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Old 14th June 2013, 00:01   #1
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Default Saurashtra Road Trip: Sasan Gir, Beaches, Temples and more

Dad : Please book my railway tickets from Jamnagar to Mumbai for 31st May, my project will end on 30th May.
Me : Why? i will drive down to Jamnagar to pick you up.
Dad : (After a pause), ok if that's the case also bring your mom and wife.
Me : OK let me ask uncle if he is willing to come

Called up uncle and he was ready to come to Jamnagar.

My dad who was working as a consultant for Reliance in Jamnagar wanted us to come down there and visit nearby places.

Thus we started to plan out our Gujrat road trip.
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Old 14th June 2013, 00:10   #2
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Default Saurashtra Road trip: Sasan Gir,Beaches,Temples and more

Must thank HVK sir for their detailed logs and SDP for his fantastic trip logs which made my planning easy.

My uncle and aunt would be taking their Vento diesel ( chauffer driven ) while we would be driving our Nano.
I started to chalk out a plan keeping in mind a family function which was to be attended on 1st June in Baroda.
But 15 days before the trip came news of uncle's driver not being able to make it for the trip.

But uncle was in no mood to cancel the trip, he booked his return flight tickets for Jamnagar, and the trip was on.

Started from Pune on 30th May, reached mumbai and rested, next day was going to be long ride till baroda.
Surpisingly Nano now had company till baroda in the form of a relative who decided to come in their fabia.

At home dadar, met my neighbours after 1 month so after general chit chat,everyone knew that we were visiting gujrat.
And the common question they asked was : Kiti vajta train aahe ( what time is the train )
Of course the answer left them shocked a bit, but they all wished us good luck after that.

In spite of a plan to start as early as 5am, we finally left dadar at 6.45am on 31st May.
First break was at Vitthal Kamat - Manor.
They serve tasty poha but very horrible idlis.
After a 30 minute break we were on road to gujrat with yellow tapes plastered on our RHS headlights.

Good suspension , stiff suspension , bouncy suspension , no issues since roads are fantastic and well paved.
i usually dont use AC on highway drives but with Summer still very much on we had no option.
Thus Nano was on full AC from hereon in the entire trip.

With AC on, we settled down to 80-90 and occasional 100 kmph speeds.
We reached valsad around 10.30 and took a longish break at Sugar n spice.

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Old 14th June 2013, 00:14   #3
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Default re: Saurashtra Road Trip: Sasan Gir, Beaches, Temples and more

Tanked up here, average - 23kmpl.

Took one more break after that when evenone wanted to shop for local mangoes on highway.
After that had planned to stop at Royal Inn ankleshwar, but everyone thought there was no need of a break.

Thus crossed Narmada river using the historic golden bridge which is seriously narrow.

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No need to fold mirrors in a Nano though, but how do people in bigger cars cross this one?
Have heard that during peak hours this bridge is a lottery and if you are stuck it can be nightmare here as well.

After that turned right at Zadehswar bypass ( HVK sir had warned about this in his logs ), but we mistook the earlier turn and ended in the bypass behind a long queue of trucks, fortunaltely after 10 minutes there was a small opening on the left side and we cleared the Jam in a jiffy and reached NH8.

Relief, finally we were near baroda and reached my Mama's home by 4.00 ( Manjalpur ).It was time to catch up with relatives and whenever in baroda we have to visit atleast 2-3 places for either lunch/dinner.

1st June was time for the family function which was held in Golf club behind Laxmi vilas palace.
It was beautifull setting and food was equally delicious.

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Old 14th June 2013, 00:21   #4
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Default Saurashtra Road trip: Sasan Gir,Beaches,Temples and more

It was time to head ahead for Jamnagar.
With 4 adults and luggage, rear seat was little cramped for space, but thats a little compromise to the joys of travelling on road by your own car.

Again we got late and started at 8am from Baroda, thanks to Samsung S duos acting as navigator we reached NE1 without getting lost.

NE1 is one heck of a highway, i wish Mumbai -pune expressway was as good as it.

