Polo forest, Gujarat

Welcome readers to another blog.

At around 150 Kilometers from Ahmedabad this jungle called Polo Forest is situated. This forest was not much known to many till now. Small villages, long small trails, green farms and tribal people walking calmly with their cattle are enough to realize that how far are we from the concrete jungle even before reaching to Polo forest.

Yes, we will insist not to visit this place during summer season. An Aravalli hill gets hot during day time and doesn’t let the temperature down even after sunset. During winter we certainly can visit this place. But best season to visit this place is monsoon. Good company can make this forest journey more memorable.

In Rajasthani language “Pod” means ‘a gate’. This place was once known as an entry gate to Rajasthan from Gujarat and there was literally an entry gate built over there which was known as Pod. And thus this forest became polo forest. This place is very historic. There are 350 types of vegetation and 260 types of herbs we can find in this forest, during winter in huge numbers traveler birds also can be found here.

If you are visiting this place for a day tour only then its better to take lunch with you in tiffin box as you won’t find any big hotels there.

If you are leaving far from this place or you like a calm place like this then we suggest you to stay here for minimum one or two nights. If distance is very far for example you are travelling like us from Kutch then one night stay can be done in Idar and on next morning journey can be continued. We would like to share our experience of Idar hotel here. We were very late while we reach at Idar, we were not in a state of mind that we can search and select hotel so whichever hotel we saw first we went inside. Manager was sleeping, we woke him up and booked rooms without even seeing it. After reaching our allocated rooms we came to know about its grandeurJ. The size of the room was so small that two persons can be called crowd, condition of the bedsheet was such that it can tear apart even if we touch it, pillows were smelling like they were imported from boys hostel, planning to be made how to enter in the bathroom after opening its door, water was overflowing from basin after brushing..  were the unforgettable experiences of that “beautiful” hotel. Sometimes this type of experiences makes your trip more memorable.

Sightseeing places of polo forest can be seen in a day only, for rest of the time you can spend time with yourself or with people you actually care. This time when Nature also give you company can recharge your soul for next year for sure.

Nowadays there are few more hotels built to stay in Polo forest, when we visited in 2017-18 “polo resort” was a good hotel. There were options of staying in rooms or in tents, both options were good but if weather is hot then staying in tents can be slightly uncomfortable. We stayed in a tent and the experience was good.

We can book prior through online booking, however during weekend rush is more so if you have planned during weekend then even after online booking its better to confirm through call about your booking. There are facilities like camp fire, swimming pool, indoor and few outdoor games are also there. Breakfast and lunch were also good.

After giving all basic information let us take a tour of places which you must visit at polo forest. First of all we will start with our favorite trekking activity. There are few tracking points varying from half an hour to three hour long trekking route depending upon your capacity. Local guides at polo forest are available at almost all local sightseeing points; even hotel management can arrange a guide for you. It’s better to keep a guide with you while trekking as he can enhance your knowledge about local trees, herbs and vegetation during trekking. Also majority of guides here are from local tribal community so we can also learn about their culture and life style also. Our experience with guide was very good, we had asked many questions and all were answered by him very calmly. Springs and river bed on the way of trekking is like a heaven for photographers. And yes, please do not horrify by the work ‘Trekking’ here. The trek route is very normal, any person having normal fitness level can easily go for trekking here.

Another must visit place here is a Vanaj dam. Dam is very huge and filled with water of Harnav River. The place is in middle of the forest so generally entry is prohibited after sunset. However we reached here after sunset and fortunately no one stopped us visiting the dam; of course guide was there with us. We spent hardly 15 over minutes there but that small visit became unforgettable experience for us. Deadly darkness, different and never heard before voices from huge trees, very vast water body and reflection of the moon on that water… what else to say!

Ancient Lakhena Jain dera is a good point for history and sculpture lovers. It was built in fifteenth century. The courtyard of dera is very huge and big spider webs can also be found on tall trees on the courtyard. Harnav river water is passing through the way of Lakhenajaindera. Water was so clear that we can see the riverbed very clearly.

