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Old 19th January 2020, 15:30   #1
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Default Week-long family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue

I must admit, this is my first Travelogue ever! I can't write long essays so I will keep the text to minimum and let the pictures do the talking!!

Prologue:
Back in May/June, the idea of winter vacation started taking fruition. Lot of options and debates later, we finalized that we would do a driving trip to Gujarat. We had 7 days of peak season 25-31 Dec at hand!! Of the available options between Taking a package tour, Driving down, we chose with driving option as it would be much more immersive and Value for money! Then preparation started in full swing - it included booking of train tickets, finalizing places to visit / stay, deciding on the route (BHPians were of great help, as always), booking of Self-drive, etc.

I went with Revv Self Drive rental as I had very good experience with them for a similar driving trip. It was on a bit expensive side because of peak season. But, I wanted a more reliable service than Zoomcar and others.


So, what did we experience in those 7 days?
  • Awe-inspiring architectural wonders,
  • raw wildlife,
  • divine spirituality,
  • breath-taking landscapes,
  • pristine sunsets,
  • colourful handicrafts and
  • not to forget yummy Gujarati Food!


Places we visited?
Indus Valley Civilization: Lothal, an Port town and ASI Museum
Wildlife / Birding: Sasan Gir - Lion Safari, Flamingoes on the edge of LRK
Religious places : Somnath, Dwaraka, Bet Dwaraka, Akshardham
Gandhi Circuit: Porbandar and Sabarmati Ashram
Rann of Kutch: White Desert, India Bridge, Kalo Dungar,
Handicraft: Bhujodi Handicraft village, Shrujan, Ajrakhpur village
Architecture: Rani Ki Vav at Patan, Sun temple at Modhera




So, lets drive down!

Last edited by SDP : 4th February 2020 at 17:59. Reason: As requested
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Old 19th January 2020, 16:50   #2
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Default Day 1: 7 days of family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue

Day 1: Ahmedabad, Lothal and Gir

We reached Ahmedabad Railway station at 6:30am and went straightway to IRCTC Lounge to freshen up. This is a good facility to those who want to take some rest, freshen up and eat food and move off.
Our Revv Executive called us and was there at the right time. All the checks, photos of the vehicles, documentation, feature explanation done and we were on the way. It was a MH registered top end Marazzo M8.

Our plan for the day was:
  • Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad
  • Lothal Indus Valley Civilization site and
  • reach Sasan Gir by evening

Week-long family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue-day1.jpg


Sabarmati Ashram was very tranquil despite the hustle bustle of school children and tourists. View of clean Sabarmati river (and riverfront) was very pleasing.

Lothal was a revelation as I didn't expect the facility to be well managed. But, not only museum was in good condition, it had an Audio Visual show explaining the excavation and findings. This is a reminder of what humans were capable of 4000+ years ago - the engineering excellence and art!!

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After having some sumptuous lunch at Hotel Tulsi at Bagodara, we pushed on the long drive to Sasan Gir.

One point to note here was - our Marazzo from Revv, came with a Speed Governor capped at 85kmph so all that remained was to put it on cruise control (thank god we got a top end!!) and hold the steering for long straights!!

Last edited by dmplog : 2nd February 2020 at 14:18. Reason: correction
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Old 19th January 2020, 17:35   #3
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Default Day 2: 7 days of family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue

Day 2: Sasan Gir and Somnath Jyotirling

Main attraction was Lion Safari in Gir National Park followed by Somnath post lunch.

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We were super lucky to have spotted 3 male lions at different locations of the Safari. As I was not sure of lion spotting, I had also booked a Bus Safari at Gir Interpretation Zone. Again more animals sighted..

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Once animal safaris were done, we moved to Somnath. Prabhas Patan museum has a stunning collection of ancient temple remains. The highlight is the reconstructed 12th-century shrine from the main temple, complete with delicately carved ceilings. After seeing Somnath beach mesmarizing sun-set, it was time to visit main Somnath temple for Darshan and Light & Sound
show (voice of Mr. Big B).

Week-long family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue-somnath.jpg

Last edited by dmplog : 26th January 2020 at 12:17.
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Old 26th January 2020, 16:32   #4
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Default Day 3: 7 days of family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue

Day 3: Porbandar and Dwaraka

Our plan for the day was seeing Mahatma Gandhi's birthplace (Kirti Mandir) at Porbandar Dwaraka and then visit Dwaraka. We took the route via Keshod instead of coastal route as was advised by our T-BHP colleagues.

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We left Somnath early morning and reached Porbandar town to see Kirti Mandir (Mahatma Gandhi's birth place). Please note, this place is in the heart of old section of Porbandar and taking a 4-wheeler is not advisable. Instead we kept our vehicle at Sudama Mandir Parking (paid parking) and took a rickshaw to Kirti Mandir.