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For Rs.80 you get a road which takes you to ahmedabad in little over a hour.
We reached Sardar patel ring road and navigated our way to reach Rajkot highway.

From hereone you start seeing more and more Chakkdas - the workhorse in Saurahstra.
Chakkdas are made primarily in Rajkot, but also made in Jamnagar.

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Cost : 2 lacs, Haulage : 1 ton and above.
15-20 people aboard a chakkada is a common sight on Saurashtra highways.
They are used a water tankers, haulers, towing cement mixers and many other applications.

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Are very noisy as can be expected from greaves garuda diesel, but have a very good ground clearance.
Rear wheels seem to be 14" with tyre profile similar to a padmini.
Most chakkadas have their rear end sloping like a bullock cart, most of them have 7-8 mirrors upfront.

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Old 14th June 2013, 00:26   #5
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Default Saurashtra Road trip: Sasan Gir,Beaches,Temples and more

Roads are fantastic and have little traffic, its a very boring drive and you can fall asleep on this road.
But the good part is stressfree driving , we stopped at Saffron spice after Limbdi which has AC dining hall.

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This road has few good hotels, namely Saffron spice, Honest, and Darshan hotel.After cutting through rajkot and getting tanked up at Shell, we were now on Jamnagar highway.

Dont blindly trust Navigator, our navigator took us through jamnagar backlanes to our destination - Hotel President, Teen Batti.

This is a decent hotel ( 1600rs AC room ) with poor parking facilities ( We had to park on road ).

Gujrat has such good roads, you hardly get stressed in spite of travelling 400+ kms in such a small car.
We had some rest and it was time to visit few places in Jamnagar.

Lakhota lake - entire town had come down to this place it seemed ( being sunday ), hence we did not get down but circled the lake ( which hardly had any water ) and then went shopping at Sankhej Bandhani shop.

Its was riot of colours in the shop, and the best part, they courier your stuff free of cost.

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Mom and wife shopped till they dropped, thanks to dad who was egging them to shop for more.
Dad : we are not coming to jamnagar again ( This was Dad's last project ) so shop as much as you like.
This was ofcourse gleefully accepted and they ended up shopping as good as 10 pieces between them.

After this it was time to dine and we headed to Satvik AC restaurant which was newly opened.
They only serve Kathiawadi food and it was finger licking yummy.

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With a gracious dinner we called it a day.
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Old 14th June 2013, 00:37   #6
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Default Saurashtra Road trip: Sasan Gir,Beaches,Temples and more

3rd June : Uncle and aunt were scheduled to land by 12.30pm so we had time.

We first went to Jain Vijay farsan mart, and Dad picked up lot of Kachori boxes.

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Since dad is a heavy shopper at this shop, the owner served us free breakfast as a goodwill gesture on his own.

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It was very very tasty, the jilebi, the fhapda was so light it simply melted in our mouth.
Samosa was ok, have had better samosa's in mumbai, but other stuff was simply great.

Visited Bala hanuman temple where they have been chanting "Jay shree ram" since 1964 without a break day & night!

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Lakhota Lake

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We then visited a crematorium which had several clay models depicting scenes from Ramayana.
I have never seen such a beautiful crematorium, it is surely a must see.

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It was time now for Nano to rest for next three days, since with uncle and aunt we were now 6 adults and dad had booked a Innova for the rest of the trip.

Nano found a very good and secure parking place in Dad's hostel and we now hopped on to Innova.It was a 2010 model which had done 1.90Lakh kms, it was very well maintained and had a Sanden roof Ac.

The driver Mr Narendra was well versed with all the roads we had planned to travel.Being Jamnagar , we got Innova for only 11rs/kms, whereas in pune it is 14rs/km.

Picked up uncle and aunty from Jamnagar airport.

Got to see lot of fighter planes flying over Jamnagar city and near airport.
We were now headed to Dwarka.
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Old 14th June 2013, 00:42   #7
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Old 14th June 2013, 00:53   #8
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Default Saurashtra Road trip: Sasan Gir,Beaches,Temples and more

Thanks to our driver, we took lunch break at Govardhan greens.
Again had superb Kathiawadi thali ( for just Rs233 per person ).

