Trailing Gujarat: Jamnagar and Marine National Park, Narara

White Stork in Marine National Park
                                      White Stork in Marine National Park
Dhrangadhra is Jamnagar is some 177 km (75 INR) and frequent state transport busses ply between these two cities. Journey time is usually 6-7 hour. Morbi is a lazy little town enroute and worth for breaking your journey towards Saurashtra. While passing through, I witnessed some spectacular archeological sites under restoration. In some years, Morbi will become a major tourist destination of Saurashtra. Hanging bridge on the river is another sight I got to know. Morbi impressed me in that transient stint.
Towards the Shore
                                             Towards the Shore Narara
After passing Morbi, Bus took the turn to the coast of Gulf of Kutch.. Precisely to Jamnagar…. Everyone in Gujarat watch comedy soap operas…even in the busses… They must be gaining the highest TRP here… Jamnagar is the industrial hub of Gujarat and only lures travelers interested in exploring the elusive coastline which stretches till Dwarka. This coastline is the part of Marine National Park and extremely rich with corals, underwater species. Getting a budget accommodation can be tricky in Jamnagar and we had to walk more than 3 km to find a decent hotel which was relatively on the higher range. Lodges in front of the Bus stand are too lousy to stay (even for one night).
Mangroves at Narara Marine park
                                        Mangroves on the coast of Narara
Evening in Jamnagar took me back to the days in Kanpur….mid size city with a colorful and vibrant market.. Town hall is the center of the city where main market is located with plenty of food options. Before hitting the restaurant, we went to the forest department to get an understanding of the marine national park.. Its entry points etc…I was disappointed to know that Pirotan Island which was once the prime attraction of the park is now closed for the tourists. The only entry point the park was Narara which moved to the top priority around Jamnagar. Besides the park, Jamnagar is also known for colorful temples and a bird sanctuary adjoining the wetland. Regardless of the handful eateries, we ended up to a queer restaurant for our Dinner and yet again…a Gujarati on the table… Before hitting the sleep, we agreed on an impalpable plan to do meaningless roaming around Jamnagar.. towards the Khijadiya bird sanctuary and later hit the road to Narara…. Night arrived… Weather in Jamnagar was salubrious….

*** Pirotan Island is now closed for the tourists****
Aquatic Fauna
                                           Aquatic Fauna at Narara Park

Accommodation/Food options in Jamnagar: Handful of budget hotels/lodges are situated opposite to Bus stand but all of those are repugnant with broken toilets. These lousy rooms can be rented in 250-300 INR per day. The better option would be to around Town hall. You can get a much better room in 400 INR. Not many options are available for budget/independent travelers. Some of the decent food joints lie near Town hall.

Colorful fish under Algae
                                               Colorful Fish under Algae

 

Sun came up… despite underlying unwillingness, we waited for the city bus to Khijadiya bird sanctuary which never came and finally reconciled to the idea of visiting Narara only. Visiting hours of Narara Marine National Park depends on the tidal behavior. Entry is prohibited during high tide. As per the Information from Forest department, Marine National Park was supposed to be open from 10 AM to 3 PM so we folded our belongings from Jamnagar and hit the road to Narara.
Algae on the coastal rocks
                                              Algae on the coastal rocks

How to reach Narara: It can be tricky with public transport. Narara is not directly connected with state transport busses. Vadinar (7 km before Narara) is the nearest town connected with state transport busses. Vadinar also does not have many direct busses so you might be taking the bus to Jhakar which is on Jamnagar-Dwarka highway.

Jamnagar-Jhakar: 25 INR, 1 hour, 37 km (Frequent busses).

After Jhakar, you can get shared Khatra which will drop you to Vadinar (10 INR, 12 km, 30 minutes).  Vadinar to Narara is tricky and you will most probably be hiring private Khatra (100 INR, 30 minutes, 7 km). I will recommend you to ask the khatarwala to wait until you return else you might have to walk 3-4 km to get any ride.

Accommodation/Restaurant in Narara: Forest Department Guest house is there at park entrance which also includes a cafeteria.

Narara beach
                                               Narara Beach

Marine National Park
For information: Contact Chief Conservation of Forest, Jamnagar (0288-2679371)
*** Pirotan Island is now closed for the tourists****
Visiting hours: depends on Tidal behavior. Varies with moon
Best time to visit: Winters (November-March)
Entrée points (open for tourists): Narara and Positra (near Dwarka) are the two entry points for visitors.

