Saputara means the Adobe of Serpents and a snake image on the banks of the river Sarpagana is worshipped by the Adivasis on festivals like Holi. Saputara has been developed as a planned hill resort with all the necessary ameneties like hotels, parks, swimming pools, boat club, theatres and a museum to ensure an enjoyable holiday in the cool of the hills.
Long walks along the beautiful lake are some of the treats of this uncluttered and simple hill station. The more adventurous can trek down to nearby villages, the Hatgadh Fort or the legendary Pandava Caves. It has a cool bracing climate.
In winter, at the spill of dawn, trek up to the Gandhi Shikhar as the river of light bathes the streams over undulating mountains and the drifting birds, into a magical dance of awakening.
In rains, breathe in the rolling hills of Saputara, echoing green hues, lush with flowers, and watch the meditating rain drops sitting still on sloping leaves. Some of the thickest forest cover in the state envelops you.
In summer, walk carefree on the expanse of the Governor’s hill and see the sun dip into the Saputara lake as the sky begins to shimmer with stars.
As your bus chugs uphill, crisscrossing over the Ambika river, you leave all the congestion of towns and cities far below you and enter the spirit world of tribal people. Nestled in the Sahyadri range, at an altitude of about 1000 m, this Dangi enclave derives its name from the Snake god revered by the tribals and translates as ‘the abode of serpents’, Saputara.
In spite of being the only hill station of Gujarat, it is minimally commercialized, still unspoiled.
Saputara Lake, a serene and secluded picnic spot, is placedright at the heartland of Saputara valley. The lake is on the base of Saputara hill station and is placed perfectly on the picturesque hilly surroundings. The surroundings of the lake are provided with many facilities for merry making, especially with children’s parks and play grounds.Boating in the Saputara Lake is really a wonderful experience; Paddle boats and row are available for those who are interested. The lake and the surrounding amusement facilities attract many visitors; domestic as well as foreign tourists make it a point to spend some time on the bank of the lake to relax.
Saputara Tribal Museum
The population of the Dangs, where Saputara is located, is 90% adivasi. This museum will give you an introduction to the lifestyle, costumes, heritage and ecology of the tribal Dangs. Although the presentation lacks character, it is worth visiting to learn about many major forms of tribal expression such as a stone funerary column, grass ornaments, stuffed birds, woodcarving, clay ritual objects, body tattoos, and masks used in dance-dramas, and musical instruments. Use it as an opportunity to educate yourself about the local culture before venturing into it in a less mediated way. After the first round of information, you should feel ready to learn more in person.
Shopping In Saputara
Shopping freaks are welcomed in Saputara with much fan fare and opportunities. Shopping in Saputara is a unique by itself. The important attraction here are the tribal canopy works on bamboo trees. One can pick up many beautiful artifacts and handicrafts, key chain and trinkets like pen stands made in bamboo from the Gandharvapur Artist Village. Most tourists visit this village loacted near Saputara town take the artifacts as gift items and souvenirs from Saputara. Metal artifacts made by the Bastar community of tribes are a precious item to shop. World renowned paintings, paints are made out of dyed vegetables, are special shopping attraction in saputara.
The green woods of Saputara have history and mythology as dense as their foliage. The name means “Sita’s forest”. Legend goes that Lord Ram spent 11 of his 14 years in exile traversing these forests.
One another attractive place in Saputara, Step Garden has the unique feature of a garden set up in steps. Well laid out steps are adorned with beautiful plants, flower pots and in the midst of nice woods. There is a Forest hut for the comfortable stay of the visitors, placed amidst the garden. The Garden is well maintained and offer many varieties of flowers and plants. Garden has open space for children to roam around. This is a nice place to spend the evenings away from town bustle and hustle.
Sunrise Point (Valley View Point)
It is a point which offers the best view of Saputara and adjoining Malegoan could be reached after a walk of 1.5 km in the direction of Waghai. The naming restricts the tourist traffic to this best place as tourists believe that the point should only be visited at sun rise, however, one may visit it at any time of the day to catch a panoramic view.
This is a place to not only see and buy the tribal artifacts on display, but also to get your hands to work. You will feel welcomed and inspired to try out warli painting or craft tribal objects. Run by Chandrakant Parmar and Surya Goswami, it is a good place to learn about the culture of this region, especially for school groups. The community also provides simple accomodation for a very reasonable cost.
Echo Point, as the name highlights it is the place where one can hear the echo of what he says, is located in Matheran near Saputara. It is one of the prime tourist attractions nearby to Saputara. The Echo point offers a exquisite picturesque surroundings with many waterfalls, enhancing the breath taking beauty of the location. Tourists pour in here to make an unforgettable experience of wild natural beauty. The atmosphere is calm and cool. There are many spectacular tourist spots; some are Louisa Point, Charlotte Lake, and King George Point.
