Leafy Tales at Waghai Botanical Garden| Largest Botanical Park in Gujarat

Pretty, colorful and seemingly innocent
The flower seemed quite familiar and magnificent
Might have had several interesting uses but in Saputara
...it was sprinkled over homes to create quarrel excuses. 

Such were the Leafy tales that I found at the largest botanical garden in Gujarat. Waghai Botanical Park turned out to be more a scientific safari. It actually became a cultural journey. 

50 km before you hit Saputara, you will find yourself in a small town called Waghai. Urging you to make a stop here is Gujarat’s largest botanical park. With over 1400 plant species, one would assume it is a destination for flora lovers. However, this is where I would like to correct you. The Waghai garden in Saputara represents a lot of entertainment with its leafy tales that take you deep into the history and culture of the Dang region of Gujarat. This unusual combination of science and culture is further sweetened with the numerous play themes that are located within the park. So now, you know why you need to make that stop at the Waghai Botanical garden Saputara?

Gujarat's largest garden - Waghai botanical garden
Gujarat’s largest garden – Waghai botanical garden

Close to the Gira waterfalls, Waghai Botanical park makes a great day trip from Saputara. In fact, you can combine this park, the waterfalls and even a Waghai Billimora train ride into one day Saputara itinerary and have tons of fun. Alternately, you can just stopover on your way to Saputara or back but just remember – you need more than one hour to enjoy this park. See for yourself through this journey of mine and I am sure you will be able to plan your Waghai garden visit better.

About Waghai Botanical Garden Saputara

Waghai Botanical Gardent - the largest botanical garden in Gujarat
Waghai Botanical Gardent – the largest botanical garden in Gujarat

Waghai Botanical garden is spread over 24 hectares and borders the famous Vansada National Park. The enclosed area is home to over 1400 plant species, including some rare ones that have come from different parts of India. The botanical garden in Waghai was started in 1966 and has been carefully planned to include various sections of the endemic plants of India. The rich biodiversity center has been managed by the Government and not just serves to be an educational center for young botanists but is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Saputara.

One of the Saputara sightseeing places - U Turn Viewpoint
Saputara sightseeing guide

Best places to visit in Saputara

Saputara – Gujarat’s only hill station is a treasure trove of verdant valleys, stunning waterfalls, heritage temples, tribal culture and more. Get a glimpse of this lovely hill station through this ultimate Saputara Travel Guide.

Layout of Waghai Garden near Saputara

Map of Waghai garden, Saputara
Map of Waghai garden, Saputara

Mindful planning – that is how I would describe the manner in which the Waghai garden has been designed. Different botanical sections are separated by well-constructed 7-km long roads. Each road has been named after the plants in that particular section. For example, the Neem road has all the neem species along the stretch. Similarly, you can quite guess what trees occupy Ashoka road.

Carefully planned lanes inside Gujarat's largest botanical garden in Waghai
Carefully planned lanes inside Gujarat’s largest botanical garden in Waghai

The botanical sections include different types of vegetation – like the deciduous, evergreen forest, arid zone etc. Within each of these, there are multiple plots that hold various species of plants that belong to that particular section. Each one of these has been properly labeled with a plate that not just tells you its botanical name but also, what the plant is used for.

The Bamboo section has different varieties of Bamboo including the famous Chinese Bamboo
The Bamboo section has different varieties of Bamboo including the famous Chinese Bamboo

The sections have a well-designed watering system – depending on the need of the plants. The Bamboos, for example, have a stream flowing around it to give it the required moisture while the arid zone has been designed to minimalize the moisture and maximize the heat.

What to do in the largest botanical park in Gujarat?

No matter whether you are an adult or a kid, you will find plenty of things to do in Waghai Botanical Park. These range from fun rides to peaceful observations and some challenging games. Check out the entire list right here –

Take a tour and listen to the plant stories at Waghai park

Seems a bit obvious but then a lot of people miss it out – expecting boring stories of the flora and fauna found within the park. This is where I would love to share how different the botanical tour of Waghai garden is. For one, it goes beyond the scientific properties of the plant. It includes interesting folklore and tribal trivia surrounding the plants. Then there are some record-breaking facts like trees that grow over 100 feet and some that are over 100 years old.

Catch unusual plants like this one with spiky trunk during your guided tour of Waghai Botanical Garden Saputara
Catch unusual plants like this one with spiky trunk during your guided tour of Waghai Botanical Garden Saputara

The tour guide introduces the plants in fun ways like making you guess the smell, what makes the shape unique etc. One of the specimens that the guide showed us was a leaf of the Bottle Brush plant. Interestingly, every time you tear the leaf, it gives you a different fragrance – from a minty Eucalyptus one to that of Mehendi (henna).

A lot of the plants in the Waghai garden have interesting stories like the one in my opening paragraph about a brightly colored Gloriosa flower. Turns out that the locals believe that by sprinkling the petals of these flowers on certain homes, they can cause a quarrel. Locally, the plant is named after this lore – Kankasha (Kankash meaning unrest)

The flower that is said to cause friction on houses it is sprinkled on
The flower that is said to cause friction on houses it is sprinkled on

The botanical tour of Waghai garden Saputara is actually free of cost. The only constraint that one might face is that the tour guides are few in numbers and you might have to wait for a little before you get one. Alternately, you can opt to walk around yourself and read the various boards but then the whole interactive experience is lost.