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On the way we visited the beautiful Nageshwar temple, among one of 12 jyotirlingas.

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The 25 feet towering Lord Shankar statue is very massive, it was funded by late Mr Gulshan Kumar.

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Reached Bet dwarka round 4pm and it was now a challenge for the elders to board the ferry.
It was a adventure they all liked, and soon the ferry was completely loaded.
After 15 minutes reached the other shore and the scenes were fantastic.

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You must check out the color of arabian sea, which was very distinct.
With cloudy skies the entire scenery had changed and was giving a soothing effect along with wind.

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On reaching bet dwarka shore, we hired a Atul shakti diesel auto to take us to the mandir.

Atul is the preferred 3 wheeler here in Saurashtra.
Atul shakti is diesel powered and manufactured in Rajkot and not in Atul as i initially thought.One of my relative who runs mineral water business has his entire fleet changed from Bajaj to Atul.He is very happy and Atul ricks have been reliable performer since last 3 years.


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Darshan done it was adventure one last time for all the elders to get back to Dwarka.
We reached dwarka in time for a good darshan ( window ended 15 minutes after our darshan ).
It was time to reach our destination for the night - Porbandar - Hotel Kuber.

I had booked this hotel based on Trip advisor reviews and they were correct.
Except for smelly lift, everything else in the hotel was excellent.
At Rs.800 for Ac room, which were compact business type, this hotel had good service.

I would recommend people visiting Dwarka to either stay in Jamnagar or porbandar depending on which direction they are heading, trying to get a hotel booking in a good hotel in Dwarka is a headache, and charges are much higher than porbandar.
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Old 14th June 2013, 00:57   #9
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Default Saurashtra Road trip: Sasan Gir,Beaches,Temples and more

Bet Dwarka to Dwarka Ferry ride pics

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Old 14th June 2013, 01:07   #10
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We started very late from porbandar around 9 since the itenary for the day was to reach Somnath, book rooms and head for Diu.

So soon we were on road full of windmills, they are all around us for a good amount of of time.Suzlon seems to be the company which makes these, and most of them were Suzlon 2000.

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The stretch from Porbandar to Somnath travels literally on the coast line.
The azure blue sea playing hide and seek until you reach Madhavpur beach.
You can now identify it since it now has few coconut vendors lined up near the highway.It was amazing to see the different hues of blue and the clean uninhabited beach.

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After a short break we were on road to Somnath.

Dhirubai Ambani's house in Chorvad

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We booked Sagar Darshan guest house ( Reliance made these 1 year ago ) @ Rs.1500 per room, AC sea facing.The rooms were huge, almost 15*15 in size and all rooms were facing sea, with Temple view from balcony.
In spite of such a beautiful setting , we later discovered that toilets were poorly maintained.

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We had to call the cleaning guys to get them cleaned, all 3 rooms had something or the other broken in toilets.

This is hotel you should very much avoid for the lack of well maintained toilets, which is such a pity since rooms are huge and the view is to die for. Later we learnt it was wise to stay at Veraval and not at Somnath.

So all of you planning to visit Somnath, give Somnath hotels a miss, and plan your stay at Veraval ( 7kms from Somnath ), or Stay at Junagadh.

Rukmini Temple - Near Dwarka

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Old 14th June 2013, 01:13   #11
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Default Saurashtra Road trip: Sasan Gir,Beaches,Temples and more

After a decent lunch, we headed to Diu, Dozed off in the entire journey, and woke up at the gates of Diu.

Paid rs200 as entry fees ( Yep its 200rs for 2-3 days i guess ) and reached Diu fort.

It is surely a beautiful fort, but with Sun shining really hard , our group was not willing to explore the entire fort.
This also housed a jail, Panikhota fort also has a Jail.
Heard from local people that Diu tourism will start ferry service to visit panikhota fort soon.

