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Located in the state of Gujarat, and 594 kms away from the busy streets of Mumbai, lies the grasslands of Velavadar. A home to the Blackbucks and a variety of species, this is a true paradise on Earth.

With family and a few friends I packed my bags and camera and set out on a roaring rendezvous in the chilly month of December.

The biggest roosting site of the Harriers, Velavadar was a treat for my sore city eyes. Although in our first safari we saw only a few blackbucks, the feeling of being amidst Nature and away from the hustle and bustle of the organised chaos of city streets was like an oasis in the desert. The one cardinal rule of the jungle is that never anticipate anything, accept all that Mother Nature offers and you will never be disappointed.

On our first day in this lovely place we visited a small lake where we found many Great White Pelicans, Painted Storks, and Flamingos and of course the Common Crane. Clicking these birds was a real delight.

After spending two days in Velavadar on our last safari we saw the king of Velavadar, the Indian Striped Hyena. After tracking this female for almost one hour we found her lazing amidst the grasses. Filling my camera with a series of images we continued ahead on our track when our guide Ramzan told me to look on my right.

With bated breath I turned to see the elusive Jungle Cat sitting and posing beautifully. But I guess, Nature had more in store for us! Since, this cat was just sitting, I decided to take a look at my images when all of a sudden this little predator took 3 leaps into the air to catch a rat…I was spell-bound. Though I cursed myself for not being able to record it on my camera, it will always remain etched in my memory. Nature has always something extraordinary to offer!!!

With a heavy heart we were returning to the park gate when we chanced upon a lone Jackal. The last day was truly memorable as Mother Nature had not only blessed us with some amazing mammal encounters but also with avian beauties. The Indian Roller, the White eyed Buzzard, Indian Spotted Owlet, Tawny Eagle, Short-toed Snake Eagle, and of course all the species of the Harriers. Though I knew that I will be going to Gir the next day, I did not want to leave this heaven. And this trip will be the most memorable one I have ever had as this was my first visit to this beautiful mini Savannahs and I returned with not only images but memories to cherish for a lifetime.