|5th February 2017, 21:26||#1|
Distinguished - BHPian
Wanderlust Traveller: Bangalore to the western frontier - White Rann, Vigakot, Lakhpat & Dholavira
Having missed out from earlier trip to Gujarat, visiting Kutch has been in plans since few years. Also Kutch is comparatively easy to reach from Bangalore. However, the big hurdle we faced was with the short tourist season in Kutch.
For those interested in visiting Rann, you need to wait till the salt lake dries up in December, however by February end summer starts and temperature becomes unpleasant. In between this there is the tourist circus called Rann Utsav, I am usually hesitant to travel whenever and wherever there is a tourist crowd.
However, Rann Utsav goes on for almost the entire time of the tourist season, hence skipping it is tough. So we decide to plan the trip in second week of Jan. This way, we will skip the new year and Sankranti crowd and will reach back in Bangalore before the Republic day crowd and checking picks up.
In the entire route, the toughest place to get accommodation was near Rann of Kutch. We had read great reviews about Shaam E Sarhad village resort at Hodka Link , hence we plan based on the room availablity at this place since at remaining cities and town we decided to stay, had multiple options and it will be easy to get rooms.
The plan was to start from Bangalore on one saturday and return next weekend. The group consisted of 6 people, which means luggage has to be minimal thanks to XUV's achilles heel - boot space.
Around 7 weeks in advance, we make all the hotel bookings and itinerary planned. However a month before our trip Government of India decides to cancel all booking in that area thanks to some conference. This forces us to re plan our itinerary, unfortunately Shaam E Sarhad doesn't have room for 6 people in the updated dates, hence we had to manage with 2 rooms for one night. The logic or lack of it, to cancel all room bookings for an entire week in middle of a tourist festival for an area of some 40Kms still baffles me. More details about it here
Anyways, after saving the trip we had two things to be done. First, car service and tyre alignment since it will be a round trip of about 5000 Kms. Second was to withdraw and carry cash with us since due to demonetization ATM's are running dry. Thanks to friends and family members, we were able to collect sufficient cash without much issue.
Last edited by mpksuhas : 11th February 2017 at 22:23.
|5th February 2017, 22:10||#2|
Distinguished - BHPian
The plan was to start at 04:00 AM and reach Vapi (GJ) for the night. However, thanks to last minute packing and repacking it was 04:30 AM by the time we started from home.
Our first stop was at VRL depot (location) and restaurant just before Chitradurga,we reach there at 06:45, stop for a bio break and are back in road within 5 minutes.
Davangare byepass is crossed around 07:30 AM and Hubli bypass toll at 08:56 AM.
Our next stop was at Nippani BP COCO at 10:50 AM, we stop here for around 20 minutes while we tank up diesel and have some snacks we had carried with us. Odo reading was 600 KM's. We are able to maintain good average thanks to less traffic, good road and no major stoppages en-route. Also, thanks to Fastag, we were able to clear all toll booths without much delay.
Soon we cross over to Maharashtra. As soon as we cross over, we are slowed down by large number of two wheelers and other local traffic.
Heavy traffic continues till we cross Kholapur, we cross Karad and stop at Kamat for lunch at 12:34 PM. Meals are not ready, hence we have dosas and idlis which are strangely sweet. Meal done in half hour, we are back on road by 01:00 PM.
The infamous Satara road work and deviations start in no time. However, thankfully there is an anti climax to this. I felt the road conditions much better than anticipated. Yes, it did slow us down, but not as much as what Pune bye-pass traffic did. Soon we reach Mumbai - Pune expressway toll booth. Time is 03:05 PM, there is a huge queue at toll booth, however thanks to more number of toll booths it moves fast. Though not an NHAI toll, Fastag is accepted here too at ETC lanes.
Traffic was moderate to high on the expressway
We decide to take a break at food plaza and in the meantime get some snacks to have en-route. After a 20 mins break, we start at 04:20 PM from food plaza.
This test XUV was along with us for a long while. There was no visible modifications on the outside, hence we doubt if it was for the Android Auto update rumored to come sometime this year end.
Soon we reach Mumbai end of the expressway
Its 04:50 PM when we cross Mumbai side toll booth of expressway. Evening sun welcomes us to Mumbai, thanks to the route suggested on the forum to bypass Mumbai, we are out of Mumbai without much of an issue.
Somewhere near Thane we cross 1000 KM mark for the day
It's the longest I have driven in a day, distance wise till now. Also, its been a dream to do a 1K plus drive since a while. Happy at that accomplishment I head to the huge jam near Vasai creek due to ongoing bridge repair. It takes us around 25 mins to cross this jam. It is 06:15 PM when we cross junction near hotel fountain.
Past that there was no much traffic and we headed towards Vapi. However, some 80 Kms before Vapi, we decide to have dinner. We waste considerable amount of time searching for a decent restaurant. Thanks to Sankranti festival many of the restaurants were closed, the ones which are open were more of a watering hole for the souls coming from across the border to MH from GJ. Finally after a long search and few failed attempts, we find this hotel - Hotel Jalaram Kathiyawadi .
Food was tasty and place clean, on top of that they accept card payments too We finish dinner after a half hour break around 08:00 PM and start to Vapi which is around 50 Kms from here.
