Forty-four kilometres south of Vadodara lies the quaint hamlet of Vadhvana which boasts of one of the most beautiful lakes that I have seen. Beautiful not just because every inch is clean and natural or that the water is a shade of blue only fairy tales can boast of, but because these undiscovered waters are a safe home and a glorious getaway to countless birds.
To make the most of your trip reach latest by 6 a.m., as that’s when you get to see hundreds of migratory birds thriving in their natural habitat, flying everywhere. One can hear the birds squawking, quacking, chirping and tweeting as they swim, waddle and fly. Some of the birds one can expect to spot are the darter, shikra, red-wattled lapwing, kingfishers of numerous kinds, parrots, flycatchers, great crested grebe, bar headed goose, lesser whistling duck, black hooded orioles, baybacked shrike, black necked stork, purple swamphen, drongo, flamingos and so many more birds! We even spotted a few fish splashing in and out of the waters. There are no entry tickets and the lake view is free for all. Watch towers are installed all along the periphery of the lake and the forest department officials are well informed.
There is a forest department rest house at a distance. Other than that there are no motels, restrooms or food stalls. A few local farmers bring in berries or fruits from their fields and sell them. The roads, almost all the way up to Vadhvana, are lovely. But then they’re fabulous all over Gujarat. Only the little last part of the track, which leads up to the lake is a rugged kutcha road, so make sure your vehicle can handle it. With only few visitors, the parking area is spacious. It is situated in the open grounds and is free. Though there are Celestron telescopes placed at a few spots, carrying your own binoculars would be a good idea.
It is a real delight to see such an amazing spot in our own country. Almost a spiritual experience, to sit beside the water, just taking it all in; the bird sounds, the breeze, the peace. It is nature just as it should be. And that is exactly why it gave me an extra special joy to observe that the area in not developed for tourism at all. So far, it is exclusively a pristine sanctuary for our feathered friends and that’s what I hope it remains for years to come.
Vadodara based writer, Aarti K. Pathak is former CEO of a web portal. She writes on various subjects from family, relationships and parenting to her favourite one, her discoveries of India. She blogs at sparrowtimes.wordpress.com.