The elegant black and white antelope species, the blackbuck, is a native to the Indian subcontinent and found in many places in India. In recent years, the blackbucks of Rajasthan have gained quite an amount of popularity because of its hunting case involving famous Bollywood actor Salman Khan.
While the Bishnois are protecting the blackbucks in Rajasthan, in Maharashtra, the antelopes are enjoying blissful living at the Rehekuri Wildlife Sanctuary.
Located in Karjat taluka of Ahmednagar district, the sanctuary is a small 2.17 sq km nature’s blessing supporting a number of animals, birds, and trees.
What to experience in Rehekuri?
Rehekuri is known for its blackbuck population, so you can sure spot one there. There are over 300 blackbucks in the sanctuary, which are locally known as ‘kalvit’. The male blackbuck is quite a sight with its long spiral horns, used to attract the female blackbuck.
You will also spot chinkaras, Indian fox and wolves here. The Rehekuri forest is dry and deciduous and can be best explored on foot. One can come across marvels of the natural world on a nice nature trail through this sanctuary. Be patient and keep quiet so as to not alarm the blackbucks, while on the walking trail.
There are some nearby attractions to this reserve like the freshwater lake at Bhigwan. It is one of the best locations to watch water birds, both local and migratory. During winter months, one can see flamingos at the lake.
There is a Great Indian Busturd Sanctuary nearby spread over Ahmednagar and Solapur. The GIB is almost on verge of extinction and a dwindling number are found here.
There is also a famous Ganesh Temple nearby, which draws many devotees through out the year. The Siddhivinayak Temple, located in Siddhatek village of Karjat taluka, is one of the Ashtavinayak temples or eight holy temples dedicated to Lord Ganesh in Maharashtra.
When to visit?
The sanctuary is open throughout the year, but it is best to visit during monsoon and winter months to enjoy nature’s bounty and spot many animals. The ideal time is usually between August to January. The tourists have the option to either take a jeep safari or trek the long stretches of the route with a guide.
How to reach and where to stay?
The nearest airport to Ahmednagar is Pune city airport, which 3 to 4 hours drive from the Blackbuck Sanctuary. The Ahmednagar Railway station is the closest railway station. If you want to go by road then there are many private and state buses from Mumbai and Pune to take you to Ahmednagar and from there to Rehekuri. The sanctuary doesn’t have any places to stay except the forest guest house, which is not easily available. There are budget hotels and resorts in Karjat, where one can stay.
The Rehekuri Wildlife Sanctuary might be a small place, but it is quite valuable from the biodiversity point of view and a thriving abode to the blackbucks.
Featured Photo by Robert.Pittman