Tour of South-Gujarat and a Friend’s Marriage to attend..


It had been almost 9 months since I wrote my last blog. In between I did travel a lot but, they were only short detours. There wasn’t just any big trip or the other way round they just were not qualified enough to write a blog about. I had switched my job and moved to a different location. I was living back then in Ahmedabad and now had been moved to Mumbai. This happened in April’17. One more reason I could not travel more as I had very less leaves, 5 to be precise for this year owing to the job switch. I knew I had to utilize these days very preciously and not waste them on stupid things. I was holding onto them tightly. At times, I felt taking them especially during the Diwali time but, I controlled myself.

Now that I had shifted near to my hometown Pune, managing leaves was not that difficult. I could visit during my weekends and thus did not feel homesick and that urge to take leave. For short trips, 2 days of weekend holidays were enough to take you to some of the beautiful places Maharashtra has to offer. That 5 days leaves were waiting for me and I knew exactly where could they be used.

Back in my 4 and half years stay in Gujarat, I’d managed to cover northern part of Gujarat completely but somehow missed the Southern part. I guess, I was busy exploring Rajasthan during that time. It was really hard to choose between the 2 places. I did complete entire Rajasthan before finally moving to Maharashtra.

One of my Gujarati friend’s marriage was on 29th Nov’17. I was well versed with this date back in Ahmedabad only when I was there before April’17. The date had been finalized well before in advance and hence he’d given me the invitation to attend it. The time was perfect when it came, the marriage was in Porbandar, which lies in the southern part of Gujarat and it gave me the perfect opportunity to complete the remaining part as well as attend the marriage at the same time. I had planned to attend the marriage but did not knew that I could so easily get the leaves approved. My new boss here is chill with leaves. He just approved it with no questions asked. My leaves quota would become 0 after this but I cared less as it was November month and I would had to wait just a month before the fresh stock of leaves arrived for the year 2018.

I had prepared a draft plan about how my trip would shape up and decided the trip dates from 25th Nov – 2nd Dec’17. There was more attached to this trip than just the marriage. I was already missing many of my friends which I’d made during the last 4.5 years. My whole gang was there and I knew that I could not get that here in Mumbai. In the end, it is the memories which pull you back just like a stretched rubber band.

As the dates were approaching near, I was losing sleep. I was already imagining myself in Gujarat, meeting old friends at our designated hangout places. I was just physically present here in Mumbai, but my heart and mind was in Ahmedabad. One of my Ahmedabad friend volunteered to accompany me in this trip and specially attend the marriage, but just like every time, this time also he backed out saying that he might fall ill during this trip. He was supposed to ride pillion with me the whole trip and catch a late evening flight on last day of trip to Thailand on 2nd Dec. I knew this when he started behaving abnormal just a day before I was supposed to leave for Ahmedabad. I will not comment more on this and hence I had to chalk out different route once I reached Ahmedabad. Below is my changed route as I would now be riding solo. With pillion, the route was somewhat different.

Tour of Gujarat

My Final Tour Map…

Terror struck on the 1st day of my trip to Ahmedabad. I was supposed to leave around 3am from here and reach Ahmedabad at noon. 9 hours is enough to cover a distance of 500 km. I had readied my bike according to that well before the trip. But when I went to the parking at around 2:30 am in the morning, I saw that my rear Tyre was flat. I was stunned for the moment. This had never happened to me before. Was it puncture, the Tyre suffered when I went to garage just 2 days before to check my air?  or the air just leaked out. I removed the later possibility as this had not been occurred before. I was blank at that time and had to think about my next steps. I asked the night-shift building watchman for a hand pump but, they were helpless. They pointed me to the outside on the road and guided me to take help from the Rickshaw-walas parked just outside the buildings. I searched like hell trying to find out a rickshaw-wala who was present and awake. I did manage to stop few rickshaws coming the opposite way only to get a blank nod for a hand pump. So hand pump was ruled out. I required a Tyre repair shop only who would help me in this. The one and the only one I knew was dead closed at this time. The Red bull which I drank while coming down the elevator had starting showing its effect, the effect which I had reserved during my riding time since I would be driving during my normal sleeping time and really required that attentiveness while driving. I managed to get hold of a milk van guy who was busy offloading milk cartons on the road. He told me that there was this one guy on the highway who did the repair job but was unsure whether he would be available at that moment of time. I had to again go to my house to get hold of my wallet. I managed to find a rickshaw and went straight to that guy. Well, I was successful in locating the shop but all of the guys were deep in sleep. I was in dilemma. What to do? After trying to wake them up for 10 mins, I finally told them my part of the story and how urgent it was. I really felt bad for them for my greed. It was cold outside and these people were living in a makeshift house supported with plastic rooftop. I really felt for them. I had to keep them waiting till I brought my bike which was lying in my parking lot. I took the same rickshaw which was waiting at a distance and told him to drop at my place. The problem was not puncture, but rather the later possibility which I’d mentioned earlier. The air has slowly leaked out from the tyre. I think, when I’d gone to check the air pressure 2 days before the trip date, the guy might have not inserted the gage correctly owing to which the valve got disturbed and air started to leak out. It was really hard to figure it out during that time. But, I was bad mouthing myself for having not checked the air just a day before the trip. It was my mistake. I took it for granted and assumed that everything would be OK. It was a big lesson learnt for me that day. Never take things for granted, all I had to do a day before is to just peek at the tyres but I’d completely avoided. I would sincerely request all those riders out there who travel on long trips and especially leave early in morning to check the air a day before the trip at any cost. Nothing can be done at the last moment. I would definitely want to thank God for coming to rescue me in the early hours of morning that day and after 1.5 hours of drama I was finally on the road at 4:30am. The Red Bull effect had been completely diluted and I had to start chewing gum to keep me awake.

