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Exploring Saputara: Gujarat's Monsoon Retreat

Saputara | © Mayur Thakare  / Wikimedia Commons
Saputara | © Mayur Thakare / Wikimedia Commons
Blessed with a great cultural heritage and a unique topography, Saputara is a Gujarat hill-station that offers a lot of attractions.

On the Dang plateau, at an altitude of 873m, Saputara is the only hill station in the entire state of Gujarat. A popular retreat for people escaping the unforgiving summer, Saputara enjoys pleasant temperatures (with a maximum temperature of 28 degrees Celsius even in summer) throughout this period and comes alive in the monsoons with explosions of green foliage.

The name Saputara literally translates to ‘the abode of serpents’ and is derived from the local tribal language and culture where the Snake god is revered. Appropriately so, one of the main attractions here is a deity of a snake on the banks of the river Sarpaganga, worshipped by tribes during the festival of Holi.

The town also has a connection with Hindu mythology and it is said that Lord Ram spent 11 years of his exile in the surrounding forests. Blessed with a dense forest cover, the hills around Saputara are covered with inviting mist during the evenings. What makes it a true monsoon retreat is the wonderful transformation the place undergoes with the onset of rains. Clouds and mist, coupled with cascading waterfalls, make the place a treat for the eyes. For the same reason, Saputara is also called the Cherrapunji of the West. The waterfalls and even the Saputara Lake are a hotspot for tourists who can explore with paddle-boats.

Another highlight of any visit to Saputara is taking a ropeway cab from the lake to the mountains, ensuring a bird’s-eye view of the entire Saputara region.

Saputara Lake viewed from the ropeway © Mayur Thakare / Wikimedia Commons

For an ideal trip to Saputara, the following activities are highly recommended:

Visiting Sunrise Point
At a short, walkable distance from Saputara, the Sunrise Point is 1.5 km away from the town and offers stunning views of the sunrise. If you miss the sunrise, it’s still worth visiting as it is a great vantage point with a unique view.

A trip to Vansda National Park
Previously the private forest of the Maharaja of Vansda, today it is open to visitors and you can spot tigers, leopards, pythons, antelopes and barking deer here.

Enjoy the Gira Falls
A treat if you visit this place during the monsoons, the falls are about 52 km from Saputara and are best enjoyed in the months of June to November. There are multiple other waterfalls in the region like Balda, Mayadevi and Pimpri. If planned in advance, this area is ideal for trekking and camping.

Gira Falls © Jatanpandya / Wikimedia Commons

Explore the wildlife at the Purna Sanctuary
Another wildlife attraction, the drive to Purna Sanctuary is especially scenic and is something to look forward to. Going through the scenic mountains, the sanctuary lies around 60 km from the town. Home to leopards, elephants and sloths, the sanctuary is also known for its bird-watching, with sightings of Grey Junglefowl, Crimson Sunbirds, and Rufous Woodpeckers being reported.

Getting there: Saputara is well-connected to Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Mumbai. Private buses leave from Ahmedabad (409 km) and Waghai (51 km). On the Western Railway, Waghai is the closest railway station. If you’re traveling on train from Ahmedabad, Surat or Mumbai, Bilimora is a convenient place to get off.