Road Trip across Vibrant Gujarat - Temples, Wildlife, Beaches & the Rann

John Mathai

john-the wanderer
Superb updates, Sachin. These places are no more an unfamiliar territory for me... :)
One doubt. When coming from Bhuj, can't one cross WAS / LRK from Palasava? Is there any permit issues?
 

Sachin Jatkar

Well-Known Member
Day 11 - Hodka - Bhuj - Bhachau - Samakhiyali - Maliya - Halvad - Soladi - Patdi - Zainabad - 326 Kms

We woke up early, got ready, had breakfast and thanked the staff at Shaam E Sarhad, before proceeding towards Zainabad where we were booked at Desert Coursers.

08:30 - Started from Shaam E Sarhad, Hodka. Total distance covered on the trip 2280 Kms.

08:40 - Reached Bhirandiyara

09:15 - Bypassed Bhuj

Note - Road from Hodka to Bhuj (SH-45) is excellent.

10:15 - About 4-5 Kms of road (SH-42) before Bhachau is very bad. Otherwise SH-42 was good.

10:20 - Reached Bhachau

10:25 - Connected to NH-8A. Road conditions good.

Took a 15 mins break after Bhachau and filled Diesel worth INR 1050.

10:50 - Toll gate at Samkhiyali. Paid toll of INR 55.

11:05 - Surajbari toll plaza. Paid toll of INR 65.

11:20 - Passed Malia

11.24 - Connected to NH947/SH7. By far one of the BEST road in Gujarat. And in Gujarat that's saying a lot.

11:31 - Khakhrechi toll plaza. Paid toll of INR 40.

11:50 - Reached Halvad

Note - Best road experienced so far in Gujarat. NH947/SH7.

12:00 - Soladi toll plaza. Paid toll of INR 25.

12:30 - Connected to SH19. Good road.

13:00 - Reached Desert Coursers, Zainabad.

Note - We had a little trouble finding Desert Coursers camp after reaching Zainabad, but spoke to the manager and he guided us. Once you reach Zainabad, there is small lane opposite to a big dargah where you have to take left from the road. There is a very faded Desert Coursers board to guide you but it's not very easily visible. Once in the small lane, you go a little down the lane and you can see another Desert Coursers board which points to the right. Take the right and the kaccha road will take you to their camp.

Route Map. Hodka to Zainabad - 326 Kms
Hodka to Zainabad.jpg
 

Sachin Jatkar

Well-Known Member
Superb updates, Sachin. These places are no more an unfamiliar territory for me... :)
One doubt. When coming from Bhuj, can't one cross WAS / LRK from Palasava? Is there any permit issues?
Thanks John Sir :). Yes, many on BCMT have crossed LRK and either entered or exited from Palasava. From what I have read, once you reach Palasava, you have to ask locals on how to reach Dada's temple inside LRK/WAS. There is no road, but heard that there are markings (white flags) along the LRK that guide you to Dada's temple. Once you reach, Dada's temple, you can proceed onwards for 30Kms to Zinzuwada to come out of LRK and you have successfully crossed it. However, unless you are experienced, you have to rely on locals for the entry and exit routes and follow the white flags inside LRK/WAS. Else you may get lost or vehicle may get stuck in the marshy land. I am not sure of how to obtain permit if you are entering LRK from Palasava, but have read that many have done so without a permit. Most just ride about 2 Kms inside from Palasava just to experience the terrain and came back out without crossing. The more adventurous cross LRK, however with family, I did not want to take the risk. There are plenty of exit points if you know them, where no one will check your permit.

Fentastic journey Sachin! Amazing road trip with family i must say. You are so lucky to see those bunch of lions/lioness. Thats awesome :).