SharneshwarMahadev is an only temple in the area. It Is also said to be built in fifteenth century. When we visited this temple we saw people were doing a pre wedding shoot via drone. Later we came to know that polo forest is becoming very famous for small budget pre wedding shoots. As per our view a very well-known Gujarati film ‘Reva’ was also shot here.

Vijayanagar is a village near polo forest. There is a botanical garden in vijayanagar which has more than 200 herb plants. A Few plants are very rare here and in this garden they are trying to preserving those rare plants. An elderly guide and care taker who was working as a care taker of plant has given us many details without getting annoyed by our questions. It requires minimum 2-3 hours to see this garden completely. Many botany students visit this garden for study purpose.

Students remind us a beautiful primary school built by government in polo forest to facilitate tribal community. We came to visit this school just by chance. There were many students staying there even it was a vacation time. Little boys and girls were doing their own work very easily with enthusiasm. Also a museum of polo forest is a good place to visit. Kids can enjoy a section where by pressing buttons, voice of different birds can be heard.

We highly recommend you to visit this beautiful forest during monsoon season and do share your experiences with us in comment section.

Will meet you in another blog till then Stay happy! Stay safe! Keep Roaming. 

Bhadreshwar, Kutch

Lets again walk through our Kachchh, a mythological place which also mentioned in the ‘Mahabharata’.


As per the Mahabharata it was known as ‘Bhadravati’ in ancient time, at present the village known as Bhadreshwar.


A nice temple of Lord Shiva called ‘Chokhanda’ is placed here which was built by ‘Pandvas’ as per myth, though current temple seems modern and its rebuilt and renovated after earthquake of 2001. There is a well also here in vicinity of temple known as ‘Pandava Kund’. This temple is located on a bit higher landscape, so sunrise and sunset are scenic here. Also bit far from village, so it makes place peaceful.


The village has ancient ‘Haveli’ of famous businessman Jagdusha. Most of Gujaratis are aware of this name as very rich businessman as this very rich businessman helped with all his wealth in days of draughts. He sent grains to many states during draughts. He also built many temples, schools and hospitals.


Unfortunately the above mentioned haveli has hardly anything left to show! As there was no proper care taken by archeologically department to save such a treasure.


A friend of Jagdusha ‘Duda Maheshwari’ was also a philanthropist who made a step well called ‘Duda ni vaav which is still found in village though not in a good condition. . vaav was constructed by arranging huge stones on one above the other. It is worth visit this Vaav.


Any way, we wouldn’t insist you to visit Bhadreshwar to watch these much places only, there is one more interesting place here.


Bhadreshwar jain temple or Vasai jain temple is a huge temple of ‘Lord Parshwanath’. As per our knowledge it was originally built approx. 2600 years back! It was broken and rebuilt many a times. In 2001 earthquake it was collapsed and built again. Infect we cannot say that construction work is over as whenever we visit this place, we find men busy carving beautiful sculptures! To see them working live is opportunity in itself It shows people are continuously trying to make this temple magnificent.


There are more than 150 clean and clear rooms available here for people who stay here for religious purpose. Facility of breakfast, lunch and dinner at token rate is also available No one can object arrangements and maintenance of Jain temples. Here also cleanliness and discipline seen in really inspiring. You people must be aware of ‘Choviyar’ system of Jains (i.e. not to eat after sunset).The canteen is scheduled as per their religious beliefs. People wishing for having dinner must follow the schedule as no other better option available nearby. Whenever we visit any religious place, the rules and beliefs must not be over looked. Here we are supposed to aintain timings of meal and wear full outfits and avoid shorts.

System of choviyar is also interesting, Jain dharma believes in ‘Shinas’ (Non-violence), Not only towards humans but also towards animals and microbes. After sunset the microbes increase so they avod eating. Temple here is huge although many people visit it every day, place is well maintained. Carvings on pillars and walls also on ceilings is attractive. Stories of Jainsism are carved everywhere. Behind the temple there is a lone row road towards ‘Duda ni Vaav’ to walk on that road itlself is an experience.

