Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary
This protected area packs in an incredible diversity of ecosystems into the relatively small area of 6 square km. The sanctuary, created over the 1920s and '30s, is formed from two man-made dykes that separate fresh water from sea water, creating the opportunity to simultaneously observe species that belong to each ecosystem, and some that share both. Along with the marine and fresh water habitats, there are also marshy lands, mangroves, Prosopis areas, mudflats, salt pans, creeks, forest scrub, sandy beaches, and even farmlands bordering the area. This provides a haven for more than 220 species of resident and migratory birds, including globally threatened species such as Dalmatian pelican, Asian open bill stork, Black-necked stork, Darter, Black-headed ibis, Eurasian spoonbill, and Indian skimmer, and provides birdwatchers with a delightful chance to sight rare birds in large numbers.
There are no overnight lodges, but facilities include watchtowers, trails, and paddleboats, to help visitors engage with this diverse community. As a visitor, keep in mind that conservation in any area is a difficult process, and that in Khijadia there have been complications with how water is used by local cultivators which affect the ecosystem within the tiny protected area, so if you’re interested, you can ask around about the issues, and find out what impact even your own visit has on the process.
Khijadiya is located just 12 km away from Jamnagar District headquarters. This sanctuary is veritable showpiece for bird watchers since its unique quality of having fresh water lakes on one side and salty marshlands on other side. A check dam and a fresh water area formed by rains are the cause of this unique diversity in a relatively small area of 6 square kilometres.
The fabulously diverse ecosystem offer diverse viewing pleasure to bird watchers. Along with marine and fresh water habitats, there are also marshy lands, mangroves, Prosopsis areas, mudflats, salt pans, creeks, forest scrub, sandy beaches, and even farmlands bordering the area.Together, these ecosystems provide a haven for more than 220 species of resident and migratory birds. Bird watchers can train their binoculars and cameras at endangered species such as Dalmatian Pelican, Asian Open Bill Stork, Black Necked Stork, Darter, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian spoonbill, and Indian Skimmer. On lucky days avian enthusiasts can spot these rare birds in large numbers.
There are watchtowers, trails, and paddleboats to ease your avian encounters. It would be much appreciated if you are mindful of the conservation process and its realities while enjoying your delightful bird watching experience.
Look out for: Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill and Indian Skimmer
Be one of few to record: Dalmatian Pelican, Asian Open Bill Stork and Black Necked Stork
Recommended time in the field: 1 Day
Other attractions: Narara Marine National Park, Lakhota Talav, Bet Dwaraka, Ranmal Lake
How to get there
By road: Jamnagar is 92 km from Rajkot State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect Jamnagar with various centres of Gujarat. If you’re coming from Rajkot on bus, the bus passes right through town before reaching the bus station, so you can ask to be let off at Bedi Gate.
By rail: There are daily trains on the Western Railway with direct connections to Ahmedabad.
By air: There is an airport 10 km from town, so it’s a relatively inexpensive rickshaw or taxi ride. Various domestic airlines connect Jamnagar to Mumbai.