Nature - The Ultimate Vaccine #PandemicTravel

21st Aug 2020

Nourished by Nature 

Photo of Nature - The Ultimate Vaccine #PandemicTravel by Astha Kagrana
Day 1

The unlocking news was enough to make me happy but I chose to go to my hometown - Mangrol to make my time worthwhile and spend some memorable time with my family there . Studying far away sucks sometime. I decided to take a ride of 380 km along with my sister in my old Mobilio.

Girls masks on .

Sanitizer check .

Water bottles check.

Tissues check .

Lunch check.

Halfway through the journey at about 10 am , I stopped the car and literally screamed - "Why don`t we take a Sasan trip and a couple of beaches trip before we actually go home?" Our town lies on the coastal belt of Saurashtra and there is a beach in almost every small town. Each one is so beautiful that you can never have enough of them. With mutual consent, we took the other route from Junagadh so we ended up in the jungle region till afternoon.

We started off from Ahmedabad in the morning at 7 a.m. and by 2.30pm , we entered the Sasan- Gir range. For people who are unfamiliar with this place, partially know that Lions are in the Gir forest. But actually 75 % of the lion population actually wanders outside this area, in the villages.

Photo of Sasan Gir, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

We drove through the nearby villages which were lush green due to the ample monsoon rains. We even spotted few Chital and Chinkara there, which are usually there everytime we visit Gir- Sasan as if t0 say - Welcome to the Jungle. More fortunate ones can even find a pride crossing a jungle road or sitting beneath the trees, but dawn and dusk are what they prefer.

Photo of Sasan Gir, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

It was almost 3pm and we decided to halt at a random plain across the road where we had our lunch with those birds chirping in the background, toads croaking on the small grass a few sights away and the breezy cool fresh air. An open place is better near the roads when in jungle rather then deep into the bushes. Again plains and short grass helps you to avoid unwanted spectators like the monsoon snakes or the stingy insects. The Thepla and Chunda (Gujarati sweet pickle) tasted like heaven after that long drive and usually too they taste the same :)

Since it rained the previous day , the morning we reached Sasan, the grass was greener like never before. We took this spot to have our lunch . These off the road places aren`t much crowded except for the toads and creepy creatures but guess what, we love Bear Grylls!

Photo of Sasan Gir, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

Pristine beauty. It was a random yet beautiful spot at Gir off the road.

Photo of Sasan, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

On our way to the resort we greeted a sheep herd and for some reasons my sister felt herself relatable with them lol . I guess I already knew that!

Looks like the herd just had their afternoon stroll in the jungle fields. Farms are where they head to before the late evenings unless they want a Lioness to have them for her feast.

Photo of Sasan Gir, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana
Day 2

Next morning we had our late breakfast at around 10 am in a covid friendly environment at the resort , which took all the due safety measures.

We got in the cars for our Day 2 trip . We visited Maliya , a small village near Gir where one has to eat the famous Thabdi - a gujarati sweet made of mava. We ate Thabdi from a local sweet shop after checking the hygiene there which was up to the mark. Then we headed for a hill along with a local guide who was also a family friend of ours. It was a super easy 20 min trek but owing to the rain, the terrain was much slippery and we being very cautious so as not to die of anything else but Corona, decided to move ahead slowly and it was only by 3pm that we reached the top in 2 hrs. I was so glad we didnt miss the sunset.The view from there , above, was telling me I was back to peace, I was back to what I missed - Nature.

From the top of an unnamed hill at the town of Maliya. I was so busy looking at the sunset , that it completely mesmerized me. 10 mins later I shot this picture; it was dark till then.

Photo of Maliya, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

Hike up the hill

Photo of Maliya, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

We were spectators to the setting sun and by 6 pm we were down the hill, back to the resort. On our way back we observed how bullocks still run here along with small vehicles on road and how people have always been happy here in their small pretty homes. That night I slept really well.

The bullock cart is a major aid to farmers for their daily chores to the village market.

Photo of Maliya, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

The evening skyline was oblivious of the pandemic and was as bright and beautiful as it has always been .

Photo of Maliya, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana
Day 3

Next morning , wasn`t it the Kukdoo Koo and the chirping parrots on the guava tree next to my room , we would have never woken up on time and would have missed the sunrise at Madhavpur . My sister checked out for us and I started the engine. It was 5 .30am in the morning . I drove to Madhavpur and by 7 am we reached the beach. We were just in time. We saw the beautiful sunrise there and were left in awe . After spending 2 hrs there, we went to a beach side restaurant and had our breakfast.

How to reach Madhavpur?

Gir to Madhavpur is about 80 kms and a 2hrs drive by road . Local transport like state buses can be got from nearby villages like Maliya.

Nearest airport - Porbander - 60kms from Madhavpur

Mornings at Madhavpur

Photo of Madhavpur Beach, Porbandar - Veraval Highway, Madhavpur, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

I was in awe for nature. The day had come, I was finally going to my hometown, meeting the rest of my family before being self quarantined for a couple of days in the outhouse. Life seemed to settle down for a moment, at least for a while. And that`s what we live for - moments.

Photo of Madhavpur Beach, Porbandar - Veraval Highway, Madhavpur, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

We then visited the Madhavpur Turtle Hatchery. It was so fascinating. We spent some more time at the beach before our lunch. After lunch we visited the famous Krishna Bethakji and Rukmini temple here. Divine peace. Then by 4 pm we started our journey towards our home Mangrol which was a 75 mins drive from Madhavpur.

Photo of Madhavpur Turtle Hatchery, Porbandar - Veraval Highway, Pata, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

On our way we visited the Loej beach, which is so pristine because it is not visited by many people. Sitting there in solace , things were falling in place . Home was not faraway now and this place too had its own aura.

How to reach Loej ?

By road - 16kms from madhavpur (local rickshaw , buses easily available from Madhavpur)

By air - Nearest airport - Porbander - 73 kms

OMG!!! When I first saw this place this was my reaction. Loej Beach.

Photo of Loej, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

This beach is not known to many of the visitors to Saurashtra. For obvious reasons, it is not occupied by many beings except for few! Locals usually visit in the mornings. That evening we were the only seer. Can you imagine a beach just for you?

Photo of Loej, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

In the evening solace , I pondered why one has to bear with the hustle and bustle of cities for better opportunities and a good life when deep down we all know that this sunset and the calmness is all we really need. A life without that harsh pace and a lot less like a race is all we seek.

Photo of Loej, Gujarat, India by Astha Kagrana

Through out my trip I felt I was healing , though didn`t know where the wound was. As if nature was working as a vaccine for me already, before the world finds a man-made one soon. #PandemicTravel

Trip Cost

Car fuel - Rs 2500

Night stay at Resort - Gir Day 1 - Rs 2000(we chose a covid friendly 5 star resort for safety concerns . This fare is highly variable according to the stay you choose )

Night stay at Resort - Gir Day 2- Rs 2000

Breakfast & Lunch Madhavpur- Day 3 - Rs 500

Home - Priceless :)