas of Tropical Forests: Asia and the Pacific. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. 256 pp.

FAO/UNEP (1981). Tropical forest resources assessment project. Technical report No. 3. FAO, Rome.

Gadgil, Madhav (1989). The Indian heritage of a conservation ethic. In: Allchin, B., Allchin, F.R. and Thapar, B.K. (Eds), Conservation of the Indian Heritage. Cosmo Publishers, New Delhi. Pp. 13-21.

Government of India (1985). Research and Reference Division Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

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Groombridge, B. (ed). 1993. The 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. lvi + 286 pp.

IBWL (1972). Project Tiger. A planning proposal for preservation of tiger (Panthera tigris tigris Linn.) in India. Indian Board for Wildlife, Government of India, New Delhi. 114 pp.

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IUCN (1986). Review of the Protected Areas System in the Indo-Malayan Realm. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K. 461 pp.

IUCN (1987). Centres of Plant Diversity: A Guide and Strategy for their Conservation (An outline of a book being prepared by the Joint IUCN-WWF Plants Conservation Programme and IUCN Threatened Plants Unit).

Kar, C.S. and Bhaskar, S. (1981). Status of sea turtles in the Eastern Indian Ocean. In: Bjorndal, K. (Ed.), Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles. Proc. World Conf. Sea Turtle Cons., Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington. Pp. 373-383.

Lal, J.B. (1989). India's Forests: Myth and Reality. Natraj Publishers, New Delhi, India.

Nayar, M.P. and Sastry, A.R.K. (Eds.)(1987). Red Data Book of Indian Plants, Vol. 1. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta. 367 pp.

MacKinnon, J. and MacKinnon, K. (1986). Review of the Protected Areas System in the Indo-Malayan Realm. International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K. 284 pp.

Panwar, H.S. (1982). Project Tiger. In: Saharia, V.B. (Ed.), Wildlife in India. Natraj Publications, Dehra Dun. Pp. 130-137.

Pillai, V.N.K. (1982). Status of wildlife conservation in states and union territories. In: Saharia, V.B. (Ed.), Wildlife in India. Natraj Publishers, Dehra Dun. Pp. 74-91.

Rodgers, W.A. and Panwar, H.S. (1988). Planning a wildlife protected area network in India. 2 vols. Project FO: IND/82/003. FAO, Dehra Dun. 339, 267 pp.

Salim, R.V. (1981). Coastal resources in Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan: description.
Scott, D.A. (1989). A Directory of Asian Wetlands. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, UK.

UNEP/IUCN (1988). Directory of Coral reefs of International Importance. Vol. 2. Indian Ocean, Red Sea and Gulf. UNEP Regional Seas Directories and Bibliographies. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, Cambridge, UK/UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya. 389 pp, 36 maps.


Published on the Internet with due credit to  any agency holding copyright to any of the text above.
PROTECTED AREAS Update is produced every two months, as a follow-up to the workshop on Exploring the Possibilities of Joint Protected Area Management (JPAM), organised at the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi, in September 1994.

PA Update 21 was prepared by Pankaj Sekhsaria and Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh. Illustrations by Peeyush Sekhsaria Several news items were accessed from Centre for Science and Environment's Green File, but have been credited to their original sources.
Apartment 5, Shri Dutta Krupa, 908 Deccan Gymkhana, Pune 411 004, Maharashtra, India. Tel/Fax: 020-5654239 (pl. note change of number)

(c) Maharashtra Vanyapraani Mitra Parishad  /March 30, 2000


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