Sanctuary Nature Foundation

Modal title

  • Forgot your password?

Please enter your email address below. We will send you a link to reset your password, along with instructions.

As we continue to navigate life through the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we wish to keep Sanctuary's supporters and readers connected to recent news and articles. Sanctuary is therefore pleased to offer its April, May and June 2020 issues free of charge, online, for all those who register at this link.

Please check your email for your username and password, and login to our website to access our issues for free!

cover image

Photo: Xerxes Adrianwalla

Bhigwan: The Story Of A Wetland

First published in sanctuary asia , vol. 43 no. 6, june 2023.

By Dr. Erach Bharucha

The Early Days

In the mid-1980s, a surgeon colleague driving from Pune to Solapur in Maharashtra called me about a sighting of a flock of ‘pink birds’ at the edge of the spreading backwaters of the newly completed dam at Ujani on the Bhima river. My sceptical guess was flamingos, because they had not been seen in this area. We travelled together the following weekend to the village of Bhigwan, and sure enough, at the edge of the waterbody was a flock of around 50 Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus . These brilliantly-plumaged birds are filter feeders, and get their colour from carotenoid pigments in algae and the zooplankton and small aquatic animals they consume from the mudbanks at the fringe of the water. Watching them croaking and feeding, I was hooked! The flamingo, after all, belongs to the oldest bird groups alive today, and here they were, barely three hours from the bustle of the city. The Bhigwan wetland at Kumbhargaon became a regular Sunday visit for the doctor and I to go ‘birdwatching’. Subsequent winters brought with them spectacular congregations of migrant waterfowl – ducks, waders, ibis, and storks gathered as the drawdown of water left large tracts of open mudbanks and aquatic grasses, where the birds could feed undisturbed. I realised that the Ujani dam had given birth to a new ecosystem for migratory birds, a welcome (wholly unintended) effect of a human-made structure.

As a committee member of the fledgling Pune branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), I decided to conduct an ecological monitoring project and regular winter waterfowl counts in the backwaters of Ujani dam, 108 km. from Pune. The small grant was just enough to fund Pradyumna Gogte, an M.Sc. Environment student of Pune University, allowing him to visit the wetland once or twice a month, conduct bird counts, and analyse the water quality.

bhigwan tourism

A flock of Greater Flamingos feeds in the shallow waters of Bhigwan, Pune. The largest and most widespread species of flamingo, Greater Flamingos are distributed in Africa, the Indian subcontinent and parts of the Middle East and southern Europe. A 2021 study brought up a surprising find as scientists discovered that the closest living relatives of flamingos are grebes – a species of diving piscivore birds. Photo: Surendra Walke/Sanctuary Photolibrary.

Community Participation

My regular birdwatching trips continued, leading to fascinating new finds. One evening I identified a large number of juvenile Gull-billed Terns Gelochelidon nilotica on Pune’s Mula Mutha river. They had to have a breeding colony nearby! Pradyumna Gogte, my field scientist, located the colony in the backwaters at Bhigwan, scattered on the emerging mudbank islands, where the terns, pratincoles and plovers were all nesting after the monsoons ended year after year. I interacted with local fisherfolk and convinced them to protect the islands and avoid using it for drying fish nets. They complied – the Pune doctor was considered a useful visitor to the Kumbhargaon and Dalaj villages, as he was happy to treat local patients at Sassoon General Hospital, and even operated on them on occasion. Several local village folk became great friends of ours. The school students were excited and gathered around the odd little Triumph Herald car that bumped over the cart track on weekends. They were given the task of making birds fly off if urban shikaris with guns attempted to shoot water birds, a job they fulfilled with glee. They sometimes confused large telephoto lenses with guns and chased the birds away just as I had teed up the perfect photograph, but it was a small albeit frustrating price to pay for the birds’ protection.

‘Bird curiosity’ was growing among a few citizens in Pune. WWF conducted visits on Sundays. I organised urban school visits. The arrival of the ‘ agnipankh ’ (the Marathi term for flamingos) was heralded in the local Pune and Solapur press. A local tea shop owner guided birdwatchers to the most likely spot to see the flamingos – and the partially submerged old Pune-Solapur highway became a birdwatchers’ vantage point.

bhigwan tourism

Local villagers continue to practice traditional fishing methods but also increasingly rent out their boats to birdwatchers flocking to Bhigwan for a glimpse of flamingos, storks, herons, gulls, waders and other water birds. Photo: Dr. Erach Bharucha.

One Sunday I realised that there was a succession of changes in the wetland habitat. The UGC had a centre in Pune University that was working on making educational films. The team agreed to make a documentary on the ‘Changing Nature of the Wetland’. The video was quite a hit with college students in those days, with underwater images that were made by placing the camera in a fish tank and lowering it into the lake so the aquatic system could be depicted, from algae to macrophytes and fauna that lived underwater. The video outgrew itself, from a flamingo story to a wetland story.

Conservation Efforts

One day I observed pairs of flamingos interacting with each other, croaking, spreading their scarlet wings and raising their powder-puff-like dorsal feathers. I showed pictures of this display to Dr. Sálim Ali, my guru on such matters. He viewed the slides and asked if I had been to the Great Rann. “These birds are forming pairs,” he said. I asked if they would nest in Bhigwan and he said that was unlikely to happen. “But you never know,” he quipped. He told me that in Camargue in France, a nesting colony of flamingos had been disturbed and had stopped breeding. He had heard that the ornithologists made artificial nests and this led to re-established breeding the next season. I tried to convince my Forest Department friend K.A. Shaikh to make artificial nests at Bhigwan. He laughed and called it a crazy idea – but when I casually said this was Dr. Sálim Ali’s suggestion, he promptly agreed. Some school kids helped in the activity. The local farmers and fisherfolk thought the surgeon/birdwatcher had lost it. The flamingos investigated the nests, but decided not to use them. We made clay flamingo-sized eggs from a local potter and laid them in the nests. The flamingos were still not convinced, but a confused juvenile did sit regularly on one of the nests. The rains finally washed the artificial nests away.

I managed to induce the Government of Maharashtra to set up a State Wetland Board, and I presented the Bhigwan study to the board. However, creating a Protected Area there was ruled out as the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) had plans for the site. Vijay Pranjapye and I took B.G Deshmukh, the then Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, to see the flamingos, and notify a Protected Area. This did not work either. The site remains unprotected to this day. A study by Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) on inland wetlands of India was undertaken for Maharashtra by the Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environment Education and Research (BVIEER). Bhigwan was rated the best wetland in the state. The study also identified Jaikwadi and Nandur as good sites, and these were given sanctuary status.

bhigwan tourism

In face of the growing threats from insensitive tourists, there is a great need to develop a sustainable tourism strategy for Bhigwan that generates income for locals and does not exclude them from wetland access. Photo: Dr. Erach Bharucha.

Publicity through the press gave rise to an increasing number of flamingo-focused Sunday visitors. Some of the local fisherfolk began taking people for boat rides. Over the last two decades, Pune has seen a great rise in the number of bird photographers with giant telephoto lenses descending on the backwaters where the aquatic avifauna winter in their favoured feeding zones. A local school boy, Sandip Nagare became an ardent bird enthusiast. He began using his fishing boat to take visitors birdwatching regularly. The two Nagare brothers, trained other local boys as guides. The team at Kumbhargaon became serious ‘citizen scientists’ all on their own. They now identify all the birds by scientific and local Marathi names. They identified the habitat mosaic types certain birds favoured and observed the breeding behaviour of all the local birds.

Encouraged by NGOs, people made regular visits to the wetland for wildlife-related nature studies. The growing number of tourists and regular visits by college students from BVIEER encouraged the Nagare family to develop a small homestay facility. The family supplied a fabulous local meal and freshly-caught fish. Students would return from the wetland field study, ecstatic, and with a heightened sensitivity to preserving wetlands and their wildlife. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) conducts a study on migratory avifauna through a formal bird-ringing programme annually.

bhigwan tourism

The Pros And Cons Of Tourism

Tourism through the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is growing rapidly at Bhigwan, and is expanding beyond the carrying capacity of the wetland. On weekends, birdwatchers wish to get closer to the flamingos in the fishing boats to see the spectacular birds and make them fly and show off their scarlet wings. Cameras click and whirr as the birds take flight. Tourists frequently ask to see the nesting islands, which causes a chaotic disturbance to the terns, pratincoles and Black-winged Stilts that have an active nesting colony on the island. The parent birds are frantic as the nests have eggs, chicks and juveniles. These ground nesters camouflage their nests and eggs so perfectly that a single false step can crush them. Trampling of nests by cattle and humans has been a major cause of nest mortality of River Terns, pratincoles and Black-winged Stilts at Bhigwan.

Getting up close to the thousands of winter migrants makes the flocks fly to an alternate feeding zone. As tourism grows further, this will drive birds away from one site to another repeatedly and disturb their feeding behaviour. Migrant birds require continuous feeding to build energy reserves before their long and arduous flight across the high passes of the Himalaya to their summer nesting ground in the tundra. Disturbing feeding at Bhigwan may well be a cause of trans-Himalayan mortality. In face of the growing threats from insensitive tourists, there is a great need to develop a sustainable tourism strategy. Besides, flamingos have been known to change their migratory patterns suddenly; one of the defining factors is the availability of their highly specialised food. Sustainable ecotourism that benefits local people will be a source of revenue for the local landless farming community, and a supplementary income for fisherfolk.

bhigwan tourism

A Grey Heron pair tends to its downy and rather grumpy-looking chicks. Apart from herons, the author has recorded River Terns, pratincoles and Black-winged Stilts nesting in and around Bhigwan. Photo: Xerxes adrianwalla/Sanctuary Photolibrary.

There are several options that will not cause conflicts with local fisherfolk or the draw-down farmers, which would be sustainable and satisfy the needs of long-term biodiversity conservation and sustainable local development. Creating a sustainable plan of action as suggested in ‘Other Effective (area-based) Conservation Measures’ is suggested under Sustainable Development Goal 15 (Life on Land) for such areas, instead of creating a wildlife sanctuary, which would exclude locals from accessing the wetland. Notifying a conservation reserve would deliver the best conservation success without conflicting with local people’s interests. A third option is to build capacity in the local Biodiversity Management Committee and create a Biodiversity Heritage Site under the Biological Diversity Act , 2002. It is already on the list of Important Bird Areas listed by the BNHS, and is a potential Ramsar Site.

Beyond Flamingos

The Bhigwan wetland is not only a migratory transit zone, hosting migrants but is also a breeding colony for a large number of waders, fish-dependant avifauna such as storks, and ibis that depend on shellfish, snails and crabs, all of which make up a fantastically rich aquatic fresh water ecosystem. In addition to providing a habitat for wild birds, it recharges groundwater stores, and provides drinking water for local people year-round. Farmers around the waterbody should be encouraged to switch from sugarcane, which requires heavy use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, to traditional health food like bajra (pearl millet) and jowar (sorghum) that can be grown with safe, organic fertilisers. This would reduce the chemical run-off during monsoons, which leads to eutrophication and disruption of the food chain. The wetland is a great site for nature orientation for school students and college youth through direct observations of the rich ecosystem.

bhigwan tourism

Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum. Photo: Dr. Erach Bharucha.

bhigwan tourism

The Bhigwan Model

Bhigwan is a super ecotourism model that is a key conservation area for Maharashtra, and a site fit to be a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site as well as a Cultural Heritage Site, where local fishing techniques are part of local people’s traditions. The Bhigwan model can be emulated in several other sites. Sustainable tourism improves local peoples’ income generation potential, retains their sensitivity and closeness to nature conservation, and furthers the conservation of biological diversity as part of India’s commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity among the world of nations that believe that conservation of natural resources is the only pathway to a better future for our children.

