Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park is home to the endangered black buck – the state animal of Andhra Pradesh. The deer park is located at Vanasthalipuram on the outskirts of Hyderabad city and covers an area of 14.59 sq km. It was earlier a property of the Nizam of Hyderabad and is managed now by the forest department. The national park got its name in 1975 in commemoration of the 250th birth anniversary of the great Jain saint, Lord Mahavira. The vegetation in the park ranges from dry deciduous to grasslands. Sandal wood, teak, ber and flame of the forest to name a few of the plant species.
The main wildlife draws here are – the panther, black buck, cheetal, wild boar, civet, porcupine, peacock are commonly found here besides 30 species of reptiles including monitor lizards and snakes. The park is reportedly inhabited by 400 black bucks, 500 cheetals and large herds of wild boar. It is also a birdwatchers’ paradise. There are more than 120 species of birds like partridges, qualis, lapwings, sun bird, egrets, ducks, peacocks, doves and birds of prey like kites, vultures, etc. The short-toed Eagle is among the rare species that nests in the park. As many as 80 species of migratory birds frequent the park around the year.
Permits: Guided tours on shuttle buses enable the visitors to see the animals at a close range. There are observation towers also for visitors.
When to visit: This is a year round destination.
Accommodation: There are many guest houses near the national park where visitors can stay for a night or two. Alternately, day trips from Hyderabad is a good option.
How to reach:
Air: Hyderabad airport.
Rail: Hyderabad railway station is the nearest.
Road: The national park is 15 km by road from Hyderabad city.