SAPUTARA, situated in a densely forested plateau in the Sahyadri range, holds the distinction of being the only hill station in the Dang district of South Gujarat State.
The tranquil small town of Saputara is situated at an altitude of around 1,000 m, and has a climate that is consistently pleasant, although leaning towards chilly, throughout the year.
The place is rich in its bio-diversity and natural relics. It includes in itself many panoramic natural landscape views and rich heritage of its folklore and tradition of the native 'Dangi'.
It has been developed as a planned hill resort with all necessary amenities such as hotels, parks, swimming pool, boat club, theatres and a museum to ensure an enjoyable holiday in the cool of the hills.
History Of Saputara
The name Saputara literally stands for 'abode of serpents,' a fact that is highlighted by the presence of an image of a snake on the shores of the Sarpagana river, which flows through the town.
This image is worshipped by the region's tribal folk, especially during major festivals such as Holi. Adding to Saputara's mystique is the legend that Lord Rama spent 11 years of his exile in these very forests.
Located right at the centre of the Saputara valley, this is a 70 feet deep perennial lake flanked by picturesque hills. There are paddle and row boats available for boating. A long walk along the lake-side pathway is a pleasure trip.
At a distance of around 1.5 km from the Swagat circle, the Governor hill is a place to capture the sun going down the valley. It is called Governor’s hill because there was a plan to have Governor’s holiday residence over here. However the plan did not materialize. One can have a panoramic view of the Saputara down the valley. Apart from facilities for horse and camel riding and amusement facilities for children, the spot has some sweet-corn and tea stalls for refreshments. A steep hike to the hill does not give the idea of the vast table land here. Big vehicles like buses and low powered two wheelers find it difficult to reach the point. In monsoon, the hill gets covered with mist and fog after the rains – a spirit of bonhomie floats in the air with the clouds.
'Gandhi Shikhar', the sunset point lies opposite to the Governor hill. Apart from the vivid sunset, a traveler can have a breath-taking view of the surrounding tribal villages down the valley. A 10 minute tour across the valley through ropeway brings you to the Governor Hill.
Anthropological museum at Saputara is located at a walking distance from the Swagat Circle. The museum gives an introduction to the lifestyle, costumes, heritage and ecology of the tribal Dangs. Established in 1970, the museum exhibits Dangi tribal art, culture, clothes, musical instruments, ornaments, paintings, agriculture implements, proto-typehouses, grass ornaments, stuffed birds, masks used in dance-dramas and objects of day-to-day use by the native Dangis. The famous snake sculpture of Saputara is housed in the museum campus. A small and beautiful aquarium is located near the museum within the same campus.
Important view points worth a visit include Echo point and Valley View point. Echo point is located en route Navagam. Amidst the cool natural ambience with a hill in the background, one can hear the echo of what one says through resonance.
Built in 1977 from Valsadi teak, the Loghut is based on the design of loghuts in Scandinavian countries. Ground floor is an RCC structure whereas the top two floors are entirely made up of teak wood. It is a Rest House run by the Forest Department.
Honey Bee Center
Located opposite to the Lake View garden, the Honey Bee Centre (apiary) is place where honeybees are reared and pure honey is extracted and sold at the market price. One can watch the process of domesticating wild bees (apiculture) in artificial movable hives made from hollow logs, wooden boxes, pottery vessels and woven straw baskets.
There are several gardens across Saputara. Lake garden, Step garden and rose garden are some of the scenic spots for tourists to catch a breath. Step garden is a garden set up in steps. Developed and maintained by the Forest Department, the garden has a forest hut for tourists to stay in. Tourists can have an excellent valley view from the garden.
The three important temples across Saputara include Nageshwar Mahadev Temple, Jain Temple and Ganesha Temple. The Nageshwar Mahadev temple lies on the Sarpganga lake. The old rock cut snake deity of Saputara lies near the temple on the banks of the lake. The Jain temple houses 508 years old idol of Shri Chintamani Gajabhishek Parshwanath. Temple has marvelous carving on the gates and the temple. Ganesha temple is situated at village Navagam, around 1.5 km from the Swagat circle. This is a beautiful Ahtavinayak Ganesha temple with eight different forms of Lord Ganesha.
The garden lies en route Governor hill at a distance of around 1 km from the Swagat circle. Established in 1966 on the recommendation of famous Ayurvedacharya Shri Rasiklal Parikh, the garden contains various ayurvedic medicinal plants, shrubs and trees.