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Old 14th June 2011, 17:48   #1
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Default 1 day trip to North Gujarat

Summers are a tough time in Ahmedabad what with the hot climate and the high temperatures. Obviously it is also not the right time to hit the highway. So I had not taken to the wheels for quite some time now. But now my patience was waning and I badly wanted to take my beauty out for a drive. The hitch – the still high temperature (including humidity) and my 2 yr old son. After some deliberation and cajoling, my wife agreed for a 1-day drive. Now that was a difficult condition. Weekend getaways are very few around Ahmedabad during this time of the year. But not
one to give up, I chalked out our itinerary – Ahmedabad - Modhera Sun temple - Patan - Taranga Hills and back. We had been to Modhera few years ago but the other two were new destinations.

So here we were, ready on Sunday morning, all set to go with wife, son and a couple-friend for company. We started at 8.00 am and our first destination was Modhera (103 km). The 75 odd km from Ahmedabad to Mehesana is a great pleasure to drive through – wide smooth road. The only hitch is the traffic and the many small towns that come enroute where you have people crossing the highway from all directions. But since it was morning hours on a Sunday, the traffic was relatively smooth. From Mehesana, we turned left to go to Modhera. The first couple of km on this stretch was quite bad due to some work going on. But then it was fine. The road, though narrow, was smooth and in good condition. Traffic too was thin.

We reached Modhera Sun Temple at 9.30 am and after parking, first went to the small cafeteria to fill up on some breakfast of poha, batata wada and methi gota. Also had tea which was amazingly superb. With our tanks (read tummy) full, we went to checkout the temple.

The Modhera Sun temple is a marvelous place though much of it is in a bad shape. The best time to visit it is early morning when the sun is just beginning to start shining bright. There is a huge pond called the Surya Kund, that has 108 small shrines built along its side walls. The stone stairs leading to the bottom is constructed in an interesting zig zag manner. Then there is the Sabha Mandap and the Sanctum Sanctorum. Both these have well engraved pillars, ceilings and walls that depict various scenes from the hindu mythology. Over to the pictures.

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We left Modhera at 11.00 am and headed for our next destination – Patan. We moved further up from Modhera and turned right after the Narmada canal crossing and moved towards Chanasma. From the circle near Chanasma bus depot we had to go straight towards Patan as shown in Wikimapia. But fate had something else in store and I took a wrong left turn and moved towards Kharij!!! Can you beat that??? The road was
excellent and the drive was smooth. We were having a good time and I was blissfully unaware of my folly until quite late. Some distance from Chanasma enroute to Patan comes a lake called Ruppar Talav (talav is lake in gujarati) and since we were headed in the wrong direction, this lake never came up. That was when I first felt that something was wrong. Still we kept on for some time and then decided to seek help. We asked a small shop keeper the way to Patan and he pointed straight ahead on
the same road that we came. Ofcourse he was right. For him the route to Patan was via Kharij though for us that was the wrong route. Finally, we reached Kharij and then turned right towards Patan. Thank fully now we came across milestones very frequently thus helping us stay on track. Incidentally it was then that we realized that there was not a single milestone on the Chanasma-Kharij stretch. But the roads were simply marvelous and though we ended up driving almost 100 km instead of just
30 km, the drive was a heavenly experience. Here are some for the roads.

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Finally we entered Patan from the western side around 12.45 pm. Ran ki Vav or Rani ki Vav, the famous stepwell of Patan is situated on the western outskirts of the city and so we could make it easily without having to enter the town. The Vav is a beautiful structure with lots of stone carvings and pillars in it. Since it was also constructed during the time of the Rajput rulers who built the Modhera Sun Temple, there was lot of resemblance in the stone works at both the places. There was a huge
park around the Vav and it would make a good spot for a family evening outing with kids in tow… but we were there in the afternoon when the blazing summer sun was at its best. Humidity was tremendous and we were all perspiring profusely sipping from our water bottles every now and then. The only worry my wife had was about our son but seeing him enjoying himself was a big relief for her. Beta kiska hai.

Much of Ran ki Vav is now in ruins. Infact the entire structure lay buried for centuries. It was only after independence that the place was excavated and restored to whatever shape it is in today. Unfortunately visitors are not allowed to go down beyond a point. Also the well lay dry (as can be seen from the top). In comparison, I feel the Adalaj ni Vav on the outskirts of Ahmedabad is in a much better condition. After Ran ki Vav we also had a quick dash to the Sahasralink talav which is supposed to have had 1 lakh Shivlingas at one point of time..

It was now 2.00 pm and my entire entourage was running on their last ounce of battery power. So we decided to look for some place to have lunch. Since it was Sunday most of the town was closed. After asking for some directions from the locals, we reached Food Junction, a decent looking restaurant in the city. After roaming in the sweltering heat, it felt like heaven to step into the AC restaurant. Though the service was a tad slow, we were more than happy to get more time to sit in there. The food was excellent – not too oily or spicy and we enjoyed it all.

After the good lunch and cooling off our heads in the AC hall, we once again got into the car and headed over to Taranga Hills, our last destination for the day. It was 3.00 pm. This time I ensured that I stayed on track and asked for direction twice. The 75 km drive cutting through the Mehesana – Palanpur highway and moving towards Taranga via Kheralu was also smooth.

After about 20 km on the Kheralu-Ambaji road, we took the road that led up the Taranga hills towards the Taranga Jain temples. I had done some research on the net and was quite excited about the temples. The place is of great reverence for Jainism, but as a tourist it was not exactly upto my expectations. The main temple, supposedly more than 800 years old, did not look so old as it was painted afresh and so had lost the old look and charm. Also except for the main temple, there was nothing much to see around. We were told that there were 3 other temples around but they were on top of small hills and we would have to climb about 700 steps each. I was tempted to check out these temples having come thus far but my wife’s verdict on this was very clear – I am not going to climb a single step. And so I decided to not stretch things too far. We stayed there for some time and then started back. Since photography was not permitted inside the temple, we clicked whatever we could from the outside. Like in many temples and palaces of Gujarat and Rajasthan, despite the hot sun outside, inside these structures, it was very cool and pleasant with the
lingering fragrance of incense sticks. We also stopped for some photo shoot on the way down hill before bidding adieu to Taranga hills.

On the way back, we stopped at a highway restaurant at Kheralu and had a long tea break. From there we came to Mehesana via Vadnagar and Visnagar and then took the Mehesana-Ahmedabad express way. The traffic which was quite moderate till Mehesana now started to increase. After having our dinner on the way, we finally reached home at 9.40 pm after travelling 431 km.
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Old 14th June 2011, 21:09   #2
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Default Re: 1 day trip to North Gujarat

Were the interior roads like the Mehsana-Kheralu-Taranga good?
What is the Mehsana-Ahmedabad expressway? Is it different from the SH?
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Old 14th June 2011, 21:55   #3
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Default Re: 1 day trip to North Gujarat

Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Were the interior roads like the Mehsana-Kheralu-Taranga good?
What is the Mehsana-Ahmedabad expressway? Is it different from the SH?
the interior roads were just as great as the main highways. here are some pics

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the Mehasana-Ahmedabad expressway is the SH that connects with NH 14 at Palanpur. Its not an express highway but is refered so locally. Before this road was commissioned, the road connecting these two places was in mess and it took a hell of a time to cover the distance. But this road made life easy and so people started calling it an express highway.
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Old 15th June 2011, 07:18   #4
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Default Re: 1 day trip to North Gujarat

some of the pics that didnt get attached in the earlier post.

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