Gujarat Diary

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#1 Nov 16th, 2016, 13:14
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#1
I first traveled to Gujarat two years back and the diversity of the state instantly attracted me , the wildlife of Little Rann , Sea beach of Mandvi and the magnificent White rann at Night . So, I always had plans to come back to the state and finally a week back completed a 2000 km road trip ( Taxi) from Ahmedabad to and fro. We covered world heritage sites of Rani Ni Vav, Harappan civilization ruins of Lothal , Wildlife sanctuaries of Thol, Velavadar Black Buck, Gir National Park, Beaches of Diu , Sites of Hindu Religious importance- somnath , Dwarka etc. It was both a fulfilling journey for both my eyes and camera .

Day1 : Ahmedabad- Pattan- Modhera- Ahmedabad

We landed at Ahmedabad airport early morning about 6-30 am , it was my plan to start early and check in hotel after completing the site seeing . The perks of the plan was I caught a beautiful sunrise from my flight window . My taxi was waiting , i booked it through my office. Booking taxi and hotels was another story , due to Diwali all the prices have gone North and availability at hotels was a big issue- four of my hotel booking were cancelled as I had booked earlier and they now wanted to charge festival rates. Diwali sees a lot of local domestic tourists in Gujarat, hotels at this time will be full and would be difficult to get a spot booking.

Rani Ki Vav ( Stepwell) :
Stepwells are a specialty of Gujarat and also Rajasthan ,they were primarily water storage facilities but from an architectural point of view they were much more then that. At Rani ki vav,there are intricate murals, religious deities ,carved out of its pillars and walls . These carvings are done on all sides and for seven storey height .
The wikipedia says , Rani ki vav, or Ran-Ni vav (Queen’s step well) was constructed during the rule of the Solanki dynasty. It is generally assumed that it was built in the memory of Bhima I (r. c. 1022-1064) by his widowed queen Udayamati and probably completed by Udayamati and Karandev after his death. A reference to Udayamati building the monument is in Prabandha Chintamani, composed by the Jain monk Merunga Suri in 1304 AD.
The stepwell was later flooded by the nearby Saraswati River and silted over until the late 1980s. When it was excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India, the carvings were found in pristine condition.

We took almost 2 hours to reach Rani Ki Vav, there was a nominal entry ticket and Tripod was not allowed ( Not that I needed one). There was a lush green lawn and a walkway to the site. As I approached the site , i was surprised I didn't see anything , till I realized it is a well and it is located underneath.
I spent almost 2 hours gasping at the marvelous work of our ancestors.

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Last edited by sindabad; Nov 16th, 2016 at 16:54..
#2 Nov 16th, 2016, 13:21
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#2
Nice start. Was there any water in the vav?
#3 Nov 16th, 2016, 13:32
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There was no water, but the inner parts of vav were closed and entry prohibited after the earthquake.
#4 Nov 16th, 2016, 13:48
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#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by sindabad View Post There was no water, but the inner parts of vav were closed and entry prohibited after the earthquake.
Thank you. It is preserved wonderfully. Hope there was not much earthquake damage.
#5 Nov 16th, 2016, 16:53
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Patola Sarees : :

Close to the Vav , Pattan is also home to the Patola sarees - double ikat silk sarees which are hand woven . The process of dying Ikat sarees is very complicated. In ikat is formed by binding individual yarns or bundles of yarns with a tight wrapping applied in the desired pattern. The yarns are then dyed. The bindings may then be altered to create a new pattern and the yarns dyed again with another colour. This process may be repeated multiple times to produce elaborate, multicolored patterns. When the dyeing is finished all the bindings are removed and the yarns are woven into cloth.

There is a Govt Museum but unfortunately that was closed due to Diwali , so we went to another Pvt Patola Manufacturing House just across the road. There was a small entry fee and the person in charge showed us around. They also have Ikat work collection from across the globe . We were shown a Ikat work where no single pattern is repeated , intricate art works influenced by Hindu Mythology.
The Double Ikat takes approx 4-5 months to complete and are only made to order.
Also the longevity of the cloth and patterns is supreme.It was very nice experience but camera was not allowed inside, so no photos to show.

Modhera :
About 50 km ahead of the Vav , the Modhera sun temple is located .
This is a Hindu temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya located at Modhera village of Mehsana district, Gujarat, India. It is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati. It was built in 1026-27 AD by Bhima I of the Solanki dynasty. Later the temple was damaged by Mahmud Ghazni. No worship is offered now and is protected monument maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. The temple complex has three components: Gudhamandapa, the shrine hall; Sabhamandapa, the assembly hall and Kunda, the reservoir. The halls have intricately carved exterior and pillars. The sun was blazing down when we reached , the shrine hall provided us respite , the water in the reservoir was green color, water was also very less.

