There is nothing to beat the thrill that you can derive out of walking along a pathway in a dense forest while anticipating the sighting of wild animals in their natural habitat or absorbing the fantastic and myriad range of colours that the area’s flora may have to offer. To be able to absorb such a wonderful experience, you must head toward the Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary in Kolhapur district which offers all this and more.
The Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary, notified by the Government of Maharashtra in 1985, has emerged as one of the most popular places of tourist interest for the fact that it is nestled in a hotspot of biodiversity, the Western Ghats. Also known as the Dajipur Sanctuary, the area in and around this place was earlier the private shooting block of the Maharaja of Kolhapur. Spread over an area of 351.16 square kilometers, its aesthetic and recreational values attract a large number of wildlife enthusiasts. The Indian Bison or the Gaur is the flagship species of this sanctuary and its other notable fauna include the tiger, leopard, sloth bear, Giant Squirrel, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, and so on. The topographical variations of the diverse habitat support varied plant diversity.
Dangs and Sadas are the unique habitats in this wildlife sanctuary. The dense evergreen and semi-evergreen patches of forests constitute the ‘climatic climax’ of vegetation known locally as ‘Dangs’ or ‘Rai’. Rai and ‘devrai’ refer to patches of forests that are traditionally protected by local villagers and are of cultural and religious importance. Numerous streams, perennial and seasonal, that are scattered all over drain into the catchments of two dams constructed on the rivers Bhogavati (Radhanagari Dam) and river Dudhganga (Kallamwadi Dam).These two reservoirs and their surrounding forests constitute prime habitat for the animals, birds, insects and reptiles found in this sanctuary.
The sanctuary is home to a variety of wild fauna, including 47 species of mammals, 59 species of reptiles, 20 species of amphibians, 264 species of birds and 66 species of butterflies. The forests are contiguous to the protected areas of Goa and Karnataka and constitute an important corridor for wildlife movement, including tigers from the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve. Some of the spots most frequented by tourists include the Rajarshi Shahu Sagar and Garden, Laxmi Sagar, Ugvai Devi, Mahadev Mandir, Shivgad, Zanjuche Pani, Hadkechisari, Laxmi Talav, Kondan Darshan, Savarai Sada, Kalamma Mandir, Iderganj Pathar and the nature information centres at Dajipur and Radhanagari.
The sanctuary is also a favourite with trekkers. The single road traversing from Dajipur to the Savarai Sada takes the visitors across a cross-section of the region’s lovely landscapes, enabling the visitor to appreciate the ecological significance of the area and its natural beauty. The various trek routes include Raksai Mandir to Rajapur, Farale-Surangi Gate to Dajipur, Thakyacha Wada to Manbet-Borbet, Ugvai Devi to Phonda Ghat Point, Phonda Ghat Point to Shivgad, Zunjuche Pani to Hadakechi Sari, Wagache Pani to Laxmi Point, and Laxmi Point to Jalwache Pani. Trekkers need to take permits and must be accompanied by a local guide, usually a member of the nearby VEDC (Village Eco Development Committee) at a fee prescribed by the park authority.
Distance from Mumbai: 440 Kms