Great Rann of Kutch
I was in class 5 when I heard about The Rann of Kutch in my geography class for the first time. It was a great experience to see it for real. The little desert called the salt desert is a salt marsh located near the Great Rann of Kutch in Kutch district, Gujrat. The salt desert is something that you must see at least once in your lifetime. It is a harmony of salt and stones collected together and surrounded by the sea on one side and the desert on the other. It has a bizarre charm to it. It holds unexpected surprises, which will definitely humble your unquenchable traveller’s spirit.
Yet another hillock that overlooks the Great Raan of Kutch, this place is often referred to as Black Hill. Hence the name, Kalo Dungar. One will find the sacred Dattatreya temple atop the hill which is quite a distance to cover. Along ones way, uphill one is introduced to a number of ravines and canyons that remind one of the forces of nature that are at contact play. The area is covered in greenery and moss. One is sure to enjoy the clean air and sacred atmosphere at the temple atop Kalo Dungar.
Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
The GIR Forest National Park is situated about 342 kilometres from the city of Ahmedabad and is a breeding area for the Asiatic Lion. The place was declared to be a protected area in 1990 by the Nawab of Junagadh. One can also expect to find panthers lurking about here. The park is also home to deers, peacocks, gazelles and nilgais. The borders of this forest reserve are home to some villages and hamlets inhabited by the Maldhari tribes. A tour of these villages will also one a glimpse into the lives they lead and their folk art. One needs to be attentive to the sounds here as the cry of a languor or monkeys could indicate that some jungle cat is on the prowl.
This beach at Ahmedpur is considered to be the best in all of Gujarat and is a great place to vacation, soak in the sun while lying on its sandy beaches. The water is fine for wading or swimming and one will spot a number of sand castles being built by kids all along the beach. One can also make the most of the water sports like skiing, parasailing, surfing, water scooters and speed boats that are available at the beach. Indeed, Mandvi Beach is a great place for one to vacation and has become a favourite spot with the locals and as well as the tourists.
Sabarmati Ashram / Mahatma Gandhi's Home
Lying on the western banks of the River Sabarmati, this ashram is a peaceful heaven that is situated at a distance of 5 kilometres from Ahmedabad city. This ashram was founded by the great man himself, Mahatma Gandhi in 1915 as he struggled to free the country from the reins of the British Empire. It is from this place that Mahatma Gandhi carried forward his persistent struggle and garnered much support for the March of 1930 towards Dandi. The ashram is filled with items that were used by Gandhiji such as his khadi spinning wheels and, handicrafts and handmade paper.
Vijay Vilas Palace
Water Channels, lush garden and marble fountains adorn the exteriors of the Vijay Vilas Palace that was constructed in the year 1920 A.D by craftsmen from Jaipur. The influence of the Rajput style of architecture can be seen at this place that is resplendent with its towering Bengal domes, windows with coloured glass, humungous extended porches. The palace has a private beach that is well maintained. It is a popular tourist spot and is often used to film Bollywood movies as well. The palace can be found in Mandav and is a great example of exquisite craftsmanship down the ages.
Blackbuck National Park
Situated at Velavadar, it was established in 1976 as a hunting ground of blackbucks and cheetahs for the maharaja, and it is spread over 34 sq kms in area. This park has a grassland ecosystem with flat land, dry grasses and herds of antelope and always attracts visitors.
Kaba Gandhi No Delo
Karamchand Gandhi, the father of the Mahatma was appointed the Diwan of Rajkot State and resided in what is today known as Kaba Gandhi no Delo, located just off the busy Gheekantha Road. The house offers a pictorial tour of the Mahatma’s life with bilingual captions in both Hindi and Gujarati.An NGO runs classes in sewing and embroidery for young girls within the premises. The Delo is open for public viewing six days a week from 9 am -12 pm and again in the afternoon from 3 pm to 5 pm.
It is a festival that goes on for about 2 months showcasing the beauty, culture & traditions of Kutch & Gujarat. The true essence of the festival begins at night with endless dancing and music at the beautiful Rann of Kutch. It also offers a variety of activities like camel riding, bicycling etc.
This temple happens to be a landmark in the state of Gujarat and can be found around 5 kilometres away from Junagadh. It also happens to be one among the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. As the legend goes, Lord Krishna is said to have embarked on his final journey from this very place. The name Somnath is also mentioned in the Rig Veda, epics and other Hindu scriptures as well. The temple was first built using gold and then rebuilt in silver by Ravana. Over the course of time, this temple has been rebuilt numerous times and has seen invasion by Muslim invaders about sixteen times. This causes it to be called the Shrine Eternal.
