Trip to Gujarat

2nd Feb 2019


Photo of Trip to Gujarat by Devashree Ashara
Day 1
Photo of Shalimar Station, Kazipada, Shalimar, Howrah, West Bengal, India by Devashree Ashara

It’s been many years since I last went on a really long train journey by three-tier sleeper, accompanied by a bunch of Gujarati boys and girls and two escorts . The journey: Shalimar to Ahmedabad and back to Kolkata , was all planned and organised by the Gujarati Samajh of Kolkata.

Boarding from Shalimar. Since we boarded late at night, many of us unpacked their sheets and blankets and went to sleep ; while some of us ganged up for playing cards and antakshari .

Photo of Shalimar STATION, Ticket Counter Road, Kazipada, Shalimar, Howrah, West Bengal, India by Devashree Ashara
Day 2

Somewhere near Bilaspur we had the first dose of tea to gear up ourselves from the first sleepless night of the trip. Late in the afternoon we had lunch and took a short nap. As the day was getting darker all we did was eat, play and repeat. After many fevered rounds of cards, we went to sleep and woke up the next day in Gujarat.

Day 3
Photo of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara
Photo of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Reaching Ahmedabad . Around 10 a.m we reached Ahmedabad . Ananth Bhavsar our tour guide of the trip was waiting for us at the station. Ananth bhai welcomed us and then directed us to the bus in the parking lot. As we were stepping out of the station everyone’s eyes were filled with pride and the reason behind it was the Indian flag flying high in the sky.Dumping our luggage in the bus we all took our seats and waited to reach Hotel Silver Height . Our hotel was approx 25 minutes far from the station. Meanwhile our tour guide gave us a brief description about Ahmedabad.

Photo of Hotel Silver Heights, Mithakhali Circle, Mithakhali, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Check-in our rooms we got an hour to get ready and meet near the bus.

Photo of HOTEL FORTUNE ELITE, Amboli, Jogeshwari West, ANDHERI west, Maharashtra, India by Devashree Ashara

Within next 20 minutes we reached Fortune Hotel, here we had a short formal meeting with the tourism ministry of gujarat followed with lunch. Everyone was gifted a box wrapped in a colourful paper and a beautiful bag .we had pleasure to sit with them and know about the various experience of life. Later,the same day we taken to meet the honourable Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani, who personally interacted with everyone. On behalf of everyone i presented one of my painting as a momentum to the honourable minister. It was honour to be present under the same roof with such a respected politician of India.

Photo of hathee singh jain temple, Manipur, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

In the evening, we were taken to see a historical Jain temple – Hathee Singh Jain temple. Our tour guide cum advisor told us the history of the temple. We learnt that it was constructed in the year 1850 AD. It has been named after its founder Seth Hathee Singh, a prosperous Jain merchant death at the age of 49. His third wife Shethani Harkunwar took the task in her hands and supervised the construction of the temple. Hathee Singh Jain temple of Ahmedabad was built in the dedication of the 15th Jain Trithanakara named Dharmnath. Construction of the famed temple was completed at a huge cost of 8 lakh rupees which was considered to be a huge sum during that time.

Photo of Riverfront Road, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Late in the evening we went to see the Sabarmati RiverFront. It’s construction began in 2005. Since 2012, the waterfront is gradually opened to public . The Narmada Canal, which crosses Sabarmati a few kilometres upstream from the city, is part of a larger canal network of Sardar Sarovar Dam. The canal can feed excess water to the river and maintains the level of water in the river.

Day 4
Photo of Sabarmati Ashram, Ashram Road, Hridaya Kunj, Old Wadaj, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Sabarmati Ashram – Here we got brilliant view of river front and took lots of beautiful pictures .This place is filled with history in every nook and corner. Father of nation Mahatma Gandhi has worked here along with other legends. The photographs and paintings bring the vivid picture of freedom struggle and the message of tackling political people.