Bhadreshwar is a small village on the way from Gandhidham to Mundra, It is situated on Main road and one can visit Mandi also if interested from here. Being a sculpturally rich, historically important and well maintained place you should visit Bhadreshwar once.

Osam Hill, Dhoraji.

Let’s today have a mini trip in saurashtra region of Gujarat. Let’s visit a small but lovely place.


A small village called Patanvav is situated in Dhoraji taluka of Rajkot District. Road from Rajkot to Dhoraji is like any other road of this area, but as soon as we approach Patanvav, we would find out a row of small hills one of them is Osam hill.


It pronounces same as ‘Awesome’ and it is the way you feel there. A temple of ‘Matri mata’ is situated on Osam hill, the goddess is also known as ‘Osam Matri’.


Goddess Matri mata is Kul Devi of some family of Nagar community. Every year many people of this community visit this place. On the hill there is a primary facility of stay, just in last few years Government of Gujarat has declared this place as a tourism place. Every year on no moon day of Shravan month a fair is also organized here.
Apart from Matri Mata temple, one more temple of Tapkeshawar Mahadev is situated on the hill. It is situated in a natural cave where water oozes out as droplets and fall on ‘Shivling.’ Top of all a dam and pond are also present on the top of the hill. One more place on this hill is known as ‘Bhim Kund’, which is connected with an interesting mythological story.

A beautiful flat top tree


It is believed that Pandavas stayed here during their ‘Vanvas’. If we track to tapkeshwar temple remnants of said Pandava fort are found. Also its said that Bhim and Hidamba met here.. How romantic!


For track lovers, there are many hills here with greenery, cool breeze and chirping of birds. Visitors should keep in mind that during monsoon this place is more scenic, keep water bottle with you. (Well, please don’t throw away bottle of course) About 500 steps and you are there on top, no need to carry extra luggage. Wear comfy outfits but remember it’s a religious place so maintain dignity. Sport shoes are suggested.
The best season to visit is either monsoon or post monsoon. Tea is available in temple as well.


You can watch clouds passing, smell the wet soil and enjoy the nature. Osam is at 110Km from Rajkot, one can visit ‘Virpur’ on the way while getting there. Even after being declared as a tourist place some essential facilities like washroom are not available. For food also no much decent options are present.


We wish these facilities are made available in near future and make this place actual Awesome!!

Matheran, Maharashtra

इतर ब्लॉगवर सर्व वाचकांचे स्वागत आहे

Hey, don’t worry we won’t write any more Marathi, because we don’t even know more of it! It was just to bring the feel of the region we are going to visit today (now please don’t ask for a ‘Lavni’ video for feel).


Let’s walk through Maharashtra this time. Let’s go to India’s only automobile free hill station and one of the smallest hill stations of India. Sahyadri mountain range is approximately 1600Km long which covers Kerela, Tamilnadu, Karnatak, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. In sahyadri mountain range 2625 ft high Matheran is a must visit place of Maharashtra.

panorama


It’s named as forest on the forehead. It is the only hill station in which vehicles are not allowed (Only one vehicle i.e. Ambulance is kept here). So it’s not suggested to go there with infants or elders with problem of Knee joints. There is option of horse riding; one can use horses to move around in Matheran though.

oxygen tank


Being vehicle free hill station it also can be said ‘oxygen tank’. If we stay here for couple of days our lungs get definitely charged for years. Forest here stays green through out the year. Dense forest with high trees creates good fog around.


Out of 38 viewpoints here, most are commonly seen on all hill stations, like sun set point, sun rise point, echo point etc. Some points are having beautiful view like panorama view point, one tree hill point, Louisa point etc. The water supply of the area is supplied by ‘Charlotte Lake’. Lake on the hill has all the different experience. When post monsoon the lake over flaws, streams are found around.