We reach Ginger Vapi, where we had booked rooms, at 08:50 PM. The place is next to highway and has basement parking and clean rooms. Would recommend this hotel to anyone traveling in this route.
Odo reading for today - 1153.3 KM's
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 20:32.
|5th February 2017, 23:08||#3|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day 2 - Vapi - Ahmedabad - Bhuj - Hodka
15- Jan - 17
As per earlier plan we were supposed to reach Ahmadabad and stay there for the night after sightseeing. However, due to the room cancellations and plan change after that as mentioned in first post, it was decided to head to Hodka for the night.
Also, two of our friends who had decided to fly down to Ahmadabad from Bangalore and would be joining us from here. Their flight was to reach Ahmadabad by 08:30 AM, they were to take a cab and meet us at SP ring road.
After hitting the bed early, we start at 06:00 AM from Ginger Vapi. One major concern on this route is bridge over Narmada which is under repair. We stop before the turn to Ankleshwar / Bharuch and check the traffic on Google Maps, thankfully the traffic is clear and we decide to head on NH itself instead of Golden bridge.
New bridge under construction
There was trucks on the new bridge ferrying construction material. Hope the construction will be completed in couple of months.
Old bridge used for two way traffic
We stop at BP COCO soon after the bridge for diesel at 07:43 AM, we were having some packed snacks with us which we eat now. Location
Soon after crossing over bridge, truck traffic starts to build up. All toll booths have huge line of trucks and this slow us down considerably-
At 09:25 AM we reach Vadodara- Ahmadabad NE1 toll booth.
There is no much traffic and we cross the expressway quickly and reach SP ring road exit at Ahmadabad by 10:15 AM.
Ahmadabad ring road doesn't have much traffic and we head towards the pre-planned rendezvous point with friend. Meet and greet over, we start towards Bhuj at 11:07 AM.
For some 15 Kms out of Ahmadabad there is considerable truck traffic and consecutive speed breakers.
Past that road clears up and traffic is sparse. Also there is no toll for cars, only trucks have to pay toll on this SH.
We stop at Honest hotels at 12:30 PM, this is a decent place and one of the numerous 'Honest hotels' we find during our GJ trip. Do note that none of their branches we went to accepted card payments. After lunch we start at 01:37 PM from there.
Past lunch, we had a scary moment when a truck made a sudden lane change due to a bus abruptly stopping in its path
Road continues to remain good and soon we reach NH 27. Both side here has salt pans.
From Bachau there are two routes to Bhuj, based on updates from other travelers on the forum we decide to take Anjar route. We reach Gandidham - Anjar turn off around 03:42 PM, past that till Anjar road is narrow and patchy at certain section and traffic is high. On crossing Anjar traffic eases up.
We stop at Reliance fuel bunk before Bhuj and tank up at 04:20 PM.
Soon we cross Bhuj and head towards Hodka.
All across GJ we found people traveling in jeeps with an additional steps attached
Road between Bhuj and Hodka passes to some open arid sections
Bhirandiaria check post
There are no food options around, these are the only ones we noticed
The thatched roof building on the right side behind the blue signboard is the check post from where you have to get the permits. The straight road ahead takes you to India bridge/ Vigakot / Kaladungar / Ludiya / Khavda. Take left from here to reach Hodka, Dhordo BSF camp, Rann Ustav and White Rann. However, we later discover that the better route to White Rann by driving towards Khavda from check post and taking left from there. The newly constructed road there is in good condition. Pictures of that in later posts.
White Rann entry permits has to be obtained from the checkpost here. Rates for the same mentioned below
Permits are given for each day, since we do not plan to go to Rann today, we decide to get permits the next day. Also, we were told that it is possible to get permits from Rann Utsav. Its 05:45 PM and entry to Rann is closed at 06:00 PM anyways.
After enquiring about the same we head to Shaam E Sarhad from here. We reach the resort by 06:00 PM.
A rusty signboard is the only indication of the resort, if not for Google Maps one may miss the turn -
The resort about 100 meters off the road -
They have stay option of traditional Kutch cottages (Bhunga's) and tents. We had booked for two Bhungas for one night and one Bhunga and two tents for the second night.
We were forced to make the booking this way due to change in our travel date.
In the night there is traditional music program by the locals.
After dinner, we decide to drive towards Kutch utsav area and check out if its possible to enter white rann.
On reaching there, we were informed that it is not possible to enter white rann past 06:30 PM. We check with the BSF personnel posted there about procedure of getting permit for Vigakot and he informs us to contact Dhordo BSF office in the morning for the same.
We return to the resort for the night and decide to check about the permits tomorrow.
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 20:39.
|7th February 2017, 23:52||#4|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day3 - Vigakot, India Bridge, Kalodungar, RannUtsav
While the others get ready, me and one of my friend decide to go to Dhordo BSF office and handover the papers required for obtaining the border visit permits.
BSF office is en-route from Hodka to white rann, on left side of the road. Location
The road from Hodka towards White Rann via Dhordo is in good condition, however we found that the road between White rann and Khavda was even better. More on that later in the post.
Road between Hodka and White Rann -
We reach the BSF center main gate and check with the sentry. He confirms with his seniors and let us in. We had carried photocopies of identity proof of everyone and also copy of my driving license and car RC book. One BSF personnel checks and takes all photocopies from us after noting down our group size for entering in the permit.