Winter had just begun and it was pitch cold in the early hours. But I had wrapped myself in such a way that cold would not get hold of me. Driving during the early hours was pleasure. It helps you to avoid the morning traffic and you can enjoy the weather. I took my first break at the Maharahtra-Gujarat border for a hot cup of tea. I only drink Tea during travels. I drank 2 cups, the weather was such that it was warranted. I moved on,  the bike was running smooth. I had its Engine Oil changed before the start of the trip, Air filter too.

I did not halt further for breakfast, and instead moved ahead till Baroda. I checked out into my friend’s house there for breakfast. The time was 11:30am. After a great south indian breakfast I moved ahead to my final destination of the day which was Ahmedabad. I had planned to reach early during that day so that I could utilize the remaining half of the day to meet my friends. I was going to move ahead on my trip the next day. I reached Ahmedabad around 1:30pm and after cleaning myself up went on to meet some of my Ex-company friends. The day really went by fast and it was time to get ready for the next destination. Having tweaked my plan at the last moment, which I did mentioned earlier, I had decided that my next destination ahead would be Girnar mountain located in the Junagadh district.

I always wanted to visit Girnar. Back when I used to Live in Ahmedabad, I had covered Chotila and Pavagadh mountains. All of these are religious places for Hindus and Jains. The later 2 are comparatively on a miniature scale when compared to Girnar mountain. Girnar was big, having to climb 10,000 steps to reach to the top. That number is enough to give you chills. Since I started traveling on bike, I’ve managed to cover most of the religious places the city had to offer. I am spiritual too. Hence that craving.

I have never liked easy life and has always wished for a tough and adventurous one. To say I am a non-normal person. I knew that Girnar was in south Gujarat and that my conscience was telling me to climb it, even tough I had to travel further and not just limit myself to that mountain. I decided to give it a try and rest was handed over to God to look after. I have never mixed trekking with riding and this would be my first time to experience it. Riding itself is like trekking and those who think riding is easy, mind you, it ain’t a cake walk. You need to be damn physically fit to conquer the machine and the terrain. You don’t know the next moment what’s gonna happen to you. You need to face all the 4 elements and that  combined together are enough for you.

With this in mind I set out towards Girnar from Ahmedabad. Girnar was roughly around 350kms. I started around 7am after I had my cup of tea.

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Avril all set to enjoy the journey. You can see my tea cup kept on the seat

I had went live on FB to tell all my friends about the journey. After I had my tea I headed out towards Rajkot.

Live 1

That’s me updating everyone….

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Rajkot, still a long way to go. I stopped to enjoy the sunrise.

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That’s how beautiful the sunrise was……

Ahmedabad-Rajkot highway is considered to be one of the best state highway to drive. The weather was also supporting that day. The climate was pleasant. In Gujarat, winters are severe. I exited Rajkot around 10:30 and took a halt at Gondal for breakfast. Mind you, I had the best breakfast of my lifetime. It only consisted of mashed samosas and sweet and sour red chilli chutni. Mind you, in that still cold climate, the hot samosas were a saviour along with a hot cup of tea. This was my first time for having such odd breakfast but, it was satisfying. I ordered once more as I couldn’t control myself. Meanwhile I had a good look on the Diesel Bullet aka ‘Chagada’ parked right besides the owner hotel.

