First Published on September 25, 2021
Endless stretch of rolling greens attempted to hide its colored floral gems Trickling streams showered pearls on the verdant stems The grey clouds flirted with the hills covering a blue screen When suddenly, a curtain of mist dropped and obscured the vibrant scene. A futile attempt - if I may say - The beauty of Saputara -the only hill station of Gujarat - shone through even in that gray.
Gujarat’s only hill station had bewitched me with its emerald backdrop, crystal cascades and silver mirror lakes. The spell was so strong that even after I had returned from Saputara Gujarat, I could not get back to routine. My trip still lingers in my mind’s eye and even today, I can clearly visualize every one of those stunning places to visit in Saputara. It is this that I share with you in the form of this complete Saputara travel guide. Along with the list of Saputara sightseeing destinations, I have also included the best way to reach this hill station in Gujarat, the right season for it, where you can stay in Saputara and more.
- 1 About Saputara hill station
- 2 What to see in Saputara? | Best Places to visit in Saputara – the only hill station in Gujarat
- 2.1 Saputara Lake or Sarpaganga Lake
- 2.2 Table Point – A key Saputara sightseeing destination
- 2.3 Saputara waterfalls
- 2.4 Saptura View Points
- 2.5 Saputara attractions – Places of worship
- 2.6 Saputara Gardens
- 2.7 Cultural attractions of Saputara Gujarat
- 2.8 Other things to do in Saputara
- 3 Before you go, Pin This
- 4 How to reach Saputara in Gujarat?
- 5 What is the best time to visit Saputara Gujarat?
- 6 Where to stay in Saputara?
- 7 Which mobile network works the best in Saputara Gujarat?
- 8 How many days are ideal for a good Saputara trip?
- 9 What should I pack for my Saputara trip?
- 10 Is alcohol available in Saputara?
- 11 Travel and Photography Tips
- 12 Booking resources
About Saputara hill station
Funny, but true – Gujarat has only one hill station and Saputara is it!
Located closed to the Maharastra and Gujarat border, this quaint town is nestled 875 m above sea level, right in the midst of the Western Ghats. The name Saputara means “abode of serpents“. Even today, the green cover of Purna Wildlife sanctuary and Vansda national park is home to different types of snakes including cobras and pit vipers. As the story goes, the native Dang tribe once saw a cobra slither out of the present-day Sarpganga lake and leave its impression on a stone by its bank. The people began to call the place “Saap Utara” (A snake impression). Over time, the name became Saputara.
What to see in Saputara? | Best Places to visit in Saputara – the only hill station in Gujarat
Every bit of that dreamy description in my opening paragraph is true. Green is the most prominent color here and no matter where you go, you will just see miles and miles of it. Hidden between them are colorful flowers – some intentionally planted and others growing wild. The calm of the place is only interrupted by bird calls and tiny waterfalls. Adding to this picturesque scene is the ever-dynamic play of clouds in the sky. Trust me, you don’t even need a full list of things to do in Saputara. Just pick one of these many places to visit in Saputara and watch the film unfold from there.
Saputara Lake or Sarpaganga Lake
Though the actual name of the lake is Sarpaganga, it is popularly called the Saputara lake. This place is the focal point of this town with numerous activities around its banks. The lake has been developed as an important Saputara sightseeing attraction with numerous landscaped gardens and kid parks. The most popular activity here is boating. You can hire one of the many pedal boats and enjoy the placid waters around the lake.
Vibrant tandem bikes are available for rent and you can cycle your way around the lake to take in the beauty around it. If you have kids with you, I bet they will hanker you for one of those toy train rides or even the toy bikes. I know I would have if I could just shrink 😉
Don’t miss the lake when the mist descends. The whole atmosphere becomes magical. In fact, I got this feeling as if I were at Dal lake in Kashmir. The landscape truly resembles that.
There are numerous chaat and Maggi stalls around the water body. I highly recommend trying out the corn chaat along with a cup of ginger tea. And if it is raining, a bowl of hot Maggi is equally yummy.
- There are no entrance fees for Saputara Lake
- The boating price per person is INR 35 per person. This is for 30 minutes of pedal boating. Row boats are also, available
Table Point – A key Saputara sightseeing destination
After Saputara lake, the next most popular Saputara attraction is the Table point. The flat land on top of Governor’s hill (called so owing to the Governor’s bungalow on the hill) resembles that of a table surface. From here, you can see the start of the Deccan plateau and the border of Gujarat and Maharasthra. Owing to the lovely view of the town from here, this viewpoint is also, called Townview point.