Did u happen to go beyond India Bridge? BTW, Did you try Maav (a sweet made of milk) in Bhirandiara? Its so delicious. I had it on both days of my pass through via Bhirandiara.
Hey Krishna!!! Welcome back mate. Happy to know that you did the Gujarat trip because when we last connected you were not sure if you would have to postpone it. No, I did not go beyond India Bridge as did not have the permissions. Did not bother to try to get the permission, but looks like you did :). Did not try the sweet in Bhirandiyara. Eagerly awaiting your t'log in your own unique style :).
 

krishnasamaga

Well-Known Member
Hey Krishna!!! Welcome back mate. Happy to know that you did the Gujarat trip because when we last connected you were not sure if you would have to postpone it. No, I did not go beyond India Bridge as did not have the permissions. Did not bother to try to get the permission, but looks like you did :). Did not try the sweet in Bhirandiyara. Eagerly awaiting your t'log in your own unique style :).
Thanks Sachin :). Yes I did complete the Gujarat road trip but had to postpone it by 2 weeks :). Yeah! I tried my best to get the border permit from BFS HQ and got it. It was an amazing ride. Will surely come up with my log but after a while as i am packed with work ;(
 

Sachin Jatkar

Well-Known Member
Day 11 - Zainabad - Little Rann of Kutch

We checked in to Desert Coursers and were shown to our Kooba Hut. Mr. Moulik, the manager at Desert Coursers was very helpful and courteous right from the time I spoke to him and booked the place till the time we checked out. He welcomed us, completed the check-in formalities and asked us to join the guests for lunch.

The Desert Coursers campus is lovely with trees full of birds and squirrels. The amenities in the Kooba huts are basic but decent. The toilet is attached and although the fixtures are old and not in best shape, it's clean. You get hot water in the morning and running water the whole day.

The rate is INR 1950 / person and INR 975 / child which includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening tea + 1 LRK safari + accomodation in Kooba hut. They charge INR 50 / person extra for the safari permit. The service is quite good and Mr. Moulik is a very hands on manager who is constantly working with his staff to ensure that the guests are comfortable. In between he takes the time to chat with the guests, while Mr. Dhanraj Malik who is the owner prefers to have his meals with foreigner guests.

We freshned up and had lunch which is served as a buffet. Mr. Moulik asked us to assemble again at around 3PM when we would have tea and then leave for the safari. By the time we left for Safari, it was after 4PM. Originally, there were 7 adults + my son + the driver in the jeep, however as this was a somewhat cramped, 3 adults were shifted to another jeep. So we set out for the safari with 4 adults + my son + the driver.

The driver drove towards Patdi, and somewhere on the road he took a right in to a small road that led through villages where the children who seemed to be used to tourists waved to us and we waved back with smiles. The driver took us to some wetlands and stopped the jeep and said we could get down and take pictures of the birds.

Judging by the route taken, I think the driver took us to the wetlands seen in the map below, and then drove on to enter Little Rann of Kutch from an obscure location (obscure for tourists, not for the villages or camps in the area). No where did they check our permit (we never stopped to get one, so assume that it was taken care of earlier).
LRK.jpg


The Wetlands where we were taken first. Lots of migratory birds. Pelicans & Flamingoes & Storks & Herons
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A Shikra
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A Painted Stork
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There were plenty of birds around, but the driver was just driving without stopping when he saw birds on the road. We had to call out to him to stop and by then the bird would fly away. You really need a guide on such a safari who knows how to spot birds and when to stop. Finally an uncle who was with us and a keen birder, after cussing in the back at the driver, went ahead and sat with him.

Coming up, pictures of LRK and sunset at LRK.
 
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Sachin Jatkar

Well-Known Member
Thanks Sachin :). Yes I did complete the Gujarat road trip but had to postpone it by 2 weeks :). Yeah! I tried my best to get the border permit from BFS HQ and got it. It was an amazing ride. Will surely come up with my log but after a while as i am packed with work ;(
I can only imagine what an amazing ride it would have been to cross India Bridge and ride all the way till the last BOP before the Pakistan Border. Awaiting your log keenly :).

Fantastic Updates Sachin Bhai
Thanks Sanu for your continous support :)
 
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