Saturday, August 25, 2012

Birding in the Land of GIB, Nannaj - 20th to 21st Oct, 2012

The Nannaj GIB Sanctuary trip is always eagerly looked forward to, not just because of the chance to see the Rare & Majestic Great Indian Bustard (GIB), but also because of the rich grassland birdlife it offers....and the local delicacies like Zhunka, Bhakri & Thecha :-)

Booking for Nannaj trip from 20th to 21st Oct. 2012 (travel time excluded) is now open... for complete trip details (charges, itinerary, logistics) please see at the end.... Confirm your registration fast ...



India is blessed with a variety of habitats that hold varied birdlife. However, most of these habitats are under threat from something or the other. From these, the Grassland habitats in particular are the first to be encroached upon, on the pretext that these are wastelands. However, they are one of the most bio-diversity rich habitats that hold an amazing variety of birdlife. Once, there were far stretching areas which had grasslands throughout India, but sadly very few remain now (apart from the Terai Grasslands)……notably amongst them are Banni grasslands, Naliya, Velavadar and LRK in Gujarat, Rollapadu in Andhra Pradesh, Ghatigoan & Karera sanctuary in M.P., Sorson and Sonkhaliya in Rajasthan, Rannebennur in Karnataka, Rehekuri, Ozhar, Mayureshwar & Nannaj in Maharashtra.(GIB Image: Courtesy: Mr.Babasaheb Gaikwad)

With the exploitation of grasslands, the flagship species namely the Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican, Indian Wolf, Blackbuck are also threatened. In fact, it is believed that there are less than 250 GIBs in the world and they are critically endangered.Not many know that this majestic bird was once a strong contender for the position of our national bird……but the tricky name got him out of the race.

Nannaj GIB Sanctuary : One such grassland / scrub land is the famous Nannaj GIB sanctuary, approx. 25 kms from Solapur.

Nannaj is a small village approx. 25 Kms away from the main city Solapur, Maharashtra.The total area covered under sanctuary is approx. 600 hectares. However, it is not a continuous stretch, but a discontinuous area which is divided into various plots, some of which are owned by Govt. and some are Private lands.

The area called "100 hectare" is a plot of 100 hectares, and it is a core area of the sanctuary where the breeding pairs have been observed. Recent census estimates less than 10 Great Indian Bustards.... However, the GIBs are spread over vast areas in the sanctuary and nearby cultivated fields depending on the availability of food.

Apart from the above flagship species, Nannaj is a great place to see a number of other grassland and scrub land species like Eurasian Eagle Owl, Spotted Owlet, Larks, Pipits, Quails, Francolins, Sandgrouse, Lapwings, Raptors, Coursers, Munias, Doves etc…..

Nannaj is also home to herds of Blackbucks..... the other mammls that can be encountred here are Indian Wolf, Rufous-naped Hare, Indian Fox, Common Jerbil etc. While the reptiles are represented by Fan-throated Lizard, Saw-scaled Viper, Indian Cobra, Russel's Viper, Sand Boa etc. The Fan-throated Lizards in particular are favorite food item taken by GIBs.

Click some of these links to know more about Nannaj

Though the GIBs are nomads and move about in a large area..... with the rapidly dwindling numbers, it would be our sheer luck, if we could spot even one..... However, the grassland habitat here, holds a very good bird diversity.



Dates: 19th Oct 2012 eve. 10.30 pm (Friday late night) to 22nd Oct 2011 mor. 6.30 am (Sunday early morning) ....... travel time included

Mode of Travel : Train uptil Solapur and local travel by Non-AC Jeeps...... participants to arrange for their own travel by train to Solapur and back.

Tour Iterinary: Ex.Mumbai

1) Friday 19th Oct, 2012 : Departure from Mumbai by Siddheshwar Exp. train at 10.30 pm or Hussain Sagar Exp. or any other train arriving by 6.30 am

2) Saturday 20th Oct, 2012 : Arrive at Solapur early morning - Checkin Hotel Nila & Refresh / Breakfast (really fast) - Birdwatching in Nannaj - Lunch at Hotel Nisarg for the mouth watering "Zhunka Bhakar, Shenga Poli & Thecha" - Visit to Eurasian Eagle Owl area at Hiraj - Evening Birding - Return to Hotel - Revision & Discussion of day's sightings - Dinner and early bed.

3) Sunday 21st Oct, 2012 : Breakfast - Leave for early morning Birdwatching in Nannaj - Sumptuous lunch consisting of the typical Solapur delicacies -Evening visit to Hipparga Lake near Solapur city for watching water birds (or again near Nannaj) - return to the hotel - Dinner and proceed to board the Siddheshwar Exp. train at 10.45 pm or Hussain Sagar Exp. or any other train departing in the night.