It isn’t just the views that you will enjoy from here. You have a multitude of activities that you can engage in while at the Saputara table point. Besides the ones that you find at Saputara lake, you can try out some camel rides or horse rides. I am not very sure of how well these animals are cared for and if I were to advise, it is best to avoid the rides.
My personal favorite activity and the one that I highly recommend is a ride on the Saputara ropeway. The ride over those green valleys from the Tabletop point to the Sunset point is definitely worth your while. Each cable car allows a maximum of 4 people and there are 6 of them. Once you cross over to Sunset point, you can get off and explore the place and then head back when you are done.
- The ride costs your INR 77 per person and is operational from 9 am to 5:30 pm everyday.
If you have been a regular reader of my blog, you would know how much I love chasing waterfalls. The only hill station in Gujarat definitely indulged this passion of mine. I visited three of these waterfalls in Saputara. All of these are a drive from the main town and would take up at least half a day. Before you decide, it is not worth taking out the time for these places to visit near Saputara, you should read through the next section. What will further ensure the inclusion of these to your list of things to do in Saputara is the lovely drive through rustic paddy fields.
Shiv Ghat waterfall in Saputara
Shiv Ghat waterfalls in Saputara are along your way to Girmal waterfalls. This one does not need any extra effort as it is right on the Ahwa – Waghai road. What makes it special is that the water gushes down on a small Shiva temple. You can get really close to the falls and feel the water spray on your face. In fact, you can just walk by the temple and dip your feet into the small pool of water at the base of this waterfall.
Well technically speaking, the U turn point in Saputara is not a waterfall. Despite that, I have deliberately added this under the Saputara waterfalls. There are two reasons for it. For one, it falls on the way to Girmal waterfalls and most importantly, it is how Girmal waterfalls are formed.
At the Saputara U turn point, you will see the River Gira (a branch of the Purna River) make a literal U turn and flow around a verdant patch of the Dang forest. What you see is our own version of a Horse Shoe Bend. Trust me, it is worthwhile stopping here and enjoying the unusual landscape.
Plummetting down 30m (100 ft), Girmal waterfalls in Saputara have been recognized as the highest waterfalls of Gujarat. You can literally see the River Gira leap down a cliff to create this stunning scene, right in the midst of the Dang forest. The place is a popular picnic spot for people visiting Saputara. The waterfalls are boarded off owing to the precipitous drop but you can walk along the railing and catch the falls at various levels.
The place is quite desolate except for the security and a few tribal stalls that sell tea, Maggi and a few other refreshments. Girmal waterfalls are around 85 km from the main town of Saputara.
- There is no entry fee for Girmal waterfalls.
Gira waterfalls in Saputara hill station Gujarat
When one of the tributaries of River Ambika attempts to join the main river and falls down around 75 feet, you get the thunderous Gira waterfalls. You can get a little closer to these waterfalls as compared to the Girmal falls. In fact, you will almost be able to feel them at the base.
Gira waterfalls in Saputara have been developed by the tourism department and are ideal for picnics. You will find a line of make-shift shops selling local tribal goods like bamboo artifacts, bamboo pickles and Nagali papads (ragi papads) along the path leading to the waterfalls. There is one small restaurant near the waterfalls that serves decent local food.
Here is one interesting tip that I have for you all. A small hidden spot at the Gira falls where you can dip your feet into the water. After you have descended the first flight of stairs to get to the main falls, turn left and you will spot this gorgeous set of mini cascades. This is where you could sit down and enjoy the cool waters of Ambika River.
Gira waterfalls are definitely one of the best places to visit near Saputara. It is located in Waghai and falls along the route to Surat. You can plan to visit it either on your way from Surat to Saputara or on your return. This place is approximately 50 km from the main Saputara town.
- The entry fee for Gira waterfalls in Saputara are INR 10 per person
Saptura View Points
The Saputara viewpoints are highly recommended to enjoy the enriching landscape of the place. There are several vantage points – a few that I have already discussed. Sharing three more that you might want to consider adding to your Saputara itinerary.
Sunrise point at Saputara hill station in Gujarat
Saputara sunrise point is located 3 km from the lake. You can drive right up to the peak or even just hike up. I recommend the latter for the lovely views that you can catch along the way. Once you reach the top, you can hike right up to the tip and capture the panoramic views the place offers. On one side, you will see a lake in the form of India’s map and on the other, you can spot hamlets nestled in the green meadows.
I did not get to see a perfect sunrise when I visited the Sunrise point but the enchanting views more than made up for this. It was quite captivating to see the futile attempt the sun was making to peek out from those overbearing clouds.