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Still craving for that tasty breakfast….

Live 2

The owner, apart from serving me breakfast also showed my how to start the diesel bullet…

Girnar range was still 70kms from Gondal when I left the hotel. Sorry that I didn’t tell you before but it is believed that Girnar mountain range is considered much older than Himalayas!

As I neared in, I could see the faint line of the mountain range ahead. Excitement started to grow inside me. I didn’t knew how the time was gonna flow from that point onwards.

 

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Can you see the faint Mountain line at 11 o’ clock direction? That’s Girnar mountain range.

Within no time, I was at the footsteps of the mountain. I was like getting attracted towards it somehow. There was excitement as well as fear in me. But, I decided to let it go and face head on!

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Just have a look at the size of that mountain. There is a lot of difference in trekking and climbing steps. The later part defeats you mentally.

I had reached the place. It was damn crowded. This being a marriage season, lot of newly wed couple had crowded the place to take the blessings of the God. I was carrying heavy luggage and my task now revolved around finding a decent Stay so that I can offload my luggage. But maneuvering the bike through the dense crowd of people was not easy task. I was sweating heavily inside as I still had the thermals on me and the Sun above literally was pouring down. Adding to that, two to three times I was rejected at the hotel doorsteps as the hotel was full. Finally I managed to get a decent hotel after lot of bargaining at the reception. Got a double bed at a single’s cost.

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That crowd!!!

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Bhai, room kaha milega?

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Vacant Room not available.

I had decided to start the climb in evening but after hearing reviews from the people who had just completed, I decided to start right away. The time was 1:45pm. Mentally I had calculated that it would be dark and cold by time I reached back to the hotel and so according to that I’d dressed myself. I had worn my thermals taking into the account the evening cold. There was no choice of carrying a bag since it would act as dead weight and the climb would become more tough. Some cool breeze was blowing at that moment of time and I thought that the same would continue till I reach the top and I would not feel that heat, for it being a winter time. So here I was, on khaki shorts and a thin layer of thermal full sleeves. That’s it. I was carrying my GoPro and a battery pack and intended to record my whole climb.

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50 steps completed….

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That’s me @600 steps. Damn I was so exhausted.

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That’s still a long way brother…

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Can you see that small buildings at your 1 o’clock? that’s the place from where I started the climb…

That breeze which was blowing down had cheated on me. As I started my ascend, it started to get hotter. It didn’t look like as though it was winter season. Adding to my worries, I had worn a black thermal which was sucking all that heat and here I was dripping my sweat at every step of my climb. I was wet from head to toe and I knew that I was getting into deep trouble. I was climbing slowly to reserve my stamina but the dripping sweat was irritating me. My handkerchief by now was almost at the same condition as my thermals. But, I was determined to reach the top.

At a certain point of the climb, I asked a fellow person going down that how much steps had I covered till now and he just promptly replied, “only 3000”. And I was like, “what the hell. I am climbing for almost an hour now and still only 3000. How the hell am I gonna cover the remaining 7000 steps”. It looked like I had climbed way enough but still I had a long way to go. I was stopping frequently and rehydrating myself so that I stay in the game. Mind you, it was not easy. That 2 samosas which I had in Gondal had already been digested and I needed quick energy so that I could sustain my climb. I had 2 packets of salted peanuts which could provide me the much-needed energy. I did not find a person selling bananas there.

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When will I reach the top?

I had started my climb around 2:05pm. I had recorded that time. I was lucky enough I got company with me who was also climbing solo. He was from my village only and so we got along together well. Having a company of someone really boosts you up and you gain more confidence during the climb. Had it been solo till the top, it would have been much difficult.

After drinking 3 ltrs of water and 2 packets of salted peanuts, I finally manged to reach the top around 5:20pm. The last 2000 steps were not easy as there was descend and again ascend finally to reach the temple. That was the hardest part as the body had been adjusted by now to ascend only. So, climbing again after descending was a tough task.

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Thats the place where the 10,000 steps were going to end. Now started the final journey of last 2000 steps.

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Only few steps remaining to complete 10,000 steps..

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The final descend before the last 1000 ascending step starts..you can see the gate at the bottom right corner where the final climb starts.

