Monday, May 30, 2011

IN THE LAND OF LORD KRISHNA...AND LIONS

 Lord Krishna, in his mortal form, has significant influence in my life. I  always marvel at his awesome management skills which normally not seen among mortals and thats why  He is treated as God. Krishna is the master politician, the diplomat par excellence and the greatest  strategist  that history or mythology has ever recorded. I  earned my bread as a Manager because of Him and his teachings..
So I always cherished a dream to visit His kingdom and from where he ruled. ( Of course I have visited Mathura and Vrindavan many times for buying sweets rather than on any pilgrimage. Mathura and Brindaban are the places where Lord Krishna was born, spent his childhood, part of his youth  with many friends, girl friends and darling of all , and dearest of all, Radha of  course ) 
So finally I visited Dwaraka and Somnath ( Pravash) with my MIL and SOMEONE. My MIL wanted to go on a pilgrimage to Dwaraka long back  and I feel good that it finally materialized.
The objective of the tour was to visit 
1. Dwaraka from where Krishna ruled, Vet-Dwaraka His residence, Nageshwar temple, one of  the jyotirlingas,  
2. Visit Porbandar to see Sudama temple 
3. The Pravash patan or Tirth 
4. Somnath temple 
5. Finally the Gir lion sanctuary ( This is incidental to the main mission).
 TRIP TO GUJARAT
Gujarat is well connected by air, train, bus and taxi. The most economic way of travelling is by train-bus combo, provided you have enough time. I decided to use air and taxi combo, due to time and health constraint of my MIL.
TRAVELLING BY AIR AND TAXI  OPTIONS.
1. Travel  to Ahmdabad by air from all major cities of India and take a Taxi for 8-9 day and see whole of Gujarat state.
2. Take flight from Mumbai to Rajkot and take 4 days tour to Dwaraka, Somnath ,  Diu Gir lion sanctuary etc ( only 2 airlines operate from Mumbai.). You can catch a return flight to Mumbai in evening and avoid hotel expenses in Rajkot.
3. Take flight to Jamnagar and take the Dwaraka, Somnath , Gir circuit. ( Only one flight operates daily from Mumbai). On your return leg, You have to stay over night in Jamnagar to take flight next day to Mumbai. Or stay in Gir area and and start for the Jamnagar air port early in the morning.
4. The Taxis are quite cheap compared to rest of India. i.e you pay Rs6.5 / Km in an Air conditioned Indigo car.  It will be 5.5/ Km on an Indica and higher for bigger and luxury cars, and minimum billing will be for 300 Km per day whether you travel or not. Having a taxi at your disposal makes the travel very flexible.
HOTELS
There are good hotels and the tariff ranges from Rs 1000 to 2000. One can book Gujarat tourism hotels, at Rs 600 to 1000. Other than this , you have good resorts near Gir forest, coasts etc.. ( The wet bath rooms will make you home sick, I mean for people who are now having dry bath rooms. I learnt this dry -wet words recently from a visiting friend who is settled in USA. We were fondly recollecting the semi-dark, slippery  bathrooms of our childhood days)
DAY-1 ( Jamnagar Dwraka)
After spending 3 days with my elder daughter in Mumbai we took a flight to Jamnagar. As usual and in line with their dubious reputation , the Air India flight reached Jamnagar one hour late. The Taxi, which I had booked from Delhi , was waiting for us at the air port. The taxi driver-cum guide, Mr Kausik,  is a very helpful , smiling young person and stole our heart in no time.
We straight dorve to Dwaraka, 140 Km away. On the way we had the authentic taste of Gujarati food. 
We checked into hotel Damji in Dwaraka. Like most pilgrimage places , you dont get Star hotels. So dont expect those star hotel luxury. The rooms were big and specious with wet toilet. The nice lobby in each floor was reasonably dirty around the garbage bin. I dont know why people like to throw garbage all around the bin and not into the bin. All said and done, I will stay in this hotel when I visit again. 