Forest Log Huts
Forest Log Huts of Saputara are very famous world over. The Main attraction of these wooden log huts are its uniqueness in construction. The architectural beauty of these log huts are imposing. Visitors are allowed to spend their day and night in these huts in wilderness, the stay in log huts gives the real experience of merging with the nature, enjoying all the gifts of nature. These unique log huts are run by the Forest department. The surroundings are picturesque and blessed with cool breeze and serene atmosphere.
Forest Nursery in Saputara offers many varieties of plants and trees. The nursery is run by the forest department. Many flowered plants can be spotted here; different varieties of Hibiscus flowers are attracting many visitors.
Saplings of fruit trees, flowered plants, creepers and many other trees are showcased here and one can purchase these saplings for a moderate price. All the saplings sold out from here have assured quality. The nursery is set up in a beautiful surroundings.
Rose Garden, as the name suggests, is a spectacular garden with many variety of Roses. Step Garden is a garden set up in steps. On the steps are laid beautiful plants and flower pots. Another garden is Lake Garden on the banks of Saputara Lake, which is an excellent picnic spot. All these gardens make Saputara a beautiful place.
Breathtakingly beautiful around monsoon, these seasonal (only after rains) falls are among the most picturesque sights in the district. Located about 3 km from Waghai town, the Gira waterfall is a 30 m natural drop into the Ambica River. It is open to public and accessible by jeeps on hire.
As you walk through this open expanse in the early hours of the day, you experience a mysterious dance of light slowly caressing life into the world. You have an amazing view of the valleys, streams and rivulets, and on your right you can see a railing demarking the Gujarat-Maharashtra border. During certain seasons in the evening you can have camel rides or buy local snacks on this otherwise quiet hilltop.
Hatgadh Fort, an exquisite prominent architectural beauty with a height of 3,600 feet, is one of the ancient forts located in Mulher in Nasik district of Maharastra. This is nearby Saputara, in the border of Gujarat and Maharastra. It is perfectly located in a majestic location at the peak of the Sahyadri ranges.
A narrow passage carved through the rocky terrains leads to the fort. The reservoirs Ganga and Jamna are located nearby providing nice drinking water all through the seasons. The panoramic views of the down valley and the village Suragana are magnificent. It is a nice peak to climb up and relax under the grand old fort.
Lake Garden, a nicely maintained beautiful garden on the banks of the Saputara Lake, is an excellent picnic spot. The garden encloses nice plants and rare kinds of trees. The garden is set up in lusting green surroundings. Many facilities including playing field are available in the Garden, mainly aimed at children. This is a nice location for evening outings with family.
Nageshwar Mahadev Temple
The original Snake temple is replaced by the Nageshwar Mahadev temple, on the southern bank of the Saputara Lake.
Experience the mythic feelings of the Pandava caves also known as the Aravalem Caves well known by the mystical stories of Pandavas from the Mahabharata. It is believed that in these caves Pandavas spend some of their time during their hideout days in forest and offered prayers to God Shiva. The road to the caves provide a variety of glimpses of tribal villages and fort ruins.
Rose Garden, as the name suggests, is a spectacular garden with many varieties of flowering plants, especially it encloses different species of Roses. The view of Rose flowers with amusing different colors really is spectacular. There are many mind blogging attractions nearby, such as Lake Garden and Step Garden. These gardens offer a grand opportunity for the tourists to have peace of mind and relaxation to the body. The Garden is a nice place for languorous and the cool ambiance around the Garden provides the much needed comfort for the visitors.
Gives a breathtaking view of a vast spans of Dang Forest. It provides an aerial view of distant villages in forest. This thick forest around Saputara is dotted with Adivasi (tribal) villages.
On your way up to the Governor’s hill, you will pass the Vaity Resort. Here you can use the ropeway service (cablecar) to go up to Sunset Point. Suspended above hills, valleys and meandering rivers, this 15 minute ride gives you a bird’s eye view of Saputara. When planning your day bear in mind that jeeps take passengers 2 km from the main roundabout in the city up to the boarding point only between 5.30pm and 6.00pm, and that the cable car will not operate without at least twelve passengers.
As the name suggests Town view point is a peat in the Saputara hill ranges from where one can see the whole city down in Saputara. See the scenic colorful beauty of the Saputara from this spot in a calm clear night, the town illuminated with multi color lights. One can relax at the top edge of this point under clear sky, enjoying the fragrance of woody forests surrounding the town view point. Cool climate and mild breeze make this place an attractive vacation spot to relax.