Dr. Erach Bharucha Surgeon by profession, conservationist and teacher in environment, biodiversity and ecology by calling, he is the Director of the Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environment Education and Research in Pune, Maharashtra.

  • "Is Realism Helpful?"
  • A Glimpse Into The Amphibian World
  • A Thousand Voices From the Field

bhigwan tourism

The Guide: The Backwater of Bhigwan

Travel | Sep 29, 2023

By Richa Malhotra

A boat safari through this wetland in rural Maharashtra reveals an abundance of resident and migratory birds

bhigwan tourism

A flamboyance of flamingos is busy feeding in the shallows. The birds stand on lanky legs; their necks are bent low to the water, beaks upside-down. It is a scattered flock of 16 birds. While some are adults with white and orange feathers, others are young birds with a cream and brown coat. When the water levels are right, many more of these birds are found here. They gather in their hundreds, sometimes thousands.

In a way, the flamingo is the “tiger” of Bhigwan. People come here especially for this bird, says my guide Ajinath Dhumal. “When I show them some other bird like the painted stork, they insist on seeing the flamingo.” It’s like going on a jungle safari to see the tiger, Dhumal quips.

A quaint fishing town in rural Maharashtra, Bhigwan sits along the backwater of the River Bhima. This backwater, which is the reservoir of Ujani Dam built downstream on the river, is known colloquially as Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary. The human-made wetland and its surrounding mix of grasslands and farms are home to nearly 300 species of migratory and year-round birds. The greater flamingo, like many migratory birds, arrives here in time for winter. It spends the season feasting on plankton, giving it the characteristic multihued appearance.

Boats ferry tourists on safaris in the backwater. Wildlife tourism, fishing, and agriculture are the main sources of income for the locals. Photo: Bharati Rajan Patil/Shutterstock   At about five feet tall, the greater flamingo is the largest of all six flamingo species in the world. Cover Photo: Sandeep Gore/Shutterstock

On a narrow strip of land behind the flamingos, a mixed flock of brown-headed and Pallas’s gulls is resting peacefully. A marsh harrier swoops in from nowhere and sends the whole flock into flight. The harrier fails to make a catch and leaves in haste. But the gulls keep belting out their cries and whirling overhead long after the threat has disappeared.

Meanwhile, in the foreground flamingos start stomping the mud to expose hidden prey. Two of them break into a quarrel. Another balances itself on a single stilt and rests its head in its long neck, keeping an eye on the boats and the people in them.

As we row away from the flamingos, our guide spots a peregrine and points in its direction. I squint against the setting sun, but all I can see is a large gull. “What is that?” I ask, puzzled. He says “peregrine falcon” and points at it again. This time I see it — a stately bird and the fastest on the planet. It is perched farther down from the gull. With its formidable talons and fierce look of a predator, this was one bird that could beat the greater flamingo for the title “tiger of Bhigwan”.

The little egret (left) is a common resident of Bhigwan. A winter migrant, the brown-headed gull (right) is seen here in its non-breeding plumage wearing red lipstick and kohl. Photos: Richa Malhotra

EXPLORE Sprawled across 357 square kilometres, the backwater has several designated birdwatching points where you can hire a boat. These can be accessed through the villages of Diksal and Kumbhargaon, both within 10 km of Bhigwan. A boat safari on the backwater is the best way to see the wetland birds in their element. But there are also terrestrial birds and other wildlife to explore in and around the villages.

WILDLIFE Birds: The wetland sees local and long-distance migrants such as the greater flamingo, bar-headed goose, and northern shoveler every winter. Occasionally, rare birds such as the Pacific golden plover are also spotted here.

With a bountiful supply of fish and small birds, the wetland is the perfect habitat for raptors such as the osprey, peregrine falcon, western marsh harrier, and greater spotted eagle. You may see a peregrine dive at breakneck speed to catch a black-winged stilt, or an osprey hunt a fish.

The Eurasian or common spoonbill (left) is easily identified by its large, spoon-like bill whereas the painted stork (right) is recognised by its riot of colours. Photos: binoyphotofolio/Shutterstock

In the grasslands and farms nearby, you will find the Indian courser, chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, blue-cheeked bee-eater, grey francolin, woolly-necked stork, and demoiselle crane.

The resident birds of the area, seen almost throughout the year, are the great thick-knee, little pratincole, pheasant-tailed jacana, Eurasian spoonbill, painted stork, and greater painted-snipe.

Reptiles: The Indian chameleon is often seen here. After dark, creatures of the night such as the leopard gecko and termite hill gecko are out and about to have their fill of insects. Although rare, common sand boa, rat snake, and Russell’s viper are also found in Bhigwan.

Mammals: Open areas around the villages host mammals such as the black-naped hare, jungle cat, golden jackal, and Indian grey mongoose. Asian palm civet can also be spotted, especially at night.

Amphibians, arthropods and fish: While largely unnoticed, frogs, toads, damselflies, dragonflies, beetles, and scorpions also inhabit the area. A study published by the Zoological Survey of India in 2002 reported 54 species of fish.

Young flamingos have brown plumage while adults are colourful due to carotenoid pigments derived from the food they eat. Photo: Richa Malhotra

SEASON December to March is when migratory bird numbers peak, but there are plenty of resident birds to be seen outside of the peak season. Summers can be particularly hot and the water level goes down, so it is not an ideal time to visit.

GETTING THERE Sitting along the Pune-Solapur highway, Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary is a two-hour drive (100 km) from Pune, which has the nearest airport. There are plenty of restaurants along the way. Buses and trains also ply from Pune to Bhigwan. From there, you can hire an auto-rickshaw or arrange for a pickup from your hotel or homestay, as local transport can be patchy.

bhigwan tourism

STAY A few budget homestays are conveniently located close to the water. There are also budget hotels (Rs 1,500-4,000) within a 10-km radius of the birdwatching points, but they are suitable for those travelling by their own vehicle.

Agnipankh Flamingo Point is a homestay in the village of Kumbhargaon. Rooms with attached baths cost Rs 900 per night, and without baths Rs 600 per night. Alternatively, camp out in a tent for Rs 500 per night (for two). Home-cooked meals are available at added cost. To book your stay, contact Sandip Nagare at 9960610615 or Nitin Nagare at 9767571734.

Kranti Flamingo Point is another homestay and campsite in Kumbhargaon. Each room can accommodate up to four people for Rs 900 and a tent for two costs Rs 700 per night. Meals are available on request. (; contact Dattatreya Nagare +91 8087767691 or Nitin Dole +91 9325051019).

SAFARI Boat: The homestays can arrange boat safaris (between 6 am and 6.30 pm; 1.5 hr safari costs Rs 1,000; 2-3 hr safari costs Rs 2,000 per boat including the guide’s fee). Boats can take six, plus the birdwatching guide who also steers the boat.

Walking: Night walking tours are available and last 1-1.5 hours. You can spot reptiles like geckos and nocturnal birds such as nightjars. A guided walking tour costs Rs 500 including the guide’s fee.

bhigwan tourism

TIPS: • On holidays and weekends there is higher footfall. Weekdays are quieter and preferable. • Homestays are modest with basic amenities. Pack your own toiletries and mosquito repellent. • Wear light-coloured clothes and a pair of sturdy shoes. • Carry a pair of binoculars or a camera with telephoto lens that allows close-up views of wildlife from a distance. • The afternoon light can be harsh even during winter, so carry hat, sunglasses, and water on the safari. • Do not feed or encourage feeding of wild birds to attract them.

About the contributor

bhigwan tourism

Richa Malhotra

is a natural history writer who dabbles in photography.

Related Content

The Guide: Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

The Guide: Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

The Guide: Ken Gharial Sanctuary

The Guide: Ken Gharial Sanctuary

The Guide: Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

The Guide: Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

The Guide: Sundarbans Tiger Reserve

The Guide: Sundarbans Tiger Reserve

The Guide: Sultanpur National Park

The Guide: Sultanpur National Park


bhigwan tourism

How It Works

  • Tell us details of your holiday plan.
  • After you submit the form, one of our travel experts will get back to you with customised holiday package based on your requirement, within 24 hours.
  • Grab the deal and start packing your bags for an indelible holiday with Tour My India.

Call Us for details


Request a quote.

bhigwan tourism

North India

  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Uttarakhand
  • Uttarpradesh

South India

  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Maharashtra

Central India

  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Chhattisgarh

Union Territories

  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • Jammu Kashmir
  • Dadra and Nagar Haveli
  • Daman and Diu

Popular India Tourism Destinations by Interest

Wildlife Tours

  • Hill Station
  • Yoga and Ayurveda

Adventure Tourism

  • Motor Biking
  • Peak Climbing
  • Mountain Biking
  • River Rafting
  • Horse Safari
  • Camel Safari
  • Jeep Safari

Pilgrimage Tourism

  • Christianity

Packages by State

  • Jammu & Kashmir

Holidays by Interest

  • Heritage Tours
  • Ayurveda Tours
  • Special Interest

Popular Tour Packages

  • Golden Triangle Tour
  • Classical India Tour
  • Golden Triangle with Tiger Tour
  • Sikkim Darjeeling Tour
  • Frozen River Trek

Luxury Train Tour

  • Palace on Wheels
  • Heritage on Wheels
  • Maharaja Express
  • Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
  • Buddhist Circuit Train

Special Packages

  • Indian Wildlife Tour
  • Temple Trails Tour India
  • Buddhist Circuit Tours
  • Himalayan Wonder

Fixed Departure Tour

  • Chadar Trek
  • Chopta - Chandrashila Trek
  • Snow Leopard
  • Dzongri Goecha La Trek
  • Agra Hotels
  • Jaipur Hotels
  • Udaipur Hotels
  • Manali Hotels
  • Ladakh Hotels

Wildlife Resorts

  • Ranthambore National Park
  • Bandhavgarh National Park
  • Corbett National Park
  • Kanha National Park
  • Pench National Park
  • Tadoba National Park

Beach Resorts

  • The Park Calangute
  • Neelam the Grand
  • Hotel Calangute Towers
  • Alor Holiday Resort
  • Lazy Lagoon Sarovar Portico Suites

Luxury Hotels

  • Aman-i-Khas, Ranthambore
  • Hyatt, Bangalore
  • Hyatt Regency, Delhi
  • Leela Palace, Udaipur
  • ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

Top Weekend Breaks & Short Getaways Near Your City

  • Weekend Getaways Delhi
  • Weekend Getaways Mumbai
  • Weekend Getaways Chennai
  • Weekend Getaways Bangalore
  • Weekend Getaways Nagpur
  • Weekend Getaways Hyderabad
  • Weekend Getaways Cochin
  • Weekend Getaways Chandigarh
  • Weekend Getaways Ahmedabad
  • Weekend Getaways Pune
  • Weekend Getaways Jaipur
  • Flight Booking
  • International NEW

Call Now


India Map

Bhigwan in Maharashtra

If you love to watch birds and enjoy tranquility, Bhigwan can be your next destination. Look forward to enjoying your weekend in the lap of nature. Bhigwan is a small town near Pune in Maharashtra. It is located on the Pune-Solapur Highway and is around 105kms from Pune. It is situated on the backwaters of Ujani Dam. This dam is constructed on Bhima River. The semi-waste water of the dam has created a shallow wetland and is a perfect breeding hub for migratory birds. Bhigwan is a favorite of many travelers who enjoy birdwatching and wildlife photography. Bhigwan is often called as ‘Bharatpur of Maharashtra’. It becomes a hotbed of migratory birds during winter. Around 1000 flamingos come to Bhigwan every year. Other species of birds which can be seen during winter are Painted Storks, Pond Heron, Garganey Duck, Gulls, Bar-headed geese, Raptors, waders and Demoiselle Cranes. The birds generally arrive between January and February. The concentration of the birds can be observed in two areas i) Diksal-Parewadi area and ii) Dalaj – Kumbharwadi area. It is best to carry some dry food and water along in the Bhigwan trip.