Saputara Sunset point
The sunset point is less than 2 km from Saputara lake. You can either walk up there or better still – take a ropeway from Saputara table point. Once you get here, you can pick up one of those piping hot bowls of Maggi and plonk yourself at a vantage point to see the sun unfold its drama. From here, you can get a glimpse of Dang forest and the various tribal villages around it.
I could not visit this place at the golden hour as the whole place was covered with fog. However, I did manage to grab some views when I landed here using the Saputara ropeway.
Saputara attractions – Places of worship
Saputara hill station in Gujarat is not just about captivating landscapes. It is fraught with its own set of culture and heritage. One way to experience this is to visit these amazing places of worship. Each of these places has a tale of its own – hidden within its architecture or its history. Take a peek.
Nageshwar Mahadev temple in Saputara Gujarat
The Saputara Nageshwar Mahadev temple is located close to the Sarpaganga lake. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the shrine has an interesting story. It seems that one of the holy men got a dream that there was a Shivlinga submerged in Saputara lake. He, along with the authorities actually managed to find it within the pond. The Shiv linga was taken out and installed in this shrine made of rocks. The present-day structure replaced this rocky temple in 1992.
Tons of devotees visit the Nageshwar Mahadev temple when they visit Saputara. When you visit it, watch out for two things – one the idol of Nagaraja over the Shiva Linga and the other, the gorgeous ceiling over the idol of Nandi. I bet you will say “Wow!”
Very often, a lot of travelers get confused with the Saputara Nageshwar temple and think it has a jyotirlinga. In fact, I have come across a few poorly researched articles on the internet indicating that the Saputara temple is a jyotirlinga.
The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is actually close to Dwarka. This is one of the main jyotirlingas in India. You can read all about it through this post.
Saputara Jain Temple
This Jain temple in Saputara hill station shares its stories in the form of its architecture. You just need to pass by the Hill road that takes you to Sunrise point and you will find a fascinating marble temple distracting you. Don’t ignore it and step inside to see the marvel of Rajasthani architecture. Large elephants welcome you to climb and discover its 500-year-old Parshwanath idol enclosed within the serene carved walls of this Saputara Jain temple.
Be prepared though to be lost once you step in. The stone inlaid floors compete with the carved pillars for your attention which in my case, was already disturbed by its elaborate ceiling. Then there are the phenomenal arches and all this just in the mandapa (the first chamber). The inner shrine is yet another story.
The story of the Saputara Jain temple does not end here. After you have had your fill of the temple, walk around it and catch the mesmerizing valley views behind it. Right next to this Jain temple of Saputara is a sanatorium that can be used by its Jain guests. This is called the Gajabhishek Jain Tirth and Jain families can book rooms here for their stay. They offer AC and Non AC rooms.
Swaminarayan temple in Saputara
I admit that I could not visit the Swaminarayan temple in Saputara. However, when I saw it from the Table top point, I was quite tempted to make a quick stop there. Sadly I could not visit this – owing to the lack of time. I am told that it is as beautiful from the inside as it is from the outside. Honestly speaking, I wanted to compare it to the Kalupur Swaminarayan temple that I had just encountered in Ahmedabad.
Unlike the above religious places that are located in Saputara town itself, Shabri Dham is actually around 80 km from the town. It is close to Girmal falls and hence, you can combine a visit to this place when you get to those waterfalls.
This place is quite significant for the legend of tribal lady Shabri and Lord Ram. It is said that when Lord Ram and Lakshman were chasing Ravana to get Sita back, they wandered close to this place. They found a hut and the old lady – Shabri who stayed there invited them in. Sadly she did not have much to offer, so she grabbed some berries off a tree in the area. Scared that the berries might be sour, she first tasted each one and then offered the sweeter ones to the Lord and his brother. Pleased with her devotion and thoughts, the Lord accepted the food and blessed her.
This entire incident is said to have happened here. Even today, when you visit the place, you will see three stones in the shrine. These are believed to be the places where the three of them sat.
Shabri Dham offers lovely views of Dang forest from its rooftop. You can also, spot pretty birds around the area. Close to the temple, are two other interesting places to visit near Saputara. The first is called the Pandava Gufa where Pandavas are said to have hidden for a while. The 2nd place is called the Pampa Sarovar – the place where Lord Ram began his journey towards Shabri Dham.
Even in nature’s own park, there are a few themed and landscaped parks. Saputara in Gujarat too, has its share of these – One within the town itself and the other in Waghai. Check them out.
As the name suggests, the park is full of roses. When in full bloom, I believe the place looks gorgeous. Sadly, my timing here was not perfect. Most of the shrubs were pruned and there were just a few blooms around. The park, however, is quite scenic with pretty bridges and tiny pools. This park is close to Saputara lake.
