A small coastal town, Alibaug is a popular getaway not just for people in Mumbai but also for those in Central India, but really takes the cake away for an avid traveller is the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary. Coming back to Alibaug for a second, it has rightfully earned the title mini Goa, as this destination receives tourists almost all year round. Steeped in colonial history, this place is only 110 km from Mumbai and offers a host of attractions like beaches, forts and temples. So whether you stay for a day or a week, Alibaug has enough to keep you happily engaged throughout your trip.
The star attraction of Alibaug is its beaches which are only a few minutes from each other. The most visited beach here is the Alibaug beach which offers incredible views of both the Colaba Fort and sights of both the sunrise/sunset. Once the cornerstone of the Maratha Empire, the Colaba Fort has successfully managed to stand the test of time. If you have more time head out to the Kihim or Nagaon beach, which are just a few minutes away.
Another unmissable spot in Alibaug is the Mandawa beach. Famous for the innumerable shootings that take place here, the beach also offers amazing views of the Gateway of India. Spend an evening sipping on a beer while you watch the day turn into dusk.
Wildlife lovers, unite
Although Tadoba and Pench are more popular national parks and attract a lot of wildlife enthusiasts, the Konkani coast near Alibaug also offers a unique getaway for people who love the wild. Where you ask? Located in the Murud and Roha Talukas of Raigad District, the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is a must visit for all types of wildlife lovers. Even if you are not a wildlife enthusiasts, the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is also a good option for trekkers and avian lovers as well.
Encompassing an area of 53 square kms, the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is only 12 km from the Kashid Beach. The park lies between the Northern Sahyadri range and Western Coast of India. Further, the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary also has a rich history as it was the hunting ground of the Siddhi Nawab of the Janjira state. The Nawab built multiple roads and water bodies around the forest and was instrumental in bringing the Phasad Wildlife Sanctuary to life.The ruins of the Siddhi Nawab’s bungalow at Kesauli offers incredible views of the Kashid beach which is located near the sanctuary. Further, you can also visit the temple of the Dhawir Vardini, which is revered by the Aairi tribe, who live inside the Phasad Wildlife Sanctuary.
Explore the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary
Coming to flora and fauna of the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary, it is quite rich in both. In order to preserve the rich biodiversity of the region, the forests were in 1986 declared as a wildlife sanctuary.
Boasting of a number of animals, birds, reptiles and insects, the sanctuary is best visited between October to April. Some of the major animals found here includes sambar, barking deer, leopard, panther and wild boars. In addition, there are about 148 species of birds found in this park – some of which includes, yellow footed green pigeon, Asian paradise flycatcher, black eagle, forest wagtail, pied hornbill and malkoha among others. While you always book a safari, the best way to explore the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is to trek through it. That’s not all. The Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to about 71 species of butterflies along with migratory birds that visit the park between November and January.
Another feature of the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is that it also boasts of snakes that are both poisonous and non-poisonous in nature. The park also has around 710 species of plants, including medicinal ones like clitoria biflora, ramphicapa among others. Nonetheless the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect fit for nature lovers and photographers as it offers a lot in terms of biodiversity that cannot be found anywhere else in the state.
That being said, there are four main trails that run through the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary that take in the main waterholes, mainly the Gunyacha Maal, Chikhalgaan and Phansadgaan. These are in fact the best places to spot some of the prime wildlife of the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary and we recommend you carry both your binoculars and camera during your excursion.
How to reach Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary
The Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is accessible by air, train and road. Here is how you can reach the park, depending on the mode of transport that you choose.
By Air: The nearest airport to Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is Mumbai, which is located only 145 kms from the airport. The best way to reach the park is to book a cab from the airport.
By Rail: The closest railway station to Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is Raigad which is 52 kms away. Trains almost all major cities in India and Maharashtra stop at Raigad. From the railway station, you can either book a cab, or use public transport to reach Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary
By Road: Since Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular destination, you can easily find buses from Mumbai, Pune and other major cities of Maharashtra.
Stay: There are limited accommodation options in the wildlife sanctuary. The best staying option would be in Kashid which is only 10 km away.
In conclusion, the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary should definitely be your bucket list, especially if you are travelling to Maharashtra. Have you planned your getaway yet?