I must say , their Arati Restaurant is just too good. At Rs 70/- ( US $ 1.5), you can have unlimited food served at your table. It is purely vegetarian and the boys pestering you to have more and more is the real treat . No wonder you have more locals eating here than the hotel guests.
After relaxing for some time , we went to the Dawarkadhish temple , which is few minutes drive from the hotel. You must have details of temple opening time. As we all know , Lord Krishna is very particular about timing , ( unlike our great Bholenath) . So the temple closes time and again to cater to the needs of the Lord like breakfast , Lunch , evening snacks , dinner break,  dressing up to meet people and dressing up to relax , siesta after each meal etc etc. ( I Love Lord Krishna, an extremely disciplined person. Discipline  now is  lacking in most of the mortals, including me) .( For me discipline has one definition , i.e . timely action as per own plan and nothing else. If you dont act on time as per your plan " You are indisciplined", have no doubt about this wisdom).
Photography is strictly prohibited in the temple complex. You have to deposit your mobile phone and camera before going inside  the temple. 

We gave puja, saw the evening Aratri and one flag changing ceremony. The flag on the temple is changed many times a day. If you want to put a flag in your name, you need to book in advance and the waiting time is 1 to 1.5 years . It is worth it if you are a religious person and not for the Maha papi like me.
Dwarakadhish temple

Read more abvout Dwaraka here 
The temple is on the bank of the sea and at the confluence of  a holy river. You can go down the stairs and take a holy dip too. I must tell you, Dwarakadhish is pretty handsome!
DAY -2 ( Vet Dwaraka, Probandar)
On the 2nd day we went to Vet-Dwaraka. It is an island close to the tip of Gujarat and near Okha port. You need guts to board the boats, specially elderly people. You have to negotiate , the broken stair, discarded auto tires attached to the boat-sides, and jump into the hull and if you dont slip and break your leg , you will make it to the other side. It is bit scary but no such things happen. The boat is loaded with people, goods, bicycle until the water touches the danger mark and the police shouts at the boat-man to move out. 
loaded boat going to Vet- Dwaraka 


But dont worry, the boats operated by the Gujarat Govt, are very nice and big. You can just walk into the boat and take your seat. But you may have to wait for 30 to 60 minutes, which is worth it.
It takes 30 minutes to reach Vet Dwaraka. 
Vet Dwaraka , walk from the Jetty

From the Jetty it is very stiff walk to the temple. But one can take an auto for Rs 50/- or pay Rs 10 per seat and share.
Vet Dwaraka was the residence of Lord Krishna. Sudama met Him here with the food sent by his wife. Here also , photography is prohibited.  
Local ladies and tourists

Look at the Ornaments, especially the earrings
Shopping place in Vet Dwaraka

After visiting the temple and witnessing the morning Arati, we returned to main land ( Okha). We took the Govt run boat on our return leg. On our way  to Dwaraka, we visited Nageshwar temple. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas related to Lord Shiv.
Nageshwar Temple 

Statue of Lord Shiv near Nageshwar temple.

Normally one can drive down,  to Somnath same day, 225 Km away. But I had decided to take a break at Porbandar, 100 Km away , on the way. 
At Porbandar we visited Sudama temple. I  have a great liking for Sudama and his friendship with Krishna. After visiting the temple we retired for the day. Porbandar is also famous as Gandhiji's birth place.
The Sudama Temple , PorBandar
Sudama's 100084 parikrama, I could not find out the details and the purpose 
Porbandar city center 

DAY-3 ( Pravash Patan and Somnath)
 From Porbandar we left for Somntah , 125 Km away. We stopped at a beautiful beach. The road condition was quite bad at some places. 
Hey !! Dont go by my SIL look, which is normal when a SIL poses with MIL. I love my MIL. It is just that SOMEONE was trying to tarnish my real and good SIL image as " The greatest SIL, which history has ever recorded". My expression is an  outcome of my mischief , to irritate SOMEONE.