Waghai Botanical park
Waghai botanical park is definitely one of the best places to visit near Saputara. 50 km from the main town, this visit can be combined with Gira waterfalls. The park is spread over 24 hectares and is acclaimed as Gujarat’s largest garden. It has over 1500 species of plants, beautifully planted across various plots.
Usually, when you hear botanical gardens, you might not find it an interesting place to visit – unless of course, if you are a naturalist or a botanist. However, Waghai Botanical park is very different. Here what you get to see is not just the plants but how they are a part of a legend, folklore, or local customs. The entry to the park is free and each set of visitors is accompanied by a guide who tells you interesting tales related to the flora. For example, the flowers of the plant below have a strange local custom. It is believed that if they are crushed and thrown over your enemy’s house, it will make the people there fight with each other. 😉
Waghai Botanical park has a botany fest every year during which students come here and create pieces of art using the natural colors that they can create from the plants within the campus. Pretty innovative and interesting – I would say. Don’t you agree?
Cultural attractions of Saputara Gujarat
The Dang tribe of Saputara is one of the reasons for a unique culture that prevails in Saputara. Sharing a few places where you can dig a little deeper into the same.
Honey Bee Center
The honey bee center near Saputara lake is a perfect place to see how the locals extract organic honey. The place explains the importance of bees in our ecosystem and if lucky, can witness the actual extraction process. You can also, buy some pure honey and local biscuits here.
The Saputara tribal museum has a collection of artifacts including household utensils, weapons, costumes and musical instruments used by the local tribes – Dang tribe primarily. A tour of the museum is what you need to piece together their lives in the hills of Saputara. The museum is within the town itself and is considered as one of the key tourist attractions in Saputara.
- The museum is open from 10 am to 5:30 pm everyday and the entry fee per person is INR 2.
Gandharvapur Artist Village
At the Gandharvapur Artist village near the lake, you get an opportunity to not just see the local tribal art but also, buy it. You will also, get to see them making the traditional bamboo artifacts, warli paintings, jewelry and pottery. The village also, has different workshops which you can participate in and get a better understanding of their art.
Other things to do in Saputara
Over the three days in Saputara, I did manage most of the above activities. However, if I did have some more time, there are a few more things that I would have included in my Saputara sightseeing itinerary.
- Head out for a hike to Hathgarh fort. This is closer to Nasik
- Visit the Vansda national park and try to spot a leopard or two
- Try paragliding in Saputara. This is available right next to the Jain Temple.
Frankly, Saputara is so refreshing that even if I did not have any more things to do here, I would have loved to spend some time here. The place is just magical enough for time to pass without any activity and yet you feel you have done so much. If you are looking for a break of this sort, all you have to do is pin the post using the images below to help you plan your own Saputara trip. And if you are looking for a suggested itinerary, just scroll down further.
Before you go, Pin This
How to reach Saputara in Gujarat?
The closest airport to Saptura hill station is actually Nashik in Maharashtra. It is roughly 79 km from Saputara by road. You can use the following route to get to Saputara from Nashik.
Nashik Airport – Ojbar – Kokangaon – Pimpalgaon Baswant – Jaulake Wani – Vani – Sarad – Borgaon – Hatgad – Saputara
The above route takes around 1 hour 40 minutes.
Surat is the next option for an airport. This is around 165 km and takes around 3 hours. The best route to Saputara from Surat is as below –
Surat airport – Palsara – Navsari – Vansda – Waghai – Saputara
Saputara is a popular getaway for those visiting Ahmedabad as well as Mumbai. If you do opt to visit from these cities, here are the road routes.
From Ahmedabad to Saputara
Ahmedabad – Nadiad – Vadodara – Bharuch – Surat – Navsari -Vansda – Waghai – Saputara
The total distance is 400 km and it takes around 8 hours by road using this route.
From Mumbai to Saputara
Thane – Khardi – Kasara – Nashik – Dindori – Vani – Sarad – Borgaon – Hatgad – Saputara
This takes around 6 hours 30 minutes to cover a distance of 245 km.
Another option that you could consider instead of a road trip is by rail. The closest railway station in Saputara is Waghai in Bilimoria. This is 50 km from the main town and you can either hire a cab or get into one of the local buses to reach there.
What is the best time to visit Saputara Gujarat?
The best time to visit Saputara is just after monsoons – ideally between August to February. The lush green hills after the rains add to the charm of this already lovely hill station in Gujarat. The waterfalls in Saputara are also, full and are best enjoyed at this time.