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#6 Nov 16th, 2016, 17:51
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#6
G O R G E O U S pics!
#7 Nov 17th, 2016, 11:56
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Day1 : Evening : Sabarmati Ashram - Kankaria lake.
In the evening, we went for a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram , the place closes at 6PM , so we were in a bit of rush. On our way , we were caught in a huge traffic , somehow we managed to reach before the closing time. But once inside the ashram , it was completely calm and peaceful . It seemed it is immune from the chaos outside and in a completely different time wraps. The ashram has important photographs and collections from the pre independence era and a reflection to the Great Man's life. Close to the Ashram is the Sabarmati river front , good place to sit and watch sunset over sabarmati.
We reached Kankaria lake wading our way through the notorious traffic , kankaria lake is certainly a fun place in Ahmadabad. There was a fair like environment with food stalls , rides , hot balloons, festival crowd all around. We enjoyed sitting there and had our dinner at one of the lip smacking fast-food joints.

Day2 : Thol- Lothal- Bhavnagar

I wanted to reach Thol early morning for birding , but previous night was the Diwali night and crackers kept going on all night . We couldn't get a proper peaceful sleep , our driver also arrived late. Our problems aggravated , as he had mixed up between Thol & Lothal and I realized the mistake after driving for some 40 mins. Somehow,we managed to reach the gates Thol wild life sanctuary by 8-30 am. The charges for individual is 40/- but a car with 6 is 400/- .
I chose Thol over Nal sarovar as I heard of touts and mismanagement in Nal sarovar. Just on the second day of my trip I was not prepared to face touts , haggle and lose my peace. Thol completely lived upto its billing, the place has a huge reservoir and there are walkways on its banks . The moment I arrived at the place, I could hear birds chirping , a benevolent breeze was blowing . The place was so peaceful , one can spend hours roaming there. Many of our high profile foreign guests have not arrived yet but the few birds I could ID are Darter, Painted storks, pelicans, Egret,Indian Spot-billed Duck, Common Hoopoe,Gray Babler,Spot-billed or Teals,purple Swamphen,Red-Wattled Lapwing, Dove,Munia,Bee catcher,Bulbul and many more.It is a paradise for bird lovers and human love birds - it seemed from the graffitis.

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Last edited by sindabad; Nov 19th, 2016 at 11:01..
#8 Nov 17th, 2016, 12:01
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Some more.. Egret, Pelicans, eagle..

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#9 Nov 17th, 2016, 12:10
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#9
Nice photos , sindabad
#10 Nov 17th, 2016, 12:30
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Lothal :

Lothal was the site for Harappan civilization excavation dating back to some 2000 BC . The actual site have remains of a town classified into Upper town for the rich and nobles, Factory area, Downtown for workers, community graveyard etc. The houses were made of mud bricks and well planned for passage . The most astonishing part is a huge reservoir which was used for docking of ships , the reservoir was connected to the sea via a narrow river channel and used for trade. The water level in the reservoir was controlled just like a modern day switch gate. There a museum of unearthed artifacts nearby , it has all the astonishing collection of Harappan seals, ivory carvings, toys, beads and other jewellery etc. One shocking find is a skeletal remains of a couple -joined in death , were they lovers who defied the kings or died due to natural calamity - answers of which we will never know.

From Lothal , went to Bhavnagar and rested the evening.
#11 Nov 17th, 2016, 12:54
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Thanks Visva
#12 Nov 17th, 2016, 13:11
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Thanks arupratan
#13 Nov 17th, 2016, 15:41
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Day 3: Velvadar Black Buck sanctuary & Gir National Park :

We had an early morning start and reached the park gate by 7:30 AM. On our way , we saw the savanna like grassland and black bucks & many birds were visible from the road. The park is divided into 2 halves , after paying entry tickets a guide was assigned to us. The park have abundant avian species - bee eater, drongo, kester, eurasian roller, saras crane, eagle, kingfisher etc etc and herbivores the blackbucks, nilgai , elusive carnivores wolves, hynas ( we couldn't sight any carnivores).The pictures would do more justice. In one word the park was breathtaking.

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#14 Nov 18th, 2016, 10:46
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Velavadar Black Buck sanctuary continues..
The next lot of photographs.
In the 4th photograph there is an albino blackbuck , the guide informed us there were only 2 of them born in the wild , one of them got killed by wolves. Darwin's Law of natural selection at work here , the brownish coat forms a natural camouflage against the dry grassland.Absence of it reduces its chances to hide from predators. Hope this one lives long.

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#15 Nov 18th, 2016, 17:36
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Gir National Park :

Devalia Interpretation Centre : I had 4 safaris planned at Gir National park but owing to long distance to travel from Velvadar to Gir, I was worried I wont be able to make it for the evening safari ( Reporting time was 2:30 PM) , so I bought ticket for the Devalia . Devalia is created to lessen the burden of tourism in Gir core areas and a 30 min bus safari is arranged . Here animals remain in the open but kept in a more controlled environment within the boundary wall , so it can be termed as a more glorified zoo. We have the 4:30 PM slot, we reached in the nick of the time , it was total chaos with thousands of tourists everywhere. Somehow , we managed to get on our bus and the safari started . First 10 minutes we saw nothing, Devalia was more dried , I initially thought it would be greener as the park opened after monsoon . Finally , the animals came into sight a herd of nilgais, a pack of jackals, Mongoos, Python, finally the Big cat- 3 lionesses and later 2 Male Asiatic lions- Panthera leo persica.

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