Saputara is a picture perfect sole hill station of Gujarat. Perfectly snuggled in the Western ghats, saputara is undoubtedly a photographers delight owing to its picturesque misty hills, livid landscapes,winding roads,serene climate and enchanting forests. It is well known for the para gliding festival, Dang Darbar and the Monsoon festival organised by the Gujarat tourism in order to attract tourists. Moreover Saputara also offers a plethora of adventurous activities like parasailing, zorbing, go-carting, and biking.
History – As per mythology, Lord Rama not only walked on this special hill station but spent 11 years of his exile in Saputara. The hill resort Saputara(abode of serpents) derives its name from the snake idol situated on the shore of Sarpganga river flowing through the city worshipped by the tribal communities of saputara.
Saputara Lake – One of the topmost attractions of Saputara is the enchanting and pristine lake popular among tourists as a boating spot. It is situated 1.5 km from the hill station. Mornings by the lake are magical with the fresh air , chirping birds and few people while the evenings are pleasant and mesmerizing attracting majority of tourists. The still water of the lake reflects the beauty of the surroundings. One can relax by the lakeside and enjoy roasted corn, maggi and chai/coffee.
Saputara Tribal Museum – It is located very near to the Saputara lake. People showing keen interest in history must visit this place as it exhibits the well preserved culture and heritage of Dang community. It also opens door to a different world where pottery,unique grass ornaments, stone artifacts, clay objects, tattoos and masks make sense even today.
Sunrise and sunset point – In order to witness the spectacular view of rising sun, the Valley view point is the best place. The point also offers breathtaking panoramic views of Saputara and malegaon which make your day for sure. From the table land view point on governor hills one can hop into the cable car run by Vaity resort and reach the sunset point in 10 minutes. This ten minute ride offers you bird’s eye view of the entire city, the lake and the adjoining plains. Gandhi Shikhar is famous for the stunning sunsets. As you witness the sunset,the horizon is filled with various hues of yellow and orange and gradually the sun disappears.One can enjoy horse riding or camel riding at these spots. In monsoons, the place transforms magically as clouds lower down to the point, the mist engulfs the surroundings and the visibility is highly reduced. Horse cart ride in such atmosphere is like an adventure. It feels like you are riding in the seamless entities of heaven unaware of the boundaries. Truly a magical experience!!!!
Gajabhishek (Jain )temple – It is a beautiful temple with mountains in the backdrop. The temple has 500 yr old idol of Shri Chintamani Gajabhishek Parshwanath. The temple is adorned with lovely artistic sculpture on its doors and arches. It also offers a peaceful stay in its well maintained Dharamshala on prior bookings.
Artist village – Located on the Nashik road it is a beautiful village exhibiting spectacular artifacts of clothes, bamboo forests, and many more things. Warli, Bhil, and Kunbi are the major tribal communities living in the village. Run by Chandrakant Parmar and Surya Goswami, it is a good place to learn about the culture of this region, especially for school groups. One can also opt for simple accomodation for a very reasonable cost provided by the community.One can buy souvenirs as well as try hands at making the artifacts or warli painting.
Vansda National Park – Vansda national park situated near the town of Vansda is named after its owner Maharaja of Vansda. The most striking feature of this park is that not a single tree has been cut here since then. River Ambika flows through the forest area sustaining the ecosystem of the whole area. The park is a must visit place for wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers as one can witness varied flora and fauna in this area with prior permission in your own vehicles as well as opt for trekking in the dense green forest areas. Animals such as leopards, Indian porcupines, four-horned antelopes, langurs, rhesus macaques, deer, flying squirrels, etc are spotted in this park.
Hatgad Fort – Located just 5 kms before Saputara on the Sahayadri range at an altitude of 3600 feet and rising about 600 feet from the plain below, the rocky fort looks imposing. It is believed that this fort was built during the reign of Shivaji in the 17th century and had a strategic importance on the trade route to Gujarat and was used as a watch tower to keep a watch on the activities on the Nasik and Gujarat side of the mountain range.Not much remains of the fort today except for some dilapidated monuments.There are four gates in a row on the main entrance path of the fort.The main entrance gate has a Hanuman idol whereas there are two rock cut water cisterns called Ganga and Jamuna inside the fort. There is a inscription n Sanskrit carved on the rock near water cistern. History buffs can trek to this fort and surely capture nice clicks.
Gardens of Saputara – Saputara proudly boasts of unique and beautiful gardens like step garden,lake garden,rose garden and botanical gardens(waghai). The step garden is a blend of ornamental plants grown stepwise on a hillock , forest huts and recreation area for kids. It is located on the table land road. Rose garden is known to house a wide variety of roses cultivated with the utmost care. Waghai botanical garden is a well maintained huge (24-hectare) garden with 1,400 varieties of plants from all over India. The amateur nature lover can marvel at different varieties of bamboo like the Chinese Bamboo, Golden Bamboo, Beer Bottle Bamboo, etc. and enjoy strolling along the beautiful walkways each lined with different species of tree.
Gira falls – Gira falls situated on the Waghai Saputara state highway fall from a height of 150m approximately.It is one of the prominent attractions of Saputara where one can bathe under the falls, trek in the forest area, have fun in the picnic huts and gorge on tea and snacks at the small shacks besides the falls.The falls are located on the river Gira near the Girmal village, which is about 8 km west of Shingala. Monsoon is the best time to visit the falls. One has to walk a little from the parking area to witness the stunning falls.
How to reach : By road: Waghai is 51 km away Ahmedabad: 409 km Surat: 164 km Mumbai: 250 km Vadodara: 309 km. Buses are avaialble from waghai and ahmedabad. By rail: The nearest railway station is Waghai, on the Billimora-Waghai narrow gauge section of the Western Railway. In case yiu are coming from mumbai or ahmedabad first you need to come to Bilimora station and then travel to waghai. By air: Vadodara airport ,309 km away.
Travel Tips :
- Plan a trip to saputara in monsoons and cherish memories for lifetime.
- Prior bookings of hotels will make your stay in saputara a comfortable one as it is heavily crowded in monsoons.
- Visit the lake in the evening and enjoy boating as you witness the sunset.
- The ropeway is a major attraction and has long queues during vacation time. A cable car can accomodate 6 people at a time.
- Dont forget to visit the artist village and get some antique souvenirs for your loved ones.
- Relish mouth watering Gujarati cuisine while you stay in saputara and if possible skip your regular punjabi food dishes.
- Help localites i.e tribal communities by buying items from them.
- During monsoon, you can enjoy the monsoon festival and have a glimpse of the unique tribal dancing styles and lifestyle.
- Plan for atleast one night stay to enjoy and relax in the beautiful hill station.
- If you wanna experience Dang darbar festival, plan a trip before holi and soak in the fesivities including musical activities, folklore,etc.
- If you are an adventure freak, plan your trip in january and be a part of the most happening paragliding festival in the world.