They ask us to come back next day around 08:00 AM, as per them it was possible to get permit the same day if their commanding officer was available. However, it seems he had left to border for some visit and was not expected to be back before late afternoon.
Hence, we decide to head back to the resort and visit India Bridge. Enroute we decide to get permits for white rann with a plan to visit the same in afternoon.
By the time we reach back from BSF office the resort was almost empty.
The Bhunga's (Cottages)
One interesting thing is that, the circular roof building has the bed while the adjoining building is the toilet. Between the cottage and toilet there is a small open space, similarly toilets of Bhunga's have a glass wall which face a small shrub which you can see behind the white painted wall on the left.
Hotel main entrance
After a lazy breakfast and chit chat it's around 11:20 AM when we start towards Bhirandiaria checkpost. We reach there in no time, there are only couple of other tourists in queue. Hence we fill up the form and stand to get the permit.
The permit is required only for entering white rann, it is not required to get permit for entering India Bridge, Kalodungar or Rann Utsav.
Our permit cost comes to Rs 650, the permit is given for each day. The only payment option here is by cash, electronic payment options are not accepted.
Permits taken, we head off to India Bridge.We reach India Bridge by 12:15 PM.
Photography is not allowed on India Bridge, earlier this was the furthest civilians were allowed without permits. However, we been hearing that it is possible to drive past the India bridge to war memorial some 12 Kms from the bridge towards the border.
On reaching the bridge, the guard asks us to cross over and meet his colleagues and seniors on the other side. We find few other tourists at the other end of the bridge, there is a small BSF outpost where we are asked to enter our name and details along with an ID card detail. Once it's done, we were asked to submit our mobile phones and cameras at the outpost. After this we were allowed to proceed to war memorial.
BSF War memorial
War memorial is around 12Kms from India bridge, its 12:40 PM when we reach there. We spend sometime walking around memorial after that we inspect one of the numerous bunkers in the area.
Past that we walk over to the BSF checkpost overs there and requests for permission to visit Vigakot border. Luckily for us, commanding officer was present there and after a second thought he gives a go ahead.
We just had to enter our name and details at a register and show one ID proof for obtaining the same.
We are given a permit slip in which name of the person whose ID was verified is listed along with the count of people visiting. We start off to border around 12.50 PM.
Some 2 KM's after this check post, there is a Y junction on the road. This place is called as Eagle Chowk / Chidiya Chowk. True to its name, there is a small statue of an eagle at the junction. The sentry posted near the junction checks our permits and lets us through. Soon after that, the road conditions worsens and the scenery improves.
The road passes along high tension power cables, electricity from which is used for border fence electrification. It is around 62 KMs from war memorial to Vigakot border outpost and it takes us about 2 hours to cover the same.
Mainly it is due to bad roads and partly its since we slow down or stop en-route to watch the wildlife. We come across group of camels roaming around, wild boars, Chinkaras and many species of birds en-route. Unfortunately, since we didn't have camera, we are not able to capture any pictures.
All along the route we come across different BSF installations and army bunkers. The road condition though broken doesn't require any high clearance vehicle. We come across a Figo with 5 people who were also taking this road. However, the number of tourists visiting the border was very less. I guess its due to the fact that there is very less awareness about the same. Also, due to bad roads we saw one family in a Tavera dropping their plan and returning mid way.
After a long drive, the high tension cables make landfall at a substation. Soon after that on the right side we notice a small outpost. There were signboards with route tourist vehicles have to follow.
On reaching there, we are greeted by two BSF officers. One of them introduces himself and mentions that he is from Namakkal (TN) and he takes around tour groups from states of TN, KL & KA since he is comfortable with Tamil, Kannada & Malayalam.
The other officer along with him, explains us in Hindi about the different Pakistani posts across the border and about day to day tasks of BSF personnel there. Through their binoculars we are able to spot border posts on Pakistani side.
Unlike at Wagha border, it is not possible to go till the fence here. The fence is around 300 meters from the border post where a viewing gallery is created.
We had reached border post at 02:43 PM and at 03:35 PM after thanking the BSF officers we head back towards Hodka.
From the Y junction mentioned earlier near Chidiya Chowk, we had taken the left arm to Vigakot border. The right arm takes you to a temple, we were having an idea to visit the temple if time permits. However, since it was getting late we decide to give it a miss and head directly to Kalodungar.
Return journey was faster than onward journey, covering the distance till India bridge, past war memorial in little over one hour. We reach India bridge at 04:56 PM. There is a toilet near the India bridge where we stop for few minutes.
We are yet to have lunch, however since it was getting delayed we decide to push towards Kalodungar and think about lunch later. We collect our mobiles and camera from the checkpost, mark exit times at register and head off.
The turn off towards left from Khavda road towards Kalodungar is marked, few KM's after that turn we cross a village and the road becomes narrow and bit curvy.
After a quick drive, we reach Kalodungar at 05:40 PM, there is a signboard mentioning the parking space at foot of the hill. We see only few buses parked there along with camels and jeeps waiting to take tourists to top of the hill. We did a mistake in assuming that this is the furthest cars will go and hence due to time constraint decide to take a jeep to go till the top of the hill.