Trekking in Saputara
Saputara is really a wonderful vacation spot for trekking with many established trekking trails and many unexplored pathways, still with unspoiled atmosphere and surroundings. An enthusiast tourist to Saputara can undertake trekking in Saputara hills, nature walks around the Saputara Lake, hill climbing to Valley view point, Forest camping in the dense woods of Saputara hills and such many dynamic adventurous activities. The trekking trails in Saputara hills and forests pose mild to rough challenges to a trekker. It is really fascinating to have Trekking in the established trekking trails to Rajat Pratap and to Tridhara near Dhupgarh. The trekking trails extend up to Sangam. Mild trekking trails from Khud to Sunder Kund, To Jata Pura Hills and to the hill top temple attracting many tourists.
Vansda National Park
Vansda National Park is spread over an area of about 24 sq km and it is the home of tigers, leopards, python, four-horned antelope, pangolin, rusty-spotted cats and giant squirrels. This park which draws a lot of tourist’s attention was initially a private forest of the Maharaja of Vansda.
This seasonal waterfall is bigger than Gira. It is open to the public, and accessible by jeeps for hire.
Mahal Eco Campsite
The Mahal Eco Campsite is bestowed with rivers and bamboo glides, with excellent walking and trekking options. It is located on the banks of the Purna River, in the middle of the Purna Wildlife Sanctuary and is a part of the Dang Forest Division North. It is surrounded by a vast and rich forest laced with the Purna and Gira rivers. For an eco-tourist wanting to enjoy birds of moist deciduous forest mixed with bamboo, this is the best place to visit. Its also near the Girmal Falls which offer a breath taking view. Best time to visit the campsite is from October to March.
Purna Wildlife Sanctuary
Purna has the thickest forest cover in the state, and the highest average rainfall, at 2500 mm. At sunset, the 160 square km of lush rolling hills, teak, and bamboo, fill with the music and drums of the Dangi tribes that also populate Vansda. The main village of Mahal is at the center of the sanctuary on the banks of the Purna river, with a forest rest house. Purna and Vansda together are the only protected forest areas in South Gujarat.
Purna is a Sanctuary, where luxuriant dense forests with thick bamboo brakes enchant visitors. People get surprised to see such pristine forests in the area, which happens to be an extension of the Western Ghats. For an eco-tourist wanting to enjoy birds of moist deciduous forest mixed with bamboo, this is the best place to visit. The Sanctuary is a part of forests in northern part of the Dangs district in South Gujarat. The area covering 160.8 sq. km is a reserved forest, which has been notified as Sanctuary in July 1990.
Different types of forests that constitute varied habitats are moist mixed deciduous forest, moist teak forest and bamboo brakes. Bamboo forms thick middle storey in large area with tree cover having moderately dense canopy. ‘Mahal’ forest in the Protected Area is one of the best forests in the State.
Filled with fascinating mythology, this serene temple is supposed to have been where Lord Rama met Shabari while searching for his wife Sita and ate the berries she offered him, after tasting each one to make sure it was good. Three stones on which Lord Rama, his brother Lakshman and Shabari are said to have sat are still worshipped. Pampa lake, about 6 km from Shabari Dham, is a water source associated with a story of Lord Rama’s bathing.
TOUR TO DANG(AHWA)
Dang(also known as The Dangs) is a district in the state of Gujarat in India. The administrative headquarters of the district are located in Ahwa. Located high in the Saputara hills, adjoining the borders of Maharashtra State, Dangs is the home of adivasis who have lived in the forest and highlands of the Dangs region from time immemorial. Shri Hanumanji(Hindu Lord) is believed to have been born at Anjani Kund in Southern Gujarat’s Dang district.
This city is famous for its fair which is known as “dang darbar fair”. It is also famous for the Saputara Hill Station which is quite pleasent. You will feel real calm and pleasure here.
Dang Darbar Fair
The Dangs Darbar is the name of the annual fair held in Ahwa every year, a few days before Holi. The name ‘Darbar’ dates back to the time of the British, when a Darbar of Rajas and Naiks of neighbouring areas used to assemble there. Today it is also called the Jamabandi Darbar, and the District Collector officiates at it. Thousands of tribal people flock to Ahwa from all over the district gaily dressed in lively colours, sounding the shehnai and beating their drums.
The Darbar also attracts merchants from as far away as Nasik, Surat and West Khandesh. Folk dances enliven the fair during the few days it lasts. The Education Department organises folk dances, ras and garba programmes, songs and dramas. The tribal people make up three-fourth of the population. The men wear a loincloth, a waistcoat and a colourful cloth wrapped around the head. Women wear a sari and a blouse, embellished with numerous silver ornaments of which they are very fond. The resident adivasis derive their livelihood from the forests, which are rich in timber, honey, wax and lac. Many wild animals live in the forests including tigers, chital, bears, pigs, and deer.
There are numerous snakes in the district, including cobras and pythons.