Gujarat

Gujarat is an ancient land abounding in mythology and legends and dotted with pilgrimage and historical sites. Since the advent of Bronze Age, every era has left its footprints in Gujarat. There are temples, mosques, tombs, forts, palaces and monasteries.
Religious sites are major part of tourism in Gujarat. Somnath is the first among twelve Jyotirlingas. The Palitana temples of Jainism on Mount Satrunjaya, the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque and Jama Masjid, the Sun Temple, Modhera, Dwarakadheesh Temple and Dakor are noteworthy pilgrimage sites.
This peninsular state in western India boasts of archaeological sites of the port city of Lothal and Dholavira from the Indus Valley Civilisation. Continuing the historical tale are the Rock Edicts of Emperor Asoka, Mahabat Maqbara, Lakhot Fort and Narsinh Mehta No Choro.
Kirti Mandir, Porbandar, Sabarmati Ashram, and Kaba Gandhi No Delo, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial( in Ahmedabad) proudly speak about our beloved Mahatma Gandhi who was born here and the Iron man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the chief architect of modern India.
Nature too has gifted the state with many attractions such as Girnar Mountain, Gir Forest National Park, Vansda National Park, Blackbuck National Park, Marine National Park, and Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary.
With seventeen airports, Gujarat is very well connected by air, a good network of railways and intercity and interstate road transport. Gujarat experiences hot and dry summers, a good monsoon and moderate pleasant winters. Best time to visit here would be from October to April.

Goaing – from Goa to Delhi

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After the mandatory getting-lost-and-going-round-in-circles-before-finding-the-destination that we seem to do in most new cities, we reach our destination after 2 solid hours of wandering the drowning streets of Ghatkopar in a downpour worthy of …. Mumbai! The thing to note is that more time was spent in negotiating the traffic (read: stuck in traffic) than driving!

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Silvassa, safari and then on

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We had already planned to visit the deer park in the morning and later Dudhni Lake in the evening. We also found out that from Silvassa towards south the deer park comes first and then comes Dudhni Lake. I heard about Dudhni Lake turning romantic in the evening. It just matched my mood since I wanted to do some wildlife photography in the morning & relax in the evening. Our main challenge was to reach these two spots on time and without any expensive transportation.

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A short Day trip from Vadodara to Hathnimata Temple & Waterfall

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From there, the air is very very clean and it’s all Green around !!,You’ll find yourself in typical village area, which lush green paddy fields , huts, etc. but the road is very Narrow at this point, and one must be care full.

Just a word of caution, drive very slow, as it’s village area and lot of children cross the roads every now and then, And try not to use Horns !!! Let’s do our bit not to disturb the locals.

A small Parking area is available, but, recently have seen a small field being cleared for make shift parking area. the Locals charge 5-10 Rs. for that.

Park your vehicles, and move ahead for a short trek over the flowing waters and that will lead you to the Waterfall !!, It’s a good place for Kids and every one. Sply Kids, they would love to see small Fishes in clear waters.

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गायकवाडों का शहर वड़ोदरा (Vadodara: The city of Gaikwads)

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ट्रेन आई और हम बैठ लिए अपने स्थान पर | एक वृद्ध दंपत्ति एक दुसरे का हाथ पकडे चढ़े | देखकर लगा की प्रेम की अभिव्यक्ति के कई आयाम और मायने होते हैं | ट्रेन अपनी गति से आगे बढती रही बीच बीच में आस पास के खेतों में उगे फसलों पर हम बात चीत कर रहे थे | तीन घंटे में हम वड़ोदरा पहुंच गये | स्टेशन से बाहर निकलकर हमने ठेले पर समोसे खाए और चल पड़े सैयाजी राव बाग़ की तरफ |

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Visit to Lothal near Ahmedabad : An introduction to Harappan Civilization

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Excavation site is walking distance of half km from there. Sun is at its peak but cool breeze was maintaining the temperature. At most 20-30 people were there including the staff and visitors. We first visited the Archaeological Museum and it’s better to visit museum first because it contains a lot of information about the site and that will help you to understand and visualize the whole architecture at the site. As photography is prohibited in the museum so no snaps are available inside of it.