On reaching the top of the hill, we are dropped near the 'tower', a microwave tower near to Dattareya temple on top. Only then we realize our mistake that it was possible to take own vehicles till the top of the hill. There is another parking lot here for cars.
I have read about reviews from travelers about a ceremony where jackals are fed around sunset time here. The pics in that reviews had an entirely different surrounding. I guess it was pics taken before tourism picked up, I am not sure if jackals still visit for food here. But from the look of the place, I feel it's unlikely.
The view point is some 200 meters walk from this parking area. We proceed till there to have a look. This is the highest point in Kutch and gives a panoramic view of the entire area. You can see India bridge and white rann at a distance. There was considerable number of people assembled there awaiting the sunset.
Thanks to winter, sunset happens soon. Hence we decide to push off towards white rann. Our hope of viewing white rann at sunset is dashed. However, we decide to reach rann as early as possible to avoid further disappointment.
We take another jeep to parking lot and start off at 06:10 PM, on the hindsight we feel the place could have been avoided since it didn't have anything much to see. We could have rather spent all time in white rann and enjoyed the sunset there.
We take the Khavda - White Rann road and avoid taking the route via Hodka. This road is a beauty and from the looks feel like it was resurfaced recently. It is an arrow straight road with rann on both sides, however it is not fully white here.
A video of the same route taken the next day -
While coming from Bhuj, even though this route is around 10KM's longer to reach White Rann, I feel it is worth taking the route due to better road conditions and lesser traffic.
It is 06:50 PM when we reach parking gate of white rann, we were informed earlier that the gates closes at 06:30 PM. However, without any question were were let through. We need to show the permit which we had taken from Bhirandiaria checkpost in the morning here.
Location for checkpost for rann entry
There is well made parking lot after the entry post where we park the car and walk through the walkway towards white rann.
Location of parking lot
The walkway is around 1.5 Kms long from the parking lot. It is possible to get camel and horse carts to cover this distance. Since it was already late, we decide to take a camel cart, we were able to find one camel guy who was ready to come for Rs 500 for a two way trip.
We faced an unfortunate incident during this camel cart ride. A horse cart carrying an elderly family who were returning from the rann collided with our camel cart. Luckily for us, we noticed the cart approaching and were able to lift our legs, however one elderly person who was seated in the other cart didn't notice the same. His leg got stuck between the two cart and was severely wounded. Luckily there was a government vehicle coming in the same direction. He was taken in that to the first aid center at Rann Utsav. Later we came to know that they were also staying in our hotel. From them we came to know that he was shifted to another hospital bit far off for treatment. Luckily for him, though there were multiple stitches required, there was no fracture to the leg.
Shaken by this incident, we roam around the white rann. However we find that due to heavy influx of tourists, rann has become very dirty.
There is a futuristic looking watch tower made at end of the road.
Location of watch tower. Check out in the satellite view and you can notice the watch tower and the road which we took camel cart to reach the watchtower.
We spend sometime below the stars and white rann, however it has started to become cold and inspite of our warm clothes it was starting to become uncomfortable. Also, we were getting hungry, hence decide to head back to hotel after a small stop over at Rann Utsav for any shopping.
Since it was around 08:15 PM, crowd was less and shops were closing down.
While others were checking the stalls, I listen to many of the small stages which were having different musical programs.
We start from Rann Utsav by 08:55 PM and reach hotel by 09:12 PM directly to have dinner. After that we hit the bed early.
Tonight we had booked for tents, however soon we make out that it was a big mistake to do. Unlike other tents we have stayed till now, these tents did not have any separate door or closing mechanism. Also, it was not possible to tie the tent cloth tight at entrance, due to which in the night it was torturously cold inside the tent. On top of that, a friendly cat decides to make the tent its home in the night to avoid cold, continuous cries of the cat kept us awake from around 04:00 AM till sunrise.
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 20:59.
|9th February 2017, 23:54||#5|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day4: Rann Utsav, Ludiya, Bhuj
17- Jan -2017
We start from resort at 10:15 AM, since we had visited Vigakot border yesterday we didn't want the permits which were supposed to be ready today at BSF office Dhordo.
However, on discussing with hotel guys, they said the permits issued from Dhordo is for another border and not Vigakot. As per the hotel guys, this was through white rann. We were not aware of a different border outpost than Vigakot around here. However since hotel guys were mentioning, we thought to give that a try since the BSF office was en route to Rann Utsav.
We reach BSF office in around ten mins of starting from resort and head to collect the permits. The personnel there informs that we should have started earlier if planning to visit the border. He hands over the permit in no time.
BSF office turn off
The permits are for Vigakot border itself and not for any other border as mentioned by hotel guys.
All through the GJ trip, one thing we noticed is that the locals, even those associated with tourist industry has very less knowledge of things happening around.
We decide to drive to Rann Utsav and check out the stalls we missed yesterday night.
Road from Hodka to Rann Utsav and White rann.
Gate to rann utsav, tent city.
Entry through this gate is allowed only for those who are staying in the tent city. Others have to take a right before the gate and circle the campus to go to other side which has stalls. That road further down goes towards white rann.
Since its early in the morning, the place is not that crowded.
Here we see this beauty, we have seen a similar vehicle at Vigakot border also yesterday.
