Road Trip across Vibrant Gujarat - Temples, Wildlife, Beaches & the Rann

Shekar Reddy

Explore India
Seems to be nice hotel. Waiting for further updates in New year 2015. Wish You a very happy touring year ahead Sachin.

Sachin Jatkar

Well-Known Member
Day 2 - Vadodara to Bhavnagar via Velavadar National Park - 238 Kms

Route Map for Day 2.

Had a nice breakfast at Hotel Fern Residency, Vadodara and started for Velavadar National Park. The plan was to check if accomodation was available inside the park in the forest guest house. If yes, then we would do the afternoon safari, stay at night and do the morning safari before proceeding to Gir.

10:30 - Started from Hotel in Vadodara. Distance travelled so far was 410 Kms

11:05 - On SH-11. Road conditions very good.

11:35 - At Borsad. SH-8 road conditions not so good.

12:00 - Filled Diesel worth INR 1100/-

12:45 - At Vataman Chokhdi. Touched SH-6. SH-6 road condition excellent.

13:15 - Stopped for lunch at Dholera. Had simple lunch at a roadside dhaba. Food was not good but there were no other options in sight.


SH-6 at Dholera

14:00 - Started onwards again. Asked a few people while having lunch if they knew about Velavadar and hardly anyone knew the place. However the hotel owner said that it's about 20 Kms ahead.

14:30 - Reached Velavadar National park. Asked the forest officer if accomodation was available. He said it's full. I lamented with him about booking not being available online. He said it's not at the moment. It cost us INR 450/- for the permit which included the charges for 3 people, guide, car and camera charges.

16:30 - Completed the safari in our own car and left Velavadar NP, and proceeded towards Bhavnagar. I will write in detail about the experience in Velavadar along with pictures later.

16:45 - Touched SH-6 and proceeded towards Bhavnagar.

17:40 - Reached Bhavnagar. Asked around a bit before we could locate Hotel 1589, Gen X, Bhavnagar which according to Tripadvisor is the best hotel in Bhavnagar.

18:00 - Reached the hotel. This was the only destination for which I did not have advance booking. So walked in and enquired. The manager suggested the premium room and offered 10% discount on the listed price + inclusion of taxes in the rate. I checked the room and found it fit for the night and agreed.

We ordered dinner at the hotel and retired for the day after dinner.

Note - The entire road from Vadodara to Bhavnagar was excellent except the part where we had to be on SH-8 which was not good. Even the road that we have to take to go to Velavadar National Park (diversion from SH-6) is not bad. The road is narrow and not exactly smooth tarmac, however it's not bad either. Being narrow, if there is a truck ahead of you it is almost impossible to overtake on the road to VNP.
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Sachin Jatkar

Well-Known Member
We reached Velavadar National Park (VNP) at 14:30. Continue for about 24 Kms on SH-6 from Dholera and you will see a sign which points you to take a right turn for VNP (I think the place where you take the turn is called Adhelai). The sign board has a picture of the Blackbuck so it's hard to miss. Turn right on to this road which leads up to VNP gate and continue for about 5-6 Kms and you will come to VNP gate.

There is a small building at the gate which serves as the office for issuing permit to go inside. When we reached, there was just one more person who had come there and was getting his permit done. 3-4 guides were sitting in the area outside the office. There is also a toilet next to the office building, if you want to get fresh before taking your car inside for safari.

There was only 1 forest officer at the window and after issuing the permit for the person before me, he turned his attention to me. Getting the permit is fairly simple and takes no more than 5 mins. All you need to do is provide a photo identity (government issued). A driving license will do. The forest officer issued the permit after looking at my ID and noting down my vehicle number. It cost me INR 450/- for the permit for the car + camera + guide.

One of the guides sitting outside the office was assigned to us. I later came to know that he had started there only a month ago and during the course of the safari, it was obvious that he was new and did not know anything even the names of the species although he said that they have to clear a test to be certified guides. Language was a bit of an issue as well, since he only knew the Gujarati names of some species. It was a disappointment.