The Somnath temple is beyond the Verabal city. It is famous for its big fish export industry and also famous for the fishy smell every where. 
Fishing boats at Verabal.
We checked  into Hotel Sukh Sagar in Somnath, had a very nice Kathiabadi  lunch and left for visiting places in the after noon. Cars are not allowed anywhere near the temple for security reason. Also one can not carry camera. Somnath temple is a modern temple built after independence. The ancient temple was destroyed by invaders. The location is very nice and the complex is right near the sea. I wished I could take some photos.
The place is also known as Pravash patan. Lord Krishna was shot here by a hunter and he was cremated near the confluence of 3 rivers, called Triveni.
Bhalka Tirth sign board, Here Lord Krishna was shot by a hunter, who mistook His feet as a deer.
From Bhalka Teerth , we went to a place called " Sri Krishna neeja dham prasthan teerth or Golakdham teerth.".
Here Lord Krishna was cremated 

Foot print of Lord Krishna at the cremation place.
Lord Krishna's elder brother Balaram also left the world from this place.
After completing the Pavash visit we went to Somnath temple. The complex is just wonderful. I can sit here hour after hour. In the evening we saw the " Sound and Light" show giving the history of the place from ancient time.
The Somnath Temple 


DAY -4 ( Back to Jamnagar via Gir Lion Sanctuary)
The last day was a long drive from Somnath to Jamnagar. I had a plan to take my MIL on a Lion Safari. It is a 3 hours drive through the forest in bad roads. One can only take approved Vehicles. You may not see the lions too, on your route defined by the officials. You cant take routes of your choice. I thought it would be too much for my MIL, although at +80 she is absolutely fit even with replaced knees. I decided to take a conducted tour where the Lions are free to move in a big area and properly fenced. It is not like a zoo. 
On our way we stopped at Sasan ( the safari office) for breakfast. I love the Ganthia and other Besan products with stir fried green chilis and  plenty of them.
The snack maker at Sasan 

My most favorite, is this long ones, awesome taste and crispy. The stir fried green chili with it will take you to the 12th cloud.

We reached the conducted tour point. A bus leaves every half an hour or so to take you on a Safari tour of 30 minutes. You have the option of taking an Air conditioned bus. My guide advised me to take a non-A/c one. No one likes to shoot lions through window panes laden with dust....and if your camera captures the lion along with your reflected face...hummm you will feel like eating the lions in disgust. 
The waiting area is beautiful ( with good toilets, nice lobby, photos and nice land scape and also the birds singing from the trees ). 
At the waiting area for the bus , the beast with the beauty ( La Belle et la Bête

Here are the few animals we saw 
The spotted deer 
One sambar 
And the many faces of Lions. Here you see the Lions only..if you take a safari, you may see one lion and many lioness.

The Lions are  well fed by the forest officials, I will not wonder if a deer comes to the lion and says" Hi Dude..get lost . I want to relax here"

The Lion says "Dear SOMEONE I am smacking my lips at you ...but sparing you as I know, NO ONE cant survive without you." I told the Lion " How disappointing , you BASKET ", (Thank God the Lion did not know that the word  BASKET is the polite form of the word BASTARD..else SOMEONE would have lived without me)
We traveled back  to Jamnagar via Junagarh. We had a great Kathiabadi lunch here, a shabby looking restaurant. But when I saw the locals were waiting for their turn to have space, I knew I was at the right place. 
 Photo from Junagarh. When I revisit Gujarat on a historical tour, I will have enough to write about Junagarh. 
Mahabat Maqbara
The City gate , Junagarh

So finally we reached Jamnagar. The hotel was very good, an old Brithish architecture building. The diner at the open air restaurant is memorable. I will stay here next time too, simply because of the great wisdom " A known devil is preffered  than better known devils ..sorry. I mean,  unknown devils ".
The Hotel at Jamnagar 

To cut the long story short , the Lion did not eat us , particularly me, and we were back home to Delhi after spending one night  with my daughter and SIL in Mumbai..


Dear friends, if I am unable to visit your blogs regularly , please forgive me and dont delete my name from your follower's list. You all mean a lot to me. 




