Radhanagari wildlife sanctuary (Dajipur forest)
Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary is also called as Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the best adventurous and wild life places near Kolhapur in the state of Maharastra in India.
Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the world heritages in Maharashtra.
The Dajipur wildlife sanctuary is declared as natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO of category ix and x since 2012 in Maharashtra state, India.
It lies at the southern end of the Sahyadri hills in the Western Ghats. It is notable as the first declared wildlife sanctuary in Maharashtra notified in 1958.
The Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as Bison Sanctuary. The sanctuary is surrounded by dense as well as thick forests.
The Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary is a place worth exploring, not only in any particular season but in all seasons which totally depends on tourist’s interest.
The land of Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect, lush green, rising and falling landscape with steep valleys and located around 75 km from Kolhapur city in Maharashtra.
Though it is named as Bison Sanctuary, it is the home of various birds, small mammals, reptiles and wild animals such as the Indian bison, deer, monkeys, wild boars, bears and chitals. The sanctuary also has a watchtower near the Manora watering hole.
Prior to independence, Chhtrapati Shahu Maharaj (the king of Kolhapur) reserved this forest mainly for hunting and he also constructed a dam on River Bhogawati near Radhanagari which is called as Radhanagari dam.
His farsighted vision resulted in the conservation of this untouched landscape and wildlife therein.
In 1958 part of this forest was declared as ‘Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary’, the first wildlife protected area in Maharashtra.
In 1985 more area is added and it was notified as ‘Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary’ covering an area of around 351 sq.km.
The forest area is predominantly semi-evergreen with undisturbed and thick evergreen patches, locally called ‘dang’, at many places. The notable among these are ‘kala Dang’ and ‘Patyacha Dang’.
Apart from this, there are many open grass lands inside the forest, which are grazing grounds for various animals in this sanctuary.
If you really like to spend time away from hustle and pollution of city then prefer to spend time in nature, trees, birds, animals and river at Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary.
You can also visit Radhanagri Dam which was built by Shri Shahu Maharaj in the year 1907. Do you know this was the first dam built in India? It is worth to visit and take a look.
Tourist attractions in Radhanagari wildlife sanctuary
The following are few important not to miss tourist sport in Radhanagari wildlife sanctuary
Radhanagari fireflies festival
Before Monsoon the special type of insects called fireflies (insect emit light of various intensities) are spotted at large numbers at Radhanagari forest near Kolhapur and it is celebrated as fireflies festival.
Various tourists from across the Maharastra visit near Radhanagri to enjoy the beautiful sight of these glowing worms.
The insect fireflies are mostly spotted just after the first shower rains in May one can see fireflies in the forest or near to villages having fruit-bearing trees. The number goes on increasing till June and declines once the monsoon is settled and this place turns out to be a heaven attracting nature enthusiasts.
The flora and fauna of the Radhanagri area are full of green cover and hence they attracted a lot of fireflies there. Every year thousands of tourists come here to enjoy this sight and this year the city will see even more in the coming days.
Safari to the Radhanagari wildlife sanctuary
The long drive into the thick forest takes you to the heart of the sanctuary where the sighting of the bison, wild deer, chital, bison and the barking deer is quite common.
You can go for a jungle trek with a forest guide. Dajipur jungle safari jeeps are available.
If you wish to drive inside the Jungle then go with your SUV and not with a small car, you need to take forest official permission for same.
If you want to see wild animals then begin early morning or late evening or else animals go away before it gets too hot or too dark.
Start early morning to get inside the jungle, to watch animals & birds.
The Bison point is about 25 kms inside the interior of the reserve, and it will take approx 2 to 2.5 hrs of being driven on dirt road tracks to get here.
Bison Nature Club – Bison Nature Club is one and Only Nature Club in Radhanagari and Dajipur Sanctuary.
This nature club arranges group tours, study tours, family tours, jungle safari, nature trail and adventure camp in dajipur bison sanctuary.
This group is working on to keep the environment and save animals and develop tourism in Radhanagari.
One of the scenic beauties with surrounding lush green forest in Radhanagari wildlife sanctuary is Radhanagari Dam.
This Gravity dam (A gravity dam is a dam constructed from concrete or stone masonry and designed to hold back water by primarily using the weight of the material alone to resist the horizontal pressure of water pushing against it.
Gravity dams are designed so that each section of the dam is stable, independent of any other dam section.)
Read more about Gravity dam was one of the Engineering beauties in the year 1907 constructed by visionary Shri Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj on a Bhogawati river near Radhanagari in Maharashtra.
This is the first-ever built dam in India. The Dam was constructed in the year 18 February 1907.
The chief engineer of this dam was Sir Pandurang rao Krishnaji rao Shinde.
The dam is being used for irrigation as well as hydroelectricity power generation. The dam is located amidst a scenic surrounding in the backdrop of thick forest cover.
I was bit delighted to read how our earlier Indians were visionary and thought about future generations at the time where there were no technological advancements.
The surrounding area of Radhanagari Dam is located at a very picturesque spot, with an attractive backdrop of thick forest covers.
The place is a home for many birds and various varied plants and flowers. The larger number of tourist visits this place each year to see the spectacular bird species around the Radhanagiri Dam.
In the village, you can visit display hall which displays information on the inhabitants of the forest, with large mounted and labeled photographs, interactive quizzes on display, as well as the pug marks of important forest inhabitants cast in plaster.
It is the reservoir lake of Radhanagari Dam.
You can see a cluster of old ruins on an island in the reservoir where Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj said to have occasionally rested. The temple constructed by Rajarshi Shahu is near this Laxmi Reservoir.
