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Old 4th April 2014, 13:59   #1
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Default Saputara - The Abode of Serpents

Uploading details of my trip to Saputara done about 5 months ago. A popular hindi proverb says 'ghar ki murgi daal barabar'. So if Gujarat is the ghar, then Saputara was the murgi. This lone hill station of Gujarat was always in my list of 'to visit' places. But every time we started planning a trip, we would invariably skip it 'for some other time' thinking that Saputara is in Gujarat only. We can always do it any time later. For now lets plan some other place outside the state. But as the English proverb goes 'necessity is the mother of all planning' (thats my customised version). So when we started planning a trip this time, Saputara stood tall and strong on the list. After all this time we had our 8-month old daughter with us and so the place had to be close by, easily reachable and not very crowded. And Saputara was our unanimous choice - approx 5 hour driving time (400 km), excellent roads (even after turning off NH 8 towards Saputara, the road was amazing) and since Diwali had just passed, we could expect a less crowded place.

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Before I get on with my travelogue, heres some pointers for those who plan to visit Saputara:
  1. Its a very small place and most of the things to see / do are around the lake
  2. Ideal location for those who want to take a short lazy vacation. Since there is not much to see and do, you get lot of time to relax
  3. Costwise, it is not very taxing on the pocket
  4. If you the adventurous type, the place has limited options (trekking, paragliding)
  5. An overnight trip is sufficient to cover Saputara; at max 2.
  6. Best time to visit is either in monsoon or post monsoon. Summers are hot and the greenery of the rains get replaced by the brownery of the summer.
  7. For those travelling to Nasik / Shirdi from Gujarat, Saputara can be a stopover
  8. There is only 1 ATM of Bank of Baroda in Saputara and during our entire trip, it was closed. So carry your cash

Back to my trip details.

We set off on 29th Nov at 6.00 am. After almost 18 months, I was hitting the highway and my Blue Lady (Verna) was all excited about it. Driving on NH 8 was a breeze untill we reached Bharuch. Over the years I had developed a habit of stopping over at Nyaymandi when driving on NH8, not just for a cup of tea or snacks but also to get information on the traffic condition on the Narmada bridge so that I could decide whether to take the bridge or a detour into the city and go via Ankleshwar. My stop proved lucky as I was told that there was a huge block that had almost reached the overbridge at Nyaymandir. So I took the service road, went it to Bharuch city and crossed over to Ankleshwar via the Golden Bridge. With both the ORVMs folded, it was a very tricky drive on the Golden Bridge but we crossed it smoothly and soon got back to NH8. This detour cost me about 45 min but then it was better than spending few hours in the jam.

My original plan was to drive till Alipore just before Chikhli (enter the service road opp Alipore Hospital) and then turn left on to Alipore chikhli road (approx 1.6 km) and join the Chikhli-Saputara road. However, at the Gandeva cross road, I saw the Saputara road sign pointing left. I checked my mobile GPS and saw the road going via Tankal and eventually joining my original route at Rankuwa. I decided to take this route and turned on to it. Though it was a 2-lane road, the condition was absolutely amazing with a picturesque country many villages along the route. Even when driving thru the ghats in the Vansda National Park, the road was excellent.

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Vehicular traffic was sparse and so was pedestrian traffic. However there were no decent restaurants all the way till Saputara and petrol bunks too were few and far scattered. The route is well marked; however the road signs are all in Gujarati and so visitors from outstation may find it difficult to follow it. One thing that surprised us was the heat - despite it being Nov end, it was pretty hot and we had the AC running almost till we reached Saputara.

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At 12 pm we entered Saputara and drove up to Hotel Anando, our abode for the next 2 days. Saputara means the abode of the snakes. The tribals in the Dang forests are great worshipers of this reptile and hold it in great reverance. The place is small by all standards and most places are within walking distance. The Saputara lake is the heart of the place.

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After checking in, we ordered lunch to be served in the room and rested for some time. The climate was very pleasant and we didnt even have to switch on the fan. Around 4.30 pm we left the hotel to roam around. Though walking would have been the ideal way to go around in the evening, we decided against that because of the kids.

After spending some time around the lake, we went to Governorís Hill or the Table Top as it is also called. The Governor's Hill or the Table Top was an interesting place. After driving up a steep slope (max 2nd gear), you suddenly reach a huge piece of absolutely flat land overlooking the hill. It feels as if God made the hill and then just sliced off the top. You can enjoy the beautiful scenary of the valley below in the backdrop of the setting sun. This is also the point from where one boards the rope way to go to the Sun Set point on the opposite hill.