Popular Things to Do & See in and around

Photography enthusiasts can hire boats to explore the wetlands. If you want to enjoy Bhigwan to the fullest, try to reach by 7 am in the morning. After 10 am the sun becomes scorching and it becomes hectic to look for the birds. Bhigwan is ideal for one-day trip. Take the boat ride before lunch and click some nice photos of the migratory birds. Local guides can help you locate the birds. You can get delicious fish meals for lunch in Bhigwan. The guides generally arrange the boat trips and lunch for the tourists. After lunch, visit the Mayureshwar Sanctuary nearby. It is another major tourist attraction in this area. You can locate beautiful Indian Gazelle also known as Chinkaras. These animals are generally shy and run away if you drive very close. It is best to park the car and walk around the sanctuary. The park is normally open until 5 pm.

bhigwan tourism

Getting There

Travelers can reach Bhigwan by State Transport buses. It is approximately 105 km from Hadapsar, Pune. It takes around 3.5 hours to reach Bhigwan from Pune. Most of the travelers take their own vehicles to reach the town.

Best Time to Visit

Winter is the best time to visit Bhigwan. Birdwatchers and wildlife photographers visit the place between January and February.

Best Places to Visit in Maharashtra in Summer

bhigwan tourism


bhigwan tourism

Malsej Ghat

bhigwan tourism


bhigwan tourism


bhigwan tourism

Nashik Vineyards

bhigwan tourism

Ajanta Caves

bhigwan tourism

Ellora Caves

bhigwan tourism

Lavasa Hill City

Maharashtra tours & holiday packages.

Best of Maharashtra Hill Station Tour

Best of Maharashtra Hill Station Tour

Mahabaleshwar Panchgani Hill Station Tour

Mahabaleshwar Panchgani Hill Station Tour

Maharashtra Hills Tour Packages

Maharashtra Hills Packages

Bhandardara Hill Station Tour Package

Bhandardara Hill Station Tour Package

Toranmal Hill Station Tour

Toranmal Hill Station Tour

Malshej Ghat Hill Station Tour

Malshej Ghat Hill Station Tour

Chikhaldara Hill Station Tour

Chikhaldara Hill Station Tour

Jawahar Hill Station Tour

Jawahar Hill Station Tour

Amboli Hill Station Tour

Amboli Hill Station Tour

Lonavala Mahabaleshwar Panchgani Tour

Lonavala Mahabaleshwar Panchgani Tour

Natural Wonders of Maharashtra

Natural Wonders of Maharashtra

Pune Tour with Scenic Hill Stations

Pune Tour with Scenic Hill Stations

Serene Mahabaleshwar Tour

Serene Mahabaleshwar Tour

Gems of Maharashtra Tour

Gems of Maharashtra

Lonavala Weekend Tour

Lonavala Weekend Tour

Khandala Weekend Tour

Khandala Weekend Tour

Matheran Weekend Tour

Matheran Weekend Tour

Panchgani Weekend Tour

Panchgani Weekend Tour

Mahabaleshwar Weekend Tour

Mahabaleshwar Weekend Tour

Saputara Weekend Tour

Saputara Weekend Tour

Dajipur Tour with Panhala

Dajipur Tour with Panhala

Koynanagar Tour

Koynanagar Tour

Pench Tiger Tour with Nagzira

Pench Tiger Tour with Nagzira

Tadoba - The Land of Tiger Tour

Tadoba - The Land of Tiger Tour

Tadoba - Nagzira and Pench National Park

Tadoba - Nagzira and Pench National Park

Tadoba Tour with Nagzira National Park

Tadoba Tour with Nagzira National Park

Tadoba Tour from Nagpur

Tadoba Tour from Nagpur

Ashtavinayak Yatra with Shirdi

Ashtavinayak Yatra with Shirdi

Ashtavinayak Yatra Package

Ashtavinayak Yatra Package

Nashik Shirdi Tour with Bhimashankar

Nashik Shirdi Tour with Bhimashankar

Maharashtra Temple Tour

Maharashtra Temple Tour

Maharashtra Jyotirlingas Tour

Maharashtra Jyotirlingas Tour

Datadham Tour with Pandharpur

Datadham Tour with Pandharpur

Pandharpur Tuljapur Akkalkot Tour

Pandharpur Tuljapur Akkalkot Tour

A Divine Passage to Maharashtra

A Divine Passage to Maharashtra

Shirdi Weekend Tour

Shirdi Weekend Tour

Bhimashankar Weekend Tour

Bhimashankar Weekend Tour

Nasik Weekend Tour

Nasik Weekend Tour

Alibaug Murud Beach Tour

Alibaug Murud Beach Tour

Royal Beach Holiday Maharashtra

Royal Beach Holiday Maharashtra

Harnai Beach Tour

Harnai Beach Tour

Ratnagiri Beach Tour

Ratnagiri Beach Tour

Ganpatipule Beach Tour

Ganpatipule Beach Tour

Daman Beach Tour

Daman Beach Tour

Kashid Beach Tour

Kashid Beach Tour

Highlights of Mumbai Aurangabad

Highlights of Mumbai Aurangabad

Mystical Tour through India

Mystical Tour through India

Historical Madhya Pradesh & Maharastra

Historical Madhya Pradesh & Maharastra

Mystic Ajanta Caves

Mystic Ajanta Caves

Gateway to South India

Gateway to South India

Maharashtra Villages Tour

Maharashtra Villages Tour

Where to stay in guwahati.

bhigwan tourism

Hotels in Port Blair

bhigwan tourism

Hotels in Neil Island

bhigwan tourism

Hotels in Long Island

bhigwan tourism

Hotels in Baratang Island

bhigwan tourism

Maharashtra Tourism- Top Things to Do and See

Maharashtra Wildlife Tourism

Wildlife Tourism

Maharashtra Heritage Tourism

Heritage Tourism

Maharashtra Hill Stations

Hill Stations

Maharashtra Pilgrimages

Fairs & Festivals

Maharashtra Cuisines

Maharashtra Travel Information at a Glance

  • About Maharashtra
  • Top Destinations
  • Top Things to Do
  • Top Accommodation
  • Maharashtra Holiday Packages
  • Weekend Getaways from Mumbai
  • Weekend Getaways from Pune
  • MH Summer Holiday Places
  • MH Monsoon Holiday Places
  • MH Winter Holiday Places
  • Maharashtra Tourism Map
  • How to Reach Maharashtra
  • Maharashtra Travel by Road
  • Maharashtra Travel by Train
  • Maharashtra Travel by Air
  • When to Visit Maharashtra
  • MH Monsoon Weather
  • MH Winter Weather
  • MH Summer Weather
  • Visitors Sitemap

Let us Plan Your Trip

Plan Your Trip

Request a FREE Quote

Request a FREE Quote

  • Logout Login
  • Adventure Holidays
  • Weekend Getaways
  • Driving Holidays
  • Travel News

Top Searches

World Yoga Destinations

July Destinations

World Busiest Airports

California Glass Beach

Goa No Waterfall Ban

Self Service Bag Drop Facility

What makes Maharashtra’s Bhigwan a birder’s paradise?

Precious Rongmei Precious Rongmei / TIMESOFINDIA.COM / TRAVEL TRENDS , MAHARASHTRA / Updated : Oct 1, 2023, 14:54 IST

You're Reading


With Pune just a short drive away, Bhigwan is a convenient destination for a nature getaway. The town, as compared to other tourist destinations in Maharashtra, is far less crowded. The best time to experience Bhigwan is during th … Read more

With Pune just a short drive away, Bhigwan is a convenient destination for a nature getaway. The town, as compared to other tourist destinations in Maharashtra, is far less crowded. The best time to experience Bhigwan is during the winter months when migratory birds, especially greater flamingos, visit in abundance. The wetlands attract hundreds of bird species. Read less

What makes Maharashtra’s Bhigwan a birder’s paradise?

More from Travel News

7 hardest countries to get a visa for

  • Bird Watching: Explore the wetlands for birds like greater flamingos, painted storks, black-winged stilts, and various species of waders and waterfowl. The wetlands and lakes in the region are teeming with these birds.
  • Ujjani Dam: The scenic reservoir is great for boating. You can go for a 1.5 hour-long boat ride to see the beauty of the dam and the backwaters.
  • Photography: Bhigwan is a paradise for wildlife photographers. The beautiful landscapes, the colorful birdlife, and the peaceful surroundings provide ample opportunities for capturing stunning shots. There are less visitors so you won’t have to struggle so much for great shots.

What makes Maharashtra’s Bhigwan a birder’s paradise?

  • Nature Trails: When in Bhigwan, explore the nature trails and walking paths around the lakes and wetlands.
  • Camping: Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary allows camping, if that’s something you are interested in. Camping will let you experience the serene environment and the sights and sounds of nature up close.

What makes Maharashtra’s Bhigwan a birder’s paradise?

  • What is the best time to visit Bhigwan for birdwatching? The best time to visit Bhigwan for birdwatching is during the winter months, typically from November to March.
  • Are there guided birdwatching tours available in Bhigwan? Yes, there are guided birdwatching tours and boat rides offered by local operators and birding enthusiasts in Bhigwan.
  • What facilities are available for tourists in Bhigwan? You can do camping, birdwatching and boating at Bhigwan. Accommodations are limited, so book in advance.

Comments (0)

bhigwan tourism

Refrain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks, name calling or inciting hatred against any community. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by marking them offensive . Let's work together to keep the conversation civil.

Comments ( ) Sort: Newest UpVoted Oldest Discussed Down Voted closecomments



Or post without registration.

Krabi, where the world of the Neanderthals and modern collide

Visual Stories


Popular Galleries

10 best yoga destinations in the world for 2024

10 best yoga destinations in the world for 2024 TRAVEL TRENDS , WORLD

6 beautiful mountain towns to visit in India in July

6 beautiful mountain towns to visit in India in July TRAVEL TRENDS , INDIA

7 most isolated places on Earth to visit for ultimate isolation

7 most isolated places on Earth to visit for ultimate isolation TRAVEL TRENDS , WORLD

Trending stories.

bhigwan tourism

  • 7 hardest countries to get a visa for

bhigwan tourism

10 best yoga destinations in the world for 2024

bhigwan tourism

6 beautiful mountain towns to visit in India in July

bhigwan tourism

7 most isolated places on Earth to visit for ultimate isolation

bhigwan tourism

Indian destinations to visit in July 2024

  • 1 What makes Maharashtra’s Bhigwan a birder’s paradise?
  • 2 Krabi, where the world of the Neanderthals and modern collide
  • 3 Biodiversity hotspot Delhi Ridge is the city's saving grace
  • 4 Exploring Kanchipuram, the Silk Capital of India
  • 5 How my solo trip to Colombo brought me to the world of wildlife conservation




Places to visit.

  • Places to visit in Bangalore
  • Places to visit in Mumbai
  • Places to visit in Delhi
  • Places to visit in Goa
  • Hotels in Goa
  • Hotels in Jaipur
  • Hotels in Shimla
  • Hotels in Mumbai

Things To do

  • Things to do in Goa
  • Things to do in Mumbai
  • Things to do in Bangalore
  • Things to do in Delhi

Travel Inspiration

  • Visa on arrival for Indians
  • Honeymoon Places in india
  • Hill Stations in India
  • Weekend getaways in Mumbai
  • Weather in Delhi
  • Weather in Chennai
  • Weather in Bangalore
  • Weather in Mumbai

Best Beaches

  • Goa Beaches
  • Mumbai Beaches
  • Pondicherry Beaches
  • Kerala Beaches
  • Restaurants in Bangalore
  • Restaurants in Chennai
  • Restaurants in Pune
  • Restaurants in Jaipur
  • Hill Station near Delhi
  • Winter trip to Ladakh
  • Places to visit in Kerala
  • Winter Honeymoon Destinations
  • UK visa guide for Indians
  • Winter Trip to Manali
  • Vaishno Devi Yatra
  • Special Train Ticket Booking
  • HP inter-state Bus
  • Honeymoon Destinations India

Latest News


You have been successfully added to the mailing list of Times of India Travel. To complete the subscription process, kindly open your inbox and click on the confirmation link which has been emailed to you.