Its 12:45 PM now and its getting too hot. However after two hours of shopping, ladies declare that they have not been able to find anything at these stalls. Hence we decide to head towards Ludiya.
We decide to take Khavda road towards Ludiya.
We had read about this village in many travelogues online. This place was supposed to be good for getting handicrafts items directly from the craftsmen. The place is around 23 Kms from Rann Utsav and we reach here by 1:38 PM.
Almost all the houses here have small stall set up selling different handicraft items. However, on checking we find that the price quoted by them was more than that quoted at the stall at our resort and that in Rann Ustav stalls.
After checking around for around half hour we start towards Bhuj at 02:05 PM, we reach Bhirandiaria checkpost at 02:50 PM after stopping, en-route to check out many species of birds all around the road.
From there we proceed to Bhuj
En-route to Bhuj we cross the air base which has this interesting signboard.
Our stay at Bhuj was booked at Hotel Grand 3D
Hotel Grand 3D
The strangely named hotel is one of the newly constructed hotels in Bhuj. Hotel is located at fringe of the town almost next to highway.
The same building has an ISUZU showroom also
We reach the hotel at 03:40 PM, we get a parking spot which is visible from the room, however do note to park the vehicle away from electric poles. Else the car will be covered in poop by over enthusiastic pigeons.
The room and bathroom is clean and spacious.
Since we had not had lunch, we head to the restaurant in ground floor in no time. However since its around 04:00 PM, the options are limited to sandwiches. Hence we check around and decide to head to Hotel Sankalp.
This is a highly rated restaurant in Bhuj and is famous for south Indian fare.
The food was tasty and we have our stomach full. Parking is bit of an issue here, hence we park the vehicle near the SBI branch next door and walk to the place.
Once late lunch done, we decide to head to Shrujan for remaining shopping
Shrujan is recommended for handicraft shopping in Bhuj by multiple people. We were not sure if we will be able to make it in time before the place closes, its 06:18 PM when we reach there and they are just getting ready to close down.
We go through the items on display and make a small purchase. We unanimously liked the items on sale here, though expensive this was the best quality items we saw in the entire trip.
Shopping not done yet, we decide to head off to Bhuj Haat. Enroute we tank up from Reliance bunk near Shrujan.
Reliance bunk location
Bhuj haat is a good concept which has fallen short in implementation. This was supposed to be a place with many small shops selling different handicraft items.
However, there are only few shops functioning now, with rest of the shutters closed. We reach there at 07:20 PM and start back at 08:10 PM.
Past that we head back to hotel and have dinner from the restaurant there. Food was tasty and rates reasonable.
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 21:09.
|10th February 2017, 00:10||#6|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day5: Lakpath, Narayanasarovar, Mandvi
Today's plan is to do a circular route of Lakpath, Narayanasarovar, Mandvi and return back to Bhuj.
We start from Bhuj at 10:05 AM after a heavy breakfast from hotel.
The road towards Lakpath has considerable traffic for 25 kms from Bhuj, past that traffic disappears and road stays a good 2 lane road.
One and half hour and 73 KMs from our hotel we reach this sign board.
The marking on the road depicting Tropic of Cancer
The road stays good even after that
At 12:52 PM we reach Lakpath, the first sign the view of fort next to the road.
Few KM's from here, we reach the gate of the fort
Signboard mentioning how the river changed course and left Lakpath, which was once a thriving city now a ghost town.
As you enter the fort, a blue arch on the left side is visible. This is of the Lakpath Gurudwara, which is one of the biggest building inside the fort. Most of the other area in the fort is run down apart from few houses which are still occupied.
Our first stop was at Gurudwara
Gurudwara serves langar almost all times, after seeing around the Gurudwara we have langar from here and start to see other areas inside the fort.
There is a clean restroom inside Gurudwara. This was the only restroom we saw today on our trip apart from that at a restaurant in evening at Mandvi.
About an hour of reaching, we start from Gurudwara at 1:50 PM.
Pir Kamalshah Dargah
Location around here
The dargah is an empty, almost abandoned building. There was no one around and architecture wise, nothing interesting too.
After that we head towards the fort wall, there is no road in most of the areas inside the fort. However, the earth is hard and there is no need to worry about getting beached.
Soon, we reach near the fort. It is a huge structure, more so considering the terrain at which it is constructed.
Optimus taking a breather. You can see the inhabited area inside the fort in the background. There are few houses inside the fort, not sure what is the source of income of the people staying there.
Here, we meet an elderly gentleman from Mumbai. He along with two ladies and a kid is on a two week road trip of Gujarat. With no booking and itinerary, they are driving around and stopping at any place they find in the evening. Much as we were amused at their plan, they were amused on hearing that we drove down all the way from Bangalore.
We spend around 40 mins here, looking at the rann and taking pictures.
Ghosh Mohhamad Kuba tomb
Located few hundred meters from the fort wall is this dargah. Again, the building is isolated. However, there are few houses nearby.
There is a pond nearby, water here was supposed to have medicinal properties and cure skin ailments. However, current state of the pond is bad with lots of garbage and debris thrown around.
Next stop was at custom house
This was the older customs and administrative office when Lakpath was a bustling fort.
Around custom house is a line of old dilapidated buildings
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 21:15.
|10th February 2017, 23:33||#7|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day5: Lakpath, Narayanasarovar, Mandvi Ctd..