At 5:25pm we started our return journey down and mind you it was really not easy. It is harder to climb but even harder to descend. Our bodies had literally given up and there was no sign of life in our legs. We were literally dragging our feet. Our legs would slip often on the steps as we were not able to put that much weight onto our footsteps during descending. Adding to our misery, there were no rails to take support off. You had only your body to take care of you. Night and Cold started to creep in and adding to our woes.

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The night view of Junagadh city atop Girnar mountain.

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This is the hotel where I was staying.

With each step down, it was a jolt to our legs. The muscles had completely contracted and refused to flex. But somehow, slowly and steadily we managed to reach the ground floor at around 8:45pm. It took us more time to descend than to ascend, and people say that climbing is easier than descending. Sleep was our only aim left now but, somehow we managed to stuff something into our bellies before we hit the bed. The hotel was just besides to where I was staying. After the dinner, I dragged myself into the hotel room and applied generous amount of pain relief spray before I pulled the bedsheet over my head. My eyes closed just like that!

I woke around 6am the next day and started to prepare for my next destination. I was feeling completely different now. I could not believe myself for what I’d done the previous day. Energy was bursting inside me. I felt happy and accomplished. With that joyous mood, I started to mount luggage onto my bike.

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It was time to say goodbye to Girnar and move ahead to next destination. The morning view of the mountain after the yesterday’s climb.

 My next destination was going to be the Gir Forest which was famous for its Asiatic Lions. This was not completely incorporated in the plan even  with my friend  accompanying me. But, since I was so close to the place and was solo now, I decided to give it a try and experience how the journey goes. Back in Mumbai, when I was preparing for the trip, I had managed to browse through their website http://girlion.in/ to check out the packages offered. Bookings were solely done through online only. There were 3 timings for the safari, 6-9am, 9-12noon and 3-6pm. But, back when I had discussed with my friend regarding this, we’d decided to drop the plan.

When I left Girnar the time was around 7:30 and I knew that if I had to catch up with the safari guys I need to reach well within the time of 9am. I started with just a cup of tea skipping my breakfast. The distance was some 50 odd kms but the roads were not supporting me. I had to make my way through loose gravel roads which were damaged at some sections and once the forest road started they had put up speed breakers at every 200mtrs distance which was really pinching.

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Can you see the fox standing in the middle of the road?

Just before reaching Sasan Gir office comes the office of Devalia National Park which unlike Sasan take you to safari inside the bus. Sasan Gir safari is done on open gypsy. Devalia national park is an enclosed park of around 412 sq.ha where you can experience all the wildlife sitting inside the bus. But that one is a short tour of only 30mins while the gypsy one is around 3 hours. Since I’d thought the Devalia national park office to be as Sasan Gir office, I had a brief chat with the guy there and had told him about my plans to do jeep safari.

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Me talking to the officer at Devalia National Park

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Devalia Safari Park just before Sasan Gir

To my disappointment the officer at Devalia told me that Gir Safari was only possible if I had an online ticket booked 2 days prior to the safari. Since I’d made the plan at the last moment, I decided to head towards the Sasan gir office and give it a try and find a place for a single person on the 6 people safari jeep. Meanwhile the officer at Devalia was coaxing me to do the Devalia safari instead but I insisted on saying ‘No’ to him.

I reached Sasan Gir around 9:10am, there were still large number of safari waiting to go. I hopped on to the office quickly to check out but they were reluctant to see my online booked ticket to which I happily replied that I didn’t have one. After many trials and visiting many people I was still out of luck. I was under the impression that if a certain safari would lack a single person on them then I rather filled in their place. But the safari wouldn’t let me go until I had a ticket. I’d managed to check the online available ticket but it was of no use now. I tried contacting one of my company suppliers who had a contact in the Gir safari office but they too were unsuccessful in converting the officers to say ‘Yes’.

Since I was adamant on seeing the Lions and to do the safari, and upon hearing this from me the company supplier did offer me another method where I could experience one. He told me to catch hold of local people who might fulfill my dream. By this time almost all the safari jeep had gone inside the jungle. I catch hold of one evening-shift safari driver and told him my requirements. We were just chatting next to the Gir office gate and then he suddenly waved to a person standing near the gate. He told me, “This is the guy who will take you inside”. Without wasting much time, as it was already 10:15 am by now and decided on settling on the payment terms later and moved inside the jungle along with my bike. Can you imagine doing Jungle safari on Bike? It was going to be exciting.

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All set to roar inside the Jungle..

