Vanganga Lake is located close to the entrance of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, just 5 km from its capital city Silvassa. The lake along with the Dadra Park forms the highly renowned recreational complex in the region. It is surrounded by tall trees and offers a host of tourist attractions such as paddle boats, pastoral style bridges, thatched huts and bubble fountains.
The lake is a favourite shooting destination for filmmakers from Bollywood who come here to shoot their song and dance sequences. This explains why a visit to Vanganga Lake gives a sense of familiarity to the visitors. The lake and the garden are favourite spots for couples, honeymooners and families.
The newly wedded couples can be seen huddled in the sequestered spots while the families and kids can be seen enjoying boat rides. The lake is also a favourite destination of the health freaks who love to jog over the intertwined paths amidst the fresh, florid, peaceful and healthy surroundings. There are several eating joints that offer a variety of food options to the visitors.
The Portuguese who settled in Silvassa, currently the capital city of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, erected several churches that bear testimony to their unique architectural style. One of these is the Roman Catholic Church known by the name of the Church of Our Lady of Piety. It is located close to the bus stand in front of the famous Tribal Museum.
Built during 1886-1889, the church was opened to the public on October 27, 1889. It is one of the most ancient churches in Silvassa which reminds the visitors of the bygone times. The magnificent structure and its outer arches are matched by its artistically crafted interiors.
The church was unfortunately damaged by an earthquake that shook the area during the monsoon of 1912. It was closed down for renovation and was again opened in June 1924. It is presently managed by the Society of Pila. The church is one of the most visited tourist destinations of the area.
Madhuban Dam is located approximately 40 km on the downstream of the river Damini Ganga. It was built jointly by the Government of Gujarat and the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The construction of the dam has resulted in the formation of a number of water bodies near Dudhani, approximately 40 km from Silvassa.
The area is an ideal spot for the lovers of water sports and general tourists. They can enjoy rides in speed boats, water scooters, aqua bikes, canoes, kayaks, passenger boats and bumper boats which are easily available on hire from the tourist department of the state government at the Water Sports Complex at Dudhni and Kaucha.
The area also offers spectacular views of the surrounding forests. The tourists can stay in the luxurious tents set up near the site of the dam and also avail the facilities of cooking in the camping kitchens. They can also participate in the rustic style meals in the open air after enjoying the water sports. There are several other picnic spots close by the dam.
The Tribal Cultural Museum is dedicated to portraying and preserving the rich legacy and pristine glory of the life, society, traditions, civilization and culture of the tribal people of this region. The museum is located in the centre of the town and its entrance is decorated with beautiful handmade torans or garlands typical of the area.
The courtyard displays a model of a scantily dressed tribal occupied with winnowing. The mannequin is so realistically crafted that you cannot resist the urge to touch and see if it is actually alive. The visitors have to remove their shoes before entering the exhibition rooms of the museum which exhibit various facets of the tribal life.
The exhibits showcased include the exotic ornaments worn by men and women, their daily activities, household items, kitchenware, fishing rods, agricultural and hunting tools and musical instruments. The museum walls are embellished with daggers, spears, bows, arrows, an old style musket, sabres, shields and armours besides several artifacts such as wedding costumes and photographs of their cultural and social events.
There are photographs of the folk dances such as the Gheria dance performed by the Dubla tribe, Koknas dancers wearing Bohadda masks, the Dhol dancers and the amazing pyramid formed by the Tur dancers.
Located approximately 10 km from Silvassa, the capital city of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Vasona Lion Safari is regarded as one of the major tourist attractions of this region. It covers an area of about 25 hectares out of the total area of 92 hectares of the wildlife sanctuary. It is, thus, a part of the Dadra & Nagar Haveli Wildlife Sanctuary and is enclosed within it with a wall surrounding it.
The lion safari park was built to safeguard the Asiatic Lion or Panthera Leo. A barricade of approximately 7 m chain-links has been set to keep intrusion at bay. A 3 km long road has also been built to enable the movement of the safari vehicles.
The safari park hosts lions which were transported from Gir Sanctuary. They move freely in this natural habitat which is like their home away from home. The tourists can spot them while being securely driven in the hired gypsies.
Also known as the Island Garden Dadra, Dadra Park is a spectacular lush green garden-park situated at the entry point of the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and about 5 km from its capital city, Silvassa. This magnificent park also has a picturesque lake and is dotted with quaint Japanese style wooden bridges, paddle boats, thatched huts and jogging tracks amidst hundreds of trees.
It is spread over an area of approximately 8 hectares and has a number of restaurants offering a variety of tasty foods for the visitors. The garden strikes the visitors with a deja-vu, a sense of familiarity. The reason being it is a favourite shooting locale with the filmmakers from Bollywood.