The time between March to June can sometimes get a little hot and humid – though the place will always be cooler than the rest of Gujarat. The peak monsoon months – July and August sometimes, tend to dampen the outing with its constant cloud cover and rains. The rains do make certain locations slippery and hazardous.
Where to stay in Saputara?
There are several hotels in Saputara that you can book for your stay at this Gujarat hill station. The Toran group of hotels have three major properties in Saputara. I stayed at the new Toran hotel which has pretty comfortable rooms and a wide courtyard that offers lovely valley views. Right next to this is the Toran Hill Resorts while the Toran Ambika with its location on top of a hill is preferred for its gorgeous panoramic views. None of these are expensive hotels and offer basic stay and food. You can use the Gujarat tourism website to book your rooms there.
Alternately, you can look at some of the resorts and hotels located around Saputara Lake for your stay. These have a lot of luxury amenities like gyms and pools. One such property that I spotted during my Saputara trip is the Hotel Lake View.
If you are a backpacker or are looking for longer stays in Saputara, there are a few homestays near Saputara Lake. A few of them can be booked online through the Booking resources section below.
Which mobile network works the best in Saputara Gujarat?
Within Saputara town, Airtel was pretty decent in terms of voice and data connectivity. None of the other networks were as stable. If you happen to visit the places near Saputara, you might not get any network on the road.
How many days are ideal for a good Saputara trip?
Minimum duration of 3 days in Saputara is good to cover all the major sightseeing places in this hill station in Gujarat. Here is a suggested Saputara itinerary that one can follow for 3 days.
– Walk around Saputara lake, try some boating and visit the tribal museum
– Explore Nageshwar Mahadev temple and the Swaminarayan temple
– Head to the Jain Temple
– Grab a bite near the Saputara Lake
– Visit the Rose garden, Honey Bee Center & the Artists Village
– End your day at the Saputara Sunset Point
– Start your day early with a short hike to the Saputara Sunrise point
– After breakfast, head to the table top point
– Take a ride on the Saputara Ropeway
– Pack your lunch and drive down to Girmal waterfalls. Along the way explore the Shiv Ghat falls and U turn point
– Stop at the Shabari Dham on your way back to Saputara town
– After a leisurely breakfast, head out to Gira falls
– Grab lunch near the waterfalls and then explore the Waghai Botanical garden. This will need at least 1 – 2 hours.
– Head back to Saputara lake. You can enjoy the rest of your day, walking around the place.
What should I pack for my Saputara trip?
Here is a quick checklist of things that you will need for your Saputara trip – that is beside your usual set of clothes
– A light jacket or shawl for the nippy evenings and early morning
– A raincoat or an umbrella
– Bug spray or Mosquito repellant
– Slippers or crocs for the wet ventures. Waterproof shoes will be really handy
– A telephoto lens, wide lens and the regular kit lens would be good for this trip. A waterproof bag to store the same is recommended.
– Mobile and camera chargers
Is alcohol available in Saputara?
No, Saputara is a part of Gujarat – which is by law a dry state. The sale of alcohol is prohibited in the state. It is not advisable to carry the same when visiting Saputara from other states.
Travel and Photography Tips
- Please do not take unnecessary risks at the various vantage points. The place can be quite slippery and windy too. Strap your gadgets properly before using them.
- Most of the entrance fees to the Saputara sightseeing destinatons are priced quite minimal. However, they have to paid in cash most of the time. This is true for all the small cafes and handicraft shops around Saputara.
- There are ATMs in Saputara town
- If you are looking for places to stay in Saputara, try booking through Booking.com .
- Agoda.com has quite a few Saputara hotels listed with them. You can check them out using this link.
- Klook.com has various local tours and car bookings available for your visit to Saputara from Ahmedabad.
- For any of your travel needs or general shopping, consider using Amazon through this link.
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. Thank you for supporting me with this.
P.S: I visited Saputara on invite by India Tourism Mumbai and Gujarat Tourism
Popularly referred to as a Restless Ball of Energy. My Mom refuses to entertain my complaints about my equally restless daughter & assures my husband that I was born with a travel bug.
I am a Post-Graduate in Marketing by qualification and a travel blogger by passion. Besides travel, I enjoy photography and if you don’t find me at my desk, I would be out playing badminton or swimming or just running. I believe in planning for every long weekend through the year. And when I cannot travel physically, I travel virtually through this travel blog. My travel stories have also, got published on various websites and magazines including BBC Travel, Lonely Planet India and Jetwings. I have recently published my first book – When Places Come Alive – a collection of stories that are based on legends, landscapes, art and culture of a place which is available in both ebook and paperback format.