A truncated Complete Tour of Gujarat

Sachin Jatkar

Well-Known Member
You are lucky to have got the permits for vighakote in a day. Very few attempt to go there due to time taken to get the permit. Good going Mr. Bhat.


A true traveler does not have a fixed itinerary
Nice log Bhat ji. Your log is some thing like a tourist guide, you have mentioned the places not visited for various reasons for the info. At the end of the day's post you may also post the condition of the road.
Dear Reddy, The roads in entire Gujarat are not only smooth, but also straight. Hence driving in these roads is a pleasure. These are the BEST STATE ROADS that I have seen through out India. :) These State Highways are far better than National Highways of Karnataka :).

This is epic! what an info you are providing sir! Grand salute!:prayer::prayer::prayer: Thank you!
Thanks Sanswam for your kindness.

You are lucky to have got the permits for vighakote in a day. Very few attempt to go there due to time taken to get the permit. Good going Mr. Bhat.
:) I am worried that BSF people may start blaming me for putting my experience in my Tlog. Hope other tourists will not bombard them with similar requests, after going through my Tlog. :)


A true traveler does not have a fixed itinerary
Day 15: (01 Feb 2015):

Kutch Tourist Circuit 5 - Dholavira and Much More

Dholavira to Modhera - It is either Our Way or High Way

(Note: If you have come to this page while searching for some travel related information of Gujarat, I suggest you start from Page 1 of this travelogue)

Sun rise at White Desert at Dholavira:

Before I take you to Dholavira, I must share our early morning experience. As we were very much inside Great Rann of Kutch (GRK) White Desert, we asked Jamal to take us to GRK in the early morning, so that we can take some sunrise pictures. So, all three of us left our room, around 6.30 am. It was quite cold in the early morning and we were equipped with proper clothing. Jamal took us near to the White Desert, which was around 2 kms away from the lodge.

Unfortunately, he guided us to the western side of the Khadir Bet. He should have taken us to the eastern side for sunrise photos and western side for sunset photos. We parked our car near to the border of the Island & GRK. Once we realized his mistake, we walked for almost 750 mts into the White Desert, so that we get some better photos.

It was only three of us all along the way as well as in the whole of White Desert. We could see white salt on all the 360 degrees. We were patiently waiting for the Sun to rise, so that we can shoot him through our arsenals. As there was enough time, Jamal was explaining us about GRK and White Desert. Highlights of our talk:
  • Every year there will be a Marathon called Run the Rann, and this year it will be held on 13th to 16th Feb 2015.
  • For more details log on to http://www.runtherann.com/
  • There are chances that even Rann Utsav will be shifted to Dholavira from next year on wards.
  • Most part of GRK is a white salty desert.
  • During rainy season if it rains, then this salt gets melted in the rain water. Then it will become a white lake.
  • When this happens, lakhs and lakhs of Flamingos come here. It will be a feast for eyes to see those beautiful sights.
  • If anybody is interested in bird photography, then they can enquire about this and come here during Oct-Nov etc.
  • During summer, the water gets evaporated and the salt remains here itself.
  • The small mountain that we are seeing on the western side is the Black Hill, which houses Dattatreya Temple.
  • A road from the Black Hill to Dholavira is under construction.
  • Once it is completed, the tourism at Dholavira also increases, as the journey time decreases drastically.
  • This whole area is taken care by BSF.
  • We can see Neelgai, Fox and other animals in this GRK.
  • There are some quicksand spots in the GRK. Only we are aware of it.
  • So new comers should not venture out into White Desert without the guides.
  • There are instances where in people have fallen into quicksand.


In front of ‘quicksand’. Be careful to venture out in the white desert, as you may get trapped in quicksand.

While we were discussing all these points, the Sun was rising. We took lots of photos and videos as well.


The Sunrise in the white desert


It is white and white, all around. The hill in the background is Black Hills

You may also view the video of the place around Sunrise time.

What is special about Sunrise or Sunset photography in White Desert?. Well, in the photos the white desert looks like a Sea. Hence the photo looks like the one which is taken near the Beach. But the reflection of the sun rays in the sea water will be missing in these photos.