Photo of Amul Dairy Farm, Natvar Road, Gayatri Nagar, Upleta, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Amul Dairy Farm - Anand Milk Union Limited or Amul is an Indian dairy company, based at Anand. Today it produce 3.6 million milk per day. Reaching the factory we were guided by an employee of the factory. She guided us through the tour of the factory ,also told us about the history of the factory and explained how different machines works . Amul Dairy Farm at Anand which was established by Tribhuvandas Patel under the guidance of Sardar Patel. He later appointed Dr. Verghese Kurien to help with the mission of white revolution. Currently Amul is one of the leading dairy products company of India which serves a wide range of dairy products including milk, butter , cheese , cottage cheese , etc.

Photo of Amul Chocolate And Sweet House, Amul Dairy Road, Popati Nagar, Anand, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Amul Chocolate Factory –here we all saw the stages of chocolate production, right from the beginning of steps to packaging. Learn about the interesting facts of chocolate from your guide. Got an opportunity to click amazing pictures to cherish the lifetime memories. After around an hour tour, we get to our initial point near the bus with small momenton of chocolates given to us on behave of the factory.

Photo of Tent City Narmada, Kevadia, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

As the day was passing by our journey towards narmada tent city was coming to an end. Reaching Narmada tent city all of us were very much excited to stay in tents as for some of us it was the first experience of staying in tents.

Photo of Statue of Unity, Kevadia, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Lazor show at Statue of Unity - At the Statue of Unity near Narmada dam we saw laser show which used 51 high resolution projectors fixed at a distance of 600 meters to do the around 30 minute long colourful and enthralling light and sound show depicting the life and times of the Iron-man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel using his 182 meter tall enormous monument as the screen. We had a wonderful experience and our heart was filled with pride knowing about the history of India.

Day 5
Photo of Statue of Unity, Kevadia, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Sunrise at kevadia tent city- Statue of Unity

Photo of Statue of Unity, Kevadia, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Statue of Unity-Site Entry Opens at 09:00 AM and Closes at 05:00 PM. The statue is divided into five zones of which only three are accessible to the public. From its base to the level of Patel's shins is the first zone which has three levels and includes an exhibition area, mezzanine and roof. Zone 1 contains a memorial garden and a museum. The second zone reaches up to Patel's thighs at 149 metres, while the third extends up to the viewing gallery at 153 metres. Zone 4 is the maintenance area while the final zone comprises the head and shoulders of the statue.

Photo of Statue of Unity, Kevadia, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

The museum in zone 1 catalogues the life of Sardar Patel and his contributions. An adjoining audio-visual gallery provides a 15 minute presentation on Patel and also describes the tribal culture of the state. The concrete towers which form the statue's legs contain two elevators each. Each lift can carry 26 people at a time to the viewing gallery in just over 30 seconds. The gallery is located at a height of 153 metres and can hold up to 200 people.

Photo of Valley of Flowers (ફ્લાવર વેલી), Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Flower Valley -The Valley of Flowers project contains over 100 variety of flowers like Garmado, Champo ,Khakhro, ,shrubs like Galtora ,Tecoma ,Boganveliya and colourful grasses, all seasons flowers like Marigold, Calendula, Sunflower, Vinca and many more. Everyone took lots of photographs. We had a nice time .

we reached our tents ,packed our bags ,had our last lunch in the tent city and prepared ourselves for the next destination which was Lukshmi Villas Palace, Baroda.

Photo of Lukshmi Villas Palace, Moti Baug, Vadodara, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Lukshmi Villas Palace –It was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890. Major Charles Mant was the architect. The palace is open to the public and an audio tour is available. Everyone was handed an audio tour guide and we were told to follow the audio guide along with the marked spots in the palace. It took us almost an hour to finish the site. By the time the touring was ended in the palace, we were so engaged in the beauty around us that no was bothered of the time.

Photo of Baroda, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

The day ended by checking in Revival Inn ,Baroda .late at night we ganged up and discuss our experience with each other . some of us did not sleep that night because we were suppose to wake up at 4a.m for our journey to Sasan Gir.

Photo of Baroda, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara
Day 6

We settled down in the bus around 4:30 and our journey to Sasan Gir beginned. On our way we took a hault at virpur, a district of Rajkot , popularly know for the birthplace of saint Jalaram. We visited the temple and a small art gallery near the temple.