If however, you do choose to go and take a tour without a guide, then turn it into a treasure hunt. Waghai Botanical garden has its own android app that I highly recommend you download. The app helps you identify various plants and gives you information about them. It is kind of fun when you try to use the app with the help of a picture or even the nameplate on the plant.

Get onto a a train

If walking is not your cup of tea, then get onto a train. The toy train in Waghai park is an easy way to tour the entire garden. It cost INR 30 per person for one round of the park. However, note that it does not stop anywhere and hence, one cannot hop on and hop off the train.

Chase some butterflies & spot colorful insects

Giant wood spider found in Waghai botanical park
Giant wood spider found in Waghai botanical park

The butterfly area is located close to the rose garden and the orchid plots. You find tons of these beautiful winged creatures flitting around in their natural environment. If you are a part of the guided tour, then the guide will be happy to point out the endemic and the rare ones. These guides will also, share interesting trivia about the various insects hidden in the plots. Some of them are pretty obvious and scary like this Giant Wood Spider. However, then there are some that you will just see-through.

Grab some souvenirs at the Waghai Garden Saputara

Some Dang bamboo artifacts that you can buy in Saputara

Don’t miss some of those Dang souvenirs if you are at the Waghai botanical garden. The shop stocks bamboo handicrafts as well as local produce like honey that you can take back home. Keep an eye out for those Ragi Nagali Papads – a specialty of Saputara region.

You can also, pick up some of the local plants and seeds in the Waghai garden shop. I know I would have loved some of those plants for my balcony but then, had to forgo owing to my luggage constraints.

Engage in some fun and games

Archery point - a fun thing to do at the Waghai botanical garden
Archery point – a fun thing to do at the Waghai botanical garden

The largest botanical garden in Gujarat has a pretty Children’s park area for the little wanderers. Close to it is an archery point where you can try your hand at a few targets. The park also, has its own library if you wish to figure out more about the flora around. I would not say no to some quiet time under the giant banyan tree where you can listen to the melodious twitter of the colorful local birds.

Indulge in some Selfie Fun

One of the many Selfie points in Waghai park
One of the many Selfie points in Waghai park

For the young Instagrammers, there are tons of selfie points created within Waghai garden Saputara. These do make some good memories and definitely add color to your Instagram grids.

A little about the Waghai Botany Fest

This article on Waghai Botanical Garden will not be complete without a small note on their annual botany festival. Every year, the team organizes the Waghai Botany fest and invites several botany colleges to be a part of it. The activities include clean-up drives and innovative games like Mehek Hamari Pehchan tumhari (identifying plants with natural fragrances) and Phyto hunt (finding plants based on clues).

An unusual banyan tree in Waghai botanical garden
An unusual banyan tree in Waghai botanical garden

One interesting activity that piqued my interest was the Giant ficus tree. It is believed that circling this tree will fulfill that one wish that you ask of the tree. During the Waghai botany festival, the students of various colleges cleaned up the area and then made it a base for an art-based activity. The participants had to use whatever natural colors or material they could gather from the Botanical garden itself. Turns out, the winner of that particular contest created the ficus tree itself on a canvas using natural colors. The art piece was auctioned off for INR 75000!

Time was not enough for me to complete a tour of the Waghai Botanical Garden. I wish I did have more for the place turned out to be more exciting than it appeared. However, what I could not do, I am sure you will be able to plan and execute better. Go on and pin this up to your Saputara or Gujarat board.

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Gujarat botanical park
Waghai garden
Waghai Botanical Garden

Common FAQS

What is the best way to reach Waghai Botanical Garden near Saputara?

The closest airport to Waghai Botanical park in Surat. This is around 120 km and takes around 2 hours to reach by road. The best route to Waghai from Surat is as below –
Surat airport – Palsara – Navsari – Vansda – Waghai

The Botanical garden in Waghai is located on the Saputara highway itself. You can just stop at the garden on your way to Saputara or on your return from it.

Waghai has its own railway station with a narrow-gauge track. Many people opt for the Waghai – Billimoria train to enjoy the unique experience of a toy train. You could opt for the same to reach Waghai town,

When is the best time to visit Waghai Botanical Park?

The best time to visit Waghai is between August to February. The post-monsoon greens and the cool temperature makes it very enjoyable to explore the garden here.

It might be a good idea to plan your visit here during the annual Waghai Botanical fest. This is when you get to see unique games and interesting activities in the park.

Waghai Botanical Garden is open every day from 8 am to 6 pm.

Where to eat in Waghai?

Waghai botanical park has a restaurant within its premises. You can opt to try a few meals here. Alternately, you can get to Waghai town and try a few restaurants there.

Where can you stay in Waghai?

There are a few budget and comfortable hotels available in Waghai. Most people tend to carry on to Saputara and pick a hotel there. That way, they get to experience the only hill station of Gujarat.

What are the entrance fees for Waghai Botanical Garden?

At present, there are no entrance fees for the Waghai Botanical garden.

Travel and Photography tips

  • Carry a telephoto and a macro lens in addition to your regular kit lens. It is not unusual to spot rare birds in the park and you would definitely enjoy getting close to those insects.
  • Drinking water can be bought in the park
  • There are clean restrooms available within the Waghai gardens

Booking resources

  • If you are looking for places to stay in Saputara or Waghai, try booking through Booking.com .
  • 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.
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