Saputara is Gujarat's only hill station, in the Dang district of South Gujarat. It is located on a plateau in the Western Ghats, at an altitude of 1,000m above sea level. The Maharashtra state line is just 4km away from the town. The cities closest to Saputara are Surat, 156km away, and Nashik, 79km. It gets significant numbers of tourists from both states, so Saputara isn't exactly off the beaten track. At the same time, it hasn't been overwhelmed with visitors like many other hill stations of India. It has just about enough to spend a quiet weekend.
The plateau Saputara is on is the second highest of the Sahyadari range. With a cool bracing climate and a scenic view of the verdant valley, Saputara is a nice little hill resort. The temperature does not exceed 28 degrees Celsius even during summer. The thick forest around Saputara is dotted with tribal villages and their unique dances are of great interest. "Saputara" means "Adobe of Serpents" in Gujarati, apparently deriving its name from the Sarpanganga ("Serpent Ganga") river that is in the shape of a serpent. On the banks of this river, there is an image of a snake that is is worshiped by the Adivasi tribal people on festivals like Holi.
The hill resort of Saputara is refreshing throughout the year with its cool weather. Saputara does not experience any extreme temperature variations, and is an ideal getaway for the sun-scorched souls of the plains. The monsoon rains add to the magic of Saputara. While it is worth visiting any time of the year, the best time is from mid-March to mid-November.
The nearest railway station is Waghai, 56km away, but because it is narrow gauge, it lacks direct connectivity with any major railway stations. You would have to get down at Bilimora, which is the nearest broad gauge railway station. From Bilimora, you can take the narrow gauge train to Waghai, or you could just take a bus.
Gujarat State transport (ST) buses end private luxury coaches connects various centres of Gujarat to Ahwa and Saputara. There four ST direct buses from Ahmedabad to Ahwa which takes about 9 hours. From cities in Maharashtra, the best bet is to connect via Nashik.
National Highway 360 connects Saputara with Nashik. The road, as you may expect, is narrow and winding, but is in a good shape
The best way to see Saputara is on foot. You can easily hire local jeeps or cars for a tour around. But it is possible to travel in district by public transport and shared jeeps travelling on the same routes which coasts around Rs 5 to 15.
- 1 Echo Point. Away from the town but gives superb view of the Saputara valley.
- 2 Saputara Lake. A main attraction in Saputara can be viewed from the Ropeway which offers a 10 minute ride to Sunrise Point.
- 3 Saputara Museum, Surat-Saputara-Nasik Highway. 9AM-6PM. A small museum that has collections of tribal artifacts of the Dang area. It also gives information on topography and anthropology of the Dangs. The displays include stuffed birds, tribal ornaments, jewelry and musical instruments but don't be disappointed by presentation. Established in 1970. Student ₹1, Adults ₹Rs 2, Foreigner ₹Rs 50.
- 4 Sunrise Point. It is a point which offers the best view of Saputara and adjoining Malegoan could be reached after a walk of 1.5 km in the direction of Waghai. The naming restricts the tourist traffic to this best place as tourists believe that the point should only be visited at sun rise, however, one may visit it at any time of the day to catch a panoramic view. The Tata Consultancy Services has suggested renaming this point as Valley View Point to enhance tourist traffic.
- 5 Sunset Point.
- 6 Nageshwar Mahadev (Nageshwar Mahadev Temple), on southern bank of the lake.. A holy temple dedicated to Lord Shiva worshiped by locals.
- 7 Lake Garden (Lake View Garden). This is an area along the Saputara Lake with various gardens and is a popular picnic site. It also has children's play area.
- 8 Rose Garden, little beyond Bus Stop.
- 9 Saputara Adventure Park. A recreational park offering many different activities such as paragliding, zorbing, rock climbing, horseback riding and jungle safari.
- 10 Step Garden.
- 1 By the Lake. 08:30-18:30. The lake surrounded by greenery makes it pleasurable to sail in the lake. Hire boats from the boat-house. For half an hour, a pedal boat is charged at ₹20/person while a rowboat ₹5/person. Maharashtra state border is just 1.5 km away on walk where you can drink beer legally. ₹5-20/person.
- Paragliding: From paragliding to parasailing, zip-lining, zorbing, water rolling, high roping and artificial wall climbing, there is a whole lot of fun and adventure.
- 2 Ropeway. This cableway is suspended above the lake which connects Vaity Hotel to Sunset Point situated across the valley. Jeeps takes tourists to the boarding point located 2km from main roundabout only between 5:30-6:00 PM. It takes 15 minutes to cross which gives you fantastic view of Saputara town and valley below. Warning: The cable car only operates when there are at least 12 passengers which could take entire day's wait in off seasons. ₹77.
You can buy handicraft items made by the local Adivasis.
- 1 Artist Village, On main road to Nashik from Saputara, ☏ . 9AM-7PM. The place display handicraft of local tribals. You can buy pieces of jewelry, vases, pottery, paintings, key chains and pen stands made of bamboo and local materials. The artist may answer your questions and even teach some craft to your children if they are interested.
- 2 Honey Bee Centre. If you ever wonder how bees make honey, visit here. You will learn as well as you can buy pure honey which is bit expensive.
You will get excellent North Indian and other foods with a Gujarati touch of sweetness. Food is delicious. Gujarati Thali is best. It is also available at Gujarat Tourism Corporation (Rs 45 for limited dish and Rs. 60 for unlimited). There are several sellers of snacks near Saputara Museum.
As Saputara is in the state of Gujarat where alcoholic liquors have been prohibited by the state government, you cannot get alcoholic beverages here. But around 5 km away in Maharastra, you can get alcohol.
- 1 Government Purna Dormitory, Sunset road, ☏ , . Very basic lodge. It does not provides sheets or towels. Dorm 50-100. Rooms Rs 200/person.
- 2 Toran Hill Resort (Toran Guest House), ☏ . Government Tourism Corporation hotel. Dorm Rs50, Double Rs 400-500, Triple Rs 600-750.
- 3 Gokul, ☏ , . best budget hotel on road up from bus stand. Facilities include shower, western toilet, TV (Rs 50 extra). Room can house up to five people. Rooms Rs 100-200/person with minimum charge of Rs 200-400/room.
- Lake View (Next to Chitrakoot Hotel), ☏ . It is situated in attractive building and has palm-tree garden. It provides squat toilets, hot water bath and cable TV. Single Rs 150-200 Double Rs 300-400.
There are almost no cyber cafe or phonebooths in town. The mobile phone connectivity depends on your service provider as it is remote area.
- 1 Gujarat Tourism Office (Between bus stand and roundabout). Will give good orientation of the district and town.
Minor problems can be handled local medical facilities but in case of major injury or problem, the nearest centre is Surat (160 km) and Nashik (85km).
- 11 Gira Falls, Waghai. 52 km from Saputara.
- 12 Hatgadh Fort. An ancient historical fort.
- 13 Vansda National Park. Originally, a private forest of maharaja of Vansada, the park now covers on area of 24 sq km. Despite its small size the park harbours tiger, leopard, pangolin, rusty-spotted cat, python, giant squirrel, fourhorned antelope etc. Prior permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden, of Gandhinagar or DFO, Ahwa is required before visiting the park.
- Mahal. The Mahal region situated 60 km away from Saputara is dominated by the Purna Sanctuary. The longish drive passes through the most beautiful parts of Dangs with high wooded slopes of bamboo.