Share with friends

Thank You for sharing! Your friend will receive the article link on email mentioned.

  • (For more than one recipient, type addresses separated by commas)

What makes Maharashtra’s Bhigwan a birder’s paradise?

With Pune just a short drive away, Bhigwan is a convenient destination for a nature getaway. The town, as compared to other tourist destinations in Maharashtra, is far less crowded. The best time to e...

bhigwan tourism

  • Welcome to Tour De Farm
  • 08010209073
  • Register your farm

The Birds Paradise – Bhigwan,Diksal & Kavdi Bird Watching


  • February 4, 2017

bhigwan tourism

Bhigwan is a small scenic town in Maharashtra, India. Bhigwand-Diksal is about 110 Km  from Pun known for its spectacular bird watching as it hosts beautiful migratory birds (Flamingo) and other wildlife. The bird sanctuary located at bhigwan  provides a unique opportunity to experience beautiful birds everywhere you turn. While most people have seen flocks of seagulls, this town also has a very large flamingo population. In some spots, you can see hundreds flocking together in the water! These birds, along with storks, herons, and even various species of goose all run around in the backwater of Ujani Dam. You can stand and look with binoculars, or you can take a boat ride from local fishers down to enjoy the birds further in. All these species can be observed from various places like diksal, Kumbhargao Bird Sanctuary and the Bhigwan dock.

bhigwan backwater Bird Watching Activity

A small population of Bhigwan & surrounding villages & significant distance between these villages causes the place to be very hidden, and to have a minimal noise pollution. When considering these facts, you should realize why Bhigwan is considered the best bird watching destination near Pune. It is a great weekend gateways for anyone who wants to get away from the city, or for any bird watching enthusiasts who want to be wowed. While it is located a little off the grid, it is still easy to access by own vehicle. There is even a state transport bus! However, because the village is so small, the nearest hotels are in neighbouring cities, such as Pune or Baramati. But the drive is still simple, and not having so many people staying on the reserve makes the birds more likely to come out during the day and night to make your experience more enjoyable. Here are additional reasons you should go bird watching at Bhigwan.

Less urbanized

Bhigwan Seagull Busy Eating While in Flight

Beautiful sunrises and eye-catching village landscape

Bhigwan Backwater View

Surreal and blissful atmosphere

Flock of seagull birds flying in the air Bhigwan

Boat ride in the backwaters

While the back waters of Bhigwan are starting to fluctuate and lower, they are still high enough for the beautiful boat trips. If you really want to see the great flamingos of Bhigwan, this is the way to do it. As the waters, lower slightly, the birds move in towards deeper water. In addition, they tend to flock where there are less people and less noise, so deeper into the backwaters. The boats gather around the flocks quietly enough as to not scare the birds, and allow their viewers to experience the magnificence of the thousands of birds that eat and stay together in the backwaters of Bhigwan.

Learn to identify various birds

Bhigwan Snactuary Birdwatching

Farmstays & Agri Resorts in & around Bhigwan, Diksal, Kavdi

Photo Credit Ritesh Bagul –

  • Best Time to Visit Bhigwan
  • Bhigwan Flamingo
  • Bird Photography Bhigwan
  • Diksal Kavdi Bhigwan Bird Watching Trip
  • Kumbhargao Bird Sanctuary
  • Ujani Dam Backwater
  • Weekend Getaway Near Pune
  • Weekend Getaway Near PuneBest Time to Visit Bhigwan

Why Pomegranate Farm Visit Must Be on Your Bucket List

bhigwan tourism

For The Love of Mangoes, You Must Visit Mango Farm

bhigwan tourism

Related posts

bhigwan tourism

Krushi-Kutumba: The Best Way to Explore Real Rural India

  • February 20, 2020

A farm is a place where you can find serenity and harmony. ‘Krushi’ in Kannada means Agriculture and ‘Kutumba’ means Family. Farming…

bhigwan tourism

Muktt Agritourism Center : An Appealing Farmstay Amidst Nature

  • February 13, 2020

Muktt Agritourism center is an appealing farmstay amidst nature. This beautiful and enthralling farmhouse is near the amazing city of Nashik. Most…

bhigwan tourism

The Beauty of Spice Garden

  • February 6, 2020

Nature will always have wonderful things to offer you. Agritourism is a combination of travelling and witnessing farm life, for a unique…

Latest Posts

bhigwan tourism

Experience the bliss of summer in Shrusthi Farms

Imagine, you’re unable to complete your... Read More

bhigwan tourism

Waghrat Eco Farms: An Amazing Retreat with Lush Greenery

Waghrat Eco Farm is in the... Read More

bhigwan tourism

Krishivan Agri Tourism: More Than Just Cows and Plows

Agri-tourism is defined as travel, which... Read More

  • Eat & Drink
  • February 2020
  • January 2020
  • January 2019
  • December 2018
  • September 2018
  • January 2018
  • December 2017
  • November 2017
  • October 2017
  • September 2017
  • August 2017
  • February 2017
  • January 2017
  • December 2016
  • November 2016
  • October 2016
  • September 2016
  • August 2016

Register with your email

Do you already have an account? Log In

Forgot Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.

Compare listings

  • Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh
  • Coorg, Karnataka
  • Ooty, Tamil Nadu

Travel Birdie

Imagine escaping the hustle and bustle of city life and entering a serene realm where the rhythmic calls of birds replace the blaring of horns, and the gentle breeze carries the scent of rural life. This is the essence of Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary. Nestled around the expansive backwaters of the Ujani Dam, the sanctuary offers an enchanting setting for birdwatchers and photographers to immerse themselves in the harmonious symphony of nature.

Flora and Fauna: A Haven for Wetland Birds

Eurasian Spoonbill

Bhigwan’s allure lies in its unique ecosystem, primarily comprising backwaters, wetlands, and surrounding agricultural fields. This delicate balance of habitats creates a haven for a rich variety of flora and fauna, with wetland birds taking center stage. The reed-filled marshes, shallow waters, and patches of greenery provide ample sustenance and shelter for these avian visitors.

From the striking Painted Stork with its vibrant plumage to the elegant Spoonbill gracefully foraging in the shallows, Bhigwan is a living tapestry of avian grace. The sanctuary hosts both resident and migratory birds, making it a year-round destination for birdwatching enthusiasts.

Avian Extravaganza: Migratory Marvels

Bar-headed Goose

The real magic of Bhigwan unfolds during the winter months when migratory birds flock to the region, seeking refuge from the harsh winters of their breeding grounds. The picturesque sight of thousands of birds in flight, against the backdrop of serene waters and lush greenery, is nothing short of breathtaking.

The Greater Flamingo in its resplendent pink plumage, the Bar-headed Goose with its distinctive black bars, and the charismatic Osprey perched atop dead trees are just a few of the stars of this avian spectacle. Bhigwan’s bird population transforms with each passing season, offering a dynamic experience to visitors.

Planning Your Birdwatching Expedition

To make the most of your visit to Bhigwan, consider a few essentials. A good pair of binoculars is invaluable for observing birds from a distance. They allow you to admire the intricate details of plumage and behaviors without disturbing the birds.

Carrying a camera with a versatile lens is a must for capturing the sanctuary’s avian wonders. From close-ups of birds in action to sweeping landscapes of the backwaters, your camera serves as a visual storyteller of your journey.

Boat Safaris: Navigating the Avian World

A boat ride at Bhigwan for Flamingo watching

Exploring Bhigwan involves embarking on boat safaris that gently glide through the tranquil waters of the Ujani Dam. These safaris allow you to approach the birds closely while respecting their natural habitat. Local boatmen, often well-versed in the sanctuary’s avian residents, serve as guides, sharing insights about the birds and their behaviors.

The serene boat rides offer uninterrupted views of the sanctuary’s avian residents. Whether it’s the synchronized flight of a flock or the quiet contemplation of a solitary heron, every moment on the water is a window into the avian world.

Ideal Seasons and Timings

The best time to visit Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary for birdwatching is during the winter months, from November to March. This period coincides with the arrival of migratory birds, creating a bustling avian hub. The cool weather and clear skies make it an ideal time for birdwatching and photography.

The early morning hours are particularly enchanting, as the rising sun bathes the landscape in soft golden light. Birds are most active during these hours, engaged in feeding, preening, and social interactions, providing ample opportunities for capturing their candid moments.

Getting to Bhigwan: Journey to Tranquility

Reaching Bhigwan is an adventure in itself. The sanctuary is approximately 250 kilometers from Mumbai and 100 kilometers from Pune. The journey takes you through picturesque rural landscapes, where every turn in the road reveals the rustic charm of Maharashtra’s countryside.

As you approach Bhigwan, the tranquil waters of the Ujani Dam come into view, signaling your arrival at this avian paradise. The journey offers a delightful transition from the urban hustle and bustle to the serenity of the sanctuary.

Beyond Birdwatching: Experiencing Rural Life

Misal pav and Bhakri Pithla

While Bhigwan is a sanctuary for birds, it also provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in rural Maharashtra’s cultural tapestry. The nearby villages offer a glimpse into traditional life, and you can savor local Maharashtrian cuisine for a taste of the region’s flavors.

Engaging with the local community adds a cultural dimension to your journey, allowing you to learn about their traditions and way of life. It’s an opportunity to connect with the land and its people, enhancing your overall experience.

Ethical Birdwatching: A Commitment to Conservation

Responsible birdwatching is not just about observing birds; it’s about ensuring their continued well-being and the conservation of their habitats. Maintain a respectful distance from the birds to avoid causing stress or disrupting their activities. Refrain from using playback calls, as they can interfere with natural behaviors and nesting patterns.

By adopting ethical practices, you contribute to the preservation of Bhigwan’s avian residents and their habitats, ensuring that future generations can continue to marvel at the beauty of this sanctuary.

Capturing Memories, Celebrating Nature

Northen Shovelors

Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary is a testament to the delicate balance of nature and the captivating beauty of its avian residents. The sight of a White-throated Kingfisher plunging into the water, the serene contemplation of a Purple Heron, and the elegance of a Black-winged Stilt in flight are moments that stay with you.

As you capture these moments through your camera lens, you’re not just taking photographs; you’re creating visual narratives of Bhigwan’s avian wonder. Each photograph is a celebration of the interconnectedness of all life forms, a tribute to the fragile beauty of the avian world, and a reminder of our role as stewards of the environment.

So, as you set out on your journey to Bhigwan, carry your curiosity, your binoculars, and your camera. With every click of the shutter, you’re preserving the magic of this sanctuary, celebrating the elegance of its avian inhabitants, and creating memories that connect you to the symphony of Bhigwan’s birdlife.

Anindita Mukherji

Recommended Posts

Valmiki national park: where wilderness unfolds, chinnar wildlife sanctuary: a biodiversity hotspot in kerala, exploring the verdant wilderness: mollem national park, sandy jewels of sustainability: blue flag beaches of india, latest posts, unveiling top beaches of andaman and nicobar islands, west bengal’s coastal charms: unveiling the top beaches, exploring the untamed beauty: dibru-saikhowa national park, related posts, saddle peak national park: explore wild beauty of andamans, kishtwar national park: unveiling the pristine wilderness of jammu and kashmir, murlen national park: a symphony of biodiversity in mizoram’s highland, the symphony of nature: mudumalai national park unveiled, popular categories.