4) Monday 22nd Oct, 2012 : Reach Mumbai (Dadar) in mor. by 6.30 am

Trip charges : 
Rs.5500/- (Solapur to Solapur - excludes train fare)....participants to arrange for their own travel to Solapur and back.

Includes Non-AC Stay in Hotel Nila at Solapur on a twin sharing basis, Local transport by Jeeps, Park entry charges, vegetarian food, Expertise, Articles on Nannaj and Nannaj bird checklist, on board mineral water and snacks……

This does not include any other charges and also any individual camera charges ....Individuals will have to pay additional charges if any to the forest dept. as per the rules.

Registration: You can register by sending a non-refundable advance of Rs.3000/- and a confirmation mail to and only after our registration confirmation by return mail ..... .the remaining amount will be collected in train on the day of travel.......Please Register soon to get the desired train bookings.

Resource Persons: Mr.Adesh Shivkar & Mr.Mandar Khadilkar

Mode of Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to Mandar's HDFC A/c : (please call Mandar(9930318665) for A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.3000/- to the following address

Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
Address: B-702, Neha Apartments, Ashish Complex, Dahisar (East), Mumbai -400068.

Important Note:
1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 3000/- is strictly non-refunadable
2) The seats will be confirmed only against the advance amount on first come basis
3) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
4)  Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies

Please reply back, in case you need any clarification …..

For any other queries we are available on 9869071091 / 9820455713 (Adesh) or 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar) or

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India 
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

Nannaj Nostalgia

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kaas, Satara (The Plateau of Flowers) - September, 2012 (2 New Batches)

The popularity of  Nature India trips can be measured from the fact that when the trips are announced, they get Houseful in a matter of days .... Those who have missed getting a place, should'nt worry, for we are coming up with few more Batches to Kaas Plateau... 
Nature India announces the 4th Batch to Kaas plateau, Satara- The Plateau of Flowers from 21st to 23rd Sep'12 the bookings are on (For knowing complete details, like Itinerary, Charges, Logistics etc... you will have to see the details at the end.)

Important Notice: The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has recently included Kaas Plateau of flowers (near Satara, in Maharashtra) in the list of World Natural Heritage sites. However, In recent years the Popularity of Kaas has increased many folds and the increase in numbers of tourists have resulted in a direct or indirect impact on its bio-diversity.  The lack of proper guidelines and limited patrolling by the forest department is causing a tremendous stress to this fragile ecosystem.  Without any proper regulation and control, Kas has unfortunately turned into a picnic spot, with rowdy tourists plucking and trampling flowers, parking vehicles on the plateau, littering garbage and creating a mess. .... Hence we propose the following guidelines to be followed when visiting Kaas. Please take a note that, those of you who are interested to travel with  Nature India to Kaas Plateau, these guidelines will be implemented and binding on all of us. Kindly register, only if you agree on these guidelines.

There are some places in Maharashtra, where you will feel blessed. One such place is Kaas Plateau, Satara. This "Out of the world" place deserves to be visited atleast once from 25th Aug to 10th Oct to witness not only the amazing array of wild flowers, but also the serene atmosphere that mesmerizes one's soul.....

Sure, you all must have heard about “Valley of flowers” in Himalayas where hundreds of varieties of wild flowers of all colours bloom in August – September every year….where the valley transforms into no less than a “Heaven” ……hundreds of visitors toil several kms to reach this valley and to experience the bliss.

However, not many know that a similar (though, probably not as majestic as the Himalayan site) place exists in Maharashtra…..its a “Plateau of flowers”….. famously known as “Kaas plateau” situated approx. 25 kms from Satara city and is now also declared by UNESCO as one of the World's Natural heritage site.

The lateritic plateau of Kaas becomes home to millions of tiny flowers in late monsoons. The whole spectacle is beyond words. More than 400 varieties of wild flowers, herbs, orchids, shrubs, insectivorous plants etc. can be seen here in Aug and Sep (Best time is 15th Aug to 15th Oct)….. This plateau overlooks the lush evergreen forests that serves as a water catchment area of Koyna Dam and which is recently declared as “Sahyadri Tiger reserve” ……….

In monsoon the whole area transforms into an unbelievable carpets of flowers like yellow carpets of Smithia and Sonki flowers, Pink carpets of Balsam, Purple carpets of Karvi etc….
It is a dream destination not only for avid botanists but also for those who appreciate nature. These carpets change colours almost every week depending on the dominant flowers during that time.

The place is also unique forming a typical "table top" landscape where you can see the red patches of laterite rocks typically called ‘Sadaa’ in Marathi.

