“The charm of Riding is that you feel each and every inch of path you cover”
I am a Software Engineer, Avid Traveler, Professional Blogger and fitness freak. I love to travel and visit the unexplored yet awesome places on my Royal Enfield Bike. I want to inspire people for traveling and make them realize that India is large and wonderful enough to accommodate all your travel itching bugs. Eventually I made my mind and left my daily routine mundane IT job to travel around the Incredible India.
Yes I am "The Crazy Rider" and I have deliberately done some crazy rides because you only remember the crazy rides and adventures you have done. When two roads diverge in a wood, I take the one less travelled by. And that is the sign of a True Wanderer.
So question aroused in front of me, from where to start?
I am settled in Vadodara, Gujarat and I had never done any tour of Gujarat. Gujarat is the state which has desert, forests, wildlife, mountains, and beaches. In fact it has everything. So I thought why not to show people the real beauty of Gujarat!
I wanted to do complete trip of Gujarat in minimal expenses because I wanted to show everyone that "Travel doesn't require money, it needs an urge!"
As you travel solo, being totally responsible for yourself, it’s inevitable that you will discover just how capable you are. I captured all the beautiful scenes and moments and completed the entire trip in less than 15K. I covered approx. 3000 kms and stayed at Temples and Gurudwaras. Sometime I stayed in the villages and sometime I had to put up a tent in No Man’s Land.
So I divided Gujarat into 3 regions. I started with South Gujarat, then rode towards Kutchh region and eventually ended my tour by covering entire Saurasthra region.
South Gujarat, The land of Forests
I started with Saputara, the only hill station of Gujarat.
It’s situated on the borders of Maharashtra and Gujarat. So if you are coming from Maharashtra, you will see a board stating “Welcome to Gujarat” & “Welcome to Saputara”. And also “Gujarat is Dry state(No sale of Liquor)” Lol. But I must say that the Western Ghats of Saputara makes it a perfect honeymoon destination.
Saputara is very well maintained and home for every adventure activities like Paragliding, Para Sailing etc. The Sunset and Sunrise points are awesome and a must seen places.
Being in Gujarat, you will find awesome roads without any doubt. And After crossing through dense Dangs forests and curved roads makes it real heaven for bikers, a blessing in disguise for true riders!
My next destination was the Sardar Sarovar Dam over Narmada, the most controversial project of Gujarat comes under Rajpipala district and the route to it passes through the forests and tribal areas of Gujarat. But don’t worry they are quite nice and I had a cup of tea with them. The area close to Narmada River is full of wildlife, dense forests and awesome landscapes.
Just before reaching the Sardar Sarovar Dam got a glimpse of dried Narmada River. Though Narmada River is always in full flow throughout the year, I had a thought that how much water might have been controlled by this dam.
After various security checks when I reached to Narmada Dam just one word came to my mind wow!
It’s a humungous architecture and you will clearly see how the electricity is been produced as well as water is provided to others parts of the Gujarat through different canals. The 600 kms far Kutchh district receives the Narmada water.
If you are lucky you can get a chance to view the back side of the dam though the entry is restricted and photography is strictly prohibited. You will see the dam being constructed between the mountains and around 3-4 rivers submerging from different directions into Narmada making it an awesome point.
Kutchh, the Desert and Barren land of Gujarat
There is a famous saying that “Kutchh nahi dekha toh kuch nahi dekha..!”
Let’s see how true this proverb is.
I started with LRK (Little Rann of Kutchh) which is the complete barren land of Gujarat. It is home to the rare Asiatic Wild Ass and other very rare migratory birds. The endless horizon with pinch of salt in it will keep you moving forever alone in the laps of nature. Check out my video while i was riding in the LRK,
After driving continuously for 27 kms without much sight of any human being or vegetation, I got to see VachhRaj Dada temple which is open 24*7 and serves food and tea throughout the day. Spent a quite beautiful time with shopkeepers outside the temple and they arranged a lovely bed for me and made sure that the cold should not hit me hard.
