Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary

Along the north from Panaji on the road to Belgaum, is a sanctuary that covers 240-sq-kms. Thick forest clad slopes of the Western Ghats that is rich in wildlife and a paradise for bird watchers.

The Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Goan town of Mollem. With a total area of 240 sq kms, this is the largest of Goa's four protected wildlife areas, and contains within it The Molem National Park.

The sanctuary is situated on the eastern border of Goa, with Karnataka 53 kms away from Panaji and 54 kms away from Margao. It is easily accessible by both road and rail.

Unless you stay for at least a couple of days, it is unlikely that you will catch a glimpse of many of the animals that are sheltered in the sanctuary, including Gaur, Sambar, Leopards, Spotted Deer, Slender Toris, Jungle Cats, Malayan Giant Squirrels, Pythons and Cobras.

There are important geographical and historical features in this sanctuary. Jeeps on private arrangements go to the interior of the forest. The sanctuary is particularly known for its Leopards, Elephants, Deers & Gaur Or Indian Bison.

It is more convenient to view wild animals from the Devil's Canion View Point. Bird lovers may also find their best time over here. The famous temple of Tambdisurla of the Kadambas is situated 13-km from here. In Mangalore to Margao journey on Konkan Railway one can enjoy the beauty of Dudhsagar through the windows.

Mollem has comfortable cottages and dormitories built by the Directorate of Tourism for accommodation. Police Outpost at the gateway of the sanctuary in calm and quiet surroundings is like a painting on a canvas in Mollem.

The sanctuary's setting in the foothills of the Western Ghats is wonderful and the countryside is one of the most peaceful that you'll come across in Goa. One hundred metres west of the entrance to the Molem Tourist Resort is the Nature Education Centre, where you can contact the Range Forest Officer, from whom you can obtain permission for vehicle access through the main park gate (which is about 3 km east along the National Highway 4A). There is also an observation platform a few kms into the park and the best time to see wildlife is in the early morning or late evening.

AROUND MOLEM

The structure of the 13th century Mahadeva Temple at Tambdi Surla is the only surviving evidence of the glorious Kadamba Dynasty in Goa. Besides being historically interesting, it's also visually striking.

The temple appears to have survived the ravages of both the Muslim and Portuguese invaders by the virtue of its incredibly isolated location. The temple is about 13 kms north of Molem, and a trip out to it, along the quiet country lanes, is an experience not to be missed.