Thol Bird Sanctuary
The day 3 morning session was again planned at Bajana. We had seen quite a number of species till now; 101 to be specific but one key species of LRK was missing – The Falcons! As we entered the Bajana area, Bura Bhai did not take much time before sighting one of the falcons; rather the fastest bird – Peregrine Falcon. We approached cautiously till we got decent shots and enjoyed a good sighting of the bird. Yet again, we spotted the Short-Eared Owl and also the Red-Necked Falcon. Unfortunately we only managed to see it in flight and could not manage a click. We also saw quite a number of Greater Short-Toed Larks, Common Cranes, Wild Boars and Steppe Eagle. After exploring for a while we halted for breakfast. After a good breakfast and some more group photo session we finally started our return journey to the resort. That was the last session at LRK, but wait, it was not over just yet. We saw a raptor take flight towards our left which turned out to be Shikra. However going little further, Bura Bhai helped us spot the Merlin!. This was the best sighting among all the birds we saw. We could only manage record shots but we did enjoy some good views of this little falcon.We were back to the resort by 11 AM, and with a bird count of 106 at LRK it was a fantastic birding experience. A special thanks to Bura Bhai without whom we may not have been able to sight a lot of the species which were key highlights of the trip and lifers for most of us!We started our journey to Thol Bird Sanctuary which was around 2 hours from the resort. As we were cruising along at around 60 Kmph, Suru spotted a family of Sarus Cranes. The vehicle was halted and we got our shots. Super sighting by Suru! We missed a cut on way to Thol and hence reached a little late by 2 PM for lunch and we halted just outside the Thol Bird Sanctuary. Just as we finished our lunch and came out of the hotel, we saw a few raptors in the sky- a Steppe Eagle, a juvenile Shikra and a booted Eagle. We also saw Bank Mynas, Jungle Babblers and an Indian Roller.Finally we entered Thol Bird Sanctuary at 3:30 PM; our last birding session of the trip. Personally I did not expect much as this was more of a wetland and thought we might have covered most of the species at Nava Talav; and I was glad to be proved wrong. We had a fantastic birding session at Thol with sightings of Great White Pelicans, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Darter, Cormorants, Knob-billed Duck, Eurasian Wigeons, Dalmatian Pelican, Great White Pelicans,Egyptian Vulture, Greater Spotted Eagle, River terns, Whiskered Terns, Painted Stork, Citrine Wagtail and so on. Thol Bird Sanctuary is a wetland however has quite some forest attached to it. Hence we did spot a lot of warblers, Yellow-footed Green Pigeons, Red Collared Doves, Eurasian Collared Doves, Lesser Whitethroat, Jungle Babblers, Red-vented Bulbul, White-bellied Drongo, Plum-headed Parakeets and the beautiful Bluethroat.Finally the trip ended with a total species count of around 133 birds. We couldn’t have asked for more and apart from birding what we enjoyed the most was the company of lovely like-minded folks. From Mihir and Basant of Orissa, the Bhagwat duo from Baroda (Rahul Bhagwat and Subhash Bhagwat Sir), Mallikarjun Sir from Ahmedabad, Arvind Singh from Mumbai, the “birds in flight” shot specialist Suru. the bird Antakshari specialist Rupali (jokes apart, she was the only one without a camera who was out and out into birding with a pair of binoculars, observing birds and their behaviour); and finally my gurus Bhavesh and Sunil.Coming back to LRK and the Indian Wild Ass, the species is currently endangered with a mere population of around 5000 across the world. Key contributors to the decline in the population have been poaching and habitat loss primarily due to illegal salt mining. However, a recent census of Indian Wild Ass population has predicted that the figures may touch 5000 (a 25% increase from 2009). Majority of areas in LRK were declared as a sanctuary area by the Gujarat Government in 1973 and few areas from the Greater Rann of Kutch were also added to it in 1978. Apart from the wild asses, this region has various other mammals like Hyena, Desert Fox, Wild Boars, Nilgai and birds like the endangered Macqueen’s Bustards, variety of Falcons, Wheatears, Cranes, Flamingoes and Pelicans.How to reach1. Best way to reach LRK is from Ahmedabad. The roads are smooth and pretty straight forward. Same is the case with Thol Bird Sanctuary as well. Note that if referring Google Maps, DO NOT search for “Thol Bird Sanctuary”, instead search as “Thol Bird Sanctuary Rd” and follow the road till the end.Tips:1. Birding in LRK is not as easy as it looks. As the sun comes out, the environment becomes dusty and one needs to take care of the equipment.2. Most of the times, one will be birding from the Jeep / Vehicle itself in-order to avoid disturbing the bird. Hence a Monopod always helps as it takes less space. If you can manage hand held shots; nothing like it.3. For photography, keep a check on the exposure setting. It gets very bright in noon hence you may want to reduce the exposure a bit to get good details.4. Please do not litter and keep the place clean.Here are some of the key bird species sighted during our trip to LRK and Thol Bird Sanctuary (9th, 10th, 11th Jan 2015).At LRK:– Merlin (Record click)– Peregrine Falcon– Red-necked Falcon (Only sighting)– Short-eared Owl– Steppe Eagle– Eastern Imperial Eagle– Macqueen’s Bustard (Only sighting)– Spotted Redshank– Common Greenshank– White-tailed Lapwing– Lesser Flamingoes– Common Crane– Demosile Crane– Sarus Crane– Desert Wheatear– Mallard DuckAt Thol Bird Sanctuary:– Darter– Great White Pelican– Dalmatian Pelican (Record click)– Egyptian Vulture (Record click)– Bluethroat– Knob-billed DuckNote that we were total of 12 people and hence not everyone could see all the species we spotted and vice versa. We missed the following species which few others in our group sighted:– Booted Warbler [Thol]– Brahminy Starling [Thol]– Red-breasted Flycatcher [Thol]– Common Iora [Thol]This post was originally published on Whistling trails.