It was time for us to get back to the room for breakfast. So we started returning towards our parked car.

Now we noticed something strange...
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A true traveler does not have a fixed itinerary

An early morning encounter with BSF at Dholavira:

While we were returning, we saw some animal at the far end.

Soon we realized that it was coming towards us.

Then we realized that it was not an animal, but it was a human being, asking for our help.

So we stopped there.

We soon realized that he was shouting something.

As he was coming closer towards us, we realized that he is having a gun in his hand. :gib:

He came near to us.

Only then, we observed his uniform.

He unlocked his gun and took position. :minigun:

He was too tired because of running, but he was shouting towards us – ‘who are you, from where are you coming, what are you doing here, why you have not stopped even though I am shouting from a long time?

Now we were slowly coming to the ground reality. He was a BSF Jawan guarding the area for any Pakistani intruders. Yesterday we drove 635 kms, and we never realised that today also we were quite close to the Indo Pak border.

He was doing his duty. He thought that we were some intruders.

We told about our trip so far and also showed him our car which was parked close by.

Then he turned towards Jamal, the local guide, and shouted ‘why you have not taken permission to bring these people here?

In fact even Jamal was not aware of this permit. All of us apologized.

By this time, a senior BSF person also came towards us. They asked us to lift our shirts and show the front portion (to see whether we are hiding anything). They also physically checked all of us and our camera bag etc. After checking our ID cards, they were satisfied that we are just tourists, and let us go.

Hence through this travelogue, I am informing you to take the necessary permits even to go out for photography in to the White Desert.

I also assure you that the BSF is doing their duty vigilantly.

I have seen the Indian Army, BSF, ITBP and SSB in the border areas during my many treks in the Himalayas. I am very proud of our Jawans.

If we are having a sound sleep, it is only because of their soundless sleep :) in these border areas.

Thank you Jawans, the whole country is proud of you...
Sir, Excellent log.

Just like to mention my opinion that, forest department in most regions of India keep roads bad in & around National Parks so that vehicles do not drive fast and chances of accidental road-kills of wild animals get very reduced.


A true traveler does not have a fixed itinerary
Sir, Excellent log.

Just like to mention my opinion that, forest department in most regions of India keep roads bad in & around National Parks so that vehicles do not drive fast and chances of accidental road-kills of wild animals get very reduced.

You are 100% correct wind_chariot. I agree with you.

I also would like to add few points:
  • Even the roads outside the periphery of any National Parks will be in bad condition.
  • Wherever Man - Animal conflict zone is there, the roads has to be bad... for the same reason
  • But in this case, Palitana to Sasan Gir is almost 175 kms. Even this road was not up to the mark of rest of the Gujarat roads.
  • There is one more point to be noted. When I say, 'the road is good or bad', it means that the road was good/bad on the day I traveled (say End-January). It may not be in the same condition today (Beginning of May)
  • In my home town Bengaluru, the roads will be excellent after a fresh coat of tar. And if it pours for a couple of times, the same roads will have even craters. :):)
  • So the condition of the road is not constant but only relative.
  • However in general the roads of Gujarat are one of the best in the country.

And thank you Sagian, Sachin Jatkar, rkbalaji, classicrajat for your likes.


A true traveler does not have a fixed itinerary
Toran Tourist Complex at Dholavira:

We came back to the room and had our breakfast. It was Dahi Parotha with pickle, which was tasty and filling. The total amount for lodging, dinner, breakfast, tax, tips etc put together was only Rs 1000/. Considering that this is in a remote corner of Kutch, this was quite cheap. Thanking the Manager and staff of TTC, we vacated the room.

Normally in my various tours across India, the State Tourism Dept’s guest houses are not in my first list for staying. (But I have stayed in almost every State’s Tourism Dept’s guest house at least for a day). My experience in TTC Dholavira was a nice one. And thanks to GTDC for the same.

Jamal told us that there is another interesting place at Dholavira, which should not be missed by us.

Fossil Tree:

We drove another 10 km or so to see a massive fossilized tree of Jurassic age. There was no proper road to that place. It was a bumpy cum rocky road in the midst of white desert.

