Hingolgadh Nature Education Sanctuary
Located in Jasdan Taluka of Rajkot District, Hingolgadh Sanctuary is a green oasis in the dry plateau of Saurashtra. Extending over a forest area of 654.07 ha., the sanctuary represents dry deciduous scrub forests where the trees of Acacia Senegal (Gorad), Mytenus emarginata (Vikalo), Acacia nilotica (Baval), Commiphora wightii (Gugal) etc. dominate the landscape. The area is hilly, rugged and undulating. The landscape presents a magnificent mosaic of grasslands and scrub forests. The sanctuary gets full of life during rainy season with beautiful shades of green colour all around and the area buzzing with life and various life forms. It is a place where the savannah type of grasslands and the scrubby forests merge into each other and on undulating and rugged tracks through the lower plains to small hillocks.
The sanctuary area was earlier known as ‘Motisari vidi’ and belong to the ex-princely state of Jasdan. As the name suggests, the area was a savannah type of grassland with widely scattered scrub trees. It was a hunting reserve for the royal family and was also used for grass collection. The area is reported to be having even leopards which were sighted right up to August 1991. The rolling grasslands of savannah type interspersed with dry deciduous thorny and scrubby forests are sure to leave behind an imprint on the minds of the visitors.
The area was declared as a ‘Private Forest’ in 1973 and a ‘Wildlife Sanctuary’ in the year 1980 and has been given special protection since then. Owing to its unique nature education features, the task of management and development of the sanctuary was handed over to Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation, Gandhinagar in 1984 as the latter has the basic mandate of imparting nature and ecological education to all sections of the society. Since then, the sanctuary is being managed by GEER Foundation under the statutory control of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) of Gujarat.
The GEER Foundation is committed to ecological and nature education has been holding about 50 to 75 nature education camps in Hingolgadh Wildlife Sanctuary for school and college children covering about 2500 to 3750 students and 100 to 150 teachers every year. The duration of each camp extends over 3 days and 2 nights. Each camp comprises of 50 students and at least two teachers. To facilitate these camps, a camping site has been developed in the sanctuary. Since 1984, total 1,328 nature education camps were organised and around 75,454 participants were benefited.
A visit to Hingolgadh Sanctuary is strongly recommended particularly during the rainy season when the scenic beauty is at its aesthetic best. However, the winter season is also a very good and pleasant time for visiting the sanctuary. The sanctuary provides limited lodging facilities for which prior permission and booking are necessary from the Range Forest Officer, Hingolgadh Wildlife Sanctuary.
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