Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary in Ponda
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, a famous tourist spot of Ponda occupies a total land area of 8 km2 and is home to a large varieties of animals such as Malabar Giant Squirrel, Indian Peafowl, Indian Bison, Sambhar Deer, and different species of snakes.
The famous Bondla wildlife sanctuary is at a distance of about 50 km away from the capital, Panaji and about 20 km to the east of the taluk of Ponda. This is more of a wildlife resort and has some tourist cottages which are available on its site and managed by the Goa Forest Department.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary provides refuge to leopards which have got injured while they moved very close to the habitation of humans, plus cobras and dancing bears. These cobras and dancing bears with the trainers are in need of a new way of living since the ancient tradition of snake charming and dancing bears is made illegal now.
Highlights of Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
More than being a sanctuary, this is a perfect jungle area and a chief attraction for those who love nature and wildlife lovers. Its botanical and rose gardens, expansive natural deer park and mini zoo draw tourists all through the year. This is a famous destination for picnics of school children but it stays closed during Thursdays.
The animals that commonly dwell in this sanctuary are Gaur and Sambhar deer. There are also tour buses providing a stopover at Bondla sanctuary from Panaji and Margao. The small sized sanctuary is situated among the hills at the meeting point of three taluks, that is, Ponda, Sattari and Sanguem. This sanctuary takes pride in its Eco-Tourist Cottages apart from the mini zoo and gardens.
Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, a heaven for Eco-Tourists, is well connected to Molem and Ponda by good tar roads. It is a very pleasant experience to visit this sanctuary during the evenings or nights and this area is enclosed by wet deciduous forests containing little patches of canes and evergreens along the way. The Terninalia crenulata or Matti (State Tree) as well as rosewood are very common here.
Flora in the SanctuaryThe commonly found trees in this sanctuary are Saraca indica, Mimusops, Jamba, Kindall, and Lagerstroemia also called Naked Maiden of the Forest or Nano. The Giant Lianas (Entada) and the thorn-filled bamboo (Bambusa arundinacea) abound in this sanctuary.
Fauna in the Sanctuary
Goa’s state animal, Gaur is habitually seen in the sanctuary and the other animals seen here are the largest carnivore, Panther, the Toddy Cat, Leopard Cat and Jungle Cat. The herbivores found here consist of the Malabar Giant Squirrel, Scaly Ant Eater, Porcupines, Wild Boar and Deer (Spotted, Mouse, Barking, Hog and Sambhar). The minuscule Draco (Flying lizard) is also fairly common in this place.
More than hundred bird species are residents in this sanctuary and the other daily visitors are Ruby Throated Yellow Bulbul (Goa’s State Bird), Common Grey Hornbill and the Golden Backed Woodpecker.
The following are the features of the sanctuary:
There is a small zoo which permits you to view the various fauna present in Goa encircled by natural surroundings. The animals seen here include Lion, Crocodiles, Gaur, Sloth Bear, Panther, Deer (Sambhar, Barking, Hog and Spotted) and other reptiles.
Deer Safari ParkTourists will be able to move among the deer by traveling in vehicles in the interior of the extensive Deer Safari Park which houses Spotted and Sambhar deer.
Formal GardensThe lawns are spacious with exotic trees, rose varieties, as well as different coloured flowering plants which are in the center of the sanctuary and very pleasing to the eyes.
Botanic GardensYou can see a very large plant collection in the Botanic Gardens of the Sanctuary, which greatly interest students.
Nature Education Centre
There is an NEC (Nature Education Centre) housing various exhibits which the visitors can view, feel as well as interpret. There is also a library attached which provides several details to inquisitive visitors, and cine movies and video are also screened as per request.
Famous Place around Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary
Safa Shahouri Masjid (Mosque)Safa Shahouri Masjid is situated on the way to the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary in Ponda. Constructed in 1560 by Adil Shah, the original place was destroyed by the Portuguese and then a new mosque was constructed in the same place again.
AccommodationFor accommodation, there are 2 dormitories and eight cottages which are double-bedded offered by the Forest Department. You would have to book from the Forest Office of the Bondla Range or through the chief Forest Office which is in Panaji.
How to To Reach BOndla Wildlife Sanctuary
By AirwaysThe Airport of Dabolim is only 50 km from the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and you can avail a bus or taxi in order to reach this sanctuary from the Dabolim airport.
By RailwaysMargao railways are the closest (36 km) from the Bondla sanctuary, and it has many trains running from most of the country’s important places.
By RoadwaysPanaji, Goa’s capital is at a distance of 52 km from the sanctuary and there are buses and taxis to go to Bondla.
Quick Facts about the SanctuaryLocation: Situated in Ponda Taluk of Central Goa, at a distance of 52 km from the capital Panaji.
Major Attractions: Jackals, Langurs, Wild Boar, Monkeys, Sambhar deer and Gaur
Best Time for Visiting: The month of October to the month of March
Open Hours: 9am to 5pm and closed on Thursdays (Zoo and Garden)
Restaurants near the Sanctuary
Antruz MahalAntruz Mahal, a newly built restaurant situated in Ponda, specializes in Goan Thali (both special and standard) which is tasty and reasonably priced. The quantity of food is adequate here, the food is presented well, and the service is very courteous. This restaurant is thus an ideal place for people to visit with their families for breakfast, lunch as well as dinner.
Sahakari Spice FarmSahakari Spice Farm specially greets visitors at its entrance by a conventional aarati and also a flower garland and serves healthy and hot Lemon Grass Tea as starter. Visitors can choose to walk around the plantation of spices where various herbs, fruits and spices that are used for cooking grow or straightaway start with lunch.
The best dishes served here are the Chicken Xacutti, Fried Prawns, Vegetables and Fish Curry, which are cooked in the traditional way in clay using wood fire. You can also enjoy watching a classical dance troupe performing Goa dances while you drink and eat. You must not miss the wholesome cashew Feni offered here, along with the other scrumptious delicacies of the restaurant.
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