Tales from Bhigwan

#Sunrise#Wooden Boat ride #Flamingos.

  Bird Migration is a unique feature that is definitely worth knowing more about. Though there are many who devote years to understand the nuances of this aspect , for those like me  the opportunity to witness some of the migratory birds in close vicinity is a great delight which otherwise would not be feasible to see. There are few places in the country where one can witness migratory birds and only few of the common folks among us actually can go to these places.

Luckily I chanced upon a unique place, in Maharashtra accessible by just about everyone where one can see some of the species of migratory birds at close range which had travelled great ranges and distances because of temperature and breeding conditions. Let’s discover Bhigwan ….

unnamed at bhigwan 347

On a wintry weekend I decided to head out to a rural town in hinterland of Maharashtra near to the town of Sholapur called Bhigwan. The town on its own has no significance but what is significant are two villages Kumbhargaon and Diksal which are nestled among the backwaters of Ujjani dam.

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 The shallow backwater coupled with the climatic conditions have resulted in the creation of an aquatic habitat perfect for the various migratory birds like the greater Pink Flamingoes , stork,Black drongo and the Eurasian spoonbill.

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  So I set out towards Bhigwan, a small dusty town situated on the National highway connecting Pune with Sholapur. The distance of Bhigwan from Pune is around 100 Kms. From Bhigwan one needs to leave the highway and turn left to go towards Kumbhargaon which is one of the two main sites from where one can hire a boat to take oneself out to the bird habitat.

 The journey should be planned in such a way that the boat ride should commence just at the sunrise or few minutes after that so that the climatic condition is ideal for bird watching. As the day moves on it is going to get hotter and the exercise of bird watching gets more demanding, hence early mornings are always preferable.

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   I stayed overnight at Baramati which is 40 kms from Bhigwan so that I did not have to drive early morning and was able to reach the village just after sunrise. Another point to note is that in case for those who are serious about bird watching with photography, please hire a single boat for which one needs to tie up with the local contacts in advance as boats are limited.

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Breakfast as well as lunch can be arranged in the village itself so the basics of the trip are covered up. It is advisable to take a personal vehicle as the village is at a distance of 08 km from the Highway. At Baramati one can also visit the Siddheswar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This place is the sugarcane region of Maharashtra and one can enjoy the delicious drink at the numerous road side stalls set up on the highway.

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Pune – Bhigwan 100 km on NH 65
Location Backwaters form a part of Kumbhargaon Bird Sanctuary
Fees Fee ranges from 1500 – 2500 for hiring a complete oar propelled boat
Guide Services The boat man acts as the guide
Essentials Carry wide rimmed hat , sun shades and loads of water along with few eatables
Safety Life jackets are issued and insist on being provided with one
Time of Visit Nov  – Jan  , reach on the lake itself prior to sunrise .
Contact Details Boat services : Mr Sandeep Nagare , 9960610615




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