  • Wildlife 94
  • Top Lists 32

LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Travel Birdie is a guide for those seeking unique experiences with wildlife and nature. Explore hidden gems, off the beaten path locations, and gain insight into the local culture. From stunning landscapes to rare wildlife encounters, this blog is perfect for adventure seekers and nature lovers.

Quick Access

When on a Break travel blog

When on a Break!

A travelogue of experiences, photos and adventures taken during our time off from work.

Birdwatching in Bhigwan

bhigwan tourism

Date of the trip: 26th Dec 2019 to 28th Dec 2019

Bhigwan had our attention since my father first recollected his birding getaways to the lake many many years ago. It is called Bharatpur of central India and let me tell you, it’s really not just hearsay. It is located at one end of the reservoir of Ujni dam on Bhima river. During the winters, the reservoir’s water attracts migratory birds from faraway lands. There are villages located at the banks of the reservoir. Each village offers a different view and experience of the reservoir’s water. Some of the most popular villages for birding are Takrarwadi, Bhigwan, Kumbhargaon and Diksal.

bhigwan tourism

Best time to visit Bhigwan

Like for anywhere in India (except the Himalayas or the ghats) Summers is not the best time to visit this lake. Unless interest lies in photographing some egrets and random pond heron.

Monsoon, the water levels are too high and surroundings have overgrowth, not a preferred time, but can be a possibility.

Winters is by-far the best time. It’s when the migratory birds pass through, the weather is cool and humidity is low. Starting from November all the way to March. January and February being the prime time.

bhigwan tourism

How to reach Bhigwan from Mumbai

Best way to get to Bhigwan is to self drive (or taxi) past Pune directly to the Bhigwan lake (google map route is good – A lakeside spot marked as Bhigwan bird sanctuary in Bhigwan). 

All other close by birding spots like Kumbhargaon and Diksal are also marked clearly on the map. Roads are fairly good as its highway throughout. There are small hamlets and sugarcane fields all along the way with some occasional water bodies.

bhigwan tourism

Where to stay in Bhigwan

(Actually – Phaltan, 50kms away – for Mumbaikar’s, this distance is nothing!)

After a quick trip to the lake to see where the road ends, we headed towards our stay for the night before the sun set. Village roads can be a bit risky to drive if you are not used to them. While researching, I read that many locals in the area provide boat ride / rooms and meals to the birders visiting the lake. There are many lodges close by like Anand or Satyajit lodge which provide economical stay. Kranti flamingo point (check map above) has a MTDC affiliated hotel too. For us, Christmas hangover and year end blues deserved more luxury, so we booked a room at Jaksons Inn in Phaltan, a little further from Bhigwan, beyond Baramati. It was a 45 mins drive on the country road, sugarcane fields on both sides. These surrounding areas are dotted with factories, it’s the sugar hub of the state. 

bhigwan tourism

By the time we reached Jakson Inn, the sun had set. After the day of travel, the comfort of a cozy room and a warm bath always refreshes us. A quick bath, and we headed down for dinner. This hotel has a tie up with many factories in the surrounding areas. The officials who visit the factories always stay here and the hotel is built with all amenities possible.

bhigwan tourism

They have a buffet for all meals as there are no proper restaurants around and have an amazing menu. I think I have never loaded up on fish preparations as much as I did in their buffet. Kudos to their chef, for churning out such excellent dishes. The staff was ever smiling, helpful and took care of all our needs. They were surprised with our request though, packed breakfast at 6 AM was not a very popular request I believe. :). More birders should come to stay here perhaps!

bhigwan tourism

Birdwatching at Bhigwan

Depending on the time you reach (we reached around 1pm), there is a scope of great birding on the way after you pass the houses in Bhigwan town and drive through the forest towards the lake on the kaccha mud road. We started driving really slowly, windows down and eyes and ears alert.  There were many bird sounds coming from the dry forest and soon we spotted a large flock of yellow wagtails and silverbills hopping on the ground, carefree! A flock of rosy starlings covering the dead tree like leaves was a stunning sight. A yellow crowned woodpecker crossed the road and made us chase it from tree to tree.

bhigwan tourism

While chasing the woodpecker we accidentally got too close to ground nest of rock bunting. In our defense, it was right there on the road side!! We were alerted very furiously by Mr Ashy crowned sparrow lark swishing swooshing in front of our faces trying to distract us and mumma Lark twittering continuously on a rock at the side. The eggs were well camouflaged with  the surrounding rocks, we were relieved that we did not step on one, we would have felt extremely guilty.

bhigwan tourism

The sun was right above us and it was very hot so we decided to circle back later and for now go ahead to the lake to find out details of the boating tours. It was too hot for a productive birding trip into the water and the light was also not too great for photography. As suggested by the operator we decided to return the next morning.

bhigwan tourism

We reached the lake only by 8 AM the next morning. It was covered with thick mist which was just beginning to clear out. There were many families, photographers and couples on boats trying to cruise in the mist mainly to see the Greater flamingos. Poor birds, at one point there were around 15 boats and cameras pointing towards them. Thankfully most boatmen who are also bird guides here have sense to keep distance from these birds so as not to intimidate them.

bhigwan tourism

For us the main highlight was the cluster of painted storks. They are not the main attraction here and are often overshadowed by the tourist magnets, the Greater flamingos. They were not snooty like the flamingos and gave us full opportunity to photograph them in detail. They stood there feeding themselves, not caring for our approaching boat. It was an excellent feeling. We did see so many of them nesting at Bharatpur but had never imagined that we would be just a couple of feet away from them and they would not mind!

As sunlight started tearing through the mist, we spotted various waders, grey herons, ibises, painted and open billed storks, ducks and tiny weed birds.

bhigwan tourism

For afternoon birding we headed towards ‘Kranti flamingo point’, Kumbhargaon. Its close to Agneepankh flamingo viewing point (Agneepankh being the hindi name for Flamingos, the deep fiery red visible when they fly gets it this name) but we wanted to checkout the MTDC hotel there, incase in future we want to stay closer to the lake. If you follow google maps, you would eventually reach this place. It’s a multi storey grey building, lodge kind of a place, affiliated by MTDC. It was not looking very appealing and we did not enter it. Instead we met the owner in the parking lot and he summoned Rahul, a boat rower who doubles up as a bird guide.

bhigwan tourism

Rahul was much better informed guide compared to the morning one and understood bird behavior better. A photographer himself, he had a good angle/lighting sense and was able to predict a lot of bird perch positions to get the perfect bird picture. We were not very sure if it was a good idea to go for a late afternoon birding trip but Rahul did not disappoint us at all. We were able to check off most water – birds from our Bhigwan bird list pending from the morning trip. The gem of the trip was the excellent observation of an Osprey perched on a fish net pole doing his noon poop business. A colony of Shovelers covering a small island entirely and zooming over and around it also provided us with amazing photos.  A lonesome Bar Headed Goose and a couple of Garganey Teals were grooming themselves in the sun. I think this may be nesting/ juvenile nursery for Black Headed Ibis as there was a variety of age groups here. There was a surprise sighting of Woolly Necked Stork here, we were not expecting this one!!

bhigwan tourism

Bird guides in Bhigwan

As an independent birding trip, it is an excellent choice. Birds here are not shy and the guides are very cautious of the distance. They participate in many rescues too. The boat man/bird guide was not very well acquainted with the bird names but was very enthusiastic to learn. He informed us that they undergo training for being guides but it’s not a comprehensive one. A boost in number of birders to this hotspot may be the encouragement they need. The only tourist who come here are locals from surrounding cities like Pune or Baramati interested in boating or flamingo sightings. They haggle a lot on the costs and don’t give positive online reviews if they don’t see flamingos, mmm.. I dont think that’s fair. There is an amazing collection of birds waiting to be spotted, listed and photographed in and around this huge lake and overshadowing them with one species of bird is unfortunate.

bhigwan tourism

Send us an Email if you need Rahul’s contact information.

Cost of a birdwatching trip in Bhigwan

We took the whole boat to ourselves:

Rs 800 per boat ride (no time limit 3-4 pax occupancy)

Close encounters with the ringed plover, lark and painted stork:

Witnessing poopy Osprey hunt:

A million-dollar moment

bhigwan tourism

What to eat in Bhigwan

Lunch options in Bhigwan town are limited to local restaurants serving local cuisine. Fishing is the primary source of income here and has a strong presence in their food scene. All restaurants, although not fancy looking, have tasty set meal thalis for meals.

bhigwan tourism

Like any regular Indian town, Baramati and Bhigwan have the morning hustle bustle in the market along the main road. Samosa pav/ Vada pav and hot tea are readily available. We got our breakfast packed from Jakson inn so we just bought a cup of hot tea on the way.

bhigwan tourism

ppsstt…There is also a missal pav joint right outside Jakson Inn which serves memorable misal pav.

Is Bhigwan worth visiting?

In conclusion, Bhigwan is not as commercial or well developed like Bharatpur, but it has its own charm and its own list of birds. We felt, it was a better place to photograph birds as we were much closer to birds and they don’t mind close proximity with humans.  It is not cramped with tourists making random noises to disturb the birds. The boatmen here are very enthusiastic and pro navigators. They are still new to the business and still need a lot of training to unlock full potential. For example, the forest before the lake has so many species of land and forest birds but they were completely oblivious to it. They must certainly be trained to know what gem of a place they live in.

bhigwan tourism

The lake is surrounded by villages and sugarcane fields, no proper tar roads and food stalls like other more commercial sanctuaries, no picnic spots or souvenir shops and maybe that is why birds are more calm and human friendly here.

bhigwan tourism

Downside is the constant stench in the air and neon green pigmentation in the water due to paper and sugar factories. I think the efforts are good and if the place is promoted in the correct way, it may evolve into a more popular and well maintained birding spot. That may pressurise the authorities to take action against water pollution too. Water pollution results in less and less migratory birds each year. This humongous lake is a safe haven to many bird species, pollution problems here need to be a red flag in the tourism and environment sector.

bhigwan tourism

Without a doubt, it’s a thumb’s up place and we would certainly re-visit soon.

bhigwan tourism

While returning to Mumbai we took the route via Mayureshwar sanctuary (detailed blog a bit later!) and spotted a couple of Red Naped Ibises looking for insects in the empty dry harvested fields. Looking outside the window, glaring into the open expanse of fields has never been more rewarding!!

bhigwan tourism

For more visual treat, make sure you follow us on  Instagram  

To see awesome bird pictures of this trip, check  Sunny’s Instagram  account!

Check out our bird-list here

Let us know in the comments below if you have been to Bhigwan. Where did you stay? Where did you eat? Did you go for birdwatching or for any other purpose?

If you are planning to go, add any questions that you may have, below!

Share this:

  • Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)
  • Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
  • Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)

Published by varnicamathur

A visual effects artist by profession, I am on the road for a new adventure every free moment. For me, journey is as enjoyable as the destination. Sometimes even more. Beginning from the first moment when an idea of a trip comes in my head to the time I crash back on my bed after the trip, each moment is worth the money, the energy and the time. All my travels are shared by my wild life photographer husband who enjoys and shares my love for wandering 'when on a break'. View more posts

Leave a comment Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

' src=

  • Already have a account? Log in now.
  • Subscribe Subscribed
  • Copy shortlink
  • Report this content
  • View post in Reader
  • Manage subscriptions
  • Collapse this bar


Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

Bhigwan is a special haven of nature at the borders of Ahmednagar, Pune and Solapur. The town is famous for its wide assortment of avifauna, especially flamingoes and wildlife photography. These attractive birds arrive here in the winter and add their charm to the otherwise wet town of Bhigwan. Due to the town’s position near the backwaters of Ujjani Dam, the economy is almost completely reliant on freshwater fishing. Thus, a sweet trip to this town will offer you some serene boating rides, vibrant bird watching adventure and an authentic experience trying out the famous Maharashtrian spicy fish dish!

bhigwan tourism

Good To Know

Maharashtra, nearest airport, pune airport, wildlife sighting index, 9/10 for raptor sighting, beauty of forest index, 8/10 beauty, standard of infrastructure index, bookings open, 60 days advance, consider securing, 30 days advance.

bhigwan tourism

Flora of Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

The merry town of Bhigwan boasts a rich abundance of flora and fauna. It is a perfect refuge for wildlife enthusiasts, ornithologists, bird lovers and nature junkies. A range of topography, from dry grassland to woodlands, swamps, wetlands and backwaters creates a perfect habitat for the breeding of many species of fish, reptiles, snakes and amphibians. While the main type of forest here is dry deciduous, the sanctuary shelters many plant species. Some plants even have medicinal or commercial value. The predominant flora includes  Teak, Ain, Tendua and Bamboo etc.