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There are many shacks selling corn, vada pav, cold drinks etc. on the Table Top. Although there were too many people on the Top, but the place was so huge that it didnt feel crowded. After spending some time here and clicking snaps, we drove back to our hotel for the night. We had decided to do the ropeway the next day and since the place was very close to our hotel, having to come back was no issue.

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Last edited by Aditya : 10th April 2014 at 17:41. Reason: Removing duplicate images
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Old 4th April 2014, 15:17   #2
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Default re: Saputara - The Abode of Serpents

Back in the hotel, we spent some time in their lawns before moving into the room. It was very quiet and pleasant; only issue was the mosquitoes which are understandable given the many plants and grass around. We had a nice gujarati thali for diner in the hotel restaurant and called it a day. It was too early by our city standards to retire but then that’s the fun of this place.....

Let me share some details about Hotel Anando. When we decided to come to Saputara, I had tried for a room at either Hotel Aakar Lords or Hotel Patang but both were booked for a marriage and we ended up taking a room at Anando. I was a bit skeptical about the place although online reviews were quite ok about the place. However we had a good experience during the stay. Rooms are clean and big. Each room had an additional single cot and so we didnt have to take extra bed for our son. The hotel is situated on a small cliff and is so designed that every room has a lake facing balcony. The staff is very courteous and helpful. Food served is very tasty and they also have a good spread.

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Next morning, I got up at 7.00 feeling very fresh. The sounds of the chirping birds, the greenery around, the refreshing view of the lake from our room...all this was heavenly. The previous evening, we had found out that the road to sunrise point was blocked for vehicles and walking was the only way up. So I had decided to skip it. We enjoyed our morning tea in the balcony looking at the lake. After breakfast at 10 am, we set out for the day.

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Today we planned to see most of Saputara that I had read about before coming here. The Step Garden, Rose Garden, Museum, Artist’s Village, boating and some shopping. This was my first trip to Saputara and I had heard from friends and colleagues that the place has improved a lot over the past few years.

However a lot needs to be still done in terms of maintaining the place and giving it a face lift. There is no signboard outside the Step Garden. Looking at its gate with the carvings of the snake, we thought it was some snake-temple. Realized it was the Step Garden only after going inside. The entrance to the Rose Garden was all dug up. So we could not go inside. From the boundary walls, I looked in to find few other flowers but hardly any rose. The place was also not well kept and was dirty. The Saputara Museum was hidden behind a maze of shops and eateries and there was practically no road leading to the Artist's Village except a dirt road. Infact it took us some time to actually find our way to the ‘Village’.


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Last edited by Aditya : 10th April 2014 at 17:49. Reason: Removing duplicate images
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Old 4th April 2014, 16:01   #3
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Default re: Saputara - The Abode of Serpents

Anyways by the time we had visited all these places and also enjoyed a boat ride, it was 1.00 pm. We had an excellent and sumptuous lunch at Hotel Sejal Inn and went back to our hotel and rested. Saputara is the right place to go with kids because since the place is pretty small, you donít have to spend long hours moving around. So you can move around for 2-3 hours after breakfast, then come back and rest in the afternoon and again go out in the evening for 4-5 hours and come back for the night. So kids enjoy without draining themselves.

In the evening, we once again drove to the Table Top and boarded the ropeway. Unfortunately, due to some repair work, it was not possible to alight at the other end of the ropeway. Instead it took you on round trip and brought you straight back to the starting point. But still it was fun. You get a brids-eye view of the Saputara town and valley from the rope way carriage. After the ropeway trip, we spent some time at the Top and then drove back to the lake side.

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Next morning it was time to say goodbye to Saputara. After completing the billing formalities and breakfast, we started on our way back at 10.30 am. About an hour later, we reached Gira falls and spent an hour there.

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On the way back, initially planned to visit Teethal beach at Valsad. Accordingly turned left near Vansda and planned to drive upto Pipalkhed, then turn right and go straight to Teethal via Valsad. But had to change plan as daughter got cranky and no attempt to pacify her helped. So after turning left at Vansda I turned on to the Fadvel-Chikli road. It is a narrow 2-lane stretch but road is good. Traffic is sparse. Very rural countryside type road. But again no petrol pump or hotel. At Chikli, turned right on the Ahmedabad highway.

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Thus ended our much awaited trip to Saputara. Nothing very outstanding about the place if compared with some of the other more popular hill stations. But then Saputara still has its own charm.

Last edited by Aditya : 10th April 2014 at 17:52. Reason: Removing duplicate images
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Old 6th April 2014, 07:41   #4
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Default re: Saputara - The Abode of Serpents

Nice place it is to spend the weekend away from the cityís polluted atmosphere and the best part like you have mentioned is, everything being located within a kmís radius. I skipped the sunrise point because waking up early around 5:30 AM on a Sunday morn was not my cup of tea! My friends however did not want to skip that and they walked all the way there.