                                       Fee Structure of Marine National Park, Jamnagar

No of Tourists

Entrée Fee: Monday to Friday

Entrée Fee: Saturday, Sunday

Camera fee

 

Indian

Foreigners

Students

Indian

Foreigners

Students

Indian

Foreigners

1-6 persons

200

900
(US 20$)

100

250

1125

125

100

450

7-15 persons

500

2250
(US 50$)

250

625

2813

313

100

450

16-60 persons

1750

7875
(US 175$)

875

2188

9844

1094

100

450

Khatra near Vadinar
                                                  Khatra near Vadinar
Narara is just 55 km from Jamnagar but reaching there is hitch because of no direct connectivity. We missed the direct bus to Vadinar so boarded a bus to Dwarka and got down at Jhakar and then took the Khatra to Vadinar and again another Khatra to Narara. There is no connectivity between Vadinar to Narara so it’s recommended to keep the Khatra in waiting. Finally we made it to Narara Marina National Park.
Soft Corals
                                                           Soft Corals
This gorgeous shallow intertidal park stretches 170 km from Okha to Navlakhi on the coastline of Gulf of Kutch. Marine national park includes almost 42 inhabited cays surrounded by coral reefs of fringing or broken type. Besides rich marine life and corals, Park is also a home of many species of birds. During low tide, one can walk on and through the corals and witness beautiful colonies of countless tiny animals.
Shallow water corals
                                                 Shallow Water Corals
The outer area of the park comprises some lakes and mangrove forest. Mangrove forests are instrumental to save the fragile bio-diversity of this eco-system. After passing the mangrove forest, we reached to the sandy surface which adjoins to algae fringed coastal rocks submerged into tidal waves. Water level rises as you walk towards the sea and one can sight magnificent and colorful aquatic life underneath. Algae on the coastal rocks project a green beach kind of effect. It is one of those rare sites where one can see coral reefs without underwater diving. Rich biodiversity of the coastline attracts group of botanists and researchers. Besides the species of corals and sponges, one can also sight Octopus, grabs, prawns, seashells, sea cucumbers, sea horses, jellyfishes, starfishes and many more. It’s a fascinating site and will consume 4-5 hours easily.
Colors of Coastline
                                                 Colors of the Coastline
We walked through the entire coastal rocks region and touched to the sea… Blue sea kissing the Green beach… What an amazing blend of colors it was… Without Guide, it’s difficult to identify the beautiful aquatic life you come across yet We could see some amazing corals and fishes.. It’s like a natural aquarium…winters are also the best time for bird sighting and I was fortunate to take some shots of white stork and greater flamingoes….  We were the last travelers of the day for Narara Park and water level started rising hinting us a warning sign… While retreating back to Park gate, we observed a peculiar behavior of the coral colonies….a humming sound due to bubbles forming on the coral surface for photosynthesis… The diverse eco-system of the marine park suffered badly due to oil pipelines and salt-panning along the coastline.
Greater Flamingos
                                               Greater Flamingos
We touched back to the tracts of Mangrove tress surrounded by Pneumatophores coming out of sand. The intricate circuit of Mangrove roots is what catches everyone’s curiosity and we also were not exception…. Curiosity kills the cat and in our case it was 7 km walking with backpacks on…Wasted our precious time around the mangrove trees and by the time we reached to the park entrance, all the travelers were ebbed (further inland tough). Our hope of getting a free ride till Vadinar also diminished and we were left with our backpacks to cover 7 km on our own…walking under the sun… that’s the part of independent traveling most of us overlook…you should to be up for walking…always… After loading the backpacks, we started slowly towards Vadinar with a very bleak hope of getting a lift… This time we were not lucky so we toiled under the sun but I would be selfish if I say that walking was completely unpleasant… we stopped at the shore of the lakes and captured some stupendous photographs of great flamingoes in the backdrop of Mangroves… I was missing Khatra… Had we asked the driver to wait till we return…we would have been happier….
Mangrove and Tilted Roots
                                             Mangrove and tilted roots
finally a very generous Gujarati family accommodated us in their vehicle for remaining 2 km and it was a great relief…. We were back to Vadinar negotiating with a Khatra driver to start our journey further west along the coastline of Gulf of Kutch… reached Jhakar with the courtesy of Khatra….Jhakar is however on Jamnagar-Dwarka route but still we could not get a direct bus so we headed to Khambhalia which has better connectivity to Dwarka.

 

Trailing Gujarat Series: In Chronological Order

Trailing Gujarat: Train to Bhuj

Trailing Gujarat: Bhuj, Capital of Kutch

Trailing Gujarat: Northern Kutch, Dhordo and Kalo Dungar

Trailing Gujarat: Western Kutch, Lakhpat and Narayan Sarovar

Trailing Gujarat: Southern Kutch, Beachline of Mandvi

Trailing Gujarat: Eastern Kutch, Splendor of Rapar and Dholavira

Trailing Gujarat: Dhrangadhra, a lesser known delight of Gujarat

Trailing Gujarat: Little Rann of Kutch, Salt Plains and Heat Mirage

Trailing Gujarat: Jamnagar and Marine National Park, Narara

Trailing Gujarat: Dwarka, Where Pilgrims meet the end of earth (Read: Sea)

Trailing Gujarat: Junagadh, City of archaeological attractions

Trailing Gujarat: Gir National Park, last home of Asiatic Lions

Trailing Gujarat: Diu, Real thirst-quencher

Trailing Gujarat: Alang, Where Ships come to die

Trailing Gujarat: Champaner and Pavagadh

Trailing Gujarat: Ahmedabad and Lothal

Trailing Gujarat: Patan, Modhera and Separation

Dear Sir, I am basically from

Dear Sir,

I am basically from Vidhabha region of Maharashtra. I am at present working as a Principal of a SFI Polytechnic, in Kutch Region. Last year during Christmas vacations all my relatives had visited Kutch and had kutch darshan, it tok them around 4 days to complete Kutch darshan. They did love it a lot. This year i have promised them to show them the lions and marine animals. We have three kids two in the age group of 8 and one in the age group of 4, all studying in CBSE school. Since they are studying all these animals in their i feel that they should see tham live then only their imaginativr minds will explore more.