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After this visited Diu Church, which was a beautiful church.
It was time now to explore NAIDA caves, and what a sight it was!
I have never seen anything like this in India before, Caves must have been really old.
We went in to photo clicking frenzy, and believe me pictures don't do justice, you must visit it to get the feel.

It surely can be a good place to shoot a eerie movie scene once sun sets down.
Directions are poorly marked and you can easily get lost inside the caves.
But simply visiting these caves made our Diu visit fruitful.
We skipped the beaches and headed back to Somnath to be in time for Sound and light show.

But a good chai break en route meant we missed the show.
But that gave us ample time to visit the beautiful Somnath temple.
Having kept everything at hotel room, i do not have pictures of the same.

But what a place it is, with that huge delicately carved structure and sea as a backdrop.Since there was no rush, we took time to explore the temple and its surroundings.Finally satisfied with the Darshan and the beautiful setting we headed back to our Innova.
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Old 14th June 2013, 01:18   #12
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NAIDA CAVES - DIU Near Nagao beach
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Old 14th June 2013, 01:25   #13
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Entry to Diu

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Multiaxle tractor trolleys are a common sight near Somnath.

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Somnath temple from hotel balcony

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Next day it was time to head back to Jamnagar via Sasan gir and Junagadh.
We were again very slow in starting and this meant we reached Sasan around 9.30.

I had not planned for Gypsy safari since i thought the heat would be too much for my uncle and aunty (both are past 67).
But both were like eager kids wanting to have a glimpse at that Asiatic lion.
Thus we decided to visit devaliya first and then take the 3.30 Safari.

On reaching devaliya, we found that it was closed.

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Anyways we came back to Sasan and queued up for the Safari.
After a longish 3 hour wait we got our permits ( Total cost = Rs 1900 inclusive of guide charges ).

Finally met our guide - Ishabhai, who seemed to be a average guy.
Right from the start he wanted us to start 15 minutes late in the Safari.
I was reluctant to do so since we were all excited to get on jeep after a long wait, but finally bowed down to what guide said.

It was almost 3.45pm and we were now climbing Atop gypsy number 7055 which was LPG powered.
By 4pm we had reached gates, and started our journey on Route number 6.
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Old 14th June 2013, 01:31   #14
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Default Saurashtra Road trip: Sasan Gir,Beaches,Temples and more

========================
SASAN GIR JUNGLE SAFARI
========================

According to guide the current census stands at 411 lions, 350 leopards and 30k-35k deers.
Saw private vehicles accompaning us for some distance , they were headed for Satthadhar shrine which is 30km inside forest.
But our trail separated from that road and were again at a new entry checkpost.

We had decided to enjoy the safari ( Had no expectations of a sighting ).
The guide made life difficult by narrating tales of how inspite of 7-8 safaris there are no sighthings.
I was least bothered and was enjoying the feel of safari in a open jeep for the first time in my life.

We were soon well inside the jungle which was very very dry due to a harsh summer.
We started seeing some deer, peacocks and few beautifull birds.

For the guide it was just another trip and hence was not very enthusiatic.
30 minutes in the ride we saw Sambhar and few peahens.

45 minutes in the ride we reached a spot were there were already few gypsys waiting.
We sensed something, and yes indeed there were 2 lioness barely 20 feet away from us and in clear line of vision.
One was lying upside down while the other was sitting with her back to us ( This one seemed to have some injury ).
Both of them were panting hard trying to gasp as much air to cool down their systems.

The forest department had stationed a white jeep there and were not allowing gypsy's to wait for more than 2 minutes.
We took some snaps and were on our way ahead.

Guide was relieved and followed the below conversation.

Guide : Aap log bohot lucky hai, yaha Amitabh bacchan bhi aaye the, unko bhi 3 safari ke baad sher dikha.
Toh aapka paisa vassol ho gaya na?

Jungle is not only about Sher, its got much more life, yep we were happy to see lions but there is much more to be enjoyed in a safari than only lions.
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Old 14th June 2013, 01:37   #15
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