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Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary

In the Narmada district of Gujarat lies the expansive Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. Located over an area of 607.71 sq. km, the sanctuary preserves a wide variety of flora and fauna. The sanctuary spreads along the briny water reserve of Gujarat making it a suitable place for wildlife to survive. The wetlands and forests of the sanctuary also attract a vast number of migratory and domestic birds. The sanctuary was first settled in 1982 and was then named as the Dhumkal Sanctuary. When it was initially established it covered an area of 150.87 Sq. Km. In 1987 the area was extended and was named as the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary.

The name Shoolpaneshwar comes from the historic temple of Lord Shiva that once existed on the banks of the Narmada. The ancient temple is submerged but a new temple has been built near Rajpipla. The backdrop of the sanctuary comprises of the Rajpipla hills. The dense forests of the area not only provide home to different species of animals but also help in conservation of soil and water.

There are several guesthouses around the sanctuary that provide comfortable accommodation and all types of basic and luxury facilities to the visitors. For nature lovers, the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is an amazing place to visit and appreciate the beauty of nature. Its biodiversity and richness of flora and fauna make it a wonderful place to spend some time in.


The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Narmada district of Gujarat and covers an area of 607.71 sq. km. The area is quite hilly and the region along the Narmada supports a dense forests. The sanctuary is extends on rippling terrain and is covered with greenery, tall canopies, grand waterfalls, deep valleys, beautiful streams and scenic landscapes.

The water needs of the sanctuary are met by the watershed that also supplies water to the Sardar Sarovar and the Kanjan reservoirs. The sanctuary is considered to be one of the thickest forests in Gujarat. Most of the forest is covered with Rajpipla trees, which give the area its scenic beauty. There are over 575 species of flowering plants too in the area. the other type of vegetation in the area include the moist teak forests, dry bamboo brakes, the dry tropical riverine forests, dry deciduous forests and the dry deciduous scrub, etc.

The sanctuary is also inhabited by small tribal communities. The most prominent tribe in the area are the Vasavas. This tribe mainly depends on the forest to fulfil its requirements.


The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is home to several species of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. Some of the animals that can be spotted in the sanctuary include the sloth bear, rhesus macaque, leopard, Indian civet cat, chital, common mongoose, four-horned antelope, flying squirrel, Indian porcupine, barking deer, pangolin, lizards, snakes, python, tortoise etc. It is reported that the area also has a small population of leopard cats, tigers and wild dogs. The Muntjac also form an important part of the fauna of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary is visited by both domestic and migratory birds. Some of the birds that can commonly be seen in the area include the crested serpent eagle, sparrow hawk, shikra, great-horned owl, red and grey jungle fowls, grey hornbill, etc.

How to Reach

By Road

The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary can easily be accessed by buses from Bharuch, Rajpipla, Chanod, and Dabhoi. The Sardar Sarovar Dam can be reached easily if you have a private car. The closest bus stand is in Ankleshwar about 60Km away.

By Rail

The closest railway station to the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is in is in Ankleshwar about 60Km away and in Bharuch about 80Km away from the sanctuary.

By Air

The nearest domestic airport to the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is in Vadodara about 90Km away and the nearest international airport is in Ahmadabad about 260Km away.

Best Time to Visit

The post monsoon season from November to March is the best season to visit the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. During the summer time, the weather can get very hot and is not suitable for exploring. After the monsoons the weather is a bit cool and it is easy to spot wildlife and enjoy exploring the different trails around the sanctuary. Bring along your photography gear and follow the guidelines of not wandering around the area alone and keep away from hunting animals.

Related Image

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary
Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary

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