Ratanmahal Sanctuary consists of a majority of sloth bears in the entire state of Gujarat, which is the principal attraction in the wilds of Ratanmahal, DevgadhBaria. The sanctuary comes under Dahod district of Central Gujarat and was considered as a wildlife sanctuary since March 1982. The sanctuary falls on the border of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The original habitat of the sloth bear, hence, extends towards Madhya Pradesh. The natural beauty of forests in this small place with rugged topography provides the views of a hill station to wildlife lovers. To know the activities and behaviour of the sloth bear, this sanctuary provides the best opportunity because they are thickly populated here. The sanctuary also has many leopards. The forests consist of dry teak forests at the foothills and mixed deciduous forests with dry bamboo brakes on the peripheral region. There are pure instances of ‘timru’ and ‘sadad’ too. Maximum population of Mahudo trees coupled with pure patches of sasad and timaru forest on plateaus of the hills and at foothills as well as in the plains, offering food to sloth bear. Trees covers are very beautiful. There are even quite a handful number of Jamun trees as well that offer food to the sloth bears during monsoon.
For learning the habits and behaviour of the sloth bear, this sanctuary offers a unique opportunity as they are densely populated here. The sanctuary also has a large population of leopards. The Ratanmahal represent the catchment of river panam, which is a major river of Central Gujarat. The river drains along the districts of this river. An irrigation dam and reservoir too was constructed on this river near Godhara town. These forests, therefore, have more ecological importance for the purpose of water conservation.
The forests of Ratanmahals from the catchment of river Panam – a major river of Central Gujarat. It drains through the districts of Dahod and andPanchmahals. These are major towns on the banks reservoir is also built on this river near Godhara. These forests, therefore, have a great ecological significance for water conservation.
The Forest Types
The forest types which constitute different types of habitats are dry teak forest at foot hills and in periphery of the P A, mixed deciduous forest, dry bamboo brakes, 'Timru' forest (pure patch) and 'Sadad' forest (pure patch). High population of 'Mahudo' trees intermixed with pure patches of 'Sadad' and 'Timru' forest on plateaus of the hills, at foothills, in plains on the periphery of PA provide food to sloth bear. Tree cover is very good. There are also quite a good number of 'Jamun' trees, which provide food to sloth bear during monsoon.
Teak, dudhlo, sadad, timru, amla, bamboo, dhavdo, kakadiyo, mahuda, tanach, charoli, ber, jamun, khakharo etc. a total 543 species of plants are recorded among them 119 species of trees, 40 species of shrubs, 238 species of herbs, 48 species of grasses, 87 species of climbers, 2 species of partial parasite and 9 species of orchids.
Important Animals: Sloth bear, leopard, stripped hyena, jackal. Four-horned antelope, mongoose, porcupine, civet cat, jungle cat, hanuman langur etc.
Important Reptiles: Cobra, krait Saw-scaled viper, Russel’s viper and Bamboo pit viper are the main venomous snack found here. Python, Rat snake, Red sand boa, Trinket are the non-venomous snakes. Star tortoise, Flap – Shell turtle, Chameleon and Termite hill gecko are also found here.
Important Birds: 147 species of birds are recorded here 16 of which are terrestrial. Alexandrine parakeet, common babbler, crested serpent eagle, green pigeon, hoopoe, lesser golden-backed woodpecker, grey jungle fowl, tailor bird etc. are some common species.
Best time to visit Sanctuary is October to May
Sanctuary area 55.65 sq. Km.
Reach by air
The Nearest airports are:
Vadodara (170 kms)
Ahmedabad (250 kms)
Reach by bus
The Nearest Towns : Sagtala (15 kms.), Bariya (30kms.), Kheda (45kms.), Dahod (60kms.)
The Nearest bus station is Devgadh Baria (42 kms).
Reach by train
The Nearest Railway station are:
Dahod - 70 kms.
Godhra - 85 kms.
Nearest places to visit
Pavagadh Fort- 75 kms.
Mahakali temple on the top of Pavagadh hills
Champaner Fort- 75 kms.
Nagina Masjid- 75 kms.
Ratanmahal hill- the pinnacle within the sanctuary
Shiv temple on Ratanmahal hilltop
Forest Rest house- Kanjeta
Reasonably good hotels in Dahod