Welcome to Dadra and Nagar Haveli. India.
Tucked neatly between the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, Silvassa is the capital of the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The small town, formerly ruled by the Portuguese, is now an active industrial hub. This information was part of what I already knew about Silvassa. But there is much more to the area than just industries. Here’s what we discovered on a trip to Silvassa in December:
Warli Culture and Art:
Silvassa lies in a region that is home to the Warli Culture. The Silvassa Tribal Cultural Museum is located in the heart of the town and offers an insightful glimpse into the life and culture of the indigenous tribe. The adjacent Silvassa Art Gallery has several pieces of the incredible Warli art on display. We spent an interesting hour in this complex, learning about the local tribes and their way of life.
Beautiful Warli Art. Silvassa, India
Tribal Cultural Museum. Silvassa, India
A Host of Parks and Sanctuaries:
Our morning ride inside the Satmaliya Deer Park (inside a wildlife sanctuary) was a refreshing and memorable experience. This forest area is home to sambhar, chital and nilgai. As our vehicle moved slowly along the narrow forest paths, a group of deer at the water’s edge shifted their gaze from the pond to look in our direction, and they observed us with interest. Junior, a numbers enthusiast, kept perfect count of the animals while I sat back and enjoyed the tranquility of the sanctuary. The duration of the ride is about 30 minutes, and the park is closed on Mondays.
Inside the Satamaliya Deer Park. Dadra and Nagar Haveli, India
The Vasona Lion Safari Park was our next stop. Visitors can take a bus ride here to catch sight of the lions.
Tickets, This Way! Vasona Lion Sanctuary, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, India
Then, we drove on to Khanvel to visit the Butterfly Park. This beautiful park was a pleasant surprise. The trees provided respite from the heat as we walked along the various paths. Numerous butterflies flitted around and their pretty colors were a treat to the eyes. Once more, Junior was engaged in the counting game. When we left the park, the count had exceeded 125 :). Needless to say, our little man was happy.
Look out for the butterflies! Khanvel Butterfly Park, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, India
It had been a long morning outdoors. Although we were a bit tired now, curiosity got the better of us. We walked across to the Vanvihar Tourist Complex to find out what it had in store for visitors. As we strolled around the complex, fatigue and hunger overtook our enthusiasm, and so, we decided to head back to Silvassa.
Vanvihar Tourist Complex, Khanvel. Dadra and Nagar Haveli, India
Creatively Designed Gardens:
The Vanganga Lake Garden, also known as the Island Garden Dadra, is an oasis in nearby bustling Dadra. This large green space with a small lake and a little island is popular with local residents. We spent a pleasant evening at this garden and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the locals to view the musical fountain after dusk.
Another creatively designed and popular green space is the Nakshatra Garden in Silvassa. We explored the various sections of this garden situated along the banks of the river Daman Ganga. Junior made new friends in the play area, a common occurrence during all our travels. We have found that, for adults as well as children, parks and gardens are undoubtedly the best places to meet the local residents of a town.
Sunset at the Island Garden, Dadra. Dadra and Nagar Haveli, India
Starry-eyed. Nakshatra Garden, Silvassa, India
A Dam and its Cool Blue Backwaters:
The Dudhni Lake is located approximately 40 kilometers from Silvassa. The route to the lake is scenic and enjoyable, the road winds its way to the destination. During our boat ride, the vast blue water body provided a “cool” quotient to the high daytime temperature.
One of our favorite picturesque spots was the Madhuban Dam (a little over 12 kilometers from Silvassa) and the small garden near it. Junior was immediately drawn to the grassy slopes of the garden, and very soon, he found company in a little local resident who had walked to the dam with his family for a special Sunday outing. Junior and his new friend took turns rolling in the grass and attempting to outdo each other :).
Making Waves. Dudhni Lake, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, India
Rock and Roll. Garden near Madhuban Dam, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, India
A Temple near the River:
For the religiously inclined, the Swaminarayan Temple, adorned with numerous shikharas and beautiful sculptures, makes a pretty picture and merits a visit. We spent an evening visiting this temple complex, which seems to be popular with residents.
Swaminarayan Temple, Silvassa, India
Needless to say, we loved our trip to this region. So, if you are looking for a pleasant family getaway from Pune or Mumbai, go ahead and add Silvassa to your list of options!
– We drove from Pune to Silvassa via the Pune-Mumbai expressway and NH8