Sunset and Sunrise are the 2 mandatory things you should not miss when you are in LRK. Just imagine you are the only one in desert in the morning, the pale of Yellowish and Orange color sun coming out of the horizon and sunshine falling on your body, slowly giving you relief from the cold. Believe me, this wonderful feeling you won’t get anywhere else.
Similarly, during dawn the sun slowly getting disappear from you but the rays still reflecting into the sky making it a beautiful and extraordinary sight.
Life is an Adventure, Dare it!
After spending one day in LRK, my next destination was to explore the GRK (Great Rann of Kutchh) or the white desert. Generally people go to the Rann festival helds in Dhordo but this time I decided to enjoy the full moon alone in other unexplored places of GRK. If you see the map clearly you will find a village called Ravechi. Around 12 kms away from the village there is a Bhet Mata Temple on top of a small hill surrounded by a rare forest deep inside the White Desert. Trust me you won’t find anything whiter than the white desert present there. After seeking blessings of Bhet Mata, I decided to have some photoshoot of sunset. But unluckily after driving 4-5kms at the corners of white desert, my bike got stuck in the mud. Normally you will think that there might be a path but due to high rainfall this year, the top level of salt holds the water just beneath it. I used all my muscles and techniques to pull bike out of that patch but the bike was unmovable. With no sight of any human being, I had to put up a tent in lonely night of White desert. There was such a pin drop silence that you could even hear your heartbeat and breath. Somehow I managed to put up the tent and really survived by the 2 water bottles I took.
After spending adventurous night at desert I tried again pulling out my bike out of mud but didn’t succeed. With no food and water left, I had no choice but to walk 4-5 kms towards the Bhet Mata temple on top of the hill. Anyhow I reached there and luckily found one family who provided me food and water. Since pulling out the 200 kg bike out of mud wasn’t easy so I had to wait for some more people. Luckily in few minutes 2 men came to the temple. I narrated entire story and requested them to help me with pulling out the bike. Initially they were confused that how one can go deep inside that desert. But I convinced them and with their help I managed to pull out the bike. They got very excited to click some pictures with my bike.
Then I decided to have some photoshoot in the white desert. Have a good camera and I bet any pic in this unique area will give you some extraordinary pictures.
With the help of locals, i managed to shoot one video of Ravechi white desert
After exploring the unexplored Ravechi I decided to move towards Dholavira which is an archaeological site and older than Harappan Civilization. The route to Dholavira passes through 13 kms long stretch of White Desert. Driving at full throttle while viewing white desert on both the sides will give you an unimaginable feeling.
When you reach at the end of Dholavira you will see the white desert everywhere and you are not allowed to go further as area is sealed by BSF. This year due to heavy rainfall the entire desert was converted into sea. This area is famous for the Greater Flamingo bird. 80% flamingos from India can be found here.
That was the full moon day on 24th Jan, so I decided to enjoy it at the 13kms stretch that passes through the white desert. I met few other bikers as well who came here from Mumbai. They all were amazed after hearing about my journey so far. We did some photoshoot and enjoyed the moment when moon was all over straight in the sky and its moonlight falling on white salt was delight to watch.
After seeing enough of deserts, now it was time to move towards Bhuj, the main city of Kutchh district. Bhuj is famous for its palaces and Dabheli (Snacks). But my famous place was the Bhujanga temple on top of a hill surrounded by a fort. From top you can have a complete view of Bhuj city.
Just 60 kms from Bhuj is one of the finest beaches of India called Mandvi which is a real delight for all the photographers.
After spending a lovely evening at Mandvi Beach, I decided to visit the famous Vijay Vilas Palace where most of the Bollywood films like Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam were shot.
The palace is surrounded by forests and very near to the Arabian Sea. There are total 7 private beaches that belong to this Maharaja.
Now it’s time to move towards the border of Gujarat and also the border of Western India. I met one of the Kutchh guy, LiyakatAli who has a farm field in Naliya. Naliya is an Airforce base. In that farm field there was a small room to take a nap. Since it was too cold and dry woods were in abundant, so we decided to have some lovely bonfire.
There is a place called Koteshwar which is also called Harami Nalah just because of regular Pakistani infiltration. In spite of this the Shiva temple on the shores of Arabian Sea is a real blessing!