Fauna of Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

This wetland attracts avifauna from Northern India and more. Apart from flamingoes, birds like King-fishers, Sandpipers, Ruddy Shelducks, Egrets, Pond Herons, Gulls and many other water and land birds are found here. The sanctuary also hosts the fastest bird in the animal kingdom: the peregrine falcon. During the winter months, when flamingoes and other water birds migrate to Bhigwan, the town is a sight to behold! The spectacular vistas, clear waters, winter fog and tall birds are bound to fill your heart with pure joy.

  • Kingfishers
  • Ruddy Shelduck
  • Garganey Duck
  • Peregrine falcon
  • Painted Storks
  • Bar-headed geese
  • Demoiselle Cranes
  • Eurasian spoonbill
  • Bar-headed goose
  • Collared pratincole

bhigwan tourism

For Package Details & Enquiry

Whatsapp us on – 8692022777 / 8422049888

Email – [email protected]

Or Fill in the inquiry form below

Explore The Known and Unknown of Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

Bhigwan is a sight for sore eyes. The beautiful town is celebrated for its wide assortment of birds, flora and tranquil waters. Tourists that chance upon this heaven on earth, are usually accompanied by cameras and binoculars to enjoy the exciting birdlife present at Bhigwan. You can enjoy a nice picnic near the waters, relax and unwind and feast your eyes on the resident variety of birds. As the town of Bhigwan is surrounded by the backwaters of Ujjani Dam, boat rides are also offered in and around the area. Bhigwan Bird Watching is one such organization that arranges interesting boat rides deep into the secluded spots of the waters for bird watching.  The flamingoes are elusive and tend to avoid urban areas, thus, a boat ride into the heart of their habitat is one of the only ways to observe them.

Freshwater fishing is the sole occupation of most locals at Bhigwan. Boat rides can also give you a closer look at the everyday life of Bhigwan fishermen. You can even join them, have a chat or enjoy a bite out of their deliciously cooked fresh spicy fish!

Camping is another cool activity you can enjoy in the area. Most tourists choose to camp when they visit Bhigwan. Enjoy a pleasant chilly night under the open sky surrounded by beautiful landscapes and wake up to the golden morning sky and birdsongs! Truly an unparalleled experience. You can also choose to explore the nearby attractions including the Mayureshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kumbhargaon Bird Sanctuary, Bhuleshwar Temple and Ujjani Lake.

Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary Safari Booking

You can enjoy a Safari ride in the neighbouring wildlife sanctuary. A cruise into the dense forests will allow you to explore the rich biodiversity of this place.

How to reach Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

Bhigwan is well-connected to other areas and can be easily accessed. The town is 105 km from Pune and 249 km from Mumbai. For tourists opting to reach via road, they can take State Transport Buses going from Solapur to Pune. The journey takes approximately 3.5 hours. You can also use your vehicles or rental cars to make this journey. For those wishing to travel via train from Pune or Mumbai, there are quite a few trains that stop at Bhigwan Railway Station. Some of those include Chennai Mail, Pune Sur Demu and Hyderabad Express.

For those opting for flying to Bhigwan, the closest airport is the Pune airport, which is well connected with all the major cities of India. Once you land at the Pune airport, the remaining 100 km of distance can easily be traversed via rental cars or taxis. 

Resorts at Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

Since Bhigwan is a popular bird-watching destination, several hotel options from 2-star onwards are available for guests. From Pune to Bhigwan, several luxurious, premium, budget-friendly and reasonable resorts and more resorts can be chosen, based on your preference. Some popular choices include Aryan Lodging which offers comfortable family rooms, a restaurant, a bar and a garden. Suyash Palace and Lodging is also a relaxing and reasonable option with all modern amenities, spacious rooms, gardens and balconies. The Royal Inn located in Baramati is also a comfortable hotel with basic amenities, spacious rooms, scrumptious food and a car rental service available.

Get In Touch

bhigwan tourism

Bhigwan – A Paradise Of Migratory Birds

Bird watching is a hobby which is becoming more and more popular nowadays. It’s fun to watch birds in their natural habitat and know about their names, their migratory patterns, their eating habits, etc. With the same curiosity, we headed towards Bhigwan – A paradise Of Migratory Birds , for our first bird-watching trip.

About Bhigwan

Bhigwan, also know as mini Bharatpur is a small town situated along the backwater of Ujani Dam. Every year thousands of migratory birds migrate to Bhigwan for food, breeding, and nesting which has made Bhigwan famous for birdwatching, especially flamingos and wildlife photography. Bhigwan is located on the Pune-Solapur Highway around 105 km from Pune (approximately 2 hours) making it a perfect one-day tourist destination near Pune. During the month of October to March Bhigwan is packed with bird lovers from all over Maharashtra.

With the primary aim of irrigating the agricultural land, Ujjani dam was built on the Bhima river (A tributary of Krishna) in 1980. The reservoir created by the Ujjani dam is one of the largest wetlands in Asia. Since then, every year, a larger number of migratory birds from different counties are attracted towards this backwater flowing along the village of Diksal and Kumbhargaon and hence most of the bird watching happens along these two places i.e. Diksal and Kumbargaon.

Birds of Bhigwan

We decided to go to Kumbargaon for bird watching since this village has many locals who are professional trained for bird watching. The best time for bird watching is sunrise and sunset. We had contacted Shri Sandeep Nagare (9960610615) a day before to plan our itinerary. He informed us that the first boat for bird watching starts around 6.00 a.m. Hence we started around 5.30 a.m. from Baramati. It took us approximately 55 minutes to reach Kumbargaon. However, we could not take the first boat. The chilling wind and the rising sun further increased our excitement for bird watching. Once we got into the boat we were thrilled with the amazing sight of birds.

The first bird which caught our attention was the brown-headed Gull sitting on a tube-like surface. Thanks to our boat driver who told us the name of the bird. Next, we got to see many amazing birds. A few of the birds were surface diving, skimming the surface, spearing, and stealing the fish. Our boat driver told us amazing facts about a few special birds. For example, he showed us the Bar-Tailed Godwit and told us that this particular visitor in India is said to perform the largest nonstop migration to India. During this journey, it does not stop even for feeding.

After almost 40 minutes of drive, the boat driver stopped the boat where the water got shallow. He got down from the boat and brought some dead fishes from the nearby fisherman. Then he started throwing these fishes in the water. This attracted a group of painted stock. The site of these stock was a pleasure for the eyes. The two hours of boat ride was a mesmerizing experience. Don’t forget to check some stunning photographs of these birds in my post ‘ Birds At Bhigwan ’. Mentioned below is a list of birds we saw at Bhigwan.

  • Brown Headed Gull
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Ruddy Shelduck (Brahminy Duck)
  • Bar tailed Godwit
  • Bar Headed Gull
  • Indian spot billed Duck
  • Indian Cormorant
  • Painted Stock
  • Black Winged Stilt

The only bird we could not see was Flamingoes. The boat driver told us that due to the extended monsoon this year there are very few flamingoes. Also, due to the movement of other boats before us, the birds might have flown. He further added that the count of flamingoes will increase in the coming months. Hopefully, during our next visit to Bhigwan, we might get to see the mighty Flamingoes.

Insider Tips

1. how to reach.

  • By road : The best way to reach Bhigwan is via road. Bhigwan is about 102 km from Pune. From Pune take Pune Solapur highway –> Hadapsar- Yavat–> Choufula –>Kurkumbh –> Bhigwan. At Bhigwan bird watching happens at two places i.e. Diksal and Kumbargaon. To reach Diksal you have to take left once you reach Bhigwan. The “bird watching” place is around 5-6 km. inwards. You can ask for “Juna Phul” (Old Bridge). At end of the bridge, where fishermen have set up a small roadside village. From here, one can rent a small boat for bird watching. To reach Kumbargaon, once you reach Bhigwan, cross the town and travel along Solapur highway for about 9 km. Then take left and travel for 2 km on a rough road to reach Kumbargaon bird sanctuary. Many State transport (ST) buses also go to Bhigwan. Take a bus which goes to Solapur, These buses halt at Bhigwan bus depo. From here you can hire an auto.
  • By rail: There are many trains from Mumbai and Pune to Bhigwan. The fastest train from Pune is Siddheshwar SF Express which takes around 1 hour and 39 minutes to reach Bhigwan. At Bhigwan station you can hire an auto.

2. Best time to visit

The best time to visit Bhigwan is from October to March. The best time for bird watching is sunrise and sunset. So plan you’re itinerary accordingly. If you are planning for bird watching at the time of sunrise then try to take the first boat. During other times due to the continuous movement of boats in the water, many birds fly off. Also, it becomes tiring for bird watching, due to the heat during the day.

Minimum Rs. 1500/day/person (inclusive of food, travel cost, and boat ride). The boat ride cost is around Rs. 800 to Rs. 1000 per boat.

4. Places to visit nearby

  • The Moreshwar temple of Lord Ganesha is about 60 k.m from Bhigwan. It happens to be the first Ganesha among the Ashta Vinayak and hence is a popular pilgrimage site. Here is the link to my blog post on Morgaon Asthavinayak.
  • Mayureshwar Wildlife sanctuary – the smallest wildlife sanctuary is around 55 k.m from Bhigwan. Mentioned below is the link to this tiny sanctuary which is full of surprises.
  • Siddhivinayaka Temple, Siddhatek of lord Ganapati is around 35 km from Bhigwan. It is the second Ganesha among the Ashta Vinayak and hence is a popular pilgrimage site. Here, is a link to my blog on Siddhi-Vinayaka Temple, Siddhatek.
  • Jejuri  – The golden temple of Maharashtra  is about k.m from Bhigwan. Jejuri is a place of religious and historic importance and is famous for it Khandoba temple. Lord Khandoba is considered as kuladevat (family god) of the entire Maharashtra and hence Jejuri is a popular pilgrimage site. Don’t forget to check my blog post on Jejuri.
  • Bhuleshwar Temple

In nutshell

Bhigwan – A Paradise Of Migratory Birds, is one of the few unexplored places near Mumbai and Pune, which takes you close to nature where you get to breathe fresh air while watching birds. Once you enter Bhigwan you get to see the birds in their natural habitat chirping everywhere. It is an awesome one-day tourist spot near Pune which helps you forget your tiredness and make you feel energetic.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your binoculars, camera, and hat, and head towards Bhigwan for a visual treat of these migratory birds. Don’t forget to check some stunning photographs of these birds in my post ‘ Birds At Bhigwan ’. Here is a video on Birds at Bhigwan.

Related Articles

Top things to do in Kolkata

11 Things to do in Kolkata – City of Joy

Ashtavinayak temple Mahaganpati Ranjangaon

Mahaganpati Ranjangaon – 8th and last temple in the series of Ashtavinayak Temples.