One tree hill point


As we said earlier Matheran is a small ‘Hill station’. So in case you are fit and fond of walking, you can move around in 11 Number bus! HaHaHa that means you can walk through all scenic points of Matheran. If you have aged people or children with you, you have option of hiring a horse. By the way horse riding is bit costlier there! And bargain is suggested.

Camouflage snake


Due to pure oxygen in abundance, you hardly feel tired of walking. In rainy season mud can irritate you. Early morning can break without alarm, chirping of birds will definitely wake you up. Walking around all the time will exhaust you enough so you can sleep early. That also reminds us of laborers here; their life is full of hardships. Imagine about a hill station which is always full of tourists, they need so many things and those things can’t be sent there by vehicles as it’s prohibited. So people pull carts up around 5 kilometer.. Just imagine how hard they must be sleeping after such a heavy day!

Major benefit here is problem in mobile coverage! Once you reach there no one can easily disturb you. Matheran is too small so one can walk down in couple of days with proper sleep. Surprisingly most owners of hotels and bungalows are Gujaratis (so don’t expect discounts)… tea and meals here are really tasty.


Matheran is 90 Km from Mumbai and 120 Km from Pune. There are local trains from Mumbai to Neral station. Matheran is about 21 Km from Neral. There is a toy train available from Neral to Matheran but it was not functioning the time we went to Matheran. Train is quite slow, so not advisable during summer, You can get shared or private vehicle from Neral to Dasturi point, which is 11 Km away from Matheran. There one has to pay entry fees which is Rs. 50 each for adult and 25 per child. One can get in toy train from here also. There is a tracking route from Dasturi point to Matheran for trackers. There is one more track route from village ‘Doghani’ to sun set point. Doghani is 15 Km away from Panvel.


So for charging lungs, to understand importance of peace, to get a break from social media, to experience jungle and give quality time to loved ones माथेरानला भेटलेच पाहिजे..

Finally in Matheran we got local free guide… a Dog… Yes a stray dog! It came by itself and started leading us everywhere! With its help we could move around easily. Have you ever been to Matheran? Have you ever met such a dog? Do mention in comment. If you haven’t been to Matheran we suggest you to go and feel free for any suggestions.

Our co-traveller

Chadva-Rakhal, Kachchh.

In our last two blogs we visited places of Gujarat and Kerala. How can we forget our own district Kachchh?

2001 Earth quake was like a deadly shock to many Kachchis. Many people lost their lives in span of moments. Many people lost their loved ones, many have lost their homes, the entire colonies were lost in fact! Some villages were ruined altogether. But everyone knows about the strength that our people showed. After earthquake it was said that Kachchh is pushed back on time zone by about a decade. The same Kachchh is twinkling on international map nowadays because of its recent developments in tourism. In previous days when we talked to our outsider friends they didn’t even know where kachchh is located, whereas now they invite their NRI friends to visit our district, everything thanks to tourism. For today we will talk about a place ‘Chadva-Rakhal’ about which many of our Kachchhis also not well aware.

In past the kings of dynasties declared 45 forest areas to be reserved which were known as ‘Rakhiyal’. After freedom these reserves became their private assets. But they are open for visitors. Chadvarakhal is near village ‘Samatra’ which is hardly 15 to 17Km away from Bhuj, still people don’t know much about these places.

Out of 45 reserves ChadvaRakhal is the biggest. A very beautiful pond called ‘Pragsar’ is situated in premises of this Rakhiyal. Interesting thing is along with fishes, crocodiles are easily spotted here! The beauty of this place is nature is conserved in its raw form. Old trees say the stories of decades.. In a nice evening the voices of cracking of fallen dry leaves, chirping of birds and during all these a ‘Nilgay’ suddenly passes by, view of Sunshine on pond water and crocodiles lying on bank for feeling warmth…. All these bring you to some other world. Top of all as the place has not yet been very famous crowds are not yet disturbing the forest moods by dumping plastic, garbage, etc.

The entry ticket here is 60Rs per person (receipt is not given though, so ticket amount keeps changing) there is no parking charge. For taking care of property, owner has appointed family, they stay inside the property. They are friendly enough to share about leopards found around!