These were clicked from the sun-rise point:

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And we never knew there was a step garden there! I did not see a mention of the echo point in your posts. Did you miss that?

After staying in Surat for close to 6 years, we had never been to Saputara all the while! We went there last weekend and spent the Saturday night there. We stayed at Chitrakoot Hill Resort and were charged Rs. 2000 for five of us (off-season right now plus some bargaining). Ate a very heavy breakfast at Aakar Lords the next day morn, did the boating in the lake, visited the echo point and left for Surat. Summers are not the best time to visit Saputara. The valleys are dry and the trees are completely stripped off their greenery. The best time would be during the monsoons; the roads might be a bit slippery though.

PS: Looks like you clicked those snaps from inside the car while you were driving? Please avoid and ask your partner to do that instead or stop the car by the road side for a break. It is risky otherwise.
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Old 7th April 2014, 09:50   #5
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And we never knew there was a step garden there! I did not see a mention of the echo point in your posts. Did you miss that?

After staying in Surat for close to 6 years, we had never been to Saputara all the while! We went there last weekend and spent the Saturday night there. We stayed at Chitrakoot Hill Resort and were charged Rs. 2000 for five of us (off-season right now plus some bargaining). Ate a very heavy breakfast at Aakar Lords the next day morn, did the boating in the lake, visited the echo point and left for Surat. Summers are not the best time to visit Saputara. The valleys are dry and the trees are completely stripped off their greenery. The best time would be during the monsoons; the roads might be a bit slippery though.

PS: Looks like you clicked those snaps from inside the car while you were driving? Please avoid and ask your partner to do that instead or stop the car by the road side for a break. It is risky otherwise.
Yea. We didnt go to eco point. We were told that the road was blocked for vehicles due to repair work and one needs to walk up there. So decided to skip it
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Old 15th June 2014, 17:26   #6
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That was a nice informative travelogue, and like you even i've never been to Saputara after staying in A'bad for all these years. However planning to do it this monsoon just for the drive. The Gira falls must be in full flow during monsoons...
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Old 17th June 2014, 10:10   #7
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That was a nice informative travelogue, and like you even i've never been to Saputara after staying in A'bad for all these years. However planning to do it this monsoon just for the drive. The Gira falls must be in full flow during monsoons...
Sure. Monsoon is the best time to visit Saputara. Everything would be fresh and green, the misty clouds adding to the charm of the place. And yes, Gira falls will be a wonder to see during the rains. Have a good trip.
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Old 17th June 2014, 10:31   #8
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We plan to go soon to Saputara with our 1 year old, albeit from Mumbai. Any tips that you may share about places that children would enjoy here, as well as any play areas that you may have noticed in the region like Gardens and Childrens parks apart from the places you have already mentioned?

My last visit to Saputara was about 8 years back, so I do not much data to bank upon right now apart from travelogues like yours.
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Old 18th June 2014, 13:45   #9
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We plan to go soon to Saputara with our 1 year old, albeit from Mumbai. Any tips that you may share about places that children would enjoy here, as well as any play areas that you may have noticed in the region like Gardens and Childrens parks apart from the places you have already mentioned?

My last visit to Saputara was about 8 years back, so I do not much data to bank upon right now apart from travelogues like yours.
Saputara is a very laid back place. You can spend time on the Table Top where your kid can enjoy some of the rides or just freely run around. Also theres a kids area near the boating jetty where there are many rides and other games of interest for kids. Across the boating jetty (opposite Hotel Anando where we were put up) is a big garden, where you can spend good time with your kid playing games. However if you are going in the monsoon, rains might hold you up since all these are outdoor locations.
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Old 23rd July 2014, 00:27   #10
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Uploading details of my trip to Saputara done about 5 months ago.
Thanks for the informative travelogue. Will be driving to this place over coming weekend.
Apart from the places you mentioned, do you know if Vansda National Park has the 'jungle safari sort of thing' in the monsoon ? May be a few hours in a Jypsy?
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Old 23rd July 2014, 13:41   #11
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Thanks for the informative travelogue. Will be driving to this place over coming weekend.
Apart from the places you mentioned, do you know if Vansda National Park has the 'jungle safari sort of thing' in the monsoon ? May be a few hours in a Jypsy?
To the best of my knowlege, there is no 'jungle safari' service that is available. You can hire a local vehicle (may be thru the hotel you are staying in) and they will take you inside the jungle. Killad Nature Camp inside the jungle takes its guests on such tours but I dont know if they provide this service to day tourists.
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