Leave a reply cancel reply.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Ad Blocker Detected

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

  • Destination

How to Reach Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

Bhigwan is actually not a declared bird sanctuary but best place to see flamingos in Maharashtra and known as Bharatpur of Maharashtra. The bird watching place is a small dusty town around 100 kms away from Pune , on the backwaters of Ujani dam.

Variety of Birds at Bhigwan are Ducks, Herons, Egrets, Raptors and Waders.

By Road – Travel in their own vehicle on Solapur Highway around 105 km from Pune.

One can travel to Bhigwan by the ST (State Transport) Buses for Solapur.

By Train, One can reach Daund and hire a local taxi to Bhigwan.

Or There are 3 trains, passes through the Bhigwan town .


Drive 105 km on Pune Solapur Highway, At the town of Bhigwan turn left below the flyover for Diksal village . For Kumbhargaon , drive 5km from the Bhigwan town flyover on highway, take left from the water tank next to service lane.


Best Time to visit Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary is during the migratory season, From October to February.

By the time of summer season when water level is low, you can just walk around the lake on grass and capture the little birds.

Diksal and Kumbhargaon Bird Sanctuary


Diksal and Kumbhargaon are two most popular places for bird watching in Bhigwan .

You can go for boating on the backwaters of Ujani dam for a closer photography of pink flamingos and other water birds.


Follow the link for see bird photography at Bhigwan and about the list of birds such as,greater flamingo , Eurasian spoonbill and Black winged stilt.

Tilapia Fish found in the backwaters of Ujani dam, Osprey and Brahminy kite can be spotted while fishing.


There are two near by wildlife sanctuaries , Mayureshwar Chinkara Sanctuary and Rehekuri Blackbuck Sanctuary .

Both sanctuaries are famous for healthy population of Blackbuck and Chinkara deer.

Follow the link for 5 days best Itinerary from Pune on Solapur Highway for bird watching, wildlife and temple tour.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like


How to Reach Madhai-Satpura National Park


How to Reach Panna National Park


How to Reach Pench National Park


How to Reach Kabini


How to Reach Ayodhya of Ram Lalla


How to Reach Bandhavgarh National Park


Best Time to Visit Himalayan States


How to Reach Kanha National Park


How to Visit Sundarbans National Park

  • Photo Tours
  • Photo Walks
  • Chaukat 2022


Bhigwan Birding Bharatpur of Maharashtra (1N & 2D) 26-27 Feb 2022

Bhigwan is a small town around 100 kms away from Pune and is also referred to as the “Bharatpur of Maharashtra”, as it becomes a hotbed of migratory birds during the winter. Bhigwan is at one end of the huge Yashwant Sagar reservoir, forming the backwaters of the Ujain dam.

One of the main attractions during the migratory season is the arrival of the pink greater flamingos. During the months of early Jan – late Feb, this place is thronged by bird lovers from all over Maharashtra.

Day 1 Leave from Thane by 6am in the morning. On the route we will halt for breakfast. We are expected to reach Kumbhargaon by 1 pm. After freshen up we will have the lunch and by 3:30 pm will start out 1st boat ride. We will continue till sunset and will get ample of oppotunities to click beautiful bids of Bhigwan.

Day 2 Early wake up call. After Freshen up, we will head towards 2nd boat ride by 6 am. Again we explore the lake for beautiful birds of Bhigwan. After boat ride we will have breakfast and explore the near by area. Lunch at 1 pm and after lunch start the return journey. Reach Thane by 8pm.

  • 2 Boat rides
  • Pickup & drop from Thane
  • Expertise & Guide charges

Things to Carry:

  • 2-3 Ltrs Water (MUST)
  • Sunscreen Lotion
  • Extra cloths
  • Torch with extra batteries
  • A Bag to put all these things

Camera/Lens and accessories:

  • Telephoto Lens, 400mm and above recommended
  • Full charge batteries (at least 2)
  • Battery Charger
  • Extra memory cards
  • Binoculars (Optional)

Sharing Basis: 5500/- Booking amount: 50% of the Total Cost. Balance amount can be paid 1 month before the departure.

Cancellation and Refund policy:

  • 30 days before the Tour, No charges will apply (i.e, 100% will be refunded).
  • Within 30 days but 20 Days of Tour 50% charges will apply (i.e, 50% will be refunded).
  • Within 20 Days or No show 100% charges will apply (i.e, NO refund).
  • All our tours are Eco-friendly, kindly take care of the nature around us.
  • Smoking and Drinking alcohol during, Photo-walk is strictly prohibited if anyone found doing that will be expelled from Photo-walk without refund.
  • Respect the Heritage and culture. Do Not Litter, Participants are requested to carry the waste back to the city and dispose of it in dustbins.
  • Leader’s decision will be final and binding on all members. No Arguments will be entertained.
  • Escape to Explore  is not liable in any way whatsoever for any injury or loss (including any indirect or consequential loss) of any kind to person or property suffered by any participant whether by reason of any act or omission, deliberate or negligent.

Make sure you are fully vaccinated and submit the pdf while booking the tour.

For Registration, 50% of the total amount, email the details at [email protected] or Whatsapp at 9820432576

Bhigwan Trip Packages

Places to visit in Maharashtra

  • About Bhigwan

Bhigwan is a residential area on the outskirt of Pune and Solapur locale in Central Maharashtra, India. It is situated on the Pune-Solapur Highway around 105 km from Pune on the backwaters of Ujani dam. Bhigwan is acclaimed for birdwatching, particularly flamingo and natural life photography. It is otherwise called smaller than normal Bharatpur. At Bhigwan, numerous sorts of Ducks, Herons, Egrets, Raptors and Waders alongside herds of several flamingos can be seen. Assortment of flying creatures at Bhigwan gives of locating of all the prime feathered creature species there and furthermore makes extraordinary photographic open doors for untamed life picture takers.

Now and again, 1,000-1,200 flamingos are seen. The low rains and low water level has now lessened the quantity of flamingos over a few years. It is a most loved spot for transient winged creatures, with in excess of 230 species found here. One can likewise observe painted storks, bareheaded geese, demoiselle cranes, and so forth. These feathered creatures can be found in the winter season among December and March. The winged animal for the most part relocates by means of marine courses and grown-up females leave from the reproducing grounds. Kumbhargaon and Diksal are two most famous Flamingoes watching spots in Bhigwan yet the two spots are situated inverse way from the primary town.

Download Travel Checklist for Bhigwan

Tour package by.

Member Since 2022

Similar Places in Maharashtra

Navi Mumbai

Navi Mumbai

Aamby Valley

Aamby Valley




Similar Places in India

Jammu and kashmir, north india, north bay island, similar places outside india, salt lake city, indian lake, lake placid, kirkland lake, sylvan lake, new south wales, bredbury and romiley, totton and eling, the north pole, explore more.

  • Bhigwan Tours
  • Enquiry Form

To City (Destination)

Travel Date

Travel Duration (In Days)

Travel With

Type of Trip

Total Budget (in INR)

Ticket Booked ?

Ticket Required?

Mode of Transport

Ticket Category

I will book

Date of Birth

Marital Status

Income (Per Month)


Preferred Language

Total countries visited so far

Do you have a Visa ?

Do you have a Passport?

Preferred Time to Call

We have identified additional inquiries related to your tour. Please review them and let us know if there are any inquiries you would like us to remove.


You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

bhigwan tourism

A Birder's Paradise-Kumbhargaon(Bhigwan)

Photo of Vishakha Dinkar

I have always believed that when God gives us lemons, make lemon juice for yourself, if there are chillies spread on the way, spice up your life and when there is a weekend to spend you must hit the road ! This time my biggest attraction was to see Greater Flamingos in the backwater. Being a Mumbaikar I love catching up with these yearly and most beautiful guests at the city creeks but watching them floating in the huge backwater of Ujani dam is absolutely an exclusive experience.

Photo of A Birder's Paradise-Kumbhargaon(Bhigwan) 1/6 by Vishakha Dinkar

We drove to Kumbhargaon (a village on Pune-Solapur highway) from Thane, which took us almost 7 hours, also Pune-Solapur via Hadapsar road saved our time too. If you are not carrying food with you, no need to worry as there are few roadside canteens. We were not carrying many snacks with us because we are absolute Dhaba food lovers. We binged on the local Shev-Mataki (mother bean sprout) Misal-Paav and Jhunka-Bhakar-Baingan subjee thali at one such stop. As I always experience, I felt the special touch that originate from the soil and the water which adds some different taste to the food. We did not waste much time on the food and headed towards Kumbargaon which was still an hour away from our food stop.

Photo of A Birder's Paradise-Kumbhargaon(Bhigwan) 2/6 by Vishakha Dinkar

Bhigwan is a real heaven for birders that attracts huge number of tourists, researchers and bird-lovers in this season from January to April. First landing of Greater Flamingos turns this small dusty town into a touristy place. Bhigwan town area is 10 to 15 Kms from actual birding spots and many tourists prefer road travel than railway journey to the Bhigwan railway station from Mumbai or Pune. One can get state transport buses to travel from Pune and Solapur stopping at Bhigwan. Actually though the destination is famous by the name of Bhigwan, there are two villages to spot the wetland birds, one is Kumbhargaon and other is Diksal. Kumbhargaon is on south bank of the Ujani dam reservoir.

Photo of A Birder's Paradise-Kumbhargaon(Bhigwan) 3/6 by Vishakha Dinkar

We preferred to go to Kumbhargaon because it has a MTDC approved home stays and hotel. A signboard of Kumbhargaon bird sanctuary on highway guides you and from there one has to drive 5-6 km till Kranti Flemingo point in Kumbhargaon village. We left Thane at 8.15 am and we reached Kumbhargaon around 3 pm. This village looks like normal tiny hamlet, surrounded with green fields but a vast backdrop of backwater make it different from others. I was enthralled to see the water body next to our home stay rooms. Sandip Nagare and Datta Nagare are the locals who provide really good quality accommodation, food and boating ride in Kumbhargaon village. They have trained few boys under their guidance and all these people are very well aware of bird conservation and important information about birds present here. Bird enthusiast can buy a book on water birds too, which is available here.

Photo of A Birder's Paradise-Kumbhargaon(Bhigwan) 4/6 by Vishakha Dinkar

Boat ride for bird watching is one of the fantastic activities can be done here, but there are other options too which will attract foodies and adventurous people. Sandip provide tent stay also, so that one can simply feel the nature just close to their feet. For foodies local fish fry and fish curry is a wonderful treat made from lake fish Chilapi and few other fishes too. One must taste the lake fish because there is always a difference in taste of river fish, lake fish and sea fish. We reached around 3 pm in the noon and immediately we ran towards boat because we wanted to see the sunset on the lake. As soon as we entered into mid reservoir I felt like I am in the bird’s heaven! This wetland is seriously a treat for photographers and serious bird-lovers. These migratory birds travel so hard and so long and we are just fortunate to see them so closely.

Photo of A Birder's Paradise-Kumbhargaon(Bhigwan) 5/6 by Vishakha Dinkar

I went there with BWNA(Blue Whale Nature Association) group as sometime I like to wander with nature loving groups. Just give 2 whole days and you can see at least 70% of the birds present in this area. Though Greater Flamingo and Painted storks are main show stoppers, there are many other birds like little Cormorant, Purple Swamp hen, Spotbill duck, Ruddy Shel duck( Brahmany duck) , Northern Shoveler, Asian Openbill, Eurasian Spoonbill, Brown headed Gull, Egret, Pond Heron, Black Winged stilt, Sandpiper, Oriental White Ibis, small Patincole and many more. According to official information more than 60 wetland bird species can be seen here. That means, coming to Kumbhargaon is a huge treat & never to miss chance in life for birders!

