Nestled amidst the lush greenery of Goa, Netravali Lake is a hidden gem that beckons travelers seeking tranquility and natural beauty. This pristine freshwater lake is located in the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, away from the bustling beaches and crowds that Goa is often known for. In this guide, we'll take you on a virtual tour of Netravali Lake, highlighting its breathtaking surroundings, the rich biodiversity of the sanctuary, and how to reach this tranquil haven in the heart of Goa.
Netravali Lake: A Natural Oasis
Netravali Lake is a serene and unspoiled body of water, surrounded by dense forests and rolling hills. Its crystal-clear waters mirror the vibrant green canopy above, creating a picture-perfect setting for nature lovers and photographers. The lake is a part of the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, which spans over 211 square kilometers and is known for its diverse flora and fauna.
Biodiversity at Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the key attractions of Netravali Lake is the opportunity to witness Goa's rich biodiversity up close. The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, including rare and endangered ones. Some of the wildlife you might encounter during your visit include:
- Gaur: Also known as the Indian bison, these massive creatures roam freely in the sanctuary.
- Leopards: Though elusive, leopards call the Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary home. Lucky visitors may catch a glimpse of these graceful cats.
- Malabar Giant Squirrel: With their striking colors and long bushy tails, these squirrels are a sight to behold.
- Diverse Birdlife: Bird enthusiasts will appreciate the numerous avian species that inhabit the sanctuary, including the Malabar pied hornbill, paradise flycatcher, and several species of kingfishers.
- Flora: The sanctuary's dense forests are a treasure trove of medicinal plants and aromatic herbs.
Entry Permits and Regulations
Before visiting Netravali Lake, it's essential to be aware of the entry permits and regulations:
- Entry Fee: There is an entry fee for both Indian and foreign tourists. The fees are nominal and contribute to the conservation efforts within the sanctuary.
- Timings: The sanctuary has specific visiting hours, which are usually from sunrise to sunset. Ensure you plan your visit accordingly.
- Guided Tours: While it's possible to explore the sanctuary on your own, guided tours are available and highly recommended. Local guides are well-versed in the area's flora and fauna, enhancing your experience.
- Respect the Environment: Visitors are expected to follow eco-friendly practices, such as not littering and avoiding disturbance to wildlife.
Activities at Netravali Lake
Netravali Lake offers a range of activities for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers:
- Bird Watching: The diverse birdlife in the sanctuary makes it a paradise for birdwatchers. Don't forget your binoculars and camera.
- Nature Trails: There are several well-marked nature trails that lead you through the sanctuary's lush forests. These trails provide an excellent opportunity to spot wildlife and learn about the local flora.
- Boating: You can rent a paddleboat or a rowboat to explore the lake's calm waters. It's a peaceful way to soak in the natural beauty of the surroundings.
- Picnicking: Many areas around the lake are perfect for a picnic with family and friends. Pack a lunch and enjoy it amidst the serene wilderness.
- Photography: Netravali Lake is a photographer's delight. Whether you're an amateur or a professional, you'll find countless opportunities to capture the beauty of this place.
How to Reach:
Getting to Netravali Lake requires some planning, but the journey is part of the adventure. Here are the steps to reach this hidden paradise:
- By Air: The nearest airport to Netravali Lake is Dabolim Airport, located in Vasco da Gama, Goa. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or rent a car to reach the lake, which is approximately 65 kilometers away. The drive will take around 2-3 hours.
- By Train: If you prefer traveling by train, you can take a train to Madgaon (also known as Margao) Railway Station, which is one of the major railway stations in Goa. From Madgaon, you can hire a taxi or take a local bus to reach Netravali Lake. The distance is approximately 50 kilometers, and the journey will take around 1.5-2 hours.
- By Road: If you're already in Goa or prefer a road trip, you can drive to Netravali Lake. The lake is approximately 50 kilometers from Panaji, the capital city of Goa. You can follow the NH66 and then take the SH6, which will lead you to the sanctuary's entrance. Be prepared for a scenic drive through winding roads and picturesque landscapes.
Netravali Lake in Goa is a true hidden treasure, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, biodiversity, and tranquility. It's an ideal destination for those seeking to escape the bustling beaches and experience the serene side of Goa. With its rich flora and fauna, pristine lake, and various activities, Netravali Lake is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and adventurers. Plan your trip carefully, follow the sanctuary's regulations, and get ready to immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of Netravali Lake. Your journey to this oasis of calm will be a memorable one.