Saputara, a densely forested region in the Sahyadri range is the only hill station in the Dang district of South Gujarat state at an altitude of 1000 meters. The name of Saputara stands for “Abode of the serpents”.
I took a road trip in monsoon in 27th August, Vadodara. Truly, a place this is in the nature’s womb with dense forests, green hues with lush flowers, the fog, rains dropping on the leaves. Away from the busy city life, a perfect getaway if you are looking for serenity and peace. Also a great place for couples as it turns out to be a romantic heaven, but I was on a family trip ;-)
The weather of this place remains pleasant throughout the year, but the monsoon season has its own charm, with the greenery at its best.
Things to do in Saputara :
Botanical garden (49 kms. from Saputara) is a large 24-hectare garden with 1,400 varieties of plant from all over India.
The Gira waterfalls (49 kms. from Saputara) is located off the Saputara-Waghai road is a breathtakingly beautiful view around monsoon.
Outdoor activities such as wildlife viewing, trekking, hiking, boating, nature walks can be done at Saputara
TRIP Route : Vadodara -> Surat – > Navsari (Left turn) – > Saputara.
Driving from Vadodara to Surat & Navsari is easy and Good, with NH-8 Being in a top condition. We started our Trip in our Beloved Hyundai Xcent 1.2 S, at around 4:15 AM from Vadodara, as we wanted to make sure that we reach early morning near the hills, to enjoy the Route and hills ! . Which was very well achieved ! We almost escaped the Famous Jam of Bharuch ! , still lost about 45 mins stuck between the Trucks & Trailers. A Tip – Always use the Left Lane while approaching Bharuch streech, just before Narmada Bridge. Keep your Google Maps or Navigators ready while approaching the area. The left lane is for smaller vehicles, and right is for heavy vehicles, so it’s better keep in Left lane to avoid last minute hassels. I was in Middle Lane, so didn’t faced much problem, but still lost 45 Mins. In Jam trying to get into that Last Lane.
There are several Food joints and “Dhabas” for all your Foody Needs ! along the NH-8. Road till Navsari is great and smooth.
Just as you enter Navsari on NH-8, be careful not to use the Flyover ! . Keep your Google Maps or Navigators ready again. After taking Left from Navsari crossing, the Road is narrow and Single Lane. But build Quality is good, so no issues in Driving.(Ref Pictures). Then the real journey started, amidst the Lush Green Fields and forest area. We passed through the National Forest, which looked great at early morning. Driving here in early morning, with cloud cover was great ! No AC’s required, just fresh Air.
We took a little de-toure toward Gira Waterfall, which was very good. The Way to Gira waterfalls is well marked and you will find few Tourists Buses parked on the main Road itself. The Fall is about 2-3 KM’s inside the narrow trail, which Is just enough for 2 cars to pass, that too at some locations only, so Drive carefully and Slowly. Plenty of Options for snacks are available. Tough it didn’t rained that day, flow of water was still good. It’s nice place with sign Board of “Beware of Crocodiles”! all around ! . We didn’t found any though . (Lucky)
What I hated about that place was, the Presence of Humans ! We Litter everywhere we go. I found hundred of packets of wafers, liqure bottles, cold drink pet bottles, foam plates, etc it was looking so bad admist such a beautiful location/backdrop. If anyone is reading this, please ensure not to teach your Kids to do this. Please teach you next generation to be little more sensible while dealing with Human waste.
Then we left for the Hills, after spending about an hour. It’s about another 1 1/2 Hr. drive from there (50 Kms). Road is good and Picturesque ! It was a pleasant weather and loved driving there !.
But one must be very careful, as I found several drivers, driving like Drunk Idiots. Over taking from wrong side on Hills, Honking unnecessarily , Over Speeding and risking life of others.
We reached Saputara by 11 AM. In between we stopped for tea and snacks as weather was quite good and Cloudy all around. Plenty of options to pick from for having Snacks/Tea. We stopped at a local shop, made out of Stew and straws. We spent the entire day, exploring Saputara. The Lake area was good, bustling with Crowd of all ages. We didn’t tried the Booting as we were never interested in that, but it felt good watching people enjoying their time. We had Tea/ Corn / and boiled Ground nuts ! . Not much to do or visit in Saputara, just a Lake, Hill Top, Table Tops, Sunset Point. Some Adventure points near Table top !!! We enjoyed every bit !
Then , happened the Unexpected ! the whole area was stunned to deafening sound of Bikes !! Yes, a group of around 120-130 Bikers from Harley Davidson was in the town. Saputara was part of their All India trip, which they were on. for the 1st time in my Life, i got to see, so many different kinds of Bikes !!! It was feast to Eyes, and tell you what, we were so mesmerised with bikes, that we almost forgot to take pictures . anyway, it was a good experience ! .
We went to Sunset point, which requires a 15 mins steep incline walk ! . but after reaching there, it was worth it ! We sat down near the edge of that small hill top, and forgot all our worries and were just looking into the vast Forest surrounding the area. Felt so good and forgot all our worries about the Life, work, etc.
Since we didn’t booked any Hotels in Advance, we didn’t got any Hotel/Room, Blame the Bikers group, who had occupied almost all the rooms available that night !!!. Then we got a small Hotel – Hotel Purohit. Not a good hotel, but Owner was decent, enough, not to charge anything extra and advised not to take AC !! But Hotel and Rooms are not good. But Decent enough, in case you don’t get anything else. For Youngsters or all Male travelers, it’s good and cheap. TIP : Ask room boy for clean bedsheets and pillow covers ! And stay only when all other Hotels are Booked.
We Left Hotel by 8 AM and ventured into the nearby hills, for some adventure. After spending about 2-3 hrs, we Left Saputara, admist the elusive Rains falls, which we wished. No worry about Fuel, as there are lot of Petrol Pumps all the way and couple of them are at Saputara too.
After taking the right turn from Navsari, we were back on NH-8. It was little crowded, may be being Sunday and day time ! we stopped for Lunch at Sugar & Spice restaurant, adjacent to HP Fuel station. It was good and worth a try next time too. Rates were little higher, but still nothing much. Taste was Good and Size/Portions was also suitable. Then we continued our Journey on NH-8. We Managed to reach Bharuch (By-Pass on NH-8) by 2:30 PM. and then it Happened !!! We got stuck in Jam from 2:30 PM till 9 PM !!! Cursed the Govt. and Transport minister to hell !.
It’s actually very Sick and nonsense of the Govt and so called “Model State”that high which forms an Integral part of Golden Quadrilateral , is in such a mess since several years now. It’s high time to outsource such things to PVT players from Outside, for Fast development. Even though they cost more, it will eventually cost lesser than what we are loosing since last several years in terms of Time and Fuel
Despite of all the hue and cry , Govt seems to be deaf on the issue. Hail our Politics.
Anyway, leaving the Bharuch part, trip was very good and enjoyable.