39 comments:

Shobha said...

Lovely pictoral tour...enjoyed it.
Thanks for sharing all the detailed info..feels like you are there.

Rumana Rawat said...

Omg!!! i love all the pic. specially that one lady with a lovely jewellery..

Arundhuti said...

Ushnishda,

It was so nice to see your comment in my blog after so long. I am doing good and trust all is well with you too.

I absolutely loved this post. Gujrat is one state which I haven't visited yet. Your pictures gave me the next travel destination. Thank you!

And, I hope you like the coffee. :)

Deepthidigvijay said...

hello ushnish gosh,

You made a great presentation with pictures....i'm very much excited to see the lions in wild....really it is fantastic treat with pictures....:)

DeepthiDigvijay
Good Food Recipes
Coffe With Me Deepthi

Suparna said...

hello ushnish da,

Lovely write up as always!! love to read ur detailed posts....like many have expressed, it seems like the reader is having a guided tour :P
Thanks for sharing lovely pics...

da, You've done a better promotion of the destination than Modi or Amitabh Bachchan ;)would love to visit Gujrat sometime in future.

Happiness to you and your family!!

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Suparna
Thanks for the complement and you have sent me into colorless blush by comparing with Modi and Big B ha ha
Have a great day

Amritha Kalyani said...

Hi Ushnish Ji,

Good to see your post :-) The pics looks really beautiful. Hope you had a great trip. I was reminded of my trip to Dwaraka when I was 7 yrs old :-). I loved that place.

Arti said...

What a wonderful tour you had, felt very nice on reading it...felt like I have myself just returned from a pilgrimage to Gujarat :)

The pics, the words, the beauty of the place is just fabulous... Many thanks for bringing it to us... The long things in the kadai are fafdas if I am not mistaken, I love them too with the chutney! I had been there as a child long back...the memories came alive...Thanks :)

sangeeta said...

So lucky ..you could click the lip smacking lion..

Prathima Shivraj said...

Enjoyed the Post, nice presenation. Beautiful pics too.

Viki's Kitchen said...

Seems a wonderful tour Ushnishji. Nice pictures and comments too:) How are you? We went to Maine , bar harbor, cadillac mountain, Portland light house, whale watching cruise etc with some friends. Sorry, I Couldn't reply immediately. Many posts are piling up in my draft and I am not blogging much nowadays....should kick start soon:) Keep rocking!

Mugdha said...

OMG wat a wonderful tour you had, felt very nice on reading it...felt like I have myself just returned from Gujarat :)...I love all the snaps and now really wanna go thr...:)

Now Serving said...

Lovely pictures! thanks for sharing!

Silence Sings said...

Ushnishda, apni amake mone kore amar khonj niyechhen dekhe bhishon bhalo laglo....ami akhon kolkata phire eshechhi...ekaner settlement niye bhishon bastyota cholchhe..ektu guchhiye boshle abar blogging shuru korbo....bhalo thakoben....
darun ghurechhen bujhlam...chhobi gulo o darun....

Sutapa said...

Ushnishda what a lovely tour!
I enjoyed every bit of it and liked the pics of bossy basket ...haha!
It's great to know that you are back safe!
Happy weekend!

Chandrani Banerjee said...

Hi Ushnishda,

Apnar chhobi r deltails information e mone holo amio apnader sathe ghure elam. Nice presentation..

Ananda Rajashekar said...

oh what blessed pilgrimages to holy places, rare is the opportunity to reach there, so nice ur whole trip adventures and fun!!

Babli said...

Thanks a lot for all your lovely comments.
Very beautiful pictures specially the picture of lion I liked very much. Absolutely gorgeous places you have visited and I am sure you have enjoyed very much. While seeing the pictures and going through the description I was fully engrossed into it. Excellent post.

FoodLovers said...

Ushnishda ,
nice to see ur lovely comments on my blog ...How r u doing ?
good to see ur post yet again very nice pics with lovely write up

Cham said...

