Driving through the Coastal cities of Gujarat!

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Photo of Driving through the Coastal cities of Gujarat! by Tulika Todi

We took a 3 days 2 nights trip to the southern coast of Gujarat from Ahmedabad, covering Dwarka, Somnath, Diu and Gir National Park. The route taken by us was: Ahmedabad- Dwarka- Porbandar- Somnath- Diu- Gir National Park- Ahmedabad- Dakorji- Ahmedabad (Total Run 1780 kms)

Day 1

The roads of Gujarat are very smooth and well maintained even around the rural area. I would recommend leaving Ahmedabad really early to beat the traffic. We started around 3:30 A.M in the morning and reached around 11:15 A.M., with a stop at Honest Restaurant enroute. Almost a 440 kms later, we reached Dwarka, the city of Lord Krishna. (read more about Dwarka here)

Photo of Dwarka, Gujarat, India by Tulika Todi
Day 2
Photo of Porbandar, Gujarat, India by Tulika Todi
Photo of Porbandar, Gujarat, India by Tulika Todi

We left Dwarka at about 11:30 A.M. and drove towards Somnath. We visited few other places enroute. Our first stop was at Harshada Mata mandir, followed by Mool Dwarka.

We took a short detour to Porbandar, the birth place of Sudama (Shri Krishna’s friend) and Mahatma Gandhi. We visited Sudama Mandir (birth place of Sudama) and Kirti Mandir. Kirti Mandir was built as a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, adjacent to his ancestral house where he was born. It had a museum displaying Gandhiji's stuff and a library. The walls were adorned with old photographs of his life's timeline. It was an educational trip as it took us through a lot of major events in the history of India.

We stopped by the beach on the outskirts of Porbandar, and had our packed lunch there. There were camels and horses adorned in all possible colours and some hawkers selling coconut water and pearls. It was a perfect lunch with the sea breeze and spectacular views.

Once you cross Porbandar a long stretch of road goes surrounded with cultivated fields and coconut farms. Do carry snacks and water along. Some part of the road was under construction thus inconvenience followed. After a long stretch we came across many small villages, one of which (Chorwad) boasts as Dhirubhai Ambani’s native place. We crossed Chorwad to reach a small village (missed the name) where we found plentiful coconut water. Don’t miss out on having a few as its refreshing, tasty and does help in beating the heat of the Saurashtra region.

Somnath is a small coastal town which thrives mostly on fishery and tourism. A peculiar smell follows you everywhere across the town. The town is very famous for the first of the twelve Jyotirlings of Lord Shiva, which goes by the same name. Read more about our day at Somnath here.

Photo of Somnath, Gujarat, India by Tulika Todi
Photo of Somnath, Gujarat, India by Tulika Todi
Day 3

We started our day early as we had only a half day to explore Diu. We left Somnath around 6 AM and reached Diu around 8-8:30.

All tourist cars are checked before entering Diu. This is primarily to stop anything illegal from entering the place. They have a rule that a tourist vehicle can carry only 6+1 people. Now this is the thing about Diu. You would see cleanliness every. The roads are in a very good condition which definitely adds to the scenic beauty of the place. Carry some snacks with you as you wouldn’t find a lot of options in Diu this early in the morning.

Nagoa Beach: The beach was pristine and the cleanliness took us by surprise. We had almost the entire place to ourselves. There were a few hawkers selling coconut water and tea. Beach and the sea, as always, was very calming and relaxing. We moved out as it started getting hot and crowded.

Photo of Diu, Daman and Diu, India by Tulika Todi
Photo of Diu, Daman and Diu, India by Tulika Todi

Naida Caves: These caves have big network of tunnels with abruptly ending square steps. These caves were formed due to geological irregularities and natural processes over time. It’s a short and easy trip in and out and would take about 30 mins to complete. The caves also have natural opening allowing the sunlight in, making the place very photogenic.

Photo of Driving through the Coastal cities of Gujarat! by Tulika Todi
Photo of Driving through the Coastal cities of Gujarat! by Tulika Todi

Gangeshwar Mahadev Temple: The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is known to be built by the Pandavas during their exile. The five Lingas are placed in the order of big to small, the biggest being worshipped by Yudhishtir (the eldest) and so on. The Shivlingas are so placed, that the waves from the sea continuously wash them. The setting of Temple is picturesque and the peaceful surroundings with just the sound of the waves leaves you mesmerised.

Diu Fort: Fort Diu was built by the Portuguese during their colonization and it still stand tall, though ruined, overlooking the Arabian Sea. The lighthouse is the highest point on the fort and the views from atop a worth all the efforts.

St. Paul Church: The church was built by the Portuguese and is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. The church is built in the Baroque style of architecture and presents a beautiful and artistic view. The church, completely white on the exteriors has a contrast and equally beautiful yet simple interiors. The altar, which has an idol of Mother Mary, is intricately carved out of a single piece of Burmese Teak and is lined with 101 candles. The delicately carved woodwork is one of its kind and among the best of all the churches in India.

Photo of Driving through the Coastal cities of Gujarat! by Tulika Todi
Photo of Driving through the Coastal cities of Gujarat! by Tulika Todi
Photo of Driving through the Coastal cities of Gujarat! by Tulika Todi
Photo of Driving through the Coastal cities of Gujarat! by Tulika Todi
Photo of Driving through the Coastal cities of Gujarat! by Tulika Todi

Diu is a little, laid back town with the friendliest of people. The beauty, spectacular views, its serenity and architecture, is sure to have your heart. The entire town is dotted with the cutest Portuguese style houses in vibrant colours which still presents you the classic Portuguese way of life, all these centuries later.

Half a day is too less to soak in the vibe of Diu yet it gives you an insight of the place. We then moved to the last leg of our trip to the South of Gujarat, Gir National Park.

Located about 70 kms from Somnath, Gir National Park is the only place in India which the Asiatic Lions call their home. There are various safaris organised by the Park to spot Lions, Leopards, Deers, Black Buck and other such animals roaming freely in the wild. They also have developed Devaliya Safari Park also know as the Gir Interpretation Zone to cater to tourists who could not spare a lot of time for long stretched safaris and also to increase their chances to view the wild animals. It’s a short safari for about 30 mins and gives you a good overview of the park as a whole. The workers there, guarantees spotting the lions on this trip (though its not mentioned anywhere by the authorities) and we have heard very good reviews of the same. Remember to pre book the safaris atleast a week prior through their site. Devaliya Safari Park doesn’t require pre booking. Also remember, that the Devaliya Safari Park stays closed on Wednesdays. The timings of the park are 9AM to 11AM and 3PM to 5 PM. (true as on March 2018).

Do stop by Gir, on your way back from Somnath, a couple of hours would be enough to view The Majestic Home of the Royal King..!!

Day 4

We reached Ahmedabad almost past midnight. The next day we visited Dakor which is about 84 kms from Ahmedabad. It is said that the pilgrimage to Dwarka would only be complete on visiting Dakor. They say that the idol of Lord Krishna at Dwarka, is not the original one. A devotee of Lord Krishna stayed at Dakor and thus got the idol here with him and constructed a temple here.

Dakorji would take just half your day from Ahmedabad and back.

Thus, concluded our wonderful trip to the Coastal cities of Gujarat. We had some beautiful experiences, saw some amazing places and spectacular views, witnessed the nature in all its splendour, amazed ourselves with all the legends and local stories and built a lot of memories.

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