I wanted to hire a open Gypsy for the safari instead of driving in with my own vehicle, but none are available. The guide told us that gypsies are only available at the "Blackbuck Lodge" which is the only other accomodation available near VNP. I had enquired with them before the beginning of the trip, and was told that the per night rate for a stay at Blackbuck Lodge is INR 17k+. I never contacted them back after being informed about the rate.

The park is diveded in to 2 sections on either side of the road. We first went in to the section which is adjoining to the forest office. The guide himself opened the gates to the park to allow my car inside. There was no one to check the permit. We drove inside and immediately on the left saw the forest rest house accomodation which looked promising from the outside. Less than a Km inside, we saw a large herd of blackbucks grazing and a few Nilgais (Bluebulls).

The road leading up to Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar
Road to Velavadar.jpg

The kaccha roads inside the Blackbuck National Park. You can take your own vehicle inside the park.


A bluebull (Nilgai). It's very difficult to drive and then take pictures. There is a limitation due to the car being covered as opposed to an open Gypsy.

The bluebull doing it's business

We took a round of one section of the park in not more than 30 mins. Saw quite a few blackbucks and bluebulls but nothing much. The guide was not much help either. He said we will go to the other section which has wetlands and we can see some birds there. Before that, we asked if we could get some tea nearby. He said there is a village down the road where we can get tea.

So we came outside and went to the village to have tea. Came back and proceeded to the other section of the Blackbuck national park which has wetlands. The entrance is just on the opposite side of the road to the forest office.

The sign for the Blackbuck Lodge which is about a Km from the entrance to the national park.

A Drongo

We reached the wetlands. My son trying to spot the birds around the wetlands using his binoculars.

Pictures of the wetlands and birds. There were pelicans, painted storks, flamingoes, ducks etc.






A female Nilgai

Saw a lot of blackbucks, but did not get the right moment to take a picture. Kept on postponing that we would take a picture of the blackbuck later, and finally we could only get this one when did get the opportunity to click.


The guide said that we can get down at the wetlands from the car and view the birds.

For those who wish to book the Forest Lodge in Black Buck National Park, here are the details. Online booking is not available so you need to call on the number given below.

Assistant Conservator of Forests,
Black Buck National Park, Velavadar
F/10, Annexie Building, Bahumali Bhavan,
Phone/Fax - 0278-2426425
Email - [email protected]

Rates are very cheap, AC room is INR 1000, General room is INR 500, Dormitory is INR 50 and Tent is INR 200. However the process to book is cumbersome, but if you are persevarant enough, please call the above number.

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Sachin Jatkar

Well-Known Member
After spending about an hour or so in the wetlands section of the park, we decided to move out as we wanted to reach Bhavnagar before dark. So we came out of the park and thanked the guide and gave him a tip before proceeding towards Bhavnagar. Bhavnagar was the only destination in the itinerary where I had not done advance booking, as I was hoping that I could get accomodation at the forest guest house in Velavadar. However, I did research on Tripadvisor on the hotels in Bhavnagar and hence proceeded to Hotel 1589, Gen X which is rated as the best in Bhavnagar.

Google Maps could not find the hotel and after reaching Bhavnagar, we had to ask around a lot before finding the hotel. I walked in and the manager offered me a 10% discount on the premium room which included WiFi and breakfast and also said that he would give me the rate inclusive of taxes. The room was neat and clean and I checked it out before commiting.

One thing we noted about Bhavnagar was that there were many medical shops and hospitals, atleast in the area we were staying in. There was nothing else to do, so we watched TV, ordered dinner (food was ok, nothing great), and went to sleep as we wanted to start early for Gir the next day.

The premium room in Hotel 1589, Gen X was a bit small I thought and also claustrophobic. There was a small window from where hardly any light came through. I thought the rate for that room was on a higher side, and I will definitely recommend other options to stay in Bhavnagar. The WiFi worked well and the breakfast spread although limited was decent.

End of Day 2.

Sachin Jatkar

Well-Known Member