The best time to visit, if you really want to enjoy the scenic beauty, is immediately after monsoon.
Margajache pani point : You may see the crocodiles here
Waghache Pani(Tiger Water)
• Located on plateau of sanctuary made from Besalt Rocks.
• Tiger visits frequently for drinking water, hence this place is called as Vaghache Pani. (Tiger Water)
• There is a reservoir constructed by Rajarshi Shahu on this plateau.
• The watch tower (manora) located near this reservoir where you have chance to see Tiger, Panther, Deer, Wild Bear, etc.
• Also get to the Radhanagari Darshan Point, Sambar kund, Konkan darshan and Vengurla Harbour sea view.
Konkan Darshan Point
• View beautiful Sunset
• Watch the Shivgad Fort , Phonda Ghat, Malavans Sea view and Gagangad from this point.
• If you want to view the lush green mountains and valleys then time to visit is immediately after monsoon
• See flora at this point such as Karvi, Ghaneri, Rametha , Kumkum , Kadipata, Tamalpatri, Shembisal, Amsul, Honey etc.
• Sambars also do visit here frequently for drinking water. Hence this spot is known as Sambar Kund.
• Located about 1.5 km to the south of Digipur village on the hill top.
• See Phonda-ghat, Sahyadri ranges and Radhanagari area from this point
• Be-aware of monkeys
Kalamwadi Mini Vrundavan Garden
• Similar to the Vrundavan Garden of Mysore
• Located at Kalamawadi about 3 km away from Radhanagari
• Area 46800 sq. metres.
• The facilities like swings, mercury lamps, swimming tank, and different plants of coloured flowers, Medicinal plants, etc are available
Rautwadi and Ramanwadi Waterfall
• Rautwadi water fall is located near Rautwadi village around 8 km from Radhanagari.
• Ramanwadi Waterfall is is 6 km away from Radhanagari and located near Ramanwadi village.
• Both waterfalls are available during monsoons
Math of Swami Gagangiri Maharaj
Math of Swami Gagangiri Maharaj is the holy abode of Gagangiri Maharaj, a yogi, renowned for his vision and miraculous powers. Located in the center of dense forests and top of the mountain surrounded by thick green vegetation near Dajipur and the math is frequently visited by pilgrims.
You can go by drive till the foothill of the mountain and further you can climb some around 200 steps to reach the math.
Every day there is Arti and around 1 p.m there is prasad (simple food). As the math is located in the forest there are no any other facilities (don’t know about current situation).
The view is very scenic from top of the mountain and it is worth to visit.
The road till Gaganbawda is good with fields on both the sides. There are a lot of monkeys around so need to be careful with belongings.
Lots of people visit Phonda ghat every monsoon especially to take a view of valleys and small waterfalls and a majestic view of the Konkan.
The walk through the ghat is quite an exciting option with beautiful views of the valley and sparkling waterfalls and streams.
• The Shivgad Fort is built by Shilahar King Second Bhoj. There is Shiv temple near to this fort and hence this fort is called as Shivgad.
• Shivgad fort was named mentioned in one of the letters dated on 1800th century. Purpose of letter is that, increasing security on the fort of attack possibilities of Herekar Sawant (Chief of Sawantwadi).
And also mention the Letter dated on 1839th century an appointment of the Amrutrao Pratinidhi and his 15 fighter’s caused of Shivgad fort security.
Shivgad fort is located at Ghonsari village in Phondagat area in Maharashtra. This fort is a popular spot among the adventures, mountaineers and trekkers.
An easy walk will lead you to the top of the fort. As the path goes through the thick forest, it is advisable to take local guide before trekking to Shivgad fort and not advisable to go without knowledge.
How to reach Radhanagari Wild Life Sanctuary
The nearest railway station is at 50 km in Kolhapur and if you are coming from konkan region then nearest railway station to Dajipur is Kankavli which is around 35 km.
Where to stay at Radhanagari Wild Life Sanctuary
Government guest houses are the best place to stay here. All of them have large spaces and gardens. Book at least a week in advance and carry the permission letter from the respective Kolhapur office; and re-confirm before you start.
Contact numbers –
The PWD Rest House Kolhapur Tel: 0231-2650042
The Irrigation Department’s Inspection Bungalow Kolhapur Tel: 0231-2654736
The Dajipur Forest Guest House Kolhapur Telefax: 0231-2542766;
Another option is Ekant Homestay
The Deputy Conservator of Forests – Wildlife, Bindu chowk, Ganji Galli, Kolhapur. 416 002 India ( 91-231-2542766). (these are old numbers)
Another option is Ekant – www.ekantsolitude.com
It is near the sanctuary. They serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, and all meals are included in the tariff. Owned by the Ingle family, the century-old main house was once a hunting lodge. The fifth generation of the family still lives here.
The best time to visit Radhanagari wildlife sanctuary
The Radhanagari wildlife sanctuary is closed from 1st June till 30th September due to heavy rainfall.
If you visit in October then there are quite possibilities of rain but few adventure tourist plans to visit in October as well but to enjoy the waterfalls and other green sceneries it is the best period.
So to conclude, the best period to visit is Oct to Dec as you get to enjoy super weather where you can feel really wet, hot & chilly as per the month.
Some of the tourists says summer seasons (Jan to May) are the best to stop wild animals and species and also for night camping though it will be hot. It all depends on how you want to explore the wildlife and its beauty.
Visitor’s time: 6.00 am to 6.00 pm
Tourist Office: MTDC Kolhapur Tel: 0231-2652935
ID proof is required.