Barda Hills Wildlife Sanctuary
Barda Wildlife Sanctuary is located at about 15 km from Porbandar, which faces Arabian Sea. Barda was a private forest of the ex-princely State of Ranavav (Porbandar) and Jamnagar and, therefore, it is still popularly known as Rana Barda and Jam Barda. Entire area is the reserve forest and had been notified as Sanctuary in the year 1979. The settlement of the area has been completed, but final notification is yet to be issued. The Sanctuary is distributed in two districts i.e. Porbandar and Jamnagar. The hilly terrain with patches of flat plains at places, the crisscrossing of numerous rivulets and streams and existing dams impart a divine look to the forest. One may hardly abstain from thinking that here is the place, where the saints in ancient times must have attained 'moksha', the ultimate liberation. The Sanctuary area is a green oasis, surrounded by agriculture fields, wastelands and forest.
The Sanctuary hardly has 192.31 sq. km area, but has one of the most diverse floral compositions and therefore a potential source of remedies of many ailments, and therefore deserves to be safeguarded. The terrain of Barda is almost hilly and undulating with an altitude ranging from 79.2 m to 617.8 m. above sea level. At places, there are gentle slopes with exposed rocks. The two main ephemeral rivers are Bileshvary and Joghri. Khambala and Fodara are important dams in the Sanctuary.
The area supports about 750 'maldhari' families (4000 people) in 68 'nesses'. The agriculture fields and wasteland, where acute water scarcity is experienced during the summer months, surround the forest area. However, this green patch of forest, provides ecological security and environmental stability, since it improves the water regime of the area by recharging the ground water and forming catchment for the minor dams in the Sanctuary. Located barely at distance of 15 km from the Arabian Sea, the forest is standing as the guard against the salinity ingress in the region. The forest is endowed with very rich floral composition and it was also a home of Asiatic lion in not a distant past. Kileshwar, a temple and camping site developed by 'Jamsaheb' of Jamnagar, is a beautiful site in the heart of the forest. Amongst the mammals ratel, leopard and wolf are threatened. Amongst the reptiles found here, crocodile and chameleon are rare and endangered. Of the four common venomous snakes, three are found here. The avifaunal species also displays high diversity. At least two species of birds, which were found in the Sanctuary, are rare/ endangered, to name a few: Spotted Eagle and Crested Hawk-Eagle.
Apart from this, the Sanctuary exhibits great variety of invertebrate species including variety of butterflies. Lion, Chinkara, Sambar and Spotted Deer found in the recent past, are now exterminated from Barda. Although the area of Sanctuary is small, it has different types of forests.
Contact Conservator of Forests Office, Porbandar, Tel: 02862242551.
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.