Location: Navegoan, Gondia, Maharashtra Area: 135-sq-km Consists of: A Deer Park, An Aviary, Three Beautifully Landscaped Gardens, And Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary Best Time To Visit: April To May The Navegaon National Park located in Navegoan, Gondia is one of the most popular forest resorts in the Vidarbha region. The Park is spread over an area of 135 sq kms. A picturesque lake with crystal clear water, stretching over an area of 11 sq. kms is set in the midst of hill ranges and can be approached through a series of winding trails. Strategically located, watch towers enable the visitor to Navegaon to catch a glimpse of the region's varied wildlife. It consists of a deer park, an aviary and three beautifully landscaped gardens. Legend Of Navegaon Lake There is an interesting legend about Navegaon Lake. Kolu Patel Kohli created the lake at the beginning of the 18th century. He is now defined as "Kolasur Deo" and his shrine is on one of the peaks surrounding the lake. The seven peaks surrounding the lake are known as the "Sat Bahini" or seven sisters. It is believed that these deities helped Kolu in building the lake. On the fringe of the lake is an idol of Hanuman, the deity of strength, whose feet are said to go below the embankment. The island in the middle of the lake is known as "Maldonger" and was used by the villagers as a refuge from the marauding 'Pindaris' (A tribe of professional robbers). The area around the lake is known as the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, in memory of the noted ornithologist. Best time to visit this sanctuary is between October to June and every winter, the Navegaon Lake becomes the home to huge flocks of migrating ducks and the misty winter mornings are characterized by their loud calls. Flora The forest is typical Southern mixed dry deciduous forest. The main species are Teak, Haldu, Jamun, Kawat, Mahua, Ain, Bhel and Bhor, etc. Avifauna Almost 60% of all bird species recorded in Maharashtra are visible at Navegaon. The experience and the excitement of having spotted the scarlet minivet, a paradise fly catcher or the sapphire blue flash of a kingfisher skimming the surface of the lake for fish is quite out of the world. Fauna Though Navegaon is better known as a bird sanctuary, a number of wild animals could also be sighted. Tigers, Panthers, Bisons, Sambars, Nilgais, Chitals, Wild boars, Sloth Bears, and Wild Dogs are main wild life species in this national park. OTHER ATTRACTIONS One can also join the Jungle Safari and stroll through the beautiful forest, crossing paths with Leopards, Sloth Bears, Gaurs, Sambars, Chitals and Langoors. Staying in the unique treetop house, riding a power or sailboat on the lake, are also some thrilling pastimes one can enjoy over here. Nearly 50,000 tourists visit this tourist complex annually. NEARBY ATTRACTIONS Places of interest around the national park are Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary (60 km), Itiadoh Dam (20-km), Tibetan Camp at Gothangaon (15 km) and Pratapgad (15 km). FOR MORE TOURIST INFORMATION Entry Timings: 4.00 am to 7.00 pm. During the rest hour's entry in the national park is strictly prohibited. Weather: Temperatures are pleasant all year round. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Nearest airport is at Nagpur, 142-km away from the park. Rail: Deulgaon on Chandrapur-Gondia railway line is the nearest railway station, 2-km away from the park. By Road: The nearest bus stand is Navegaon 10-km away from the park.
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