Photo of Lion Park Hotel And Resort, Mendarda - Sasan Gir Rd, Jalondar, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Late in the evening we reached Sasan Gir werewe checked in , in Lion Park hotel and Resort. The resort was huge .It had a beautiful wall with lion claws incraved in it. It also had a huge dinning area, dj room ,playroom ,swimming pool ,and a beautiful gardern were we spent our night playing passing the pillow around the bornfire.

Day 7
Photo of Gir National Park, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Everyone was exicted for the next day jeep safari at Sasan Gir. We got ready around 4:30 a.m and reached the Sasan Gir registor office for the permit.

Photo of Sasan Gir, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Jeep Safari atGir -It was 5 degree when we entered the forest. This day was one of the biggest day of our trip. 5 jeeps were alotted to us .Each jeep had 6-7 person . Gir is the only natural habitat of world popular Asiatic Lions. Gir is inhabitat by 411 Asiatic lions ,300 lepoards ,variety of birds and about 40 species of reptiles and amphibians. We were lucky to spot a few deers, lioness, leopards and birds.

Photo of Gir Interpretation Zone, Safari Road, Sandhbeda, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Gir Interpretation Zone - At a distance of approximately 12km towards the west of Sasan Gir village at Devalia, rests the Gir Interpretation Zone, better known as Devalia. Gir Interpretation Zone is basically a fenced- off compound that acts as the home to good cross-section of Gir wildlife. Here we saw many lioness , lepoards and different birds.

After having lunch at Lion park hotel and resort we headed towards Somnath.

Photo of Somnath, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Somnath – Reaching somnath firstly we went to Gita Mandir, then Trivanisangam and then to the main Somnath Mandir. It is believed to be the first among the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. The principal temple of Somnath is believed to have been built in gold by the moon god Soma, in silver by the sun god Ravi, in wood by Krishna and in stone by the Solanki Rajputs in the 11th century. The present temple, built in 1951, is the seventh reconstruction on the original site. Through a side door the sea is visible shimmering in the sunlight.

Later that day we visited the Sudama Temple in the beautiful town of Porbandar where Gandhiji was born and brought up. The Sudama temple is devoted to Sudama , who was the childhood friend of Krishna. Located at the centre of Porbandar.

we headed towards Dwarka were we stayed at Govardhan Hotel.

Day 8
Photo of Beyt Dwarka, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Bet Dwarka – early morning we all sailed to the island of beyt dwarka. Bet Dwarka or Shankhodhar is an inhabited island at mouth of Gulf of Kutch situated 3 km off the coast of Okha, Beyt Dwarka as the original abode of Lord Krishna. There is a story where Lord Krishna's friend Sudama presented him with rice and so the tradition is continued by the visitors who present the Brahmins here with donations of rice. Everyone took Prasad and sailed back for the main Dwarka maindir.

Photo of Nageshwar Jyotirling, Daarukavanam, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Nageshwar jyotirlinga - Short vist to the temple were we came to know the history of the temple. A narrative in the Shiva Purana about the Nageshvara Jyotirlinga tells of a demon named Daaruka, who attacked a Shiva devotee named Supriya and imprisoned him along with many others in his city of Darukavana, a city under the sea inhabited by seasnakes and demons. At the urgent exhortations of Supriya, the prisoners started to chant the holy mantra of Shiva and immediately thereafter the Lord Shiva appeared and the demon was vanquished,[8] later residing there in the form of a Jyotirlinga.

Photo of Dwarka, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Dwarka - Dwarka, the mesmerizing kingdom of Lord Krishna. Lord came to Dwarka from Mathura to build his new kingdom where he would later spend a significant part of his life. Located at the western tip of the Saurashtra peninsula, this town enjoys remarkable importance in Hindu loret is believed that immediately after the death of Lord Krishna and the consequent demise of the Yadav dynasty a massive flood swallowed all of Dwarka and submerged the city of gold to the bottom of the ocean. We were lucky to witness the change of the fakt during the evening which was a surreal experience. People climbed till the top of the temple to change the flat and come back down without any harness or support.