Thoseghar Waterfalls:
Thoseghar is situated in Satara District with most enchanting natural surroundings, along with beautiful views of windmills at nearby Chalkewadi. During the Monsoon season Thoseghar is always a prime attraction for the people. Thoseghar is famous for its high Waterfalls that are attractive and create a loud noise in the calm nature. These waterfalls are also accompanied by a clean lake, dark woods and massive hilly terrain. The main waterfall is about 115 mts in height, however, one can only get a glimpse from a distance.

From the parking space, the waterfalls are a few minutes walk, through well wooded countryside. The falls are situated in a steep U shaped valley, with the main falls at the apex of the 'U' and smaller falls on one side of the 'U'. On the other side, a viewing platform has been created for observers to enjoy this wonderful display of nature.

You can see a video clip of this marvelous waterfall.
Bird Life: Kaas plateau and the surrounding area has a very good birdlife with good sightings of Crested Buntings, Malabar Crested Larks, Oriental White-eyes, Bonelli’s Eagle. It is a heaven for Macro photography too.

Nature India once again brings you their signature tour of Kaas Plateau, Satara that  is meticulously planned and combines learning, sensitivity and also loads of fun. Our passionate resource persons will make your visit to this amazing place a trip to remember. Please find the details below.

For trip reports by other  Nature India participants, click here.

Complete Trip Details
Though the trip will be focused on watching the flora and to learn more about them, we would also not miss the other fauna such as birds, butterflies and amphibians that are found in plenty there….

Batch 4: 21st Sep, 2012 morning 6.30 am to 23rd Sep, 2012 eve 9.30 pm (Friday to Sunday)

Resource persons: Mr.Adesh Shivkar & Mr.Mandar Khadilkar

Mode of Travel : By Minibus from Mumbai (considering the extensive travel to cover the area and also the to and fro travel from Hotel to the Plateau everyday)

Rough Itinerary:

1) Friday (21st Sep'12) : Depart for Kaas, Satara from Bandra (E) at 6.30 am…..reach by around 1.30 pm- Check in Hotel – Lunch – Proceed to experience the grandeur of floral carpets on the plateau.... return by 7 pm...Stay in Hotel Hem Executive, Satara 

2) Saturday (22nd Sep'12) : Start early morning to the plateau to experience the grandeur of floral carpets on the plateau .... lunch ....  proceed to the Ghat to watch the species that grow on the slopes – return back at 7 pm.... Stay in Hotel Hem Executive
3) Sunday (23rd Sep'12) Start early for a visit Thoseghar Waterfalls to enjoy the grandeur of monsoon......Return to Hotel at 12 pm – Lunch – Checkout and depart for Mumbai – reach Bandra (E) by 9.30 pm.

Trip Charges (Batch 4 ): Rs.5500/-
Includes Stay at Hotel Hem Executive in Satara on a twin sharing basis in Non AC rooms, Travel by minibus, Entry fees, parking charges, veg meals, Articles on Kaas and Wild flowers, on board snacks and Mineral water…….

This does not include any charges other then the above... the camera charges (As per the equipment) have to be borne by the respective participants.

This does not include any charges other then the above... the camera charges (As per the equipment) have to be borne by the respective participants.

Please be prepared for long walks to reach the plateau...

Important Note: Due to huge influx of tourists in Kaas, the forest dept. have imposed certain regulations and restrictions from last year and these will be intensified this year. Hence request all to be prepared for any sudden restrictions and hike in fees.... and co-operate with us.

Mode of Payment
Registration: You can register by sending a non-refundable advance of Rs.3000/- and a mail to Your seats will be confirmed only after our registration confirmation by return mail ..... the remaining amount will be collected in the bus on the day of travel.

Payment: You can either
1) Transfer the advance money directly to my HDFC A/c : (Please call Adesh@ 9820455713 for A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….
2) Courier a cheque of Rs.3000/- to the following address

Name: Mr.Adesh Shivkar
Address: D/8, The Adi Janata Society, Behind HP Petrolpump, Near Sion Signal, Opp. Hotel Shangrilla, Sion (East), Mumbai-400022.

Please Note:
1) The seats will be confirmed only against the advance amount on first come basis.
2) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs. 3000/- is strictly non-refunadable
3) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
4) Plucking flowers or collecting specimens is strictly not allowed in our tours
5) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies 

Please reply to us, in case you need any clarifications …..

For any other queries we are available on  9820455713 / 9869071091 (Adesh) or 9930318665 / 9967518665 (Mandar) or 

Click here to view some images from this amazing place…….
Hope to see you for this wonderful trip

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,

Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

Some Memories of Nature India tours

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Appreciate, Respect & Care for Nature