And soon we were inside the jungle. It was completely a different feeling, riding for the first time in jungle on bike. The jungle was huge covering a total area of 1200 sq.kms with 511 Leopards, 423 Lions , +3 Lacs deers and many peacocks etc. I was interested in Lion only. We were following the route which the Safari guys normally used to take and along the way we could see Deers relaxing under the trees at far. Peacocks were roaming here and there and fleeing with speed when we tried to approach them. It was not a lush green jungle but more of a kind semi. Since the area is devoid of much rainfall, you get to see the typical trees which normally thrive in the arid kind areas.

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The Jungle…

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Can you see a pair of deers staring at us from a distance? They are almost camoflagued with the background.

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Now, that’s a Leopard trail…

Since these people live inside the jungle, they are update to date about the Lion sightings in the vicinity. Just as we were moving ahead, we got a call a saying that 3 Lions had just hunted an animal and were resting there. The area was little far from our current position, around 20kms. Without wasting much time we headed for that place. The last few mtrs were tough as we had to drive through farm to reach there.

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The roads……

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It was pain in the ass to take the bike out of this farm…

But, by the time we reached there our luck had run out as the Lions were long gone. We cursed ourselves. But luck came again, there was a lioness spotted nearby. Close friends of the guy sitting behind my bike were keeping a constant eye on her and they were the people who called us. My heart was pounding, I was excited but at the same time fear was overpowering me. The place was just a km away from our current position. We went there immediately. We parked our bikes and upon a few hundred meters of trekking, finally I saw her. She was beautiful at the same time fearsome. She was sitting beneath a tree under the shade. I guess she was relaxing but I could make out that her eyes were constantly surveying us. The eyes were glued onto us. People around me were telling me to go more closer to her. What the fuck I was doing, even I didn’t know. Never in my life had I seen a lion from this close. Not even in zoo!! Seeing it in the wild, my feet were literally trembling. I was blank for the moment. What am I doing in King’s liar? To see a Lion in their own habitat, require some different kind of balls especially when you have gone walking towards them! We were slowly moving ahead and then she growled. Man, that sound was frightening! Even a dead man could have woken up with that kind of noise. She was clearly giving an indication to us to stay away from her territory. In that moment, she left her place and went deep inside the jungle. We too followed her. Maybe that day I was not me, I don’t even know now what I was doing back there.

She fled deep inside and we decided to return back to our bikes. Terror struck again, and this time it was on massive scale. A giant-sized Lion was sitting there and blocking our path. We were totally shocked to see him appear all of a sudden at such a short notice. We were completely taken aback. He was making strange noises indicating to us that we were roaming in his area. All of us stood there in complete numbness. He was very close, closer than even the Lioness we had just seen minutes before. He was lying there was heavy breathing. We were in such pressure that more than the Lion I was breathing heavily. He was in relaxed state and watching us. May be he just have had his lunch and was completely off to external world. He was so close that, I could see his whites of his eyes, the remaining portion was red and that look was so aggressive that I was too afraid to look him directly in his eyes. We slowly went around him around his back to escape out but he had turned around to watch us leave and then we could see that he was now sitting instead of lying on his back. This time his whole body was in the same stance as they sit while watching their prey closely. You don’t know what will come in Lion’s mind.

We escaped from the place and felt accomplished on seeing both a Lion and Lioness. It was almost 2:30pm when we both hopped on to my bike again. The chapter of seeing a wild lion was complete now. As per my plan, I was to end my travel that day at Somnath and with much distance to cover I decided not to waste much time and head ahead. I dropped my friend at a close distance to where I had picked him up. I was travelling the opposite way as I had decided to take the jungle route leading to Somnath. I had to skip ‘Satadhar’ owing to lack of time. Satadhar btw is a religious place and boasts a temple where many pilgrims come to take blessings. Satadhar was on the way back to the Gir office but I was travelling opposite. People has advised me to take the jungle route to Somnath since it was scenic and chances were that you could see more wildlife. But the only condition for travelling on that road stretch was that you had to reach the jungle stretch checkpoint before 5pm in order for the forest officer to let you pass in. Otherwise, if late, it would have been the officers duty to escort me till the end of jungle route.

I did manage to reach on time and happily drove through the jungle. The light was still there and I could see many deers and peacocks roaming very near to the road. I was not interested in seeing a Lion now. I clicked some videos and photos and moved on, since I had to be out of the end checkpoint before it was dark. It was risk traveling inside the forest road in darkness. I had heard that Lions come outside during evening time to stroll as their day begins in evening and ends next morning!