Photo of Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Later we visited the Bhadkeshwar Mahadev temple which is located to the west of Dwarka.

Photo of Hotel Jai Residency, Lilashah Nagar, Gandhidham, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

we travelled to Gandhidham and checked in Jai Residency.

Day 9
Photo of Trip to Gujarat by Devashree Ashara

Early morning we left for Kutch. On our way guide made us taste the special sweet dish of Kutch known as Mawa . this Mawa is made up of fresh milk of the cows founded in kutch.

Photo of Kutch Museum, Ghanshyam Nagar, Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Kutch Museum – It is in Bhuj, and is the oldest museum of Gujarat. It is located opposite Hamirsar Lake in Bhuj, Kutch. We saw coins, weapons, dresses etc to have a fare understanding of history for Kutch. Italso highlighted the culture and tradition the Kutchhis in the most organic way. The handiwork, to how the people live and the work they do, everything was portrayed through life size pictures and vivid maps and writings.

Day 10
Photo of Shree Swaminarayan Temple Bhuj (Bhuj Mandir), Bhuj, Kutch, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Swaminarayan Temple - An earthquake on 2001 shattered most parts of the city of Bhuj, including the original Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Bhuj built by Swaminarayan in 1824. To replace this, the new temple is built of only marble and gold. The original central deity images of Nar Narayan and Swaminarayan in the form of Hari Krishna were moved from the old temple to the new one along with those of Radha Krishna, Swaminarayan in the form of Ghanshyam and Sukh Shaiya.

Photo of Shree Swaminarayan Temple Bhuj (Bhuj Mandir), Bhuj, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Further we headed to the Kutch we stayed at the Dhordo Tent City. Our bus stopped infront of a huge gate .The manager welcomed us with a hat and handmade rose. We were allotted our Tents so we could keep our luggage and then headed to the white rann for seeing the sunset.

Photo of Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Devashree Ashara

Sunset at White Rann of Kutch - Nothing beats a sunset and that too at the endless desert of White Rann. While basking in the beautiful sunset the only thought that grazed my mind was this, right one of the “Real” 7 wonders of the world . the White Rann, an endless stretch of white that goes all the way from Gujarat’s Kutch district to Pakistan’s Sindh.

Day 11
Photo of Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Devashree Ashara

Our experience of Rann of Kutch was made even memorable by our stay in the tents of White Rann City. Not only the sunset but also the sunrise at the White Rann gazed our mined.

As the day started everyone was happy as we were allowed to do shopping at the local market of Bhuj. I buied sweets such as Gulab pak and khajur pak for my family and brought some cloth pieces which had the famous kutchie work in it.

Photo of Bhavna Resort & Farm, Patdi, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Our day ended by reaching Bhavna Bhavan .

Day 12
Photo of Bajana, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Early moring everyone got ready as we all knew abut the Jeeo safari to the wetlands.

Bajana Wetlands - the area is known as the Little Rann of Kutch. It consists of country’s largest wildlife reserves, the Wild Ass Sanctuary, where the topography varies from large marshlands to brown-grey patches of soil with a few small thorny shrubs. Flamingos and demoiselle cranes can usually be spotted in hundreds at some water bodies. The Indian wild ass and white-footed fox can be sighted on vast areas of golden ground. We had a great experience of seeing wild ass and flamingos from a distance.

Photo of Indo - Pak Border Road, Gujarat, India by Devashree Ashara

Later that day we went to Indo Pak Border were we interacted with the BSF (border security force). they showed us arsenals and weapons. We reached the boarder just before the time of sunsent. At the border we came to know how hard BSF works to protect our country for our enemies.

Filling our hearts with pride we started our journey back to Ahmedabad since we had to board on Kolkata Express Next morning.

Day 13

Around 5am we reached ahmedabad staion . Our tour guide who was all the with us in the trip, came to see us off . Boarding on the train everyone was so tired that we hurriedly had our breakfast and took a long nap. Rest of the train journey was spent playing eating and remembering the moments of out trip.

Day 15

We reached Kolkata Station around 3:30 pm .

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