Welcome to the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, which is in Maharashtra!
Don’t let the semi-arid, drought-prone land fool you – this place is barren, deserted, and extremely beautiful. It’s like finding a diamond in the rough, except this diamond has feathers.
This exclusive sanctuary, established in 1979, is home to the rare and endangered Great Indian Bustard, along with a few migratory birds and other animals like Blackbuck, Wolf, Indian Fox, and Jackal. It’s a vast grassland that spans over 8,469 sq kms, so don’t forget to bring plenty of water and snacks if you plan on spending a few hours here.
Now, unlike other bird sanctuaries, you can’t just roam freely in the core area of Nannaj. The entry is only allowed till the hut, which is 100 meters from the gate. But hey, this is actually a good thing. It provides the perfect hiding place to observe birds and animals without disturbing their peace. There’s even a watch tower near the gate, so you can feel like you’re on a wildlife safari.
The sanctuary was discovered by Mr. B.S.Kulkarni in 1972, and in 1979, the Government of Maharashtra declared it a wildlife reserve with the sole objective of conserving the Great Indian Bustard. Even the late Dr. Salim Moizzudin Abdul Ali, India’s best-known ornithologist, paid a visit here for research.
The sanctuary has had many efforts made by famous ornithologists and bird lovers to protect it. So if you’re a bird enthusiast, this is the place to be. Nannaj is just 22 kilometers from Solapur, which is easily approachable by a cab or bus. Solapur itself is a major rail head on the Mumbai-Chennai/Hyderabad/Bangalore line, so you won’t have any trouble getting here.
Some of the major floral species you’ll find here include Neem, Sissoo, Babul, Bor, Tarwad, Henkal, Dongri, Kusali Pavanya, Sheda, and Marvel. And when it comes to fauna, there’s the Great Indian Bustard, Blackbuck, Wolf, Indian Fox, Jackal, and many more. Plus, you’ll get to see Indian Bushlark, Shrikes, Bush Quails, Buzzards, Francolins, Doves, Babblers, and Owls.
If you’re wondering where to stay, the Forest Rest Houses at Solapur are the best option. They’re comfortable, affordable, and you’ll wake up to the sound of birds singing. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, grab your binoculars, and head over to the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary. It’s like Jurassic Park, but with birds.