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थोल बर्ड सैंक्चुअरी की औचक यात्रा

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हमने लेक के किनारे बने पैदल पथ पर यात्रा शुरू की | मौसम सुहावना हो चला था और हलकी हलकी बयार् बह रही थी जिसने माहौल को खुशनुमा बना दिया था | इतने बड़ी झील को देखकर सुकून महसूस हुआ और ऐसा लगा की मै पहले यहाँ क्यूँ नहीं आया ? हम रास्ते से नीचे उतरकर झील के किनारे तक गये और वहां बैठकर सुबह की बनाई थेर्मोफ्लास्क में रखी गरम चाय (जो अभी तक पर्याप्त गरम थी) का आनंद लिया |

किनारे हमने एक घंटे बिठाये और जीवन के विभिन्न पहलुओं पर चर्चा की | कुछ समय तक शांत बैठकर सबने स्वतः बात चीत बंद कर दी और दूर तक फैले झील और उड़ते पक्षियों को देखते रहे |फिर हम वापस किनारे के रस्ते पर आ बर्ड वाच पॉइंट की ओर बढे | रास्ते में एक मैन-मेड वृक्ष आकार का पॉइंट मिला जिस पर जाने के लिए बच्चे उतावले हो गये | और अभिलाषा जल्दी से जाकर ऊपर चढ़ गई |

रास्ते के किनारे उगे कई नीम के पेड़ में से सबसे आसान पेड़ पर मैंने चढाई का प्लान बनाया ताकि अपनी बचपन की कहानियों को सिध्ध किया जा सके की मे पेड़ पर चढ़ने में माहिर हूँ | सबके मना करने के बाद भी मे पेड़ की सबसे नीचे डाली पर चढ़ा और रों धोकर अभिलाषा भी आ गई थोड़ी देर में |

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Road Journeys – Turbulent Pingleshwar Beach & Chowpati of Mandvi

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Our most awaited destination was Naliya, where we filled the tank and a routine air check, after almost 600 km. With lifted confidence, we roared on the four lane upto Kothara from where a single road on the right leads towards the less visited but very natural and unexploited Pingleshwar. Passing by a few villages on a narrow bumpy road for 15-20 km, we reached at the dead end. Rows of giant wind mills were standing erect with the large blades performing in tune of the wind. An ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated here. The shrine is brightly colorful and very well maintained but I understand very few tourists other than locals visit the temple often.

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Road Journeys – Circulating the Kutch: Narayan Sarovar & Koteshwar Mahadev

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The road was throughout single, isolated, un-inhabited and sheer windy along the creek and amidst thick long thorny bushes, but well maintained, perhaps due to military access. Luckily, the longest ever 30 km road was negotiated skillfully and we reached Narayan Sarovar before it was too dark. Later realized that we have not happened to see any wild life in the entire stretch, not even a Chinnkara or any Great Indian Bustard for which the sanctuary is meant.

On enquiries, we were informed about availability of fuel in every 2nd shops there, but at a much higher price, almost double. Helplessly, I had to pay Rs. 500/- after a bargain for 5 litres of contaminated petrol.

For information, the only accommodations available at Narayan Sarovar are the nominally paid Dharamshalas and no eateries as well. Langars at the old Dharamshala however, serve the purpose. The only public conveyance is a bus that reaches late evening and leaves early in the morning, connecting Bhuj.

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Road Journeys – Circulating the Kutch: Lakhpat the “Ghost Town”

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Scrambling, through the ruined and eroded stairs we reached atop the bastion wall. The enthralling view of the vastness of salt marsh upto the horizon and far beyond the water body was captivating. It was extremely windy and felt like reaching in a different world. Keeping an eye on any unwanted intruders by the BSF must not be an easy task. On chatting with one posted there, it was revealed, every morning an equipped patrol party wanders in the knee deep marshes in search of fresh pug marks to keep away any intruders. Obviously, this must be the easiest way for the intruders.

It was almost sun down and my worries accrued, when informed about no petrol pumps prior to Naliya towards Narayan Sarovar and Dayapar towards Bhuj. The indicator was already towards empty, but there was a hope of getting fuel at Narayan Sarovar another 30 km on the isolated road along the creek. After clicking few more snaps of the Pir Ghaus Muhammed Tomb and Sayyed Pir Shah Dargah from above the fort we decided to reach Narayan Sarovar before it was dark.

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