Day 5 Continued.
This was the house of one of the richest family during Lakpaths heydays. The huge house is completely in ruins now
Corridor of the house
We leave Lakpath and head towards Koteshwar
Narayana Sarovar / Koteshwar
We reach Koteshwar at 03:40 PM
Apart from the religious importance due to location of important Hindu temple, this place is the westernmost point of India accessible by road. West of here is Sir Creek estuary.
Near the temple we cross a sandy section on the road, it looked almost like there was a dust storm here.
And here we spot few camels roaming around.
Parking area of the temple
The temple and surroundings were surprisingly less crowded
Saw this tree inside the temple filled with bindis. Guess it is some kind of ritual
View of temple from nearby boat jetty
BSF patrol boat
Western most point. You can walk few meters past the small temple with the flag which is seen in the pic. Past that there is a BSF checkpost and a boat jetty for BSF patrolling boats. Defense personnel and family members are allowed to cross the checkpost and go till the end of the road.
And Google maps
It always feels good when you drive till end of the road
Some of the boats there looks like that of neighbours who came for a 'visit'
We start from Koteshwar at 04:40 PM towards Mandvi. By now we are almost sure that we will not be able to make it to Mandvi beach before sunset, however we decide to give a try since anyways Bhuj is in that direction.
The road to Mandvi is bit bumpy at few locations
The Great Indian Bustard sanctuary is also en-route. We try to find the location of that in vain. All we could spot was few signboards
Sun decides to set while we were still few KM's short of Mandvi beach
We reach Mandvi beach as it's getting dark. There is an parking fee of Rs 30 while entering the beach. Time is 06:40 PM.
We head to nearby restaurant after spending sometime at beach. The restaurant has clean restrooms too.
HV beach hotel, location.
At 07:30 PM we start back to Bhuj and reach hotel at 09:10 PM. We directly head to restaurant for dinner and then hit bed.
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 21:21.
|11th February 2017, 00:10||#8|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day6: Bhuj - Dholavira - Fossil Park - White Rann - Ahmedabad
19- Jan- 2017
We had planned of starting at 07:00 AM after having breakfast from hotel and checking out. However, thanks to breakfast getting late at hotel by a good 45 mins and delay in checkout it was 08:45 AM. This nearly two hour delay was going to cost us considerable delay in rest of our trip as we found out later.
Anyways, we start off towards Dholavira taking the Bhuj - Anjar - Bachau - Samkhiyali - Chitord - Rapar route. Our only stop on this route was at Reliance bunk en-route to tank up. Location. This was the same bunk we stopped during our onward trip too.
Soon after hitting NH 41, we notice a BP COCO next to another Reliance bunk. Incase we were aware of the same, would have tanked up here instead of Reliance. Location.
We reach Chitord at 10:41 AM, the road surface becomes bit rough past Chitord, however there is nothing to be concerned about.
Soon we cross Rapar, which is the biggest town before Dholavira. There are no restaurants, fuel bunks or shops worth mentioning after Rapar.
Also, mobile network was said to be flaky after this. However, we did not face any issue with BSNL and Airtel. We were told by locals that Vodafone too works fine.
Soon we cross white rann. Dholavira is located on an island (Khaider Bet)in middle of white rann.
Once entering Khaider Bet, road becomes narrow at some sections due to sand movement
Past that we enter village limit.
Soon we enter main gate of Dholavira excavation area, time is 12:20 PM.
Here at Dholavira, we had called up Jai Mal (Wrongly mentioned as Jamal in many forums which he is very upset about ), he was associated with the initial excavations of the site which went on for around 20 years.
Unfortunately, the excavations was stopped midway and many of the excavated places now are reclaimed partially by earth again. Alongwith abandoning of the excavation, locals including Jai Mal who were employed with ASI was out of job. He now earns a living by working as a guide for those visiting the site.
His knowledge of the site and the history regarding it is immense.
We had called couple of weeks before our trip and checked his availability, he had informed us to call up the previous day and remind him the same. Similarly, today he had asked us to call him up as we cross Rapar so that he could be at the site by the time we reach.
We meet Jai Mal and head towards the excavation site.
This smoothened rock is an important artifact here, this proves that the residents of the town had tools to make stones smooth with high degree of symmetry.
Foundations of buildings
Steps to climb down to underground canals which were used to carry water around the town
Entry towards eastern side
Dholavira is said to be occupied from 2500 BC to 1500 BC. Over period of this 1000 odd years, the city was occupied over 7 different times. Hence all buildings which are seen are not from one single timeline. The city is build on multiple layers of ruins.
The residents of the city are said to be traders who used to travel to middle east in ships built nearby for trading in tin. Since the place is located in a dry area, residents wanted to save the water that used to get accumulated in rainy season to use over the entire year. For this they had constructed the elaborate system of canals and reservoirs which can put our current day cities to shame.
Another major find from Dholavira is a signboard made of gypsum which is said to be the oldest signboard in the world.
However, not surprisingly the great minds of our country decided to leave the signboard at the site itself covered by a rusted piece of tin sheet till they decide to find a suitable place for shifting the same. Now, this was done some 12 years back, the signboard still is under the tin sheet under the sun.
