Goa houses a number of wildlife attractions in the form of parks and sanctuaries. The hot and humid tropical climate of Goa is conducive to lush vegetation that is capable of supporting a varied wildlife. Among the many wildlife sanctuaries, Bhagwan Mahabir Wildlife Sanctuary is very popular; as such it deserves special mention also.
Bhagwan Mahabir sanctuary is the largest wildlife sanctuary in the state. This is a renowned haunt for many adventure lover and wildlife enthusiasts. It was earlier named as the Mollem Game sanctuary.
Mollem Game sanctuary as it was previously known, was a wildlife reserve since 1969. But it was in the year 1978 that Mollem National Park was declared with a core area of 107 sq km.
Area and Location:
The total area of the sanctuary combined with the area of the Mollem National Park is 240 sq km. The protected area lies in the Western Ghats of South India along the western border of Goa. It is located in Sanguem taluk in the town of Molem that is 57 km east of Panaji. The park lies between 15°15"30' to 15°29"30' N and 74°10"15' to 74°20"15' E.
The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary houses a wide variety of wild animals. Fascinating flora and fauna will keep you occupied during your trip. West Coast Tropical evergreen forests, semi-evergreen forests and moist deciduous forests comprise the main vegetation. The floral species include Terminalia, Xylia, Lagerstromia and Dalbergia. You will find very poor amount of grass in the area. Many perennial water sources are available in the sanctuary.
From flora we move on to the faunal species that include mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles, etc. Mammals include Civet, Flying Squirrel, Barking Deer, Bengal, Leopard, Bonnet Macaque, Common Langur, Wild Dog, Gaur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Wild Boar Mouse Deer, Porcupine, Slender Loris, Sambar, Spotted Deer and Pangolin.
The sanctuary is a paradise for the birdwatchers. Winged creatures include Fairy bluebird, Golden oriole, Indian black woodpecker, Malabar grey hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill, Greater Indian hornbill, Three-toed kingfisher, Grey-headed myna, Grey jungle fowl, Paradise flycatcher, Racket-tailed Drongo, Drongo, Emerald dove, Ruby-throated yellow bulbul (the Goa state bird), Shrikes, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Wagtails, Large green barbet.
Butterflies like Common Wanderer, Crimson Rose, Lime Butterfly, and reptiles like King Cobra, Indian Rock Python, Malabar Pit Viper are also commonly found in the park.
Best time to visit:
The best time to visit the sanctuary is from October to March. During that time the weather remains pleasant.
There are a number of rest houses within the sanctuary. For example, you can book accommodation in the Forest Rest House in Mollem and OM Shanti Eco-Resort near the Tambdi Surla Temple. The Doodh Sagar Resort in Mollem also has cottages, dormitory and a restaurant.
How to reach the park?
Dabolim at a distance of 80 km from the sanctuary is the nearest airport. Colem, 6 km away is the nearest railhead. The Mormugao - Londa railway line passes through this locale.
Regular buses of the Kadamba Transport Corporation run from Kadama bus station, Panaji, (53 km) to the wildlife sanctuary. It is to be noted that the National Highway NH-4A divides the sanctuary in 2 parts.
What else do you get?
If you visit the park, you will find a lot of varied attractions in the nearby places. The Tambdi Surla Temple which is 12th century old Shiva Temple, Dudhsagar Falls, Goa's tallest waterfall, breathtakingly beautiful Tambdi falls, Sunset Point from where you can experience stunning views of the park are truly some of the best locations in Goa.
Some important tips:
- All visitors should obtain entry permit from the Range Forest Officer. You may contact the Forest Officer for any information
- If you want to book rooms in the Forest Rest House, then it is advisable to make early bookings in order to avoid any rush
- To experience the varied wildlife, you should stay 3-4 days in the sanctuary. Late evening or early morning is the best period to view the pulsating life of the faunal species.
Thus you will have a lot of enjoyment with your partner or family in the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. Book tickets, pack your bags and spend a dream vacation with Goa's wildlife species.