I enjoyed virtually your trip, Somnath is on my wishlist, probably i should bookmark for future reference :)
Hope you had a relaxed trip!

Shilpi Bose said...

Thanks to my internet connection which keeps playing truant I just was unable to post this comment. I think I have mentioned this before your travelogues are very informative. I loved this one, feel like visiting Dwarka but not so soon just returned from a wonderful trip to Uttarakhand but whenever I do visit Dwarka I will definitely refer to this post. Thanks for all the info.

Sensible Vegetarian said...

Landed on your blog while blog hopping. Beautiful post and excellent clicks, thanks a lot for the virtual tour.

Alessandra said...

Dear Ushnish

your reportages always make a great reading!

In regard to your query about pasta sauce, maybe I am too late, were you looking for this one?

http://alessandrazecchini.blogspot.com/2008/09/tomato-sauce-for-pizza-or-pasta.html

ciao
A.

Zareena said...

Loved all the pics and they were very informative. Thanks for sharing Ushnishji

Rajani said...

Da,I totally enjoyed your travelogue. Useful info about reaching places, timings, distances, cost,- would have liked your descriptions on the food you had too!
Krishna is so close to my heart, no not close, He lives in my heart- I have not been to Dwaraka, and you brought me scenes of His places and temples-Very grateful to you.
Rajani.

Sanjana said...

It's always so refreshing reading about your spectacular travels. The way you describe each moment captures the spirit of the journey beautifully. The photo of Lord Shiva is particularly great - along with the (very majestic) lions! I too believe I am where I am by the grace of my dear Lord Krishna.

Fantastic reading this! Thank you for sharing and leaving a comment on my blog too. Have a lovely Sunday!

Madhu said...

Awesome narration! I am so glad that you had fantastic time (and lion didnt eat you up).

Suman Singh said...

Such a lovely post..enjoyed reading it and loved the pics and narration..glad to know that you have enjoyed your vacation..thanks for sharing! Have a nice day! take care!

Babli said...

Thank you very much for visiting my blog and for your encouraging comments and liking all my recipes. You are a very good cook and I am expecting a wonderful post from you soon.

Bong Mom said...

Boudi ke khub bhalo lagche, mone hoche na je meyer biye hoye geche.

? said...

Finally read this lovely post!
Loved the snapshots of Junagarh and of course, the tour description too! :-D

kothiyavunu.com said...

Hi Ushinishda, how r u??? Amazing pics..very happy to know that u had a wondeful time..as usual enjoyed reading ur lovely post..u know what?? As u said Lord krishna has significant influence in my life too..he is my love..I had many dreams in which I woke up in Dwaraka, embraced by his grace, etc etc..wish to visit his kingdom atleat once in my life time..one I still carry somewhere in my heart..

Have a great day!

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Kaku I tried commenting here earlier also but last week blogger ate up many comments. Jai hok finally i'm here. thank you so much for this detailed post on various places. You can't imagine how useful your post is.
Amar money holo ami ei shob jayega gulo ghure elam through your eyes. Lovely pictures.
With regards

Deepa
Hamaree Rasoi

Mandira said...

Usnish da,

nice pics, enjoyed reading about your travels. Did you try the eggless omelet. Pat sag bara sound very interesting.

Jay said...

enjoyed the lively tour...very interesting....fascinating clicks Ji..!
Tasty Appetite

Adelina said...

wow Ushnish- what a saga- with beaty, beasts :) and all those holy things that India is blessed to have. Lord Krishna is also my personal beloved divinity, that has appeared in so many forms throughout my life. I do wish to have the opportunity like yours at least 1 time (this lifetime preferably:)

Sadhana Valentina said...

Hello Ji,

I juz love ur write-up. Very nice to c all the pics with detailed info. Felt as if I went for that trip :-).
Have a great day...

Indie.Tea said...

What a wonderful place to visit.
And I enjoyed your tribute...very meaningful.

Authenticoriyafood said...

beautiful pics........i had no idea that Dwaraka is such an amazing place!!