Self-Drive Jungle Trail to the Gir Forest

@Gujjubhais_Log

Jobs fill your pocket. Adventures fill your soul
What would you say if I tell you?

Let’s have a Self-drive Jungle Safari in your beloved personal car in the deep jungle of sasan gir & roam freely to the middle of the dense forest.

As per PARAMPARA (Tradition) Photo Teaser



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Note : Excuse me if I make mistake, I am an Amateur Writer & Photographer.
 

@Gujjubhais_Log

Jobs fill your pocket. Adventures fill your soul
Road Trip to Udaipur:cop: Kankai

Day 0 (Before 27-10-2019)

Initial plan was a 3 day road trip to Udaipur with family but (A big but) you can never pre-plan a trip if you have Toddler in a family.

Such was my situation my younger daughter turns 1 on 20th September and she changed her sleeping schedule, she started waking at night and keeping us all busy whole night. Due to that a 3 night outing was not possible and our plan was crush to dust](*,).

SO NOW, CHANGE OF PLAN,

We started searching for a new destination where we can return in single night stay. Where would it be? Suggestion started pouring for different location form different member of the family. My elder daughter (4) insisted me “હાલો ને બાપુ સિંહ જોવા”(Dad let’s go to see lion ) well it was not a bad idea. It has been years since we have visited Sasan Gir, Adobe of Asiatic lion but we were not in mood to take jungle safari in their safari jeep. So destination was finalize “Kankai”\\:D/

Brief description of Location (Kankai)

Kankai is a Hindu's holy place situated in the midst of Gir Forest National Park in Junagadh district of Saurashtra region in the state of Gujarat, India. It is in the heart of the jungle, 25 km from Sasan Gir, there is a shrine to Kankai Mata, the benefactor of the shepherds of Gir forest. A supremely wild place, here you can hear lions roar at night and animals gathering at the nearby lake. Despite the grant from the Government night stay is banned in the premises, except certain devotees with prior permission.

Now the destination was finalize comes the turn of route. Following was our “Planned” route.

Planned route

Day 1: Limbdi (Family Home), Chotila (My House), Junagadh (Sightseeing), Dhari (Night Stay)

Day 2: Kankai (Whole Day), Limbdi (Return Family Home)
 

@Gujjubhais_Log

Jobs fill your pocket. Adventures fill your soul
Great start, Gujjubhai. And great teaser photographs too. Don't keep us in suspense. Let's have the report.

Can't wait to find out if you got permission for night stay within the forest.
Sorry to keep you await, update will be ready by evening (May be)
 

@Gujjubhais_Log

Jobs fill your pocket. Adventures fill your soul
Day 1 – Part 1 (27-10-2019 “Diwali”)

The actual route plan would start with Limbdi (Family Home), Chotila (My House), Junagadh (Sightseeing), Dhari (Night Stay), we were going to use my father’s wagon-R for the trip.

Trip Started as planned from Limbdi in the morning 5:30 AM, my parent’s arrived sharp 6:40 Am @ my house in Chotila on time but as always we were not ready (Kids) :cop:. So breakfast was schedule at my house. During this breakfast my whole pre-planned trip was jeopardize :shock:. "LADIEZ" change the whole schedule plan upside down :toimonster:. Pre schedule plan was to visit Junagadh for sightseeing but the destination was alter to Tulsishyam in an Instant, so does my route map #-o.

Reschedule “Planned” route

Day 1: Limbdi (Family Home), Chotila (My House), Dhari, Tulsishyam, Dhari (Night Stay).


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So without any further delay we started out trip again from Chotila @ 8:30 AM towards Dhari, Plan was to take accommodation at Dhari, dump our extra weight (Luggage) & move towards Tulsishyam and return back before night. During the journey my father did inquire from a family friend regarding stay @ Kankai and if it was possible in such a short notice but the answer was negative](*,). So Dhari was finalized for the Night stay. Accommodation was pre booked at BAPS Swaminarayan Temple Dhari by us so no issue about that. After refuelling (CNG) at Amreli we continued our journey towards Dhari and reached their before 12:00 noon. Now it was time for our refuelling, so after a quick darshan we went for delicious lunch :supz: at temple campus.


Brief description of Dhari-BAPS Swaminarayan Temple
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BAPS Swaminarayan Temple is located in Dhari village near Amreli in Gujarat. Dhari is birth place of BAPS 4th Spiritual Head "Shri Yogiji Maharaj". The temple is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan .Temple Architecture is wonderful more than 220 carved columns and 15 artistic vault connects with Main Domes in this temple. Steel and cement has not been used in the construction of Temple.

Father did the formalities for the accommodation and received our key to the room.


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Room was on 3rd floor in the building behind the cottage & we were expecting a normal room but there was more to see.

Come let’s have look at the room that was allocated to us :-#.

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Surprised :shock:\\:D/? Well we were all.

It look like we were in some premium old cottage but trust me we were on the 3rd Floor of a building.


