Lush green forests, meandering rivers, large waterfronts, cascading waterfalls, the gentle gurgle of streams, the distant hills, a gorgeous kaleidoscope of flora and fauna…yes, it is the serene and sylvan land of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Nature at her best. Sandwiched between the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, it is located in the western corner of India. As a union territory, it is quite small, confined as it is to an area less than 500 sq. km, covered with tall, awesome trees and winding rivers.
This quiet, magical land of 72 villages has a chequered history. For a century and half, the fiery Portuguese were the masters of the land. The Indian nationalist volunteers liberated Dadra and Nagar Haveli in July 1954 and a pro-India administration was formed. Under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, the territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli became a centrally administered union territory with effect from August 11, 1961.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli enjoys a pleasant climate from November to March. Even the summer temperature is not very high. Due to its proximity to the sea, the nights are pleasant.
The Tribal Cultural Museum at Silvassa is an ideal place for those who are too lazy to do some actual exploring. It houses a good collection of masks, musical apparatus, fishing gadgets and life-size statues.
Khanvel is situated at a distance of 20 km from Silvassa. The drive to Khanvel is lined with tall trees on both sides of the road. This serene landscape, surrounded by lush green hills, beckons nature lovers with its rolling meadows and native-styled cottages amidst terraced gardens. The calm and gentle Sakartod River flows past Khanvel.
The Vanganga Lake and Island Garden is a beautiful lake garden situated at a distance of 5 km from the capital city of Silvassa. The rustic wooden bridges, the flowers, jogging paths, thatched huts, and paddleboats-all constitute an ideal ambiance for the honeymooners.
A 20-km drive from Khanvel is Dudhni where the large waterfront of river Damanganga provides breathtaking view of the water spread over Madhuban Dam. The luxurious tents pitched right near the bank provide a countryside experience. Tourists may also cook their own meals near the camp.
On Silvassa-Dadra Road is Hirwa Van, a beautiful garden with roaring waterfalls, misty cascades, rustic stonewalls, twin arches, tiny kiosks and springy lawns interspersed with islands of flowers-truly a visitors delight.
Vandhara Udyan at Silvassa is a riverside park with sprawling lawns dotted with exquisite pavilions, an ideal site for picnic buffs.
There is also a Mini Zoo and Bal Udyan at Silvassa. The colorful birds, mischievous monkeys, awesome pythons and sleepy crocodiles coupled with swings, slides and merry-go-rounds render this site every kid's dream come true.