The Blackbuck Lodge in Velavadar,Gujrat : Into the wilderness

- Published by Anu

blackbuck national park
The diverging horns of the Blackbuck antelopes

 

The Blackbuck Lodge is a 70 acre resort nestled along the Velavadar Blackbuck National Park in Bhavnagar district of Gujrat. The beauty of this place lies in the fact that it is the only standalone property for stay in Velavadar.

I stayed at The Blackbuck Lodge a while back, so here is my review of the lodge.


Sprawling across the savanna grasslands, the resort has been built over reclaimed barren lands and around a water body created at its center.

Walking past the entrance gate of the lodge, the smell of the wilderness fills the air, soothing our senses. You feel like you are about to enter an oasis in the middle of nowhere and the forest that grows around it, is inviting you in.

 

 

Click to enlarge images:

blackbuck lodge
The Blackbuck Lodge
blackbuck lodge
The lodge spread across the grasslands

A cobblestoned pathway branches out to connect 14 air conditioned plush cottages. The staff tells me that each cottage is isolated from the others. It is designed in such a way as to provide complete privacy to every guest, yet retaining its easy accessibility to the dining and reception areas.

 

On the outside the cottage has a rustic appeal and looks elegantly simple. But as I go through the door, the sheer size of the rooms, grand furnishings, a HUGE bathroom as big as the room itself and high ceilings are astonishing. A grand patio overlooks the park. But the icing on the cake was the lovely open air (in private outdoors off-course) shower area cocooned under trees.

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The cottage interiors
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The beautifully set corner table
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The bathroom interiors

The intricate and artistic interiors were very beautiful and tastefully done with attention to detail. I have stayed at quite a few luxurious properties or hotels before but this lodge was not JUST luxurious, it was aesthetically luxurious which made me feel royal and homely at the same time. With sufficient time to rejuvenate and soaking it all in, it was dinner time.



blackbuck lodge outdoor shower
Outdoor shower area
blackbug lodge bathtub
Humungous bathtub

The ambience at the restaurant was beautifully set for a romantic meal coupled with candle light and some soft music playing in the background. We decided to have a buffet dinner here as opposed to a private dining experience. Turned out to be a great choice since we got to interact with the staff, other guests. If you plan to stay here do meet the owner Mikey. He was very friendly and gave us some great suggestions for local sightseeing.


Early next morning, I tip-toed to the patio to spot some rare wildlife. It was an incredible view with foggy misty grasslands spread everywhere and animal silhouettes dotting the landscape, deer peeking through the tall grasses and trotting around basking in the glory of the morning sunlight.

 

velavadar park lodge
The lovely patio of the cottage overlooking the national park

I spotted the famous Indian Antelope, also known as the blackish brown color of the buck species, lots of deer and few Blue Bulls (called the Neelgai in Hindi). It was incredible to be so close to them and blend with their surroundings, right in my backyard. Although I did not get even a glimpse of the Hyenas and the endangered species of the Indian wolf from the patio, I was hoping to succeed in these grand sightings at Velavadar National Park Safari later in the day.


velavadar national park
Spotted a hyena at Velavadar National Park
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A Blackbuck posing for my camera at Velavadar National Park


 


My favorite spot was the canopied sit-outs at a small hillock near the lake. These act as a vantage point for bird watching and wildlife spotting. You can spend hours here with your binoculars trying to spot different birds and photographing them (Secret tip: Sneak out to this hillock in the night for some stargazing from the canopy or if you are quite the BRAVE ONE, use it as a hideout for nocturnal wildlife spotting).

I spent a lot of my time here with my camera to capture Kingfishers swooping from the air into the pond to catch some fish. It is also home to a wide variety of common and migratory birds and raptors.



canopy sit out at blackbuck lodge
Romantic Canopied sit out at the lodge
blackbuck lodge reception
Lounge area of the lodge
kingfisher bird
Kingfisher swooping to catch a fish from the lake

Interesting activities to do in and around the lodge:

 

Bush Dinner :

One of the most exciting and romantic experience offered by The Blackbuck Lodge is the private romantic dinner getaway called the ‘Bush Dinner’. It can be arranged within or around the lodge. The setting, campfire, location as well as the choice of cuisine would be catered as per the personal requirements of the guests. It is definitely a must-do!

 

Rural Village Meals :

Another exclusive arrangement offered by the lodge is the ‘Rural Meal’. More suitable for families or groups who would like to relish a rural authentic preparation from a nearby Kathiawadi village.

 

Go for walks or go cycling provided by the resort to explore surrounding vistas.

Carry a camera and/or a pair of binoculars along if interested in photography or bird watching. The location of the resort is spectacular for these activities. 

 

Service and Hospitality:

  1. The lodge is equipped with a well-trained and friendly staff which personally takes care of all the requirements of the guests.
  2. The restaurant is built from local eco-friendly materials. Both veg and non-veg meal options are available in the buffet spread for all meals including breakfast. Room service can also be availed as per choice.


Additional information:

  • Wi-Fi is available in all cottages but at an additional nominal cost. Although be prepared to have intermittent connectivity to the Wi-Fi network.
  • Phone connectivity and coverage is good within premises. Also the rooms have a telephone and direct dialing facility to the operator.
  • Make sure to carry rough and tough shoes to explore around the resort.
  • Be careful and beware of wild animals while stepping out from the cottages at night, since the resort is right in the middle of the national park and there might be quite a possibility of encountering a wild animal in the distance or close by. Although the resort is guarded by guards at night it is suggested to be ensure personal safety at all times.


Places to visit nearby:

 

Velavadar national park

Although the lodge is along the national park, one needs to enter the national park inner premises through the entry gate only. There are two options available for a safari tour, one offered by the lodge and another one being a personal tour arranged by the park. Prices for both tours include entrance fee, jeeps custom-designed for wildlife viewing, photography and field guides.


 

 

Shetrunjaya temple complex in Palitana

Explore the Shetrunjaya temple complex in Palitana which is around one and a half hour drive from the lodge. These famous Jain temple complexes are home to temples belonging to the 16th, 18th and the 19th centuries respectively. Revel at the architectural grandeur and intricate historic carvings of these temples and domes.

 

Lothal

Visit one of the finest and awe-inspiring archeological sites of the Indus valley civilization also called the Harappa civilization. The Harappa cultural remains in all its variances can be found here. A must visit destination and a one and a half hour drive from the lodge.

 

 

Practical info:

 

How to reach:  You can drive from Mumbai to Velavadar (570 kms by road) . Although it’s a long drive, Gujrat roads are extraordinary and the route is very scenic and worth the drive.

 

Costs: Check out the costs directly with the lodge website for bookings. Also make sure to make prior reservations since it is the only property to stay in Velavadar. If you end up impromptu and the lodge is fully booked, your only available option would be to stay in Bhavnagar which is 45kms from Velavadar.                                                            

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