The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Goa nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats mountains. Spread over an area of 240 sq. km, the sanctuary was previously known as the Mollem Game Sanctuary, a designated wildlife reserve since 1969. The core zone of the sanctuary, comprising an area of 107 sq. km., was declared a National Park in 1978 and is known as the Mollem National Park. The Sanctuary is a home to exotic wildlife species like Gaur, Sambar, Panther, Leopards, Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Slender Toris, Jungle Cats, and Malayan Giant Squirrels. The bird population includes the Indian Black Woodpeckers, the Malabar Pied Hornbills, Paradise Fly Catchers, Fairy Blue Birds, Drongos, and Wag tails. The profuse green vegetation of the sanctuary also ranges from tropical evergreen forests and semi-evergreen forests to moist deciduous forests. On the whole this sanctuary is a perfect place for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Places to see at Bhagawan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary: The sanctuary apart from being a retreat of the countless no. of animal species also comprises a host of other tourist attractions. These includes:
Tambdi Surla Temple
This small but exquisite 12th century Shiva temple of the lord Mahadeva is an active place or worship, located 13 km east of Bolcornem village, past the end of a single lane paved road in the northern region of the park. The temple consists of garbhagriha, antarala and a pillared Nandi mandapa built of basalt. The four pillars, sculpted with intricate carvings of elephants and chains support a stone ceiling decorated with finely carved lotus flowers of the Ash token variety.
The majestic Dudhsagar Falls (literally Sea of Milk) waterfall located high up on the Mandovi River at the Karnaraka border is just 4km from the sanctuary located in the south west part. At 310 m, it is Goa’s tallest waterfall, India’s fifth tallest, and is 227th in the world. The spectacular view of the waterfalls creates a spell binding charm over the visitors.
This naturally made canyon may make the tourists feel scary by its sinister looks. The canyon is actually made from the water carved crevises downstream from Dudh Sagar Falls, which is created from solid rock by serpentine underwater currents. It is just off the main trail soon past the Collem entry point.
This waterfall, located about 2 km southwest of Tambdi Surla, at the Karnataka border, is equally spectacular and only slightly less tall than Dudsagar Falls, however it is rarely visited because of its difficult access by a steep, winding and irregular rocky path. A local guide is required.
This point provides a breathtaking view of the park, revealing a vast expanse of closed canopu treetops. It can be reached by park vehicles, hired at Mollem check-point, driving along a zig-zagging road carved from the mountain.
Things to do in Bhagawan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary: Being a home of innumerable no. of wild species you can easily catch a glimpse of these wild animals. The adventure lovers may organize trekking to the DudhsagarFalls from here. If you want to laze about doing nothing just get around the place watching the enormous natural beauty.
Best time to visit Bhagawan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary: The best time to visit the sanctuary is from November to March as the weather during this time remains really pleasant.
How to go ?
Goa is well connected with regular flights available from all major cities in India. Dambolim is the airport nearest to the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary. From Dambolim, Mollem is 67 km. You have to take a cab to reach the destination from Dabolim airport.
The nearest railway station is at Collem South Central Railway, which is connected with all major railway junctions in India like New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Indore, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Madurai, Vizag, Jammu, Howrah, Guwahati, Ahmedabad and also other cities. From Collem, one has to travel 6 km. to Mollem by any local transport. The Konkan Railway stops at the Carambolim Karmali station. From Carambolim, one has to travel 50 km. to Mollem via Old Goa-Ponda-Tiska.
If one is travelling by road, National Highway 4A (on the Western Ghats) passes through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. All inter-state buses from Belgaum, Hubli and Bangalore halt at Mollem where the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary office is located. The routes often taken are either via Panaji-Ponda-Tiska-Mollem (57 km.) or via Margao-Ponda-Tiska-Mollem (42 km.). Taxis and tourist buses are cheap and comfortable to travel in within Goa. At the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, often taxi drivers can also act as guides. Hiring a car is not a very economical option and it is also not very easy for a tourist to drive around in Goa as the roads are bad and local drivers may be rash. It is often best to hire a driver from the hotel you’re staying in as such drivers work at fixed rates, so there is no question of bargaining or being cheated.
Where to stay ?
There is no official accommodation available under the management of the Wildlife and Ecotourism Wing at Mollem. However, the Forest Department has one suite available at the Forest Rest House at Mollem. For bookings, please contact: +91-0832-312095.
Another option is to stay in cottages and dormitories available at the Forest Resort Complex in Mollem, run by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation. Ph: +91-0832-226782, 226515, 224132.
You may also stay at Backwoods Nature Camp. They organize package trips including pick and drop, food and lodging. For further details please contact:
Backwoods Camp: +91-09822139859, 9822144939, 9822387434 Website: www.backwoodsgoa.com
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.