In the evening I decided to move towards Lakhpat, the last town of Gujarat and Western India. It’s surrounded by a 7 kms long fort just besides the Arabian Sea.
I stayed at the house of LiyakatAli and the family fed me lovely muslim biryani. The morning of Lakhpat is what people have to see. I got chance to click some beautiful snaps.
There is a Gurudwara in Lakhpat which is open for every traveler and one can live and eat for free there.
Riding in Western Kutchh is really mesmerizing because the roads have lots of ups and down which keeps your adrenaline moving. Also be aware to fill up your tanks because there are very less petrol pumps in Kutchh district.
While you are in Kutchh you will encounter lot of sheep blocking your way but their discipline will make you wait for it.
“When you are on a journey, you are destined to meet so many wonderful people!”
And while in Kutchh one thing I got to know that “Real India lies in Villages!”
Finally Saurasthra, the land of Jadejas and beaches!
I decided to start with the home and territory of Asiatic Lions in Sasan Gir near Junagadh City. I was always fond of seeing this fearless animal, the king of Jungle. You have to take an online permit and book a jeep for safari but still it’s not guaranteed whether you are going to see lions or not. It totally depends on the luck. I went in the 9-12 shifts and luckily saw the complete family of 8-9 Lions. It seemed that they were actually waiting for me (Lol). There is a saying in Hindi, “Jungle ka sannata sher ki maujoodgi ko bayan karta hai..!” And that was true.
Do you wann see the complete Lion Family, Check out this video,
There is a 17 kms path which passes through the Gir Forest and is open for local public. I enjoyed the republic day by driving in the dense forest with deers here and there. I spent my night near Gir Forest at one of the local’s place. He provided me a tent and while having a conversation with him he told me that the Lions usually come in night to drink water and you can sometime hear their roar as well. I asked him, Is it safe to stay in the tent and wouldn’t lion attack me? He said, lions don’t attack until unless we are doing something to them. He is a king and should be respected as a king. But the feeling of staying near Jungle in pin drop silence was an unforgettable moment.
Next day I decided to spend some quality time with the tribal and villagers living near to the forests. They welcomed me with open hands. The cows of Gir are best in world because of milk quality as they eat everything growing in the forest. They gave me milk to drink and believe me the milk was awesome. I wondered that till now we were only drinking processed milk which was nothing but the sugar water coming in packets. The tea made from that milk was extraordinary and I drank 3 cups of tea in Pyaali.
Later I got a chance to take bath in the “Pani Ka Kunda” which is used for irrigation. That was like a small swimming pool for children (Lol)
After great Himalayas, if there was any mountain that always excited me was Mount Girnar which is believed to be older than mighty Himalayas! You have to climb 10000 steps (you got me right it’s ten thousand) to seek the blessings of Lord Dattatreya. With an uphill task to go 10k steps up and 10k steps down, with some breathtaking and spectacular views of entire mountain range and Junagadh city, this is for all the adventure seekers, photographers and travelers to compensate all your itching bugs! And for wild life adventurers, come down late in the night to have some glimpse of Lions, Leopards and other wildlife creatures around forest area of Mount Girnar.
After exploring the entire Junagadh region, my next task was to explore the unseen coastal area of Gujarat. I moved towards Jamnagar, the city of Jadejas. I stayed at one of my friend Mr Mustak Mepani’s hotel called Hotel President who guided and motivated me from the start of my tour. I decided to explore the Pirotan Island, The only marine national park in India where you can do the coral walk and see the creatures like fishes, crabs, octopus, stars, jellies etc. and hold them in your hand. You have to go during high tide in a boat to Pirotan Island and come back during high tide and in between do the coral walk of around 6 kms. One of the unique places in India and mostly recommended!
When I reached temple which is on the sea shores, I was enchanted by its surrounding beauty. Just beside it is the restricted area of Marine department and here also you can do the coral walk.
Just imagine the crystal clear quite sea with full of small islands, boats, birds and mountains. This place is recommended for those who want peace and wanna get lost in the nature.