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Baby deer watching me patiently as I park on the side of the road to click a photo of him…

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Peacocks strolling by the side of the road…

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Bye Bye peacocks…

Darkness was coming in fast and I was not going to make till Somnath. The traffic was heavy. Instead, I decided to halt at Diu. Diu seemed the best option which was closer to Somnath and which could provide me with a good stay. I managed to reach Diu around 7pm and found a good hotel to break my day. The day had really lived up to my expectations. Patience has worked off. I was happy. At night I narrated the day happenings to my family and they went totally berserk on me. I knew that was going to happen after what I had just did. During all the happenings I had forgotten to eat and now hunger was behind me. I quickly got freshened up and ate the food which I’d ordered and then got retired onto bed. It was difficult to sleep as the afternoon memories were still fresh and constantly revolving inside my head. I could hear the loud barking of dogs outside…

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Reached Diu..

 The effect of Girnar has started to show up. Legs were feeling heavy and I was unable to walk properly. I knew this was going to happen. I dragged myself like that. I got up around 7am and was getting ready in peace. There was no hurry. I had to travel only 200 kms that day to reach my friend’s place at Porbandar where the marriage was going to be held. I checkout out from the hotel and had a tea at a road stall just on the main street which lead to Diu fort. The taste was different. They had put more powder than milk. I managed it, as body required that warmth to get the body up and running normally. I hit the streets and decided it to take a tour of the place before heading towards somnath. I had checked the city map before starting the bike and mind you it looked very small. I planned to just drive along the beaches and get a feel of it. I was not going to visit any forts and churches which happened to be there. Since I was solo, and more importantly it was still early in the morning and nothing was opened yet. Even the tourists were still sleeping which was reflected by the empty city streets. One thing was that the atmosphere was cool and not that typical coastal humid. I was loving the drive. At many places I stopped to take photos as the view was mind-blowing.

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Good Morning from Diu…

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Avril staring at the fort @ 1 O’clock..

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At one of the Churches in Diu..Great Architecture..

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She was not ready to leave the place…

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It looked as though I was the only visitor in Diu…haha..

After some great sightseeing on the bike itself, I decided to moved on towards Somnath. Just as I was about the exit, fresh smell of fish stopped me. Mind you guys, I am hardcore fish lover. I just couldn’t get further. Even though I was not going to buy or eat one, I remembered my mom’s requirement to bring dried prawns from wherever I could get them. This was long before the trip started. I missed out on the prawns when I did the short single day Alibaug trip. Hence, I remembered it clearly then. I thought of giving it a try and find out where could I get one of those. Since the market was of fresh fish, it took some asking here and there to get to proper place. It was really hard to converse since they were speaking in pure Gujarati language and I didn’t know what to call prawns in Gujarati. But somewhat they got a hint of my requirement and finally after 15 mins I got them. One of the lady working there gave me her portion of prawns and that she’d brought it from here house. She literally gave me her portion. Off-course, it was not free!

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Finally I got them…

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Me @ Diu fishing area…

The smell of dried fish is so intense that you’ll literally vomit if you are not a fish lover or a vegetarian. I was still on my trip and a long way before I went home to Pune. So the packing had to be intensive. I wrapped them in 9 layers of plastic bag so that even a tinker of smell couldn’t leak out. I was successful in doing that. So, I had completed the bonus quest of my journey. The people there were literally staring at me like anything. I too sometimes feel like an astronaut when I am in all that gears and everything. Imagine what the world might interpret!

I did not mention anything about the bike because she was performing well. No issues. She was behaving well both, off and on road. It took me 2 hrs to reach somnath. I reached there around 12:30pm. The temple was beautiful. Even from a distance it was looking great. I was literally spellbound when I saw it up close. I had to leave all my belongings outside as they were not allowed. Strict security. The temple architecture was just magnificent and it being situated near the beach gave it a wanna be wallpaper outlook. The cleanliness was just out of par. There was not much rush so I came out quickly after offering my blessings. The coldness of the breeze coming from the waters was being nullified by the hot radiation from the sun above. I decided to have tender coconut and a packet of salted peanuts as my lunch and moved on. More than riding, a rider has to be more worried about packing his luggage properly. I have written about this in almost all of my blogs. The point is important guys. Even a small mistake can land you in trouble especially when on longer duration trips. You don’t want searching all of your dropped stuff on the road.

