The Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best places in India to spot the wild bison in its natural habitat. The sanctuary located on the southern tip of the Western Ghats near Kolhapur city in Maharashtra is also known as Dajipur Bison Sanctuary.
Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary Or Dajipur Bison Sanctuary
The sanctuary is a biodiversity hotspot with a variety of flora and fauna found here. The picturesque Western Ghats and the wild animal spotting here makes it a worthwhile trip for unwinding in nature’s lap. The Radhanagari Sanctuary was notified in the year 1985 by the Government of Maharashtra and is a protected area.
What to experience in Radhanagari?
The Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary used to be a private hunting range for the Maharaja of Kolhapur, before independence. The sanctuary, spread in an area of 351.16 square km, is now home to more than 1000 bison as per a counting done in 2014. There is a Bison point inside the sanctuary, from where it is said the view is spectacular.
The forest reserve also has giant Indian squirrels, sloth bear, leopards, mouse deer, barking deer and if you are fortunate you may spot a tiger there.
The forest is rich in its flora with numerous seasonal and evergreen trees and plantations. There are water streams emerging at different points in the sanctuary. The park has two dams inside – the Radhanagari Dam constructed over river Bhogavati and the Kallamwadi Dam built over river Dudhganga. These dams attract a number of bird species and migratory birds during winters. Birds commonly spotted in the park are kingfishers, vultures, nightjars, eagles, jungle fowl, warblers and flycatchers.
The sanctuary is also quite popular with trekkers. The single route from Dajipur to Savarai Sada with its beautiful landscape and natural beauty is quiet attractive for trekkers. There is an exhibition hall as well in Dajipur, which has a lot of information about the animals, birds and the topography of the region.
There are different treks in and around the sanctuary, which can be explored with proper permits and help of a local guide. There are some interesting places near the Dajipur Sanctuary like the Karud Ghat, Dhamni Dam, Govandsari Kurli Dam, and Phonda Ghat, which also can be visited.
The city of Kolhapur is just 55 km away from the wildlife sanctuary and can be explored as well. Kolhapur is a culturally rich city with historic significance and delicious cuisine.
When To Visit?
The sanctuary remains closed during the monsoon months from June to October. The ideal time to visit the Dajipur sanctuary is during winters and spring from November to March. Though the place is open in April and May, the temperatures can rise quite a lot and it can become very hot and humid during this time.
There are options for jeep safari or trek for long stretches with a local guide at the sanctuary.
How To Reach And Where To Stay?
The airport in Kolhapur has just re-opened in 2018 and not many flights are operational as yet. Though the nearest option to fly also can be to Pune city airport. If you travel by train then Kolhapur Railway Station is the destination nearest to Radhanagari. Travelers can also opt for Kankavli railway junction. There are private buses and cabs from Kolhapur and Pune to take you to the sanctuary if you prefer by-road journey.
So if you want to wander in the land of Indian Bison then a visit to Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary is definitely must.