{“It is an amazing find. The fossil-tree is at least 176 million years old and appears to be of the Jurassic age. We have not seen anything like it ever before”, Dr K C Tewari of Geology department told media. Explaining the importance of the age-old fossil-tree, he said “these plant remains are similar to the plant fossils associated with the Lathi Formation (Jurassic) of Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer area where the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has established a Plant Fossils park at Akal”.

Regarding his preliminary findings, Tiwari said that “the samples are fibrous in nature and it belongs to some plant fossil (petrified wood) associated with the Khadir formation comprising sandstone-shale-limestone sequences belonging to the Jurassic age (Aalenian-Bathonian) 187-176 million years old”.

“These fossil logs are at least 8-10 mts long and about 1.5 mts in diametre. This discovery should be considered important and a rare historical treasure of Gujarat. They need protection and preservation”, he said.

“It is important to know how this tree survived so much of weather change over the centuries and became so solid in state. Microscopic study will have to be conducted and we hope to find out more of the ecology and climate of the region then. The findings will be very crucial for scientists to understand more about the region”, he said.

The valuable find, shaped like a tree but solid as rock, is now being guarded by forest department officials at the site; Source:Internet}


Details of the Fossilized tree


The center piece is the fossil tree log


Another fossil tree log

After visiting the fossil tree, we came back to Dholavira site.


{Dholavira, locally known as Kotada Timba, is one of the largest and most prominent archaeological sites in India belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. It is located on the Khadir Island in the northern part of the Kutch district – the island is surrounded by water in the monsoon season. The Dholarvira site is believed to have been inhabited between 2900 BCE and 1900 BCE, declining slowly after about 2100 BCE, briefly abandoned and then reoccupied, finally by villagers among its ruins, until about 1450.; Source: Internet}


Sign board at Dholavira


Everything is left to your imagination


Look at the workmanship in the stone setting


This well is 5000 years old, and see the circular stone wall


Some more excavated site


Water tanks

We went round the findings at Dholavira. It is similar to Lothal, but much bigger in area. Even the craftsmanship of the stonework is also excellent.

While most of the Gujarat’s recent temple’s stone architecture eroded away due to sea-wind, we can see the Dholavira stones in excellent shape even after 4 – 5000 years.


How did they carve out these types of stones?


Observe those two pillars. They have withstood the test-of-time.


Observe the finish of stone slabs as well as the groves/notches; even after 5000 years they are intact


Observe the stone wheels. Were they Grinding Stones?

For a layman like me, it is beyond my capacity to describe this site to you. Hence I request you to go through these two links for better understanding.

1. http://asi.nic.in/asi_exca_2007_dholavira.asp

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dholavira

There is also a meseum, which can be seen after visiting the Site. We finished everything by 10.30 am. After paying and thanking the guide Jamal, we left Dholavira.

This is the fifth (sixth over all) and last tourist circuit of Kutch sight seeing. And we were able to finish all the circuits in a record span of just 3 days, that too including getting the permit from BSF office.

So with great satisfaction in our face, we went towards Charanka....


A true traveler does not have a fixed itinerary
Charanka Solar Park (CSP):

If you have travelled from AMD to Kutch, you would have observed the “Welcome to Charanka Solar Park” road sign at umpteen number of places. But as we have taken an altogether different route, we did not come across any such board till we reached CSP. And what is this CSP?

It is the brain child of Modiji. I have seen lot of electric solar panel boards in many places through out India. But all these solar panels/parks put together can not match Modi’s this baby. It is one of its kind in the whole country.

Yes, it is not in any tourist circuit. Even GTDC is not aware of its details. I came to know about this place while doing research about my Gujarat tour. And trust me; it is a worthy place to visit.

{Gujarat Solar Park is the name used for a group of solar parks being constructed in Gujarat. This makes Gujarat as Asia’s largest solar park hub. Certificates of completion were issued on April 19, 2012, for a total of 605 MW, which included some sections that were already operational, and 856.81 MW had been completed by March 31, 2013. One is the Charanka Solar Park, a group of 17 thin-film photovoltaic (PV) power systems, on a 4,900-acre site in the district of Patan. The solar park is expected to save around 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere and save around 900,000 tonnes of natural gas per year. A total of 84 developers have registered to build a total of 968.5 MW, from 1 to 40 MW. An increase to 1,000 MW is expected to be completed by 2013; Source: Internet}

Without knowing much detail, we went to CSP. When we reached there, we realized today is a Sunday, and the park is closed. But we came to know that visitors are most welcome even here also.