Scores of popular film songs and sequences with heroes dancing and wooing their heroines around the trees have been shot in this park. The tourists can enjoy rides in the paddle boats in the lake in the pastoral landscape replete with variegated flowers and entwined pathways. According to an estimate nearly four lakhs tourists visit this park every year. The entry to the park is ticketed.
Probably a distortion of the name of the famous Hindu shrine, Brindavan Temple in North India, Brindabin Temple is also known as Tadkeshwara Temple among the local residents of the area. It is situated amidst a peaceful environment on the bank of river Sakartod, approximately 18 km from Silvassa and 2 km from Khanvel.
The historic temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It holds a place of special importance in the culture and heritage of the region. Its location on the virginal landscape amidst tall trees and natural flora and fauna attracts a large number of devotees and tourists alike.
The locals perform dances to the folklore associated with the temple. The temple complex also has three cottages, a recreational area and an eatery for the visitors.
Located 20 km from Khanvel and 40 km from Silvassa, Dudhni is an expansive water front formed of the river Damanganga. The splendid water sports complex is surrounded by the scenic foothills of Western Ghats.
The tourist department offers a variety of equipment for water sports and entertainment to the tourists such as rowing boats, kayaks, water scooters, canoes, jet skis, motorized speed boats and shikaras - residential boats - like those in Dal Lake in Kashmir.
There is also a provision for cottages to accommodate the tourists for night stay. The restaurants on the site serve sumptuous food to offer to the tourists. They can also get a peep into the lifestyle of the tribals in their settlements.
The region offers a host of trekking options for sports enthusiasts in the form of the winding tracks through the thick forests. Trekkers are also permitted to peg in their own tents on the river side. The drive to Dudhoni over the curvaceous and winding road by itself is a great source of excitement to the visitors.
True to the meaning of the Portuguese word ‘silva’ in the name of the city Silvassa, Luhari is a place of spectacular beauty in this region. The magnificent tourist destination is situated approximately 14 km from the capital city Silvassa.
If you are tired of your hectic lifestyle and want a relaxing break in the lap of Mother Nature, Luhari is the place you need to visit to spend a few days from the maddening crowd. Luhari is dotted with a host of tourist resorts that offer machan-like cottages to the tourists in the neighbourhood of the forests.
The tourist department organizes lots of adventure activities for sports enthusiasts such as trekking through the intricate trails. It also sets up camps in the surrounding forested areas and in the wildlife sanctuary in the vicinity of Silvassa.
The scenic town of Khanvel is situated 20 km in the south of Silvassa. The drive to the town itself heralds the spectacular beauty awaiting the visitors. The wide and smooth roads leading to Khanvel are lined with towering stately trees, tribal villages surrounded by lush green hills and thick forests that provide a green cover over them.
Khanvel offers a stunning landscape teeming with verdant mountains, rolling green meadows, terraced gardens, pastoral cottages and the bubbling river Sakartod winding its way through the thick forests. The region is a veritable haven of peace and tranquillity.
The bird and animal lovers can enjoy the sight of fruit bats, barbets, flycatchers, flying foxes and many more interesting species. The breath-taking scenery in the mists of the winter mornings in Khanvel is straight out of the Swiss picture post cards. The whole region is covered with a lush green hue.
The Van Vihar Tourist Complex in Khanvel is a home to a deer park, a cactus house, a greenhouse, several hotels and pastoral cottages on the riverside.
Satmaliya Deer Park is situated at Dapada in the outer area of Silvassa on the Khanvel-Silvassa road. As the name suggests the park is a home to a wide variety of deer species such as black buck, chinkara, spotted deer, sambhar, nilgai, four-horned antelope and many more. The word ‘satmaiya’ means seven plateaus. It is, therefore, a huge park and is spread over an area of approximately 300 hectares. Exploring every nook and corner of the park is a difficult task. The park houses a watch tower and a lake besides several other features that bring it close to Mother Nature. It is good to carry a camera to ‘shoot’ the beautiful creatures frolicking about the green vegetation.
The best time to visit the park is from June to August as its lush green vegetation is at its best. Visitors can take joy rides around the park in a jeep or Qualis at nominal charges.
Kauncha, a typical tribal village, is situated 40 km in the south of Silvassa on the bank of Madhuban Dam on the river Damanganga. It is surrounded by green valleys, thick forests and majestic mountain ranges of the Western Ghats which together add to it's spectacular beauty.
The residents of the village belong to ancient tribes such as Warlis and Kuknas who live so close to nature that they appear to be an integral part of it. They live in tiny clay hutments surrounded by lush green trees. You will see women carrying baskets and men folk grazing cattle.
Their mainstay is agriculture and they spend their leisure time in creating works of tribal art and enjoying music and dance. They extensively use bamboo to make bows, arrows and also paper mache for creating artistic items like decorative birds and animals.
Their art represents the tradition and culture of the Warli Tribe including the harvest season, festival celebrations, wedding parties and births. Tourists can savour the local food prepared in the traditional way by hospitable tribal women.