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That’s the Somnath temple at the back at 12 o’clock…

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I completed my 48K after exiting Somnath city…

I left Somnath around 1:45 and my only destination now was Porbandar. When I had checked the map prior to hitting the road it showed my that it was going to be a coastal drive. But it had not indicated how the road was going to be. Till now, since the morning the roads were good and manageable but it looked like they were not here after. The roads were under construction and the speed had to be maintained in the range of 30-35kmph. You need to be mentally prepared for such things as these things really test your mental stamina more than the physical. I had to literally drag like these for quite long time till the roads started to ease out and I came much closer to the beach now. So close the road was that I guarantee  that during high tides the water might be able to kiss the road. It was time for capture the beautiful sun, water and Avril in one from all together. I don’t know why she like the sun more than me.

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Anyone would fall in love with this pic…..

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The bike is parked on the road and not on sand!! That’s how close the road was to the beach..

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Finally She included me in her selfie!!

It was 4pm when I checked from this place and porbandar was just 25kms now. The roads were good now which increased my speed and I checked into the city around before 5pm. I called out to my friend for his residence address and in no time I was at this place. I parked and his place and eased for a while. He was sitting in a ceremony and finally managed to meet me in 10 mins time. We last met around 7 months back when I had left Ahmedabad. It was great to see him getting hooked up! So sooner than we were about to get ourself soaked in high tea we were joined with my ex-colleagues which had travelled all the way from Ahmedabad in-car. It was a great reunion and time could not have been perfect. We got settled in his cousin’s house nearby. Later that evening we all went for a stroll at the chowpatty!

Normally a chowpatty is characterized by humid climate but, here it was not the case. A pleasant cold wind was blowing but not from the waters but towards the waters. It was altogether a different experience. We felt like not leaving the place. Chowpatty was attractive. There were not much crowd, just people doing their routine evening walk. Porbandar is quite a small city with just over 2 lac people. It is quite a historic place as our beloved ‘Father of Nation’ was born here. We did try some photography with one of our friends DSLR and we were almost Pro in it within few minutes.

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How’s the click guys?

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Trying out different angle….

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I am not a narcissistic personality, guys…believe me..

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Finally with my ex-Ford gang…

We retired back to the house as tomorrow was a big day. Our friend was getting hooked for lifetime. On the day of the wedding, in morning around 9:30am we were all set to roll.  We went to our groom’s house for breakfast and thereafter we still had time left with us as the time given to us was 11am. The groom was at his uncle’s house. We utilized that period to go and have a quick look at the Mahatma’s house. It was not very far, just 4 kms away. He was born there and spent his most of the his time at the place during his stint in India. Mind you, it looked very luxurious considering Mahatma’s period. The house was nearly 3 stories high with steep ladders and rope support to climb to upper floor.

We were all in our traditional attire and soon the ‘baraat’ started. We were all dancing in joy supported by loud cracker sounds. This lasted very long. There was no hurry. We were taking our time and the ‘baarat’ was in no hurry to entre the marriage hall. At the entrance we were dancing for almost an hour before we finally went inside. Here are the pics..

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The ‘Smiling’ groom..

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All set to roll…

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Bhai, photo thik se nikal ..varna…………

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syncing to the tune….

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Photo toh ‘pad’ bhai….

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Candid moments…

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‘Garba’ toh chaiye bhai….btw I was not looking at that girl on orange…haha

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In circles..we go dancing…traditional Gujarati dance…

We had lunch after going inside and then took a break inside our resting rooms located within the marriage hall. The marriage was going to start soon. We decided to let things happen at their own pace and decided to meet the couples when everything was over. After seeing the couples we again departed to our guest house to get changed. We were then called in night to attend the couple’s return journey to groom’s house. In meantime we shifted our luggage from the guest house to this marriage hall as we decided to halt here only for the night. Half of my friends left back to Ahmedabad after the lunch as they had office the next day. We utilized the spare time again to visit the beautiful chowpatty. This time no photos, just to be one with he surroundings and enjoy the climate.

At night, we went to Groom’s house for dinner(had lip smacking prawns and tuna biryani of my life) and then, there we finally bid adieu to the couple and wished them for their happy married life. We returned to the marriage hall for sleeping around 2am . As per my original plan, the next day was reception which I had planned to attend. But, since my ex guys did not get leave, they had to travel back to Ahmedabad, I too decided to start my return journey to Ahmedabad after I visited Dwarka. Had I been stayed for the reception, I would have been alone here, instead, I too packed everything up just like my friends in the morning and while they left for Ahmedabad, I left for Dwarka. I had decided to reached Ahmedabad the same day itself and it was doable. I even decided to return to Ahmedabad via the Jamnagar-Rajkot route since I had not visited Jamnagar city before. So, just for the sake of exploring the city I decided to take the non-normal route towards Ahmedabad. God only knew when would come here again.