We went inside, and were greeted by a Maintenance Engineer. As usual, we told him about our tour so far. He called up some number, told our story to them, and then issued a visitor’s pass to us after collecting the fees (Rs. 10 per head).

This is where Gujarat stands out from the rest of the states in India. It is a totally tourist-friendly state. No bureaucratic hassles in visiting any place, and the tourists are most welcome everywhere. Truly ‘Atithi Devoo Bhava’.

We went to the watch-tower. From here we can have a panoramic view of the entire CSP as well as other adjoining areas.


Some views of Charanka Solar Park


Some views of Charanka Solar Park


Some views of Charanka Solar Park


Some views of Charanka Solar Park


And finally a panoramic view of Charanka Solar Park

And kindly watch this video:

We wanted to drive around the park to have a better look at the place. But as we have to cover some more important places, we left CSP.

We finished our lunch after this, and went to Patan….


A true traveler does not have a fixed itinerary

{A number of civic as well as religious buildings were constructed in the city, including many Hindu, Muslim and Jain religious places. There are about 122 Jain Mandirs, more than 100 years old. Besides, there are 9 Hindu temples and 12 Mosques in the city. These monuments are a major attraction from travel and tourism point of view. The foreign tourists throng the city, to view the amazing monuments adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures; Source: Internet}

Panchasara Parshvanath Jain Derasar:

{Panchasara Parshvanath Jain Derasar is one of the largest of more than 100 Jain temples in Patan, a reminder of Patan’s role as center of Jainism during the Solanki era, with sophisticated stone carvings and white marble floors that are characteristic of Jain architecture. It is also worth visiting Kapur Mahetano Pado, where the stone temple has a wooden interior. Jain temples were once all of fantastically and intricately carved wood until, it is said, the master-builder Uda Mehta saw a mouse carrying a burning candle in its mouth and realized that one mishap would destroy years of work, and from then on insisted that all Jain temples should be created in stone.

Shri PPJD Trust, Patan. Tel: 02766 220559; Source: Internet

We wish we had enough time to explore this place. But as we were running short of time, we skipped this place.

Patan Patola Saree:

{Patola is the name of the silk saris unique to Patan. Patola is one of the most difficult forms of weaving in the world. It uses a double ikkat style where the warp and weft threads are dyed meticulously before weaving, according to a pre-designed pattern. The weaver then aligns them perfectly on the loom, which naturally creates a unique combination of geometric delineation with soft hazy outlines.

The saris take 4-6 months to make, with more than 70 days for the coloring of the silk threads, and about 25 days for the weaving. They come in four styles: 1) for the Jains and Hindus, with flowers, parrots, elephants, and dancing figures, 2) for the Muslim Bohras, with geometric and floral design, to be used at weddings, 3) for Maharashtrian Brahmins, in solid dark colors bordered with designs of women and birds, called Nari Kunj, and 4) for traditional export markets in the Far East.

Patola of Patan Pvt Ltd, Patolawala Farm House, Outside Fatipal Gate, Patan – 384265.
Phone: 02766 222182, 232172, 09898143484

Patan Patola Heritage, Patolawala Salvivado, Patolawala Street, Patan – 384265.
Phone: 02766 232274, 231369, 221369, 09898775748, 09427377376; Source: Internet

Afterall, how much a saree might cost!, few thousand Rupees?

You are mistaken.

(Note: :) If you are a ‘Husband’, then I strictly advice you, not to take your wife here :) ).

An original Patola Saree can cost up to around 7,00,000 INR (No, it is not typing mistake. It is Seven Lakhs)

:)Fortunately, as we did not had time, we were saved from the clutches of our wives. Otherwise, … you know........, I don’t have to explain...:)

So from CSP, we went to Rani ki Vav (RKV) in Patan....
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