Stunning Desi Rooms Interior, Wall were designed with material look alike Dung Wall, Many other old antique collection such as old fans, fancy old bed (ખાટલા), Traditional Hand Flour Mill (ઘરઘાટી), Old Switchboard & other old hand made decoratives.

Trip To Be Continued ........
 
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@Gujjubhais_Log

Jobs fill your pocket. Adventures fill your soul
Day 1 – Part 2

After Aweing :-o we dump our Luggage and started journey toward Tulsishyam by 2:30 PM. Dhari to Tulsishyam is 40 KM journey but 60-70% of the road is an interior part of the Gir forest (Cannot be consider as jungle as there are tar roads and public transport available to the destination).Our first Stop was at TIMBARVA Check post @ 3:15 PM, formalities were done by my father for the Vehicle Entry Permit. Exit Check post was written JASADHAR which was the other end of the road (Road toward UNA-DIU) but we were returning to the same check post as we were staying in Dhari so we inquire from authority that will this permit be valid if we return back to this road, they positively replied yes and suggested us to be back before 10:00 PM. We resumed our journey towards Tulsishyam.

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Vehicle Entry Permit

A single lane road lead us toward the today’s destination. Road was good at someplace & Bad at some but one thing that continued till end was abundant greenery on both side. There were few villages on the road. We encounter wildlife (such as deer, monkey, Nilgay and different bird’s mostly Peacocks) at multiple occasion were we would stop the car on the road side & show my kids the view but in 5-10 min some other car will stand behind us ](*,)and due to shortage of road width we were forced to move forward. Well as we were approaching we move past a board written “Magnetic Hill” (Anti-Gravity Point).

Brief description about Tulsishyam

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Tulsishyam is located on the border of Amreli district and Gir-Somnath district in the Gir forest national park in Gujarat. There is an ancient temple of Lord Vishnu-Lord Shyam. Legend says that Lord Krishna eliminated the demon called Tul and so the place is associated with his name along with that of Krishna as Shyam and is thus called Tulsishyam. The idol of Lord Tulsishyam is said to be 3000 years old. There is a hot water spring near the temple that is believed to have curative powers.

By 4:25 PM we were at the destination. As we take left turn from Timbarva side Road, first spot we see on our right is Hot Water Spring and opposite to the spot is the parking lot for the temple. So I dropped my family at the first spot and went to the parking lot. After securing our car at the parking lot I went back to join back my family. There are actually 2 building (For Male & Female) with different separate Hot Water kund with different level of boiling point. Hot Water Spring were actually warm and satisfying , with or without curative powers you would love to have a dip in that lukewarm water.

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We moved towards the main Tulsishyam temple for the darshan.After darshan, a 700 years old Rukmani Devi Temple on the hill top was waiting for us. As it has over 100 steps to temple making it’s difficult for elders, my parent voluntarily stayed at ground temple with kids.

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In the blink of an eye I & my wife were on top of the hill. View from the top were excellent. As we were there during early winter and after monsoon we can see greenery on all the side.
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Photographer In Me...
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Result

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Idols At top of the hill
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With lots of photos & selfies and sweet memories we return down to the parking lot for our return journey. Before starting the return journey we stopped at the Entry/Exit point and enjoyed a refreshing sugarcane juice :drinkers:.

As were returning back we past “Magnetic Hill” board again and thought of actually trying this phenomena, well I was against the theory but I was the only one against it :mad:. We tried few time stopping and silencing our engine at different distance and discussing (debating) its authenticity but after debating (Wasting) for 20 minute we moved forward without any conclusion (a win-win scenario:supz:). At 6:00 PM we were again at Timbarva Check post for Check out, Same Check post, Same formalities, Same person.

:)cop:Note:
1 .There is boiling spring water which is extremely hot so beware of the skin burns or rather opt for warm or slightly hot water .

2. Private and state transport buses are available to reach here. If you want to stay overnight, you can stay in government guest house. Food is also available there. You should be in your room before 9 am and after 6 pm as it’s a forest area and wild animals like lions etc. roaming around.)


As it was Diwali and my mother insisted for the evening aarti at Dhari Swaminarayan temple, we promptly arrived in the temple campus before 7:25 PM, 5 Minute before aarti time. As we were very-very hungry (we didn’t had anything except yummy:drinkers: sugarcane juice) we went straight for the dinner after the evening aarti. After the delicious and heavy meal we to our room for refreshing.

After quick refreshment we went back to the temple campus, as it was Diwali festival temple was \\:D/amazingly decorated with fancy lighting.


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Yogiji Maharaj Birth Place (House)


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Even in the late evening, Mandir was crowded with devotees due to Diwali festival. After quick chat and few click we return back to the base where I have to plan which route should I take to Kankani .

My Driving :cool: and Vehicle Off Roading Capability were yet to be tested tomorrow......:ctf:

To Be Continued .......
 

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@Gujjubhais_Log

Jobs fill your pocket. Adventures fill your soul
Day 2 (28-10-2019, New Year)

“HAPPY NEW YEAR “

Yes it was New Year, crackers and fireworks were busting whole night “लेकिन मैं तो आराम की नींद सोया”.