So with this background, i would like to request you guide me with a travel route from Bhuj to Jamnagar to dwarka, Somnath, Junagad Zoo or Safari and then back.

Thanking You

 

 

Rgds,

 

Vivek Gulhane

Principal

Veerayatan Polytechnic

mandvi

 

If you are bird watcher go

If you are bird watcher go to https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Vadhavana+Lake/@22.1728788,73.4722278,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x396075392c37f7c9:0xf3fa61c57156ddc7!8m2!3d22.1717839!4d73.4857831

this place is amazing and very approchable from Vadoddar(Baroda). 

 

Hello sir..   We from our

Hello sir..

 

We from our tution classes are planning to go for a full day picnic at narara island. We are about 50 peoples. so plz give me appropriate details and also suggest othes places near narara island to see and enjoy the full day picnic.

Nice.. for students its

Nice.. for students its really good place.. walk around. Go early in the morning and also check the tide calendar. go during low tide window. check at forest office at Jamnagar, they will be able to give more information.

I will be there in a car

I will be there in a car around 11 am at Narara coming from Dwarka with family on 2nd Nov, 2016 . Can you please guide whether we will be able to see the MARINE PARK corals around that day time? how much time  will it take?

Yes, you can see it in a day

Yes, you can see it in a day time if you are having your own car. drive till the park and then walk inside. you can get a highlight in half a day.

This wonderful post of yours

This wonderful post of yours inspired me on for my recent visit to Marine National Park. Your post is so informative and helpful. Thanks for sharing Smile

Thank you for your comment.

Thank you for your comment. keep dropping by.

Well, this is one of the best

Well, this is one of the best blogs I have found on the internet with details on all levels. Well done my friend. 

 

I think you should definitely post this on Trip Advisor as a lot of people will benefit from this. 

Thanks for your comment.

Thanks for your comment. really appreciate it. keep dropping by

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, This is Vikramjit.

Hi Vishnu,

This is Vikramjit. I am planning to visit to Narara during this diwali. So wanted to know about the tranportation to and from Narara from Jamnagar. In this regard your blog helped me alot to get some idea. Now I want to know the public transport system you mentioned in your blog still in action or they will not be available during this diwali..? If you have any idea of the same kindly share with me and oblige me.

Regards,

Vikramjit

 

I am not sure about currrent

I am not sure about currrent situation... I think its always operational the way i mentioned. I do not think Diwali will have any impact on it.

+- Vishnu

I was looking forward to be

I was looking forward to be in Gujrat in January..

it would great if you could tell me or give me some sources to find the tide timing..

i.e when it is low tide and by what time should i reach naraara to see every beauty naraara has to offer

it changes every day in the

it changes every day in the month.. it depends on the position of the moon and tide timings also varies accordingly.. early in the morning the best time.

It is very helpful

It is very helpful information for reaching and moving.

 

Glad to see your comment.

Glad to see your comment. Keep dropping by.

Very nice place to visit

Very nice place to visit (Narara Island). But please wear shoes and check the tide timing before visiting narara island. No need for any permission from forest department. You need to do just entry formalities for visiting this place. And this can be done by this place itself like taking ticket from its office.

yaa...that's right Harsh...

yaa...that's right Harsh... Narara should be visited only during low tide...

"*** Pirotan Island is now

"*** Pirotan Island is now closed for the tourists****"
Sir,
(1) can you please inform me from when they stopped tourists to Pirotan and what were the reasons stated for that
(2) thank you for such a very informative travelogue (and fascinating pictures)

I checked with the Forest

I checked with the Forest Department at Jamnagar and they said that Islands are closed since last 2 years due to security reasons... Some said that it is closed because tourist inflow was damaging the biodiversity of the national park.... However none had given me any concrete explanation... as of now, its closed and that's the fact....

Thanks for liking the blog... Keep coming back...

=== Vishnu

Pictures are beautiful.

Pictures are beautiful. Gujarat is definitely teeming with bird life.

Hi Akanksha,

Hi Akanksha,
Thanks for dropping by... YES, Gujarat is a paradise for bird-watchers.. specially during Winters...Wet lands, coastline, Deciduous forests...it has everything.... Look forward to see you more often..

=== Vishnu

Yeah it definitely is a

Yeah it definitely is a paradise for birds and birders alike. I've been to quite a few of them but d beauty of it is that is it wouldn't be surprising for amdavad if a painted stork lands up in d middle of kankaria lake or a pack of flamingoes are seen by d sabarmati!

Glad to see someone using

Glad to see someone using Amdavad here.... I don't think it will be a surprise to sight a flock of flamingos or Painted stork by Sabarmati during winters however i was not that lucky...

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