Of Gujarat and Its Wonders!

Gujarat is one of the most aggressively marketed states in India from the tourism point of view. So when I got a wedding invite from a friend (with Ahmedabad as venue) I seized the opportunity with both hands. And Gujarat hasn’t let me down. The trip itself was short but quite memorable.
We spent a day in Ahmedabad and got a taste of the famed Gujarati Thali. The meal was sumptuous and I ate more than my fill. Ahmedabad is like any another bustling Indian city. A mix of the new and the old, of the organized and the chaotic. Chaos on the roads makes me feel right at home and Ahmedabad sure felt like home!
Deer sighting from the highway!
From Ahmedabad We left for Diu via cab and after spending the entire day on the road arrived at Diu in the night. The roads were good for the most part. A portion of the road passes through the Gir National Park and we were able to spot some deer on the roadside! This stretch of the road presents some of the most beautiful scenery you will see in Gujarat. The arid landscape was bathed in a golden hue with a pure blue sky as the backdrop. I had never imagined that a thorn and scrub forest could be a thing of such beauty! After checking into the resort, we headed straight for the beach. The beach wore a deserted look. There were only a handful of people on the beach. The sea appeared to be calm and there were no roaring waves splashing ashore. After spending some time in the cool and soothing sea breeze I headed back to the resort for some shut eye as I had to wake up early in the morning to catch the sunrise. And the sunrise was beautiful! Light in a thousand hues of red and orange bounced off the glimmering waters of the Arabian sea. A sunrise had never felt more captivating. After a leisurely stroll on the beach and a quick breakfast we left for our next destination – Somnath.
View of the ocean from the Diu beach
Mesmerizing sunrise from Diu beach!
Somnath is a temple town close to Veraval and is famed for the Shiva temple situated there. This temple has been looted 11 times by Afghan invaders but it has bounced back each time. Somnath is a 90 minute drive from Diu and the road isn’t particularly good. Somanth is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas and is a highly regarded pilgrimage spot for Hindus. The temple itself is majestic but what struck me most was the efficiency with which it is managed. Unlike some other temples there are no VIP darshans. Everyone gets to do the darshans and it was all very well managed. The highlight of the darshan was the ‘Aarti’ and we were lucky enough to witness it. The Arabian sea forms the southern boundary of the temple and the view of the ocean from the temple is something that will always remain with me. Unfortunately photography wasn’t allowed within the temple premises.We left for our next destination, Gir National Park, soon after collecting  ‘Prasad’ from the temple.
Somnath Temple
The drive to Gir was the same scenic drive that we had experienced earlier. The unforgiving Sun at Somnath was tempered by the cool breeze from the forest. We quickly checked into our resort and then queued up for the most exciting event of the trip –  a Jungle Safari through the forests of the Girnar hills.After about an hour of queuing up we got our permits for a safari on Track number 3 of the park. With high spirits and soaring expectations we entered the jungle. Fifteen minutes into the safari my senses were totally over powered by the sights and sounds of the jungle that surrounded us. I went quiet and started absorbing the beauty of the landscape that was unfolding before us minute after minute. The diversity in the landscape was unbelievable. One minute we were passing through a lush green jungle and the next moment we would be in an arid landscape adorned by thorny scrub and bereft of greenery. We spotted a few specimens of the deer and antelope family but the big cat did not oblige us with an appearance. The disappointment of not able to spot lions notwithstanding, the jungle left us mesmerized with the sheet beauty it possesses. I will definitely be back for another shot at the lions.
Beautiful Desolation – at Gir National Park
Lush Jungle – at Gir National Park
Panoramic View – at Gir national park
 Gujarat has not disappointed me and has left me with a longing to be back and start my explorations from where I have left them.
PS:- This was largely an unplanned and impromptu trip and I extensively used my smartphone and some mobile apps to plan all aspects of my trip from finding resorts to getting the best deals on them and also for turn by turn navigation. The apps that I found to be particularly useful were TripAdvisor (to find resorts with good rating), Kayak (to find the best deals on accommodation and travel) and Nokia Maps (for walking directions).
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3 comments to Of Gujarat and Its Wonders!

  • […] of the cheetah, many species have come back from the brink of extinction. The Asiatic Lions in Gir are thriving and the Royal Bengal Tiger is making a strong comeback. So are the swamp deer, the […]

  • Abhigya  says:

    Well I didn't see any. Premanand has posted those pics and I am sure he didn't see any as well! It's just a prank I guess :).

  • raveesh rai  says:

    Thanks for the post Abhigya.Amazing description of your sojourn in Gujrat.Every line in itself describes your affinity towards nature and its exploration.Spots might not be so exciting, but its the company which makes it more memorable and adventurous.You have picked up few key spots and have also described really well about Gujrat vibrant and colorful culture,people, Languages and food. The traditional Gujrati thali is one of the best way to know the Gujarati cuisine.So I am presuming that you had some of best flavors of dhokla, fafda, khandvi, basundi and chivda.Looking forward for a wonderful trip again in Summers.In between, I saw few pics posted in your trip visit to Gujrat where I could see few cubs and lions but you said you didn't get a chance to see them?

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