Water harvesting area
Our guide Jai Mal in a pensive mood
Large water tanks on the outside of the fort walls
We are done with seeing the excavation and head to the museum near parking lot. Entry to the museum is free and it's maintained by ASI as like the excavation site.
By 02:04 PM we start from the site for lunch. There are two options near by, one is the GJ tourism run Toran guest house. This is closed for renovations now. Along with that there is another private run restaurant too. Both the places provides basic accommodation options too.
However, we had asked Jai Mal for helping us with lunch at his house. He usually does this for tourists if informed in advance. His house is located couple of KM's from the site towards direction of Rapar. We are served with a vegetarian meal which was the best we had in our trip so far.
Lunch done we bid good bye to Jai Mal and head to fossil park at 02:50 PM.
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 21:30.
|11th February 2017, 14:16||#9|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day6: Bhuj - Dholavira - Fossil Park - White Rann - Ahmedabad
Day 6 Ctd.
Fossil Park and white rann
Fossil park is located few KM's past Dholavira site, road ends couple of KM's before destination and turns to a dirt track. There was some construction work ongoing, hence we hope there will be proper road till the rann in few months.
Proper roads at start
Dirt road begins
Few KM's on the dirt road, we see this sign board on the right. We take a right on to concrete road. This road is bit steep and narrow, we keep an eye for any vehicles from opposite direction since reversing will be bit tough.
The road ends near fossil park and white rann is next to it.
We park the car and walk towards the fossil park. There is no one apart from us and a solitary BSF personnel at a watch tower nearby, keeping an eye towards the rann. Time is 03:23 PM
The fossils are kept in an enclosure. These are tree fossils and it is still under debate on if the fossils are formed due to any volcanic activity engulfing a tree, or if it was due to a meteorite fall causing the tree to be covered in a coat of molten rock.
Finally, what we came to see
The rann here is much cleaner and less crowded compared to the one near Dhordo.
We spend around one hour roaming around the rann and then start back at 04:33 PM.
On way back we stop at Dholavira excavation site again to use restrooms before starting to Bhuj. We meet Jai Mal again here. Our initial plan was to drive through Little rann of Kutch and head to Bhuj. However since it was late we were bit skeptical about that, little rann does not have any road and you need to navigate through dirt track. We didn't want to get lost in the rann for the night.
On discussing the same with Jai Mal, he too suggested that it may be tough to navigate the rann in the night. We decide to take a call once we reach the highway past Chitord.
Around Dholavira we see herds of cattle with these majestic horns
On way back we stop at the section near Rapar for a photoshoot
Sunset happens while we cross Rapar
Its 06:50 when we reach Chitord and hit the highway. We drop the plan of heading to Little rann and decide to take the NH to Ahmadabad.
For those who are planning of driving through Little Rann of Kutch, this is the most comprehensive map of the rann I saw online. I am not able to find the source, but had got it while doing search before the trip.
We take the Chitord - Samkiyali - Shikarpur - Halvad - Ahmadabad route. We stop at Hotel Honest near Dhrangadhra for dinner at 08:41 PM and start back at 09:54 PM.
Our stay was booked at Ginger hotel at Ahmadabad, which we reach at 11:40 PM.
Ginger hotel Location.
The hotel, again is like all other Ginger hotels. However, we felt the service here bit bad. Inspite of calling and informing them about the arrival time some 3 hours in advance, rooms were not ready when we reached. Then they made us wait some half hour saying there are no non smoking rooms available. Finally when they allotted the room, one of the three rooms was a smoking room which we got exchanged only by 01:00 AM.
Room pic from next day
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 21:35.
|11th February 2017, 15:35||#10|
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Day7 : Ahmedabad - Ghandinagar- Vapi
Thanks to getting late yesterday, we have a late morning start today. We have breakfast from hotel. They have a good buffet spread for Rs 200.
Breakfast done we start from hotel at 10:04 AM.
We head to Sabarmathi Ashram first
We reach ashram at 10:30 AM
There is a new building constructed outside the older ashram complex which has a photo exhibition.
Main ashram building
Next to the ashram, the river front is beautifully done. Last time I visited the ashram, it was just like any river flowing through any Indian town.
After visiting the ashram, we visit the gift shop next to it. We start from ashram 11:55 AM.
Adalaj step well
Our next stop was Adalaj step well. However, we had to traverse through the Ahmadabad traffic. To the first timers here, there is no sense of traffic rules, traffic signals are just for decoration purpose and keeps changing colors. However the traffic flows without any regard for the same.
We reach Adalaj by 12:20 PM, however we had little difficulty in finding the step well thanks to lack of signboards.
Step well was created as a water storage area and also a place for women to have a social gathering. Thanks to the design of the structure, the place remains cooler than outside.
We start from Adalej towards Modhera at 01:05 PM
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 21:38.
|11th February 2017, 16:21||#11|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day7 : Ahmedabad - Ghandinagar- Vapi Ctd
Day 7 Ctd.
Modhera Sun temple
We take the Adalaj - Mehsana bye-pass - SH 134 to Modhera, we reach sun temple 02:20 PM.
There is a parking lot in front of the temple complex.
The temple is maintained by ASI and there is an entry fee.
The detailed stone carvings in the temple reminds of Belur temple in Karnataka.