Now first thing in the morning for me was to decide by which way we should enter Kankai. The 1st route take us through Dhari-Dalkhania-Kankai-Return and the 2nd route was Dhari-Visavadar-Satadhar-Kankai-Return (There is a rule in Kankai forest range that tourist can only return from the way they opt to arrive at the destination). As the car was running low on fuel we have to refuel it first and the nearest CNG Station was in Bagasara. As the refueling was essential 2nd route was decided with an add-on pit stop of CNG Station.

Route Plan of the Day 2


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Gang was ready by 07:00 AM for adventure trip and had their breakfast by 07:45. By 08:00 AM we were on road towards Bagasara for refueling. 08:45 AM refueling complete, back to the road for Kankai. @ 09:15 AM we face a huge traffic congestion @ Satadhar ](*,) (Satadhar is a religious site for locals and due to New year's holiday local follower were there for darshan and lunch (Prasad)).

Gate Of Satadhar Temple
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Photo Credit (Internet)

Late by 15 minutes we arrived on the gate of “The Great Sasan Gir Forest” @ 10:00 AM. Again Entry Permit at Meldi IE Check Post (Visavadar Range), formalities were completed in 10 minutes by the same person (My Father).

Entry Permit


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Wild was calling me but the test begins now for me and my ride, from here road was fully off road nearly 25 KM haul to Kankai. Road was slushy as there was mild rain in the morning and I have to handle this terrain in a hatchback. With Family it was a bit scary for me :Hangman:, multiple horrible thought were roaming in my mind “What if car got stuck somewhere or what if car got puncture and got surrounded by wild animals”, “What IF” :toimonster:. As my mind was hovering with this horrible thoughts, my eyes caught a glimpse which gave me strength to move forward. A 2000 model Hyundai Santro was getting ignited for the same destination before me & I told myself “If that can do MY Wagon can definitely do it \\:D/“.

Journey started towards Kankai by 10:15 AM, as we were leaving the gate 2 families came on their bike for the vehicle permit :-k. It was tough unknown terrain, I have to maneuver vehicle carefully in slopes (Still it hit the bottom thrice during the journey #-o) but we were enjoying the view \\:D/, we were feeling the forest.
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Forest was lush green everywhere we were excited to visit the King of the jungle in its habitat. It took us 2 hours to cover the 25 KM portion but we were moving slowly in hope of catching a glimpse of the King.

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the only straight road for few meter during the the entire journey

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Find the Sambar deer

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12:30 PM we were inside the temple campus and still it was overcast weather, usually the temple is isolated but due to holiday it was heavily crowded. We attended the mandir aarti, both siblings were enjoying their time fully chasing monkeys and vice-versa, there were lot of monkeys in the temple.

Temple Entrance Gate

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Main Temple

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Campus Area

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My Elder Daughter playing in temple campus

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My younger Daughter playing in temple

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Attending the Aarti

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River bed near to the temple where King usually gets spotted during dry summers.

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By 01:45 we were ready for the return journey and this time I knew my terrain a little bit better. During our return journey we were expecting a encounter with the king but instead we encountered multiple group of local guys in their bike honking and riding carelessly. We lost our hope of seeing the king in this nuisance. This time it took me just 75 minutes to cross the jungle section.


My father was angry on the authorities for allowing 2 wheeler to enter the forest zone and polluting the natural environment. On the entry gate in the instruction board it was clearly written that open four wheel vehicles were not allowed to enter, still 2 wheel vehicles were permitted. Now the journey was plain and simple “Return Home “. Started from gate, passed the crowed again at the Satadhar, refueled at Bagasara @ 3:45 PM.

By now we were all hungry as we just had few fruits and chips packet after the morning breakfast. Nearest district center was Amreli, and we were in no mood to have anything other than Gujarati cuisine (Sudh Gujarati Thali ). We entered the city bypass by 4:15 PM and to our surprised no restaurant were open due to “NEW YEAR’S HOLIDAY”. In no time we were exiting the city and leaving the bypass, there we found a fast food joint which offers a limited menu “Dabeli & Bhel“. Theirs is a saying in gujarati “મામા કરતા કાણો મામો સારો” (It’s good to have something than Nothing). We had our lunch there, few Dabeli’s and few bhel’s. it was our last stop. All were tired and kids were asleep by the time, journey from here was a straight road for me. No stop No Adventure Just straight Road.

We were at our father’s home @ Limbdi by 9:15 PM with bucket full of memories and memory card full of photos & Videos.


Recommendation's

1: If you are planning with family (Specially Kids) take surplus amount of food and water.
2: If the vehicle is a hatchback or with lower ground clearance please do prefer the 1st route that is Dhari-Dalkhania-Kankai-Return/towards UNA.
3: Never plan a trip in a holiday at this destination, you will definitely repent your decision. During holiday's you will definitely encounter the local nuisance and decrease your chances to meet the king.
 
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