In rainy season or soon after rainy season looks lash green, though any season is good to visit. Peacocks are easily found and heard here.

Yes, the place is a place where good company will be fun. Though place is vast enough, so peace loving people can enjoy peace also.

The road from Samatra to Rakhal is sort of ‘No man’s land’ that makes car or bike ride an experience. Place is also ideal for some live barbeque. If you go with family and kids please bring some snacks or edibles as nothing will be available. Yes, one more request is not to litter the place.

If you spend an early morning or late evening there then time will flow like water in the pond.

Important instruction for non Kachchis – It is a saying that, ‘shiyade sorath bhalo, unade Gujarat, chomase vagad bhalo asanjo kachchdo baremaas’, (during winter sorath is good, in summer its Gujarat, during monsoon vagad is best but our kachchh is best at all times of the year..) but if you are tourist then the best time to visit our district is winter. Internationally well famed ‘Ranotsav’ is also celebrated during moths of winter.

Last but not the least, “kachchh nahidekha to kuchnahidekha..”

Saputara, Dang-Gujarat

We Gujaratis are fond of almost everything related to fun including outing ! To come out of routine schedule and get recharged, outing is necessary as well. Every year we can’t manage a foreign tour, also in recent era of inflation it’s not possible to manage a long distance tour frequently in a vast country like India.

So the only option remains for Gujaratis like us is to have a tour in Gujarat itself. Gujarat suffers a very hot summer. That’s why hill is preferred during vacation and only hill station that Gujarat possesses is ‘Saputara’.

monsoon season view

This place is situated in Southern Gujarat, in district of Dang located near border of Maharashtra in mountain range of ‘Sahyadri’. It is located about 1000M from sea level, so during extreme summer also we find cool weather here. Basic tribal language spoken is ‘Kukna’. Their basic occupations are agriculture and animal husbandry. Some residents work as farm labors and some sell herbs to earn.

Distance of Saputara from Ahmedabad is 420Km. One can reach there by road from Surat or Valsad. If we go by road from Valsad, we find lovely greenery around, different birds and also hardship of tribals !


Gujarat is developing in tourism from last few years. In Saputara also decent options for stay are available. Gujarat Tourism Department also owns a hotel there. For ‘tea’ lovers Saputara proves to be a heaven. May be china grass or other local herbs makes tea testier. On roads you find many small tea stalls and small lorries carrying tea and snacks. Well for snacks you get very limited options, most of them offer ‘Poha’ !

For understanding culture of any place visit of a local museum is must. Many of us find it boring to visit a museum but museum preserves a total history of the place. Here in Saputara tribal art and culture is preserve in Museum. The exhibition inside is divided in k tufour parts : Adivasi musical instruments, their garments, ornaments and instruments used by them in ancient times.

The land here is very fertile, that makes many beautiful flowers blossom here. Two beautiful gaden are found here, out of which one is ‘Rose garden’ where many species of roses are found and other is ‘Step Garden’ where many colorful flowers have bloomed. Both gardens are pleasant paces to visit and cleanliness is also well maintained.

bonsai at step garden
Rose Garden

‘Table Point’ is main tourist attraction of Saputara. Where we can have ‘Town view’. Once you reach here you will get uneven mobile reception! Some times you will get message welcome to Maharashtra and within next minute you will find message written welcome to Gujarat 🙂 The place is named Table point because of table like flat surface on ‘Governer’s hill’. There are many fun activities on table point like bike ride, horse ride, camel ride, zip lining or valley crossing. In certain seasons rope ways also are available which is a good experience itself.

table point

The USP of Saputara is Saputara lake. You can have a romantic boat ride with your partner here. Food outlets, gaming zones and tatoo centers are also available around the lake premises.

One more worth visiting place is a place used for bee keeping. It is located at a distance of only two minutes from Saputara lake. Because of vast varieties of plenty of flowers bee keeping is a good business in Saputara. Artificial beehives are kept here. During day time we won’t find any hard working bees lazying around ! After sunset they come back and give away so much of honey. Fresh and pure honey is also sold here.