The temple has arrangements for any traveler and they can provide you food as well. The Pujari made lovely tea for me on Chulha and it was a great time in that temple
Always heard about a small island called Bet Dwarka. So without thinking much I decided to visit this Island where Shri Krishna is believed to be lived with his 16,000 Girlfriends. To visit Bet Dwarka you need to take a ferry from Okha Port. I also had to take my bike in that island so with help of some locals put my 200 kg bull into the boat. I was getting feeling that I am on a mission (Lol)
Then I drove my bull and visited each and every corner of the island. I stayed at Gurudwara which provided free shelter and food. But what I liked most is the Dunny Point. Come here to see the most clear and beautiful beach of India. This is a long tail of land where on one side you will witness the high waves and on other side the very calm and crystal clear blue water. With no electricity and negligible crowd, come here in this untouched part of India to get lost in the nature.
After an eventful day in Bet Dwarka I moved towards the Krishna Nagari Dwarka to see the Dwarkadhish temple. Beautifully constructed temple and make sure not to miss the wonderful Aarti. Mr. Jaydeep Pujari made nice arrangements for me and I enjoyed delicious Gujarat Thali at his house.
There is one thing which you should not miss is the big rock caves visible during the low tides. When water recedes the rock caves of different structures will mesmerize you. Sit there and relax for few hours and come back before the high tide. There is lot to see, explore and enjoy if you dive deeper.
Sunset point is a must visit in Dwarka. Take your DSLR and you will have some beautiful snaps.
After seeking blessings of Shri Krishna Ji, I started my journey towards Somnath temple which is one of the famous Shiva Jyotirlingas in India. While enroute to Somnath I found one patch of Coastal ride just before Madhavpur Khed. Just imagine while you are driving, the Arabian Sea is also following you which is simply an awesome feeling.
And after Madhavpur you will start seeing coconut trees here and there and sometimes you will cross through dense Banyan trees creating a beautiful scene.
Somnath temple is constructed on the coastal line of Arabian Sea. People from all over India come here to seek blessings of Lord Shiva. With the chants of Har Har Mahadev, Don't miss out the wonderful Aarti because the Aarti is so mesmerizing that it would generate a lot of positive energy which you could ever get from anything else!
After seeking blessings of Lord Shiva, I rode towards Diu which is 90 kms away. This place is a Blessing in disguise for people who don't get a place to drink in the dry state of Gujarat. Perfectly managed National Territory with some spectacular views and awesome roads makes it the Goa of Gujarat!
After having some Goa like feeling in Diu, I decided to explore the last place of my tour. Velavadar Black Buck Sanctuary.
Velavadar is a small village in Bhavnagar district and for stay there is a government guest house but unluckily that was totally occupied. Then I enquired in Black Buck Resort nearby and per night cost was 13K. What the hell expensive it is! Totally out of my budget. Then I went inside the village and asked one family to provide me shelter and food. They accepted my request and immediately made dinner and arranged bed for me. Kids from all over the village came to see me and my bullet. Everyone gave me a celebrity like feeling. I took lot of photos with kids and they too enjoyed pics on my bike.
Then in the morning I went to explore the home of maximum Black Bucks in India including some NilGais as well. If you are lucky, you may spot some Wolves and Hyenas. The interesting thing about black buck is that it can clock speed of around 70kmph, 2nd best after Cheetahs (80kmph). This is the same animal that placed Salman Khan behind the bars. Never the less come here to witness black bucks hiding and running in the long stretch of beautiful yellow grass!
During my expedition in Gujarat, I observed one thing is the development. Awesome roads, connectivity to every place and strong communication network made my journey simpler and enjoyable. Most parts of the Gujarat consist of barren land yet it doesn't depend on others for electricity. One state which clearly knows how to efficiently use its natural resources! I feel proud to be living in such a state.
I wasn’t just travelling; In fact I was connecting with people, the people of Gujarat!
Thank you for reading! Please VOTE for me by going to this link http://wrangler-ap.com/in/truewanderer/entry/3596-The-Crazy-Rider,-On-a-Journey-that-never-Ends! if you believe I did justice in portraying the beauty of Gujarat!, “Aapnu Gujarat”.
Kuch din toh Gujariye Gujarat me…!