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Gujarat Tour Diary: Day 16 | Adalaj Step Well and Sabarmati River Front

(If you have come to this page while searching for some travel related information of Gujarat, I suggest you start from Day 0 of this travelogue.)

Places that we skipped; and truncated our total Gujarat tour:

As said earlier, we wanted to tour the entire state. However due to shortage of time, we were forced to skip some more places. I am listing out those places here. This is only to benefit those people, who want to make their own itinerary based on our travelogue. You may decide to include these places or leave some/all/few among these. These places are in the order in which they have to be covered.

I have not included the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar (AMD-GN) circuit in this list. It is the state capital region, and can be covered separately also. It might require 2-3 days to see all the places in this circuit, as the traffic in this circuit is more.

So, now on to other places.

 Becharaji: {Becharaji has the temple of Bahuchar Mata, an incarnation of the Mother Goddess. ‘Bahuchar Mata’ is the patron goddess of the women folk who invoke her intervention in domestic violence and problems within the family. The goddess is also principle deity of transvestites and eunuchs who flock here large numbers to seek the blessings of the goddess. Ph: 02734286317, 9428460682; Time: 0600-12:00, 1500-2100}

Ghantakarna Mahavir Temple: {Mahudi is a village near the river Sabarmati. The main temple of Ghantakarna Mahavir was built around Vikram Savant 1980. Acharyadev Buddhi Sagarsurisvarji was inspired in a dream and drew a figure of Ghantakarna Mahavir with bow and arrow and an idol was carved accordingly. In this shrine there is another larger temple with a 22-inch marble idol of Bhagawan Padmaprabhu sitting in padmasana posture, installed by Acharyadev. Tel: 02763 284625. Accommodation is available here}

 Shri Idar Tirth: {Shree Pavapuri Jal Mandir Tirth in Idar, Sabarkatha is an exact replica of Bihar’s world famous Pavapuri Jal mandir. Shree Pavapuri Jal Mandir covering an area of 20,000 sq. feet is surrounded by Beautiful Ranitalav covering an area of 110 sq mt, and is linked with 800 feet long and 11 feet wide bridge. Lord Mahavir’s main mandir is 72 feet long, 72 feet high and is built on 72 stambhs. Height of Lord Mahvir’s Idol is 72 cms, surrounded by 72 Carved Figures}

 Shamlaji Temple:{Shamlaji is one of the largest pilgrim temples of the Sabarkantha district. It is more commonly known among locals as “Dhodi Dhwaja Vada” because it always has a white silk flag fluttering on top of temple. The temple has a beautiful sculpture of Lord Krishna as Shamdiya bhagwan, with a piece of real diamond embossed on his chin. The Shamlaji Temple stands in honour of Lord Vishnu. The magnificence of the temple is enhanced by exquisite stone carvings, idols of gods, nymphs, musicians and celestial dancers, beautiful domed ceilings and a towering spire. Scenes from the epic stories “Mahabharata” and “Ramayana” grace the walls of this 16th- century temple. Time: 0600 – 1200; 1400 – 2030. Ph: 09974335693}

Balasinor – India’s Jurassic Park: {In the early 1980s, paleontologists stumbled upon dinosaur bones and fossils during a regular geological survey of Balasinor in Kheda District. Since then excavations have thrown up a veritable trove of dinosaur remains – eggs, bones, a skeleton which is now kept in a Kolkata museum – bringing hordes of scientists and tourists to the place. }

Ambaji Temple: {Ambaji temple is an old temple in Balasinor, which is worth a visit. This temple is quite close to the Balasinor Fossil Park}

 Hot Water Spring: {The Hot Water Springs at Tua & Timba is on the Ahmedabad-Godhra highway, just before Godhra 15-20 km away. You have to take right turn when you see signboard of Timba village. It is known for hot water springs that contain sulphur which is said to have medicinal value, miraculous cure for arthritis and rheumatism. You can easily bath here in hot water. Dense forest area is starting from here}

 Panchmahal: {Panchmahal refers to the five sub-divisions namely – Godhra, Dahod, Halol, Kalol and Jhalod that were transferred by the Maharaja Jivajirao Scindia Gwalior to the British. }

 Godhra: {One of the religious places in India, Godhra has four temples for Vaishnav Sampraday (Vaisnal community), two temples for Lord Gokulanathji, and one each for Lord Gusaiji and Lord Mahaprabhuji}