Sardar Sarovar Dam
I specially inform to tourists that this area is completely secured by army due to subject of national security.You allowed only visit permitted areas near dam. Before dam there is check post where you should compulsory take entry pass with registration. without entry pass army person never allowed you to take entry into dam view point. This is one way track where you only travel to single direction up to Narmada main canal road.During this circular trip you should keep pass with you till exit or ready to conflict with army persons. You will reached again on Gora Bridge via Kevadia Colony .
Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple
After that, we visited Nageshwar Jyothirling which were just ~30min distance. There we did Rudra Abhishek pooja. It was a very rejuvenating moment for me when I touched Jyothirling. In evening, we decided, instead of staying in Dwarka better would be to leave for Porbandar.
Lothal Harappan Period Archeological Site
If there were places that could question your notion about life, the ancient towns of Lothal and Dholavira are such places. Flourished and devastated with time, these cities are proof of uncharted power of time and unaltered hope of humanity.Born and raised by the very river that gave this country it’s name, these towns were part of much larger and developed civilization- The Harappa Civilization. And like every Harappan town, they too had surprisingly efficient urban planning schemes and infrastructure. They were connected by other cities through Indus river systems and had huge ports for transportation of marterials produced and manufactured here, wchich was indeed their source of income.But what made these places immortal was not the wealth or power they perceived, but the vision they had; for they had forseen themselves as far more mature society than rest of the world. These visions for the future made those people to construct a world that would learn, not fight; progress, not regress; to a world we see today- As the cities may have lost, the people may have gone, but their knoweldge and legacy continued, generation after generation, moulding the very history we come from.
Diu is a town in Diu area in the union region of Daman and Diu, India. The town and region were a historical part of the Saurashtra district of Gujarat and an imperative port on exchange courses of Arabian ocean of The Indian Ocean. The dialects talked in Diu incorporate Gujarati, Portuguese, English and Hindi. With no tall structures aside from the stronghold, Diu has a naturally low skyline. The closest railroad intersection is Veraval, which is 90 km from Diu. Real urban areas like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Dwarka and Thiruvananthapuram are specifically associated with Veraval Railway Station. Also a meter gage at Delwada is only 8 km from Diu. Every day, two trains interface Junagadh and Veraval to Delwada Railway Station. Diu is charming lasting through the year, making it an holiday destination one can visit at whatever time. However, peace is best experienced in the months in the middle of October and March.
Since we reached Navsari before 10 in the morning, we decided to head out to the famous Dandi beach in the morning. Dandi shot to fame in 1930, when Gandhiji decided to march from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to the Dandi village, a walk of about 400 Kms, in protest against the salt tax imposed by the Britishers, and in the process launched the civil disobedience movement. Today, the beach is largely forgotten outside of Gujarat, and its place is largely in history textbooks. The government has built a museum and a giant statue on the site where Gandhiji plucked a handful of saline mud and sea water, producing salt, in protest against the British monopoly on Salt production.
It is a beautiful bird and one of the best wetland sanctuaries in the whole country. It has a record of being a home to more than 250 varieties of birds especially during the winter season. The lake which serves as the main attraction here is perfect for boating too. Boats can be hired everyday from sunrise to sunset and a sail along the lake proves to be very relaxing. Nal Sarovar Sanctuary is about 65 kilometres west from Ahmedabad.Distance from Ahmadabad - 64 Km
Rudabai Stepwell Aka Adalaj Stepwell
Adalaj ki Vav is a stepwell which was built by a king for his queen some 500 years ago. To reach there, we walked back to Subhash bridge from Sabarmati Ashram and then took a shared auto upto Adalaj on Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway. Again we walked upto the step well which is around 5-600 mtrs of walk. The stepwell has a very interesting architecture. It goes upto 5 story deep and you can walk all the way to the lowest level, where it is all dark and the water smells, however the architecture is to be praised as it must have served as an awesome source to preserve water back in the era. After exploring Adalaj Step well for about two hours, and having breakfast, we then started for Akshardham Temple.
Back to recalling the eve of 31st. We were sorting out a way to celebrate the NYE! This time we were determined for it to be "Different", "Wilder", and more Wayfarerer! We had also showcased a special series on our fb page on "15 ways to celebrate New Year's Eve in Gujarat"! It is than when our most furious and out of head wayfarer Nikat and Shreyansh came up with the out of box, well i can say out of world idea of spending the New Year Eve at the Fort of Idar! Surprised? We were too! In fact I was Stumbled! But than.. We are Wayfarers! Craziness to banti hai Boss!