Pune to Vaishno Devi – Gujarat Chapter

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This article is part 2 of 9 in the series "Vaishno Devi Trip 2014"

 < Read previous chapter of the trip – The Beginning

Day 2: 2nd March 2014

Vasai to Shamlaji Motorbike Trip

Vasai to Shamlaji

I will not say that it was a lovely morning but it was a weird morning for Appa for sure 🙂

NH 8 always been a darling to bikers. Though it carries heavy traffic on almost all it’s parts, it’s an amazing road full of surprises and prizes! As of now I got a good grip of the RE Classic and it was flowing on that 8 lane highway like a furious river. The road among the lush green forest was making us feel better. Our silent headphones were blasting high speed songs and my bike’s engine was matching their beats. We were singing it out loud!! Appa was playing role of DJ with a control over the music.

After having heavy breakfast at Kamat’s and filling the bike’s tank, we were enjoying the ride.Right after crossing the border, we stopped to have our third tea of the day at Vapi. Wow.. Appa was absolutely silent, stunned and was looking around like a newborn baby. I recalled my first interstate trip. Trust me.. it’s a non-describable feeling.

Lalit S aka Appa

Lalit S aka Appa

Bag pack, helmets, hand gloves, cameras, cell phones… we were carrying hell lot of things and almost required a table to keep them in the restaurants 🙂

Sticking around the plain plan of running, we kept our engines on fire until Zadeshwar of Ankleshwar in Gujarat. It was a third time I stopped by Swami Narayan temple on NH 8. The red stone temple of Swaminarayan is one of my favorite temple.

Swami Narayan Temple Zadeshwar

Swami Narayan Temple Zadeshwar

at Swaminarayan Temple

at Swaminarayan Temple

Appa and I was feeling better and rejuvenated in the temple. We spent almost couple of hours in the temple campus. Temple campus is well managed and clean. Green lawn and red stone temple is a cool combo. Gods and goddess give you pleasant surprise as the idols look real life. Specially goddess with modern purse in hand just bring them closer to you.

We were laughing at some non-sense jokes over the tea outside the temple. First lesson of photography started from here for Appa.

Read more about Swaminarayan Temple Bharuch

I still remember the taste of gujarati thali which we had in the night near Anand. But the joy soon turned into worry as the NH 8 was under huge renovation. I couldn’t even see the road due to heavy dust. Unwantedly, we had to halt at Nadiad instead of planned destination of Ahmedabad. Saini guest house gave us nice stay though it wasn’t cozy like a home. Tired fellows just falled on the bed.

Day 3: 3rd March 2014

Hot water bath in the chilled winter just refreshes you. We said goodbye to Sardarji with a glassful tea. Road was getting better in that foggy cold morning.

Camel Cart of Gujarat

Camel Cart of Gujarat

Soon a brand ambassador of Gujarat and Rajasthan was cruising along with our bike. Camel carts is kind of speciality of Western North India. Ship of desert walking on the tar road..ahh..awkward combination. Poor animal.

Word of Advice – Never Try South Indian food in road side dhabas! Yaaak.. After having the worst Sambhar Wada of my life, we were scolding the restaurant almost for an hour while running on ring road of Ahmedabad. I must appraise the ring road of the big town, one the good one in the country.

We entered the capital of the state, Gandhi Nagar. Just like NCR, the capital region is clean, neat and well secured. Vidhan Bhavan, Court area, various ministry offices.. we were wandering within capital region for almost couple of hours. Even I bought an Indian Army t-shirt at a military canteen, but trust me, I never found a courage a to wear it. As they say – You have to earn it. Well, we had first darshan of peacocks at this place only. Appa never imagined that this bird can roam in such relax mood among humans.

We were surprised to see Gandhi Nagar Thermal Power plant. It was too close to the capital region and almost in the town.

Appa was feeling better now! He overcame the fear and was rocking and enjoying all these fun!! Wonderful lunch on NH 8 relieved us from hunger games of our tummies. As we were approaching the border, road started getting bit lonely. Great mountain range of Aravali was waving hands from far away, welcoming us!

Shamlaji – the home of Lord Vishnu in the form of Sawalaji or Sawaliya..literally means dark colored. For one or other reason, I couldn’t visit the temple in the past though I rode right from here couple of times. Scattered ruins, various idols adds an antiquity to the place. Temple with sculptures is a feast to an idiot like me 🙂

Shamlaji Temple Gujarat

Shamlaji Temple Gujarat

While waiting for curtains to go off for darshan, we were enjoying with local school children who were on field trip. I spend 2 hours capturing amazing sculptures and carving of the temple. Appa was enjoying pedha of prasad and was trying some clicks around. Lot of renovation work was on but we were happy with the clam darshan. Idol of Lord Vishnu looks adorable. Built in 14th Century during Solanki dynasty, the temple stands tall with White Flag (Dholi Dhwaja). Ashta Matrikas carved in the stones are kind of unique feature of the sculptures of Shamlaji.

Read more about Shamlaji Temple

Well.. that was an official ending of our Gujarat chapter. As our goal was Himalayas, we kept dropping many destinations on our way. Before it gets too dark, I wanted to reach Udaipur at least, so the run was on!!

Read next chapter of the trip – Rajasthan Chapter I >


Keep Reading Pune to Vaishno Devi on motorbike trip story:

  1. The Beginning
  2. Gujarat Chapter (You are here) – Swaminarayan Temple Bharuch, Gandhinagar, Shamlaji Temple
  3. Rajasthan Chapter I – Shrinathji Temple Nathdwara, Charbhuja Temple Garbhor, Kumbhalgarh
  4. Rajasthan Chapter II – Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Pushkar, Merta City,Karni Mata temple Deshnok, Bikaner
  5. Punjab Chapter – Firozpur, Harike Barrage, Golden Temple of Amritsar
  6. Vaishno Devi (Jammu) Chapter I – Baba Dhansar, Vaishno Devi, Amar Palace Jammu
  7. Himachal Chapter I – Pathankot War Memorials, McLeod Ganj, St John in Wilderness, Dharamsala,
  8. Himachal Chapter II – Dharamsala, Chamundi Temple, Baijnath, Kangra, Jwalaji, Chintpurni Mata
  9. Haryana Chapter – Kurukshetra, Panipat
  10. Uttar Pradesh Chapter – Vrindavan, Mathura, Agra
  11. Madhya Pradesh Chapter – Gwalior Fort, Indore
Series Navigation<< Pune to Vaishno Devi..via Himalayas (2014) – The BeginningPune to Vaishno Devi..Rajasthan Chapter – Part I >>
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