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After spending some time, we drove towards Dwaraka through some beautiful road which was dotted with lots of Windmills.

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After reaching Dwaraka around noon,we had nice Kathiyawadi Thali...
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With rest of the day with us to explore Dwaraka, we wondered how we should best utilize available time. Here, there are number of places one can visit apart from religious sites such as Lighthouse, Sudama Setu, Dwaraka Beach, etc. But, on advice of our Hotel manager, we decided to visit Bet Dwaraka and on return cover rest of the places including Dwarakadheesh Temple. But, this was a bad decision, as visiting Bet Dwaraka 'quickly' takes 4-5 hours min. The Ferry is so poorly managed and unsafe that I would actually advice not visiting it and instead spend more time in Dwaraka.

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Last edited by dmplog : 2nd February 2020 at 14:48. Reason: correction
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Old 26th January 2020, 16:55   #5
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Default Day 4: 7 days of family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue

Day 4: Long Drive to Kutch

Week-long family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue-day4.jpg
This was the day when we did not had any sightseeing planned. Only drive!! So, we set out from Dwaraka in the early morning so that we could reach our resort / village stay before the dusk and enjoy the surroundings

While there was no sightseeing planned, we decided to stop en-route to Bhujodi which is famous for it's handicrafts, traditional kutchhi fabrics. We also visited Shrujan (read more (towards end) here (Captivating Kutch: A trip to Gujarat's outback.): ) and Ajrakhpur for Ajrakh printed fabrics!!

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A special note about Shrujan Museum Link / Map Location - I found it to be one of best Museums I have ever seen at this scale. The attention to details and painstaking way the beauty of the local handicrafts is brought out is just phenomenal. If you want to understand various Kutchhi Handifrats and Arts, this is 'the' place to visit.

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After a shopping stint at Bhujodi, we finally reached by 8pm at our resort - Banni Village Stay. To entertain us there were some local singers who sang traditional songs while we kept ourselves warm by the campfire!

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Week-long family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue-20191228_212848.jpg
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Old 1st February 2020, 16:02   #6
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Default Day 5: 7 days of family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue

Day 5: White Desert, Rann Utsav, Kalo Dungar, and India Bridge

Week-long family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue-day5.jpg

After yummy breakfast at our hotel, we set out for Kalo Dungar. Amidst flat, barren land of Kutch, Kalo Dungar comes as a pleasant respite. Peculiar rocks and vegetation breaks the monotony of yellow, sandy plains. Kalo Dungar provides nice views of desert.

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After that we drove till India Bridge and had a brief interaction with our Jawans at BSF Post. This is the last place you can go without Permit.
White Desert is something out of this world. Pics speaks for themselves.

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Last edited by dmplog : 2nd February 2020 at 14:26.
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Old 1st February 2020, 18:59   #7
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Default re: Week-long family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue

Day 6: Rani ki Vav, Patan

Our plan was to leave early morning to reach by 3pm and see Rani ki Vav before retiring at our hotel in Patan.

Week-long family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue-day6.jpg

On NH27 where the road touches Little Rann of Kutchh (~Lakhpat), we saw some birds on marshy lands. On looking carefully, we couldn't believe our luck. There were beautiful Flamingos!! Right on the edge of a national highway!

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Rani Ki Vav (Queen's Stepwell) is a UNESCO World Heritage site that proves it's worth. It's mesmerizing and doesn't fail to amaze at every step - I mean literally! This 7 storied step well was discovered only in 1960 was built in 1032 by Queen Udaymati. The premises is very well kept and guides are available.

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Old 2nd February 2020, 14:39   #8
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Default Day 7: 7 days of family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue

Day 7: Sun Temple at Modhera, Adalaj Stepwell, and return

Last day of the trip.

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Starts off with a magnificent Sun Temple at Modhera. A protected ASI monument that has 3 sections: Surya Kund, Sabha Mandap and Garbha Griha.

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After spending more than an hour getting lost in incredible architecture of Sun Temple, we moved to next destination, another step-well "Adalaj Stepwell".

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After completing some shopping, we proceeded towards Railway Station. Revv executive turned up , took photos and off he goes. I had to pay some money towards extra mileage which he said, I can pay later! Overall pleasant experience with Revv except for the speed governor.

Any feedback is welcome!!

Last edited by dmplog : 2nd February 2020 at 14:45.
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Old 3rd February 2020, 08:38   #9
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd February 2020, 18:47   #10
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Default Re: Week-long family driving trip to Gujarat : A Travelogue / Photologue

Awesome pics. A great travelogue, thanks for sharing.
Hopefully I will do this circuit sooner than later.
Regards.
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