Since we had slept late, we left around 9 o’clock after packing everything properly. I bid adieu to my ex guys and moved further on my journey. Dwarka was just 100kms from porbandar. The roads were good and not as bad as the Somnath-Porbandar stretch. I was really taking back by the quality of the road.

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Leaving the marriage hall and off to Dwarka…

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92 to go….

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Nice view over the bridge…

I reached Dwarka before 11am. The city was just awesome. I had to follow the same process of off loading my luggage as I did it in Somnath. That was really tiring. I couldn’t even take my camera and mobile phone. Whatever photos and videos I took were outside the temple premises and I did managed to capture everything in it. I was without water and food since morning. After I took my blessings, I had breakfast just outside the temple. Again, samosas and tea here. The hotel was just a few steps from where I had deposited all my luggage. After the breakfast, without wasting much time, I left the place.

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Welcome to Dwarka..

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The Entry gate…

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The Temple at 10 o’clock..

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Trying to capture the temple at the back..shot with GoPro

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Posing in front of Stupa…

I started my return journey towards Ahmedabad now and would be taking the Jamnagar route. There was almost zero traffic on the road. I was going on with my own pace. The roads were in medium condition, not good as well as not bad. I reached Jamnagar without halting for any break in between. Jamnagar is the city of petroleum refineries, RELIANCE have their big plant located there. I had decided to meet one of my rider friend from Jamnagar but he was not available when I reached there and hence I decided to move towards Rajkot now.

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At Jamnagar…now headed towards Rajkot..

I almost drove non-stop from Rajkot till I reached Ahmedabad. I reached Ahmedabad at 7:30pm just in time to bid adieu to my ex-roommate who was heading towards Bangalore. He was joining Mahindra Electric there and I was the person responsible for his shift from Ford to Mahindra. He bade our late goodbyes to each other as he headed for the airport. And here I was back at my old place, the place where I spent almost 5 years. It was nostalgic. Even the society people started questioning me about my whereabouts since last 7 months. I hadn’t told them about by Job change. They thought I must have gone for a long tour.

I had reached Ahmedabad on 30th Nov, thursday itself. Earlier I had planned to reach by 2nd Dec, saturday, on my birthday. But here I was early into the city. I utilized the good 2 days to catchup with old friends and get minor checkups done on my bike. That 2 days including my birthday on Saturday were unforgettable. I was feeling very emotional at that time. It happened, as after being with them for almost 5 years, I was back to see them after 7 long months. We went out on my birthday for dinner after cake cutting at my friend’s house.

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Capturing the sunset before I reached back to Ahmedabad..

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Got this as a birthday present from one of my rider friend from Mahindra. 

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Cake eating time…

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Captured at wrong time…

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Will miss them….

Finally, the day I feared the most had arrived. It was Sunday, 3rd Dec, my last day in Ahmedabad and also the day where I would be traveling back to Mumbai. I wished, I could just stay there with my friends. It was hard to leave. Ahmedabad and Mumbai are in itself so different  with each other, each one having its positives and negatives. I was missing the openness of Ahmedabad while back in Mumbai, I was missing its close proximity to my house in Pune. There was always going to be this tradeoff. That’s how life is and we have to face it no matter what.

I had my last breakfast with one of my rider friend before I departed for Mumbai. I left late around 11:30am and reached home back in Mumbai safely around 8 o’clock in evening. The trip had ended on a good note. I was proud of myself in having able to cover almost all the places in those 5-6 days. I felt accomplished, everything had went right and smooth except for the first day morning debacle. All the places, friend’s marriage and lastly, my old friends, I’d managed to cover all of them.

There any many adjectives which I would like to attach to this trip starting with Adventourous, Frightening, Exciting, Rewarding, Sceninc, Daredevil, Courageous etc

Lastly, I would like to thank my bae “Avril’ for supporting me right from day 1 till the end. Not even once she backed off and was with me all the time. And to my friends, who supported and encouraged me for this trip and to those friends whom I missed meeting in Ahmedabad, we’ll definitely meet soon.

Till then bye, stay healthy and be safe my friends until we meet again……

 

Regards,

Sumit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Gujarat, Travel

3 comments

  1. Nice blog bhaiya

    Like

  2. Nice blog and images of Sasan

    Like

  3. Nice blog and lovely images of Gir National Park, Sasan.

    Like

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