 Jama Masjid: {The Jami Masjid is the most elaborate of all the heritage structures in Godhra, Champaner. The pinkish hue of Jami Masjid is from the sandstone used in its construction. Intricately carved pillars, domes and arches with Islamic as well as Hindu motifs make it a stand out structure. Outside the masjid, there is a tank which resembles Suryakund at Modhera as its steps leading to water are similar to those at Modhera. Visit to Jama Masjid is a must to understand how the Sultan employed local material and men to construct the Masjid even though the artisans were conversant with only Hindu and / or Jain temple architecture. This is a less crowded place}

 Juni Masjid: {Juni Masjid (Jami Masjid?) is in the Champaner complex of sites. This masjid is quite near to bus stand and can be reached in just 10 minutes by own vehicle. Built in the year 1508-09 by Mehmud Begda, Jami Masjid stands truly large and magnificent till date and is considered the most prominent structure in Champaner.}

Also Visit: Kevada Masjid, Lila Gumbaj ki Masjid, Nagina Masjid at Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Champaner.

Champaner{Made popular by the Oscar nominated Bollywood movie Lagaan; Champaner is around 50 km away from Balasinor. This small village is home to some 1000-yr old well-preserved Hindu and Jain temples. There are a number of mosques, forts and palaces as well. In 2004, Champaner was declared the UNESCO World Heritage Site}

 Pavagadh Hill: {Pawagadh has following main places to see: Pawagadh Temple on the Hill top; Fort in foothill; Forest in the surrounding area. Pavagadh is strongest hill fortress, where Kaalikaa Mata Temple is situated. The old fort of Champaner, the medieval capital of the Gujarat, is located at the southern part of the Pavagadh hill.}

Having told you about the skipped places, now let me resume my story with our tour details.

In this final two days we must cover around 1600 kms to reach our home. I was confident that we can do it during day time driving only. And even if we are a bit late also, there is not much to worry, because we are heading back.

While I was thinking of the route back, MKR had other ideas. He was spoiled to the core. He was a good person before the start of the tour. But due to my company for the past 15 days, he was completely spoiled. I came to know about that once we started our return journey. And I suggest you don’t follow his footsteps, and don’t get spoiled like him.

You all know how kids play. When they are playing cricket on the streets, you call them inside the house. All of them will say, ‘Pappa, one last over’. And you know that, that last over will never be bowled so soon. Why only kids, take the adults also. When they are playing rummy with a pack of cards, if the Madam calls for dinner, prompt comes the reply ‘Hai, last game’. And you know, that ‘last game’ never gets over ever.

I thought that Mehsana was our ‘last place’. But our ‘last place’ was not ready to die down so easily. MKR wanted to visit one more place en route.

 MKR – I had seen the Chinese Premier and Modi in the Sabarmati River Front (SRF), when he came to Ahmedabad. I just want to visit this only one last place before we return.

BPB – Ok, that is fine with me. I don’t have any problem. But your office staff might scold me. Even your wife might scold me that I have spoiled you.

MKR – Not like that. But I have a bigger complaint against you.

BPB – What ?

MKR – You have made my future tours less attractive now.

BPB – How come, why ?

MKR – You see, you showed me the Gujarat state first in my series. I am so overwhelmed by this tour, that in future any state tour will pale into comparison with my first tour.

Yes, MKR is perfectly correct in his analysis.

 He had this urge to see few more places. That is known as ‘fire’. And I was there like ‘ghee’. You know what will happen when ghee is poured over fire, it becomes an inferno. Soon we were nearing AMD and at the same time the inferno also started.

I noticed the road sign ‘Adalaj Step Well’ (ASW) while nearing Ahmedabad. I checked the maps, and found out that ASW is just 1 km from our ‘current location’. So we decided to take a detour, and went to ASW.

It was just 7.30 am, and ASW was not yet opened to public. So we decided to finish our breakfast quickly. We went to a nearby ‘chowk’ and had our last breakfast of Gujarat. It was a typical Gujarati breakfast. Even though we were within the city limits of Gujarat, we could not locate proper hotel for our breakfast. We had a quick bite and returned back to ASW. By this time, it was opened. And we went in. 