Common site scenes spotted on any hill station like sunrise point, sunset point or echo points are obviously present here also, so no need to get into detailed discussion regarding them. Sunrise point in saputara is a peaceful place.

Ganesh temple is another interesting spot here. At the boundary of temple there are couple of white stones of big size which shows end of Gujarat state border and start of Maharashtra state. many houses also are constructed on border line. It was fun sitting there and and watch some chicks crossing boundaries easily here and there. Popular hindi song “Panchi nadiya Pavan ke zonke, koi sarhad na inhe roke..” must be inspired from this place.

Saputara is quite small hill station, which also could be visited in one day, but if you want to enjoy relaxing time better spend two night and three days. If you like to walk, you can cover almost all points of Saputara on your feet! except table point and Gira water fall and botanical garden. So friends ‘Kuch din to guzariya Saputara main’.

Gavi Forest – Kerala

Kerala.. It’s always insufficient to describe its beauty. Especially there are some places in Kerala which may make you feel even better then heaven! One such place is ‘Gavi” forest.

Thekkadi is a beautiful place situated on borders of Kerala and Tamilnadu. It is situated near second dense forest of India spread over 777square km, popularly known as ‘PeriyarTiger Reserve.’ If time is sufficient you can spend days to visit it, however if you are running short with time, at least you can visit ‘Gavi’ for a day. As soon as we enter Gavi, there comes a check point. The entry fee here is 25Rs. Per person and 50Rs for vehicle. If you wind up with these formalities beforehand, it becomes easier to get in The roads here are obviously uneven and that makes jeep safari a prefect option.  Such jeeps are easily available from ‘Thekkadi.’

The earlier you start in morning, more pleasant it becomes as an experience, as animals like elephants, deers and few birds can easily be spotted during that time. Many species of animals and birds can be seen here. Even some tribal communities are residing inside this dense forest. .

drizzle on leaves

We visited Thekkadi in early June. Very dense forest, uneven forest roads, hills on one side and river Periyar on other side, sound of animals, birds and insects, an open jeep safari &drizzles… what a wonderful experience it was!

During your safari drive you can see spotted deers and if luck favors you can spot elephants too. It is like heaven for people fond of photography but yes, it isn’t advisable to get down the jeep without permission of local driver.

Wait! You just don’t have to come back after jeep safari. Tourism department offers fine facilities and they have developed a resort inside forest. You can select a package and stay there. If it isn’t feasible for you to stay overnight, you can choose one day package. We selected a package that started in morning and till afternoon. We could enjoy it. It included breakfast, lunch, tracking and boating. If select an overnight package a camp fire could also be enjoyed. You can also experience a ‘natural night’. 

After reaching above mentioned KFDC hotel you will definitely feel out of this world. Dense fog, cool weather, hot tea/coffee along with breakfast.. What else do you need?

Hey, wait.. Much more to come…

KFDC hotel view, lake behind tree is invisblin due to fog

while we visited, as soon as we finished breakfast, some guide in Khakee appeared and divided us in groups. Just then we get to know that there was a big pond in front of our eyes which was invisible due to dense fog! Now begins a track activity. To describe this experience we feel we really have no words. If you are a spiritual person then you will definitely feel some positivity around, and for such experience you will have to be there.

View during the track

After tracking, guide took us for boat ride. Cool breeze, drizzling around, the only voice you can hear is that of blades cutting water. This feeling becomes even more lovelier provided you are accompanied by choicest people. It’s not yet over… get ready for next surprise by ‘Gavi’.

We thought this might be just a boat ride in this beautiful lake, we have to take a round and come back to destination but soon we get to hear a voice of water fall, the place where the boat stopped was wonderful! Sorry we are speechless for this waterfall experience.

Like any good or bad time has a dead line, our time with ‘Gavi’ also ended. But indeed no one from us after this visit was in position to speak. Everyone were intoxicated by the dose given by Nature