As my title goes, Dadra and Nagar Haveli is a place comprising lot of gardens, forests with wildlife and their main source of water – The Madhuban reservoir. The confusion starts from the names of the places over here coz they all include one of the above mentioned terms.
Dadra & Nagar Haveli Map (Courtesy: mapsofindia.com)
Unlike my previous Matheran trip this was a sudden trip with my boyfriend for 2N/3D without any pre-planning. The place was decided by my boyfriend as it was his turn to choose a place. :-D I just googled few places to visit in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and narrowed down to these four places:
- Dudhni Lake
- Deer park
- Tribal museum (if time permits)
- Vanganga lake garden (if time permits)
The first two we covered nicely and the last two we made a quick visit which later turned out our best decision coz only the first two places are worth visiting. The rest of the places we skipped as we heard many negative comments about those places…like Vasona lion safari, Hirvavan Garden etc
24th October 2014 (Friday) ANDHERI-VAPI-SILVASSA
We left from Andheri station to Borivali to catch our 8:26am Swaraj Express. We got two tickets for Vapi under Tatkal reservation each costing around Rs400/- for sleeper class. Vapi is the nearest railway station to reach Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DNH). We reached Vapi station at 10:23am with a travel time of approx. 2hrs.
- One can also get a passenger train from Mumbai to Vapi which will halt at all the stations on the way. Check this link.
We took a bus from Vapi Bus depot, which is at a 15 mins walkable distance from Vapi station. This depot is a complete mess with unorganized time-table and uncontrolled queues. After waiting for about more than 40mins we got in Khanvel bus, which halts at Amli (Silvassa) where our hotel was pre booked. We got two tickets costing Rs 22/- each. Fortunately, our hotel (Hotel Soubhagya Inn) was located right behind the bus stop. Silvassa is the capital of DNH. Basically it is an Industrial town and the area around our hotel at Amli too was a commercial place with no great view from any of the room.
- If planning to make a budget trip, the hotel we stayed in is quiet reasonable or else one can book a hotel near Khanvel in DNH if looking for a luxurious stay as there are plenty of 5-star hotels and resorts in Khanvel.
- For my detailed experience in Hotel Soubhagya Inn check this link.
We relaxed in our hotel till the evening. Later we suddenly planned to visit Vanganga Lake Garden since our hotel manager said it was just about 15mins walking distance from our hotel. Now the confusion for names starts. We stepped out to get directions from locals for Van-something something..coz by the time we stepped out we had already forgotten the exact name of the garden. Now it so happened that the name of the garden our manager told us was “VANDHARA GARDEN” which my boyfriend heard “VANJARA” and I heard “VANGANGA”. We stepped out & started inquiring with locals referring these two names and pointing towards the south direction. Amongst mine and my boyfriend’s likely names, mine was an existing one but it was situated towards north. We again got confused since our manager had pointed towards south. Anyways, finally, an auto guy agreed to take us to Vanganga Lake Garden in north for Rs60/- for a one way ride. On our way we did spot “HIRVAVAN GARDEN” from a distant which looked nothing different than any other Nana-Nani park in Mumbai.
As soon as we reached “VANGANGA LAKE GARDEN” we saw a hell lot of crowd outside the garden and on the opposite side a stall selling wooden and bamboo gift items. I wanted to buy a souvenir from there but we rushed to the garden due to time constrain. The entry fee is Rs20/- per person. The place is beautiful but it is too crowded with locals from that area making the place unpleasant. It is a huge garden with a walking lane on the outer-most layer, a circular lake adjoining the lane and again a beautiful island garden in the center of the park. The island and the walking lane are connected with many bridges in between. The lake has paddling boat rides which we couldn’t take coz of the crowd. What can I say about this place …there were people clicking pictures from their mobiles as if they are on an outdoor photo shoot. 0% privacy for couples. There were few guys who were climbing up the trees and posing. Also, there were many perverts who were gazing at the swimming pool which was in the adjoining hotel. They were peeking through a gap in the wall between the park and the hotel making the hotel guest feel uncomfortable. Also few of them kept clicking pictures of couples and family on the paddling boat from the bridge above. I wanted to take a ride on the boat but considering the situation we made a quick run from the spot. Diwali holidays could be one of the reasons the park was so crowded when we visited.
- Visit Vanganga lake garden only if you are accompanied by kids otherwise you should skip it
- This place could be best visited early in the morning and during working days.
We got a share auto from there which dropped us at our hotel in just Rs 22/-. As soon as I reached I asked the manager the whole fuss about the garden on which he cleared that we visited a different garden and the one he suggested was a different garden which is also known as “NAKSHATRA GARDEN”. On asking it in detail it too seemed like a skippable place. The rest of the evening we just kept laughing on the whole confusion with names.