Navegaon is a very popular forest resort in the Vidarbha region. This eastern most part of Maharashtra was built in the 18th century. There is also a picturesque lake that situates amidst the green hills of Navegaon. There is a watchtower at Navegaon National Park; from there one can get a panoramic view of the surrounding forest.
Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Navegaon is home for almost 60% of the bird species found in the entire Maharashtra. Thousands of beautiful migratory birds flock the lake every winter. While enjoying the jungle safari, one can see leopards, sloth bears, gaurs, sambars, chitals and langoors.
One can also enjoy staying at a unique treetop house, riding a power or sailboat on the lake, are thrilling pastimes. Nearly 50,000 tourists visit this place annually. Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary (60 km), Itiadoh Dam (20 km), Tibetan Camp at Gothangaon (15 km) and Pratapgad (15 km) are the places of interest around the national park.
Legend of Navegaon Lake
There is an interesting legend about Navegaon Lake. Kolu Patel Kohli created the lake at the beginning of the 18th century. He is now defined as "Kolasur Deo" and his shrine is on one of the peaks surrounding the lake. The seven peaks surrounding the lake are known as the "Sat Bahini" or seven sisters. It is believed that these deities helped Kolu in building the lake. On the fringe of the lake is an idol of Hanuman, the deity of strength, whose feet are said to go below the embankment.
The island in the middle of the lake is known as "Maldonger" and was used by the villagers as a refuge from the marauding 'Pindaris' (A tribe of professional robbers). The area around the lake is known as the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, in memory of the noted ornithologist. Best time to visit this sanctuary is between October to June and every winter, the Navegaon Lake becomes the home to huge flocks of migrating ducks and the misty winter mornings are characterized by their loud calls.
The forest is typical Southern mixed dry deciduous forest. The main species are Teak, Haldu, Jamun, Kawat, Mahua, Ain, Bhel and Bhor, etc.
Almost 60% of all bird species recorded in Maharashtra are visible at Navegaon. The experience and the excitement of having spotted the scarlet minivet, a paradise fly catcher or the sapphire blue flash of a kingfisher skimming the surface of the lake for fish is quite out of the world.
Though Navegaon is better known as a bird sanctuary, a number of wild animals could also be sighted. Tigers, Panthers, Bisons, Sambars, Nilgais, Chitals, Wild boars, Sloth Bears, and Wild Dogs are main wild life species in this national park.
One can also join the Jungle Safari and stroll through the beautiful forest, crossing paths with Leopards, Sloth Bears, Gaurs, Sambars, Chitals and Langoors. Staying in the unique treetop house, riding a power or sailboat on the lake, are also some thrilling pastimes one can enjoy over here. Nearly 50,000 tourists visit this tourist complex annually.
Nearest airport is at Nagpur (150 km), while nearest railhead is at Deulgaon (2 km).
Nearest bus stand is Navegaon at a distance of 10 km.