We are done with seeing the temple by 03:20 PM, there were no restaurants we saw at Modhera. Hence we decide to head to one restaurant we had noticed at Mehsana bye-pass when we were coming to Modhera.
We reach there at 03:45 PM
It's a clean place with good food. No cards accepted though. Lunch done we start off at 04:32 PM.
Our next destination was Akshardham
Akshardham Temple, Gandhinagar
We take the SH41 towards Adalaj and take left before Adalaj to Gandhinagar instead of taking the shorter route via Nardipur since we knew the route via Adalaj.
Gandhinagar is a beautiful town, road reminds that of roads in Lutyens Delhi, however we didn't make out the reason for having a polluting power station in middle of the town.
We reach temple complex at 05:46 PM, there is a parking complex opposite to the temple. We park there and walk to the temple.
Camera is not allowed inside the temple complex, hence no pics.
I am not a religious person and do not usually visit places of worship unless its of any architectural or historical importance. In that way, would say this temple can be avoided. There is an amusement park inside the temple too.
We start from temple at 07:10 PM. There is heavy traffic around Ahmadabad and it continues till we enter expressway.
While we were nearing Vadodara on expressway, I get an error on XUV's infotainment system with an alert of high pressure on one tyre.
Based on the speeds vehicles were doing on highway and due to lack of a wide shoulder, we decide to drive at reduced speed to food court which was only couple of KM's ahead. We tailgate a slow moving truck and stop at food court.
On checking we do not find any issue with tyre, also there was no issue felt during driving. Checked with fellow XUV owners and few mentioned that it could be due to one sensor going kaput. Hence we decided to continue
We stop at hotel Legend for dinner at 09:50 PM for half hour.
It's a late night drive to Vapi
There was heavy traffic at toll booths and also thanks to traffic at Baruch bridge it is 02:00 PM when we reach Ginger Vapi, the place we had booked for our night stay. This is the same place where we stayed during our onward trip.
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 21:43.
|11th February 2017, 18:25||#12|
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Day8: Vapi - Mumbai - Pune
21- Jan - 2017
We start from hotel at 10:30 AM, our first stop is for breakfast at Vital Kamat. The place is bit difficult to make out, since the hotel is located below a flyover. However, we like the food, its 12:00 PM when we start from the restaurant after breakfast.
We were noticing that tyre pressure was bit low in another tyre, it had come down to 27psi from 32psi usually I maintain. Hence decided to check at fuel bunk nearby and confirm. Made sure that that there is a pressure difference in one tyre, hence decide to fill it up again and also put the spare tyre on.
Contacted SDP for information about tyre repair guys in Mumbai, with an idea to fix the puncture on reaching Mumbai. It was 01:30 PM by the time we started towards Mumbai after changing tyre.
Vasai bridge was tough to cross due to bridge work, it takes around half hour to cross the bridge and reach Mumbai. It was around 03:00 PM when we crossed over to Mumbai.
Our destination was CR2 mall at Nariman point, this was suggested by few XUV owners in Mumbai for parking the car if going to Gateway of India or other places around Nariman point.
CR2 Mall location
We take sealink en-route
We reach CR2 mall at 04:30 PM, there is a BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) parking lot on upper levels of the mall. However, we saw few other parking lots free along the road to Gateway of India.
We soon head to Leopold cafe
After a long week of vegetarian dishes, it was time for some chicken, beef and some aerated drinks (for the passengers )
Once done we walk to Gateway of India.
Gateway of India
The place was crowded as usual, after a brief photo session we head back to the parking.
We start from parking at 08:25 PM towards Pune where we had booked room for night.
There is moderate traffic till we reach expressway. Ginger Pune is next to highway and we reach there at 11:15 PM. It takes around one hour for check-in procedures, thanks to AC not working in earlier allotted room.
Ginger Pune Location
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 21:46.
|11th February 2017, 18:58||#13|
Distinguished - BHPian
Day9: Pune - Bangalore
We start from hotel at 07:50 AM there was considerable traffic till we reach our breakfast stop at Hotel Sai Park Inn at 09:25 AM
After breakfast we start at 10:10 AM, next stop was at hotel Kamat near Dharward bypass at 02:20 PM for one hour. Location
There are not many pics for the return journey since all were bit depressed about thinking of next days usual routine.
Our next stop was at Cafe Coffee Day just before Sira from 06:52 PM to 07:34 PM. Location
Past that we drove non stop till Bangalore and cross Yeshwantpur at 09:40 PM and Indiranagar at 10:20 PM.
Last edited by mpksuhas : 11th February 2017 at 18:59.
|11th February 2017, 19:13||#14|
Distinguished - BHPian
Route links on TBHP which was helpful for trip planning.
Last edited by mpksuhas : 12th February 2017 at 17:39.
|The following 27 BHPians Thank mpksuhas for this useful post:|
|12th February 2017, 22:04||#15|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Thanked: 11,130 Times
Re: Wanderlust Traveller: Drive to Western frontier-White Rann, Vigakot,Lakpath,Dholavira from Banga
Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
Another one of those perfectly written logs! Way to go @MPK. So slowly and steadly you up the distance traversed.
So what next? The wild life parks of MP? Leh? North East?
Last edited by ampere : 12th February 2017 at 22:05.