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Tourist Places To Visit In Saputara
Coupled with a salubrious climate through the year, charming natural places like rippling streams and waterfalls and manmade temples and museums, Saputara is a hill station worthy of a visit on a weekend holiday. According to mythology, Rama is believed to have spent 11 years of his exile in Saputara. What with the unsullied charms of virgin nature coupled with the habitation of tribal folk, you are bound to experience a fusion of the wonders of nature and the cultures of the tribes of Gujarat.
Check out some of Saputara’s most charming places like the monsoon filled Gira Waterfalls, one of the region’s most beautiful cascades, the plethora of viewpoints that gives a photographic bird’s eye view of the undulating hills and ravines around, the ancient temples and the flower gardens that are so idyllic for a relaxed evening stroll after a busy day of sightseeing. We will give you a list of some of Saputara’s best places of tourist interest.
Considered one of the most ancient forts of the Sahyadri mountain ranges, the Hatgad Fort built in the 17th century by the Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji primarily as a watch tower over the direction of Nashik, is a cool place for trekkers and history enthusiasts. The fort is partially in ruins but makes for a great place to spend a day exploring the ruined bastions, water tanks and the remains of a palace.
From the peak you can get a good view of the slopes below and the villages nestled at the bottom. Trekking seems to be the only way to reach the fort and you might do well to keep light refreshments and water bottles handy. The trek is ideal for winters or pleasant summer mornings. Hatgad Fort is about 8 km from the Saputara bus station and is located on the Saputara - Nashik highway.
Set in a slopy forest terrain, the Pandava Gufa are a series of naturally formed caves where it is said, the Pandava brothers spent some time during their exile and worshipped Lord Shiva. You will have to trek up the caves and tourists are advised to travel in groups to keep an eye open for wild animals. It is an interesting place to visit if you are keen on adventure and ancient rock formations.
It is quite a beautiful area nevertheless, with a lush environment and a waterfall that forms a curtain over the caves. You might have to carry water bottles and light refreshments if you are trekking up to the caves. Also known as Aravalem caves, the Pandava gufa are about 2 km from the Javtala village at the base.
Nageshwar Mahadev Mandir
A small yet impressive temple for Shiva, the Nageshwar Mahadev Mandir is one place to visit if you seek tranquility and solitude. Said to be built at the place of a snake temple, the Nageshwar Mandir glorifies Shiva as Nageshwar or the Lord of Snakes. The temple is located near the Lake Garden, on the banks of the Saputara lake. The small temple is nestled among greenery and the serenity of the surroundings, not the mention the hillock that rises up at the backdrop is bound to fill one with good vibes.
An early morning visit to the temple, coupled with a peaceful stroll at the Lake Garden should be a great way to start the day. Tourists love to visit the temple in the afternoon as well, when the temple is a quieter, calmer place. Mahashivratri and regular Mondays are busy days at the temple.
The Tribal Museum has a varied collection of artifacts and goods used by the tribal communities of Dang in Gujarat. You might find ancient pottery, weapons, costumes, grass ornaments, stone funerary columns as well as masks and costumes used in traditional tribal dances of the Dangs, who are known for their versatile acrobatic dance steps.
Saputara’s Tribal Museum which honors the tribes of the region is quite an informative one, though not a large place and you could spend an hour here to explore the museum. The Tribal Museum is near the northern bank of the Saputara Lake. There are several food stalls close by and you could treat yourself to an evening’s lemongrass tea and samosas.
Shabari Dham Temple
Shabari Dham is a quaint hill top temple located a little away from the village of Subhir. Legends say that when Rama and Lakshman set out in search of Sita who had been abducted by Ravana, they entered into these regions where an old lady called Shabari who belonged to the Dang community, greeted them with ber fruits.
The stones on which Rama and Lakshmana sat to partake of the humble fruits that the old lady offered are worshipped in the temple. Check out the Pampa River that flows about 6 km away from Shabari Dham Mandir. It was on the banks of the Pampa River that Sage Mathanga had founded his ashram. Shabari Dham Mandir which is a popular pilgrim and tourist site, is about 70 km from Saputara, via Ahwa.
Purna Wildlife Sanctuary
Purna Wildlife Sanctuary is a tropical deciduous lush forested region with undulating slopes, valleys and plateaus in the predominant tribal settlements of the Dang region. Several rivers and streams including the Purna River meander their way through the sanctuary which boasts of a plethora of wild flora and fauna.
Check out Mahal, the main village of the Sanctuary that sits on the banks of the Purna River. Mahal has an ancient forest rest house and holds Nature Education camps for tourists. The Sanctuary is a charming place to be in, especially in the evenings when the air reverberates with the folk music and the drum beats of the tribes of Dang. Purna Wildlife Sanctuary is an interesting place where you could immerse yourself in the virgin charms of nature and wildlife as well as get glimpses of the lives and livelihood of the tribals.
Saptashrungi Mata Mandir
Saptashrungi Devi Mandir is one of the most popular and oft visited pilgrim hubs if you are visiting Saputara or Nashik. Saptashrungi Temple is one of the 51 Sakthi Peeths of India and one among the 3 and a half Sakthi Peeths of Maharashtra. The idol of Saptashrungi Devi, said to be a Syambhu, is about 8 ft. in height and is portrayed as holding a variety of weapons in her eighteen arms.
The temple sits on a hill and you might have to climb up about 500 steps to reach the Mandir. The steps are enclosed within safety railings and there are resting places and drinking water midway. Vinches are available for those who find climbing up tedious. Check out the fruit and veggie farms on the way that sell fresh farm produce. Saptashrungi Mandir is about 49 km from Saputara.
Vansda National Park
Vansda National Park, so called after the Maharajas of Vansda who had once owned the place, is yet another ecologically picturesque zone of Gujarat. It is a dense forest with an interesting variety of flora and fauna like leopards, monkeys, wild boars, barking deer, hyenas, Common Palm Civet and four horned antelopes as well as reptiles like Russell’s Vipers, pythons, cobras and kraits. Vansda National Park is a favorite hub of bird watchers.
Vansda National Park, like Purna Wildlife Sanctuary has tribal settlements like the Koknis, Kunbis, Warli, Bhils and Gamits. Vansda National Park sits on the Waghai – Vansda State Highway in Navsari district of Gujarat.
Waghai Botanical Garden
The Waghai Botanical Garden is probably one of the biggest gardens of Saputara. The garden which is about 25 hectare wide, has a plethora of trees and flowering plants, including a collection of cacti and bamboo including the rare Beer Bottle and Chinese bamboos. There are play areas for kids and ample seating arrangements if you would love to sit under the shade of tall trees.
There is a souvenir shop where you can buy handicrafts made of wood and bamboo as well as potted cacti. Check out the ancient locomotive boiler displayed in the garden. The Botanical Gardens is a cool place to spend a day in winter or a relaxed summer evening. Waghai is about 52 km from Saputara.
Unai Mata Temple
Unai Mata Temple and the kund or hot springs nearby have a number of tourists calling in especially during weekends and vacation. According to mythology, when Rama, Sita and Lakshmana visited the region, Rama drew an arrow into the earth from which sprung forth hot water for Sita to bathe in. It is believed that bathing in the kund would relieve one off any skin diseases.
Unai is a small village in Vansad taluk of Navsari district in Gujarat. Tourists who visit Saputara or Waghai usually tour the temple that lies on the Billimora – Waghai narrow gauge rail line. Unai Mata temple is a popular pilgrim center and is a must visit. Unai Mata temple is about 60 km from Saputara.