Photo of A Birder's Paradise-Kumbhargaon(Bhigwan) 6/6 by Vishakha Dinkar

Things to remember:

Boat on hire charges are aprrox. Rs. 700 to 800. There are small and large boats. Small boat can take 8-9 people (including rower) inside and large boat can have about 30 people inside.

In case you are a solo birder, wait for a boat to fill up as there are plenty of groups keep visiting. For individual charges can be from 200 to 100 rupees.

Phone numbers for Kranti Flemingo Point: Sandip Nagare- 9960610615 /Datta Nagare- 8087 767691. They will take care of your food, accommodation and boat ride.

Don’t miss early morning boat ride to see sunrise and beautiful photography. Also, an evening boat ride is memorable if you want to capture sunset or a birdy with backdrop of Sun.

January to March is the prime season for these migratory birds, but it varies every year so a phone call to Nagare brothers is must.

DSLR camera is must for photography and bird enthusiast can carry any camera for record shots and a binocular is a good thing to have to see birds.

These 2 villages are quite at distance from the main highway, so going by private vehicle will be a feasible option.

Do not throw any man-made snacks into the water because that will harm the biodiversity.

If you want to stay in tent or to sleep at the verandah outside of rooms, an insect or mosquito repellent is a must.

Kumbhargaon Bird Sanctuary

Do not insist boat rower and guide to take the boat very close to the birds or do not speak loudly in the boat as this will only made you to watch flying birds.

Maharashtra Packages

Photo of Uttarakhand Packages

More Stories For Maharashtra

Photo of Exploring Maharashtr

Further Reads

Photo of In Search of Flaming

  • +919850912222
  • Ujani back water, Pune-Solapur Higway

Ujani Tourism

A place to rejuvenate in the lap of nature.

A stay to remember

With our Thai styled resorts, your stay will be memorable

Food delicasies to rejoice

We offer best variety of food choices that make visit us again

Full of fun activities

From Indoor games to boating, we have unlimited activities for you

Agro tourism with luxury with a resort

With the concept of agro tourism and luxury at the same time, we as hotel ujani fish and anandvishva agro tourism have brought to you a great place for your vacation need. May it be a family trip of friends stay, we offer wide range of options for you.

We are not just a resort but a complete holiday destination. Spending time here wouldnt be a task as we offer unlimited fun activities from inddor games, bird watching, boating, riding, etc. We are here to host you in every way, from family trip to office parties.

Food that just tastes great everytime you eat.


From special Ujani fish to chicken, from Paneer to veggies, we have it all.


From Ac Thai resorts to Bunk beds cottages for kids, we are well equipped.


Bird watching, Boating, Dam, Temple, Horse riding, you name it and we have it here.



Service on time and at your wish is all we are committed to every time you visit,

What you can do here


Fun activities

₹ not applicable/-.

We have lot of fun a


Bird Sanctuary

₹ at actual/-.

Just besides resort


Ujani Dam is one for

Our Fun Facts



Bhiravi shinde.

Ujani back water, Sakunde Vasti, Pune-Solapur Higway, Bhigwan (MS) India. Call: +91 9850912222, +91 9604565667, +91 9689393418

Quick links

Subscribe to our newsletter.

2024 | Feelsofts


  1. Bhigwan Tourism (2024): All You Need to Know Before You Go

    bhigwan tourism

  2. Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary || Best one day picnic spot near Pune and Mumbai |Machan Stay

    bhigwan tourism

  3. Bhigwan Tourism (2022): Best of Bhigwan, India

    bhigwan tourism

  4. Bhigwan

    bhigwan tourism

  5. Tour to Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

    bhigwan tourism

  6. Bhigwan, India: All You Must Know Before You Go (2024)

    bhigwan tourism


  1. Bhigwan Mohol Doubling Progress Part 1

  2. Bhigwan Railway Station

  3. A magical day at Bhigwan

  4. Bhigwan day 4 final

  5. Visiting Bhigwan bird sanctuary to witness 100s of flamingos

  6. Bhigwan Bird sanctuary Pune


  1. THE BEST Bhigwan Tours & Excursions for 2024

    Find the best tours, tickets, trips & more. Compare prices and book online on Tripadvisor. Full refund available up to 24 hours before your tour date. Quick & easy purchase process.

  2. Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

    Some tips to Travelers: 1. The best way to reach Bhigwan is by Car. Because it is very inside and no public transport is available. 2. There are many home stays and Hotels available in Bhigwan town. Also Maharashtra tourism MIDC hotel Agnipanka is also available. 3. Boating option is available.

  3. Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

    However Bhigwan is a vast area. The birding spots are as far away as 10 to 15 kms from Bhigwan main town. So this mode is not convenient. There is also a train station at Bhigwan. However both ST bus and train are not convenient.South of Bhigwan town, exists a widespread backwater formed due to a man made dam built on the Bhima river.

  4. Bhigwan: The Story Of A Wetland

    The Bhigwan Model. Bhigwan is a super ecotourism model that is a key conservation area for Maharashtra, and a site fit to be a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site as well as a Cultural Heritage Site, where local fishing techniques are part of local people's traditions. The Bhigwan model can be emulated in several other sites.

  5. The Guide: The Backwater of Bhigwan

    Wildlife tourism, fishing, and agriculture are the main sources of income for the locals. Photo: Bharati Rajan Patil/Shutterstock ... Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary is a two-hour drive (100 km) from Pune, which has the nearest airport. There are plenty of restaurants along the way. Buses and trains also ply from Pune to Bhigwan.

  6. Bhigwan in Maharashtra: Best Place for Bird-Watching in MH

    Bhigwan in. Maharashtra. If you love to watch birds and enjoy tranquility, Bhigwan can be your next destination. Look forward to enjoying your weekend in the lap of nature. Bhigwan is a small town near Pune in Maharashtra. It is located on the Pune-Solapur Highway and is around 105kms from Pune. It is situated on the backwaters of Ujani Dam.

  7. What makes Maharashtra's Bhigwan a birder's paradise?

    Synopsis. With Pune just a short drive away, Bhigwan is a convenient destination for a nature getaway. The town, as compared to other tourist destinations in Maharashtra, is far less crowded.

  8. The Birds Paradise

    Bhigwan is a small scenic town in Maharashtra, India. Bhigwand-Diksal is about 110 Km from Pun known for its spectacular bird watching as it hosts beautiful migratory birds (Flamingo) and other wildlife. The bird sanctuary located at bhigwan provides a unique opportunity to experience beautiful birds everywhere you turn. While most people have seen flocks of

  9. Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary: Maharashtra's Avian Paradise

    Reaching Bhigwan is an adventure in itself. The sanctuary is approximately 250 kilometers from Mumbai and 100 kilometers from Pune. The journey takes you through picturesque rural landscapes, where every turn in the road reveals the rustic charm of Maharashtra's countryside. As you approach Bhigwan, the tranquil waters of the Ujani Dam come ...

  10. Birdwatching in Bhigwan

    Birdwatching at Bhigwan. Depending on the time you reach (we reached around 1pm), there is a scope of great birding on the way after you pass the houses in Bhigwan town and drive through the forest towards the lake on the kaccha mud road. We started driving really slowly, windows down and eyes and ears alert.

  11. Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

    Bhigwan is a sight for sore eyes. The beautiful town is celebrated for its wide assortment of birds, flora and tranquil waters. Tourists that chance upon this heaven on earth, are usually accompanied by cameras and binoculars to enjoy the exciting birdlife present at Bhigwan.

  12. Bhigwan Bird Photography Tour

    Bhigwan Birding Tour. Bhigwan is a small dusty town on the border of Pune and Solapur district in Central Maharashtra, in India. It is located on the Pune-Solapur Highway around 105 km from Pune on the backwaters of Ujani dam. Bhigwan is famous for bird watching especially flamingo and wildlife photography. It is also known as mini Bharatpur.

  13. Bhigwan

    Every year thousands of migratory birds migrate to Bhigwan for food, breeding, and nesting which has made Bhigwan famous for birdwatching, especially flamingos and wildlife photography. Bhigwan is located on the Pune-Solapur Highway around 105 km from Pune (approximately 2 hours) making it a perfect one-day tourist destination near Pune.

  14. Plan Your Trip to Bhigwan: Best of Bhigwan Tourism

    Bhigwan Tourism: Tripadvisor has 10 reviews of Bhigwan Hotels, Attractions, and Restaurants making it your best Bhigwan resource.

  15. Bhigwan Tourism: All You Need to Know Before You Go (2024)

    Smile Stone. 118. ₹₹ - ₹₹₹ • Quick Bites, Indian, Fast food. Payatha - The Ethnic Foothill Restaurant. 13. ₹₹ - ₹₹₹ • Asian. Bhigwan Tourism: Tripadvisor has 10 reviews of Bhigwan Hotels, Attractions, and Restaurants making it your best Bhigwan Tourism resource.

  16. How to Reach Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary

    Bhigwan is actually not a declared bird sanctuary but best place to see flamingos in Maharashtra and known as Bharatpur of Maharashtra. The bird watching place is a small dusty town around 100 kms away from Pune, on the backwaters of Ujani dam.. Variety of Birds at Bhigwan are Ducks, Herons, Egrets, Raptors and Waders.. Transport. By Road - Travel in their own vehicle on Solapur Highway ...

  17. Bhigwan

    Bhigwan Birding Bharatpur of Maharashtra (1N & 2D) 26-27 Feb 2022 Overview Itinerary Highlights Getting Ready Cost Terms Registration Overview Bhigwan is a small town around 100 kms away from Pune and is also referred to as the "Bharatpur of Maharashtra", as it becomes a hotbed of migratory birds during the winter. Bhigwan is at

  18. Bhigwan

    Bhigwan is a small town about 102 kms from Pune (Maharashtra, India) very well known for the multiple species of migratory birds, especially the Greater flamingos, Painted Storks and Sea Gulls. ... Once we reached the farthest end of the journey, there wa s a massive marsh land in front of which were all tourist boats parked in reverse gear and ...

  19. Tour of Bhigwan's Twin Eco Wonders

    Join me on a mesmerizing journey through Bhigwan Lake, Maharashtra's hidden gem, known for its incredible birdwatching opportunities and serene beauty. In th...

  20. THE BEST Things to Do in Bhigwan

    1. Pooja Drycleaners. Shopping Malls. Open now. Things to Do in Bhigwan, India: See Tripadvisor's 10 traveler reviews and photos of Bhigwan tourist attractions. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in June. We have reviews of the best places to see in Bhigwan. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.

  21. THE BEST Places to Visit in Bhigwan (UPDATED 2024)

    Good for. Good for Kids. Good for Big Groups. Free Entry. Adventurous. 1 place sorted by traveller favourites. 1. Pooja Drycleaners. Shopping Malls.

  22. Bhigwan Tourism (2024) India

    Bhigwan Tourism (2024) India: Get complete information on best tourist places in Bhigwan. Find top attractions, Best places to see, things to do in Bhigwan with traveller reviews. Plan your Bhigwan. Plan your Bhigwan trip with Hellotravel. Download travel checklist for Bhigwan now.

  23. A Birders Paradise-Kumbhargaon(Bhigwan)

    First landing of Greater Flamingos turns this small dusty town into a touristy place. Bhigwan town area is 10 to 15 Kms from actual birding spots and many tourists prefer road travel than railway journey to the Bhigwan railway station from Mumbai or Pune. One can get state transport buses to travel from Pune and Solapur stopping at Bhigwan.

  24. Ujani Tourisum

    Ujani Tourism is tourist place and resort near pune and baramati. It is best place for stay, food, sight, corporate parties and fun. ... Bhigwan (MS) India. Call: +91 9850912222, +91 9604565667, +91 9689393418 Quick links. Home; Packages; Activities; Gallery; Reviews; Contact Us; Subscribe to our Newsletter . Subscribe. 2024 ...