A tour of six days... destination Gujarat, extended to Diu. We reached Ahmedabad via Rajdhani at a comfortable time, without having to wake up at wee hours, a bliss!!
Day I After lunch a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram...though a place too historical to be commented upon, but somehow the ' feeling' i was anticipating shunned me..but one visit might be too short to judge.
We were caught between Kankaria Lake and Akshar Dham...and after different briefings settled for the former. Well a great favourite with the locals though we found nothing much to do and took a ride in the train around the lake
Dinner at Govardhan Thaal
Definitely a must visit place to enjoy the ambience and feel of Gujarati cuisine , Rajdhani in Delhi would be the long lost twin!! But be prepared for the most...and best enjoyed with an empty stomach!!
Again after a lot of debate and at my insistence we set for Diu, the unexpected twist in the journey for our otherwise planned itinerary. Misled by all it was a whopping 450 km from Ahmedabad with dilapidated roads after Rajkot, a shorter route is available via Bhavnagar...some say road is worse. So day two was all about sitting in the car around ten hours of drive..to the point it led us believe Diu was a wrong choice.
On the way to Diu
I guess the name of on the way stop for snacks was Limbdi...where i was absolutely delighted by the papdis and mirchis and i was hell bent on stopping at the same place while driving back to Ahmedabad and we did!! Only if the loos could be a bit cleaner...but Indian public utility systems.... a long long way to go.
Kathiwadi Thali.... Famous in these parts of Gujarat..
Diu wedding.. the riding bride and groom
Sea gives me an extra coat of enthusiasm and hence i was up the next day morning and awoke husband for morning exploration of the sea...morning gives sea a different colour and a virginity...asking to be explored.
Sea food was a disappointment at least in the resort we stayed and prawns served were not fresh and well cooked. We consumed lots of coconut water as obvious and at a nice price. Diu Fort was interesting.. with history of Portuguese invasion and treachery. Panikotha a structure in the sea... we could not visit due to weather...but as locals informed the movie Qayamat was shot there as i recalled a vague memory of a Neha Dhupia wailing and singing in the middle of the sea. lighthouse was something i wanted to see from close but in a hurry to reach Gir where we had booking for lunch at the resort and safari at Devaliya Park in the evening...all bookings done by methodical husband!! All in all we left Diu with a desire for more.
Around two hours drive and we reached Gir... strangely without proper signages and had a wholesome lunch at the resort, bajre ke roti, gud..among other things. But then staying inside Gir does not serve much purpose apart from saving an hour of sleep in early morning before reaching at the long queue for safari..which again my methodical husband saved us the trouble by making all bookings online!! Resorts in and around Gir do not give any access to the forest just a nice and quiet place to stay.
Devaliya Park, Sasan Gir
Driver in day one told us Devaliya park is where old , sick lions are kept to our disappointment and dismay...but the bus safari at least gives a view of the lions which almost eluded us in the original safari and a lots of birds in the evening forest.
Early morning safari
Yes we did spot a lion, it was dawn and a lion just crossed in front of our jeep...but somehow camera ditched and we could not click the creature...but then the long drive in the arid forest.. where not even birds were heard and the climax over lion foot prints...sigh!! Actually we began to feel tired and disappointed and i believe the lack of natural greens more than the lions led to the frustration.
Mama deer and Papa deer was what my sleepy four year old commented when she woke from half slumber to spot these....indeed who else locks horn and always at war...:) !!
Some good captures finally..
The hotel run by the trust held a surprise with its excellent sea facing rooms just at Rs 1500...well that was the best sea facing room i ever lived in..bookings were again online and very smooth process.
Light and sound show at the temple premises was a disappointment with people pouring in through out the show and light work to a minimal and more mythology than history. With the excellent location and vibrant history it called for a better show.
View from hotel run by Somnath Temple Trust
Day V : Drive to Ahmedabad
Just before catching the train at evening...near Railway Station Ratanpur Market...was a delight to visit.All colours like a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie simply breath taking. Though could not pick up stuff as much i liked...but some other time may be...