The Jumping Indian Gazelle
Our bus moved through the scrub land forest. We were peering out of the windows, searching for a glimpse of any wildlife. Suddenly, we spotted a beautiful Chinkara, or Indian Gazelle, peacefully sitting in the grass.
Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is a small getaway about 70 km from Pune, located in Baramati Tehsil of Pune district. This relatively tiny sanctuary is home to the Chinkara, or the Indian Gazelle. In spite of being under pressure from the surrounding human habitation, the Gazelles are thriving here. In addition to the Gazelles, you can find Indian Foxes, Wolves, Hyenas, Steppe Eagles, Lapwings and other scrub land creatures.
We planned on stopping by this sanctuary on the way back from Bhigwan. We were hoping on getting some great pictures of Gazelles on the grass lands and also maybe spotting a few raptors and other grass land and scrub land birds. After leaving from Bhigwan we reached the sanctuary gates at about noon to begin our “safari” into the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is comprised of mainly grasslands with some deciduous forests. The safari trail through the forest is one in which you can drive your own vehicle into the park. We drove our vehicle along the trail, slowly scanning both sides of the road, for glimpses of the Chinkaras.
About 05 – 10 minutes into the trail, we spotted our first Chinkaras in the distance. While they were a bit far off to get a good photograph, it was quite great to be able to see these magnificent creatures out in the open. We continued driving on the trail in the hope of seeing more Chinkaras.
While we did not spot many Chinkaras on the drive into the park, we did manage to see quite a few Yellow Wattled Lapwings that are commonly found in scrub land and lots of Drongos. Just as we were driving back, out of the park, we spotted more Chinkaras in the distance and some that were quite close to the road. Watching them amble about the grasslands and do the occasional sprint and jump across the grasslands was magical.
After this short safari we headed back to Mumbai. But, the hour or so that I spent in the sanctuary transported me to a different land – one of endless grass and jumping gazelles. I do hope little sanctuaries such as this one continue to survive and thrive and serve to educate future generations on the wonders of the natural kingdom.
Mayureshwar is about 72 km from Pune and about 220 km from Mumbai. Driving is probably the best option to visit this wildlife sanctuary.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit here is from August to February.
Where to Stay
Mayureshwar is best clubbed with a visit to Bhigwan. Most of the organized tours to Bhigwan include a visit to this sanctuary. Both Mumbai Travellers and Moments Shoot organize regular trips to Bhigwan and Mayureshwar during January and February.