 Adalaj Step Well
{The Vav (step-well) at Adalaj derives its name from the lady patron, Ruda, wife of the Vaghela chief, Virsinh; who built it in the 15th or 16th century. In the vicinity of the well are graves of the six masons who were instrumental in erecting it. It is believed when Mohammed Begda asked them if another vav was possible, they replied in the affirmative. This proved to be their undoing and they were instantly put to death. Perhaps that is why the Adlaj step-well stands unrivaled till today}

We went inside the Vav and took photos. No, I am not going to compare this Adalaj Step Well with Rani Ki Vav. It is not right on my part to compare each and every master piece. I will be doing injustice to those people if I start doing the comparison. You just go and see the Vav. This is also a wonderful place which one must see while in Ahmedabad.

Adalaj Step Well
Adalaj Step well, from top to bottom
Adalaj Step Well
Adalaj Step well, from top to bottom
Adalaj Step well, from top to bottom
Adalaj Step Well
A panoramic shot in the middle floor
Adalaj Step Well
And finally the actual Well, covered with a mesh grill

From Adalaj Step Well we started going towards Sabarmati River Front (SRF). Then maps told us that the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram is on the way to the SRF. In fact both of them are on either side of the river bank. This is known as inferno. After seeing Dandi and Porbandar in our Gujarat tour so far, one should not skip the Ashram, I said.  The Ashram was just opening, and we were just in time. So without wasting any time, we went in.

Gandhi Ashram:
{Sabarmati Ashram was once house of Mahatma Gandhi. Founded in 1915, it is the biggest tourist attraction in Ahmedabad. It lies on the tranquil stretch of the Sabarmati River and was referred to as the Satyagraha Ashram during the lifetime of the Mahatma. From here Mahatma began his famous ‘Dandi March’ in 1930 to protest against the Salt Tax imposed by the British. The ashram today continues the work started by Mahatma and houses a handicrafts centre, a handmade paper factory and a spinning wheel factory}

Sabarmati Ashram
Sabarmati Ashram from out side
Sabarmati Ashram
One more building from out side
Sabarmati Ashram
Original Gandhi’s original Chakra
Sabarmati Ashram
(Duplicate Gandhi) learning the weaving in Chakra
Sabarmati Ashram
Neat and clean toilets in Sabarmati Ashram… Did Modi’s Swach Bharat Abhiyan started from here?

 Few years back I had been to Wardha in Maharashtra, where Mahatma’s another beautiful ashram is housed. Some photos of Wardha for your reference.

Sevagram, Wardha in Maharashtra (Pic taken in 2009)
Sevagram, Wardha in Maharashtra (Pic taken in 2009)
Another photo of Wardha

 We finished the Ashram round very quickly and went to SRF, which is on the opposite side of the River. In fact it is visible from the Ashram also.

 Sabarmati River Front
{It is being developed by the Sabarmati River Front Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) funded by GOI. The responsibility is to develop approximately 10.4 km stretch along the river in the city. The project has encountered several delays due to concerns regarding water level, flooding, rehabilitation of displaced slum dwellers and met with severe opposition from activists involved with slum rehabilitation. However the project is substantially completed}

There is a saying – ‘Man proposes and God disposes’. That is what happened at SRF. Today is Monday, and the SRF is closed on Mondays. It is our bad luck. However we were able to see the gardens from the gaps in between the compound wall grills. We also took some photos.

Sabarmati River Front
Sabarmati River Front
Sabarmati River Front
Sabarmati River Front
Sabarmati River Front
The beautiful garden at SRF

 It was nearing 10 am. And finally we decided to pour the Sabarmati water over our inferno. We decided to end our Gujarat tour, and say ‘bye – bye’ to Ahmedabad. With all sweet memories, we left Ahmedabad.

 The traffic of the city was choc-a-block, but it is all part-and-parcel of any city; and we are not new to such things. We soon maneuvered the traffic using our skills, and entered the Expressway to Vadodara. There after we took NH 8 to enter Maharashtra. We had our last Gujarati lunch, and departed from Gujarat with a heavy heart.

We reached Thane in the evening. We took by-pass road to Panvel, and entered Pune Expressway. When we reached Pune, it was around 9 pm. The roads are not in good condition. So we went to the outskirts of Pune on the city by-pass road and halted at Hotel Amantran, BM Road, Pune (Rent Rs 600/, 09890885532)

route map of the day
Today’s route from Google Maps

Total distance covered: 774 kms.

 On Day 17, we continue our journey to Bengaluru. On the way we stop at Dharwad to enjoy the famous Jowar Rotti.

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