Another road journey began on the Day 5 of my Gujarat trip that took us to Porbandar, Madhavpur, Somnath temple and The Gir National Park(the next morning). In some part of the journey, we were riding next to the seashore and in some on a driveway with a slew of windmills on both sides of the highway.
Out first stop was Mool Dwarka, the place where Lord Krishna first established himself while traveling from Mathura to Dwarka.
KIRTI MANDIR, PORBANDAR
Visting Hours: 09:00 am to 12:00 pm and 03:00 pm to 06: 00 pm
We traveled for another 2 hours and then entered the yet another coastal city of Gujarat, Porbandar, perhaps best known for being the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and Sudama(a friend of Lord Krishna).
Kirti Mandir was built in the honor of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi. The ancestral house of Mahatma Gandhi was located right beside the temple. There was also a museum displaying old pictures, books, and belongings of Mahatma Gandhi inside the premises.
Walking through the corridors and scrutinizing nook & corner of the building was quite illuminating. The place where Gandhiji was actually born marked with a ‘Swastika’ for identification. Peeping out of those little teal blue windows (Jharokhas) gave me a feeling like I am standing in an old Haveli of a bygone era.
I got so full of Gandhism after spending just a few minutes there.
I had heard the story of Lord Krishna and Sudama’s friendship in my childhood and the feeling that I am going to visit the place dedicated to an epitomized friendship of that era made me super thrilled. Though the architecture was not too grand, the place can help you set major friendship goals.
According to folklore, this is the place where Lord Krishna married Rukmani and Mer community of that area still holds a fair every year to keep that belief alive.
Madhavpur beach, on the way to Somnath, was like a surprise that we never anticipated for. On the National Highway 51, this beach was like a first sight love for me. Apparently, I fell prey to the undeniable youthful charm of the beach. The crystal clear blue water, sounds of seashore waves crashing back and forth, a gentle sea breeze, beautiful birds and the solace in the ambiance was befitting for a place none other than a paradise.
Swaying atop the camel on the same paradise was like an excerpt from the fairy tale(well, my fairy tale at least).
Timings: 6.00 AM to 9.30 PM
Shree Somnath is first among the twelve Aadi Jyotirlings of India. The temple is known for the exceptional history of being plundered numerous times and rejuvenating time and again. But the current empire stands tall on the seashore, welcoming everyone with open arms.
After the routine ritual of depositing camera, phone, and other electronic devices, we rushed to the security check and thereby joined the queue of Lord Shiva devotees.
My first rendezvous with the temple had left me completely awe-zoned. The intricate detailing on the walls, the large pillars in the row leading to the sanctum, and the grand chandelier, almost everything about the temple was inviting. Now, it was time for the one-on-one moment with the Lord. I was trying hard to capture the sight in my eyes forever. Alas! Science says retina can hold the image for only 1/16th of a second 😉
We bought the tickets for the light and sound show for Rs 20 per person. 3D version of the show voiced by the legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan was way beyond my expectations. It was enthralling to witness all facets of the historic site in the most spectacular manner. I guess many people will start loving the history if it is portrayed this way. Matter of fact!
The temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in a straight line between Somnath seashore until Antarctica. On the pole, it was inscribed-
” आसमुद्रान्त दक्षिण ध्रुव पर्यंत अबाधित ज्योतिर्मार्ग “
which is translated to ‘The light path stretching without construction up to the south pole over the end of the Ocean’. An interesting fact, right? “Well, uh, I am not yet convinced”, let’s check out the map-
GIR NATIONAL PARK
Gir (the Lion Hub) is the only place, except the zoos obviously, where lions can be seen in India – the only place in Asia in fact.
I had already bought the e-permit from http://girlion.in and after making the payment for Jeep Safari and Guide, the allocated open Jeep was en route to the core region of the Gir National Park. Route no: 7 it was.
Gradually, we were entering deeper into the forest and our eyes were growing impatient while scanning every corner on the right and left to get a glimpse of a lion. Of course, it is out of the ordinary to see the king of the jungle in his natural habitat.
Almost half an hour passed and with hope still live in our hearts, we continued to keep a close eye on the forest. We saw Peacocks, Deers, Jackal, and sambar deer but … 😦
Further, on the route 7, we reached the Kamleshwar dam. There was a break of 15 minutes to click pictures and enjoy the panoramic view of the jungle around.
Kamleshwar lake is home to a lot of marsh crocodiles and we spotted a few on the bank basking in the morning sun.
Yes, unfortunately, we saw no Lion or Lioness or Cub, but the Gir safari had a charm of its own, an enthralling experience for the first-timers.
This was day 5 of my Gujarat trip and I was already head to toe in love with this state for its amazing food, history, landscapes, windmills, seashores, and sunsets. So, get ready to drench yourself with nature’s alluring arrangement for you and only you in the westernmost state of India.
Let us know how do you like the post by posting a comment below. For more details on the Gujarat trip, visit this post- Gujarat and stay tuned for the upcoming post on Diu.
TIPS AND FACTS
Best time for Safari: In the morning, lions tend to move around in search of a hunt. Given the movement, morning safari generally offers higher probability to spot lions.
Jungle Safari Booking: Booking should be done at least a month before. Once you get the permit, you goto the reception desk and get a jeep and a guide allotted. You can visit Girlion.in for getting the permits
Devalila Safari Park: This is more like a zoo type of setting with all kinds of animals from Gir near the Gir National Park.
Gujarat Beach festival: Along with Madhavpur, beaches like Mandvi, Veraval, Tithal, Shivrajpur host the five-day festival, where main attraction were water sports, concerts, zorbing and traditional performances.
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