Pavagadh – the religious and historic hill
Pavagadh is a picnic spot 46 km away from Vadodara, having religious as well as historic importance.
It is known for its Mahakali temple that draws thousands of pilgrims every day. Pavagadh, along with the neighboring village of Champaner, is now an archaeological park and has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2004.
Pavagadh is of religious importance to Hindus as well as Muslims. The Kalika Mata temple is believed to be one of the 51 Shakti Peeths. The journey from the bottom of the hill till the top where the temple lies can be covered in an UdanKhatola or on foot. The UdanKhatola at Pavagadh has been in operation since 1986 and takes around 6 minutes to cover the whole climb. The hill is very steep and climbing it on foot takes well over one hour, but gives an opportunity to revel in the natural beauty and pristine sceneries. The total distance of the journey on foot is about 5 km and takes you through a jungle footpath and steps. The total height of the hill is 1523 feet or 550 meters, and it lies 762 meters above the sea level.
At the summit of Pavagadh, the temple has large fortifications and an open chowk in the front, with two altars for sacrifices also incorporated in the temple premises. There are also an array of lights laid out all around the temple, specially meant for special occasions and festivals.
The idol in the inner sanctum is only the head of Kalika Mata, the mukhwato that is painted in red.
A little above the Kali temple, lies the SadanshahPirDargah and there are various folk tales and stories about the Dargah. It is said that Kalika Mata had once got furious and tried to go down into the Earth in her fit of rage. But that would have meant destruction of the Earth, and a Muslim saint held her by her hair and saved the Earth. That is why, only the head of the Goddess is there in the temple, while the rest of the body is believed to be underground. Symbolically, it is the same reason why the dargah lies above the Kali temple.
At the foot of the hill are two beautiful lakes – TeliyaTalav and DudhiyaTalav.
There are also various monuments like Jama Masjid, Jami Masjid, etc. A ticket of Rs.20 per person has to be purchased and the same holds valid for all the monuments.
The remains of Raval Palace also make an interesting spot. The palace remains are located at Machi,a village at the base of the Pavagadh Hill.At Machi, one can also find various rest houses, holiday homes and small hotels.Pavagadh is accessible by bus as well as by car. During the monsoon,the place becomes all the more beautiful as the entire hill gets enveloped in clouds. It makes for a great picnic spot and ensures a fun-filled as well as spiritually fulfilling day.
A day’s visit to Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary:
You might want to take a break from the hussle and bussle of the city. Its time you consider hanging around some nearby places and venture the nature’s serene beauty.
The Rampara Wildlife Sancuatry is one of the ideal places to soothe your mind and spend a Sunday in nature’s lap. If you are a keen nature lover, a hiker or into some natural photography, then this place is surely going to be your Sunday eye candy!
For all the obsessed kitchen lovers out there, you can consider carrying your own picnic basket filled with yummy sandwiches, packets of chips, cakes and cola.
Established in 1988, Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary received its ‘reserve’ forest status in the year 1983. The place was originally a shooting reserve that belonged to the former princely state of Wankaner in central Saurashta.
Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary situated at a distance of less than 50 km from the city of Rajkot, is a permanent abode for a huge variety of flora and fauna including reptiles, mammals and birds
You can start your day by having a sumptuous breakfast at one of the local joints in the city. Give your tongue a little breakfast treat by enjoying some roadside omelettes, idlis, Maggie and chai before heading out for the day. If you plan to walk out a little late, than a Sunday brunch could also be a great idea.
Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary is an ideal spot for wildlife enthusiasts. It is a place amidst greenery and a home to some mystifying creatures. It is one of the most famous adventure tourist destinations across Saurashtra.
The Sanctuary hosts an elevated Watch-Tower that offers a picturesque view to eager visitors. The Tar road connects the main gate of the Sanctuary to the interiors. One could see two streams with gushing water and quenching the thirst of the water-scarce land in the sanctuary.
The Sanctuary remains open from 7am to 7 pm.
Places of interest around Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary:
Palaces of Wankaner & Morbi
Marine National Park and Khijadia Sanctuary - 100 km. away
How to reach here:
By Air: Rajkot (47 kms), Ahmedabad (270 kms)
By Bus or Train: Nearest bus/railway stations is at Wankaner (15 kms) or Sidhpur
Best Time to Visit:
Post Monsoon to Mid-Winter (September – January)
A long day excursion visit could leave you hungry. A sumptuous dinner would simply be a best idea to rejuvenate yourself. If you don’t mind to spend a little extra, then the ‘Choki Dhani Restaurant’ would surely make your day. With a relaxing garden circling the restaurant, it offers both a good ambience and a playtime for kids. The restaurant offers everything that you could ever desire on your platter. You can choose from the widest possible latitude of choices for one of the most exotic delicacies.
The restaurant serves Gujarati, Rajasthani and Kathiawar delicacies. They also serve Punjabi platters with a tinge of Mughlai zayka. The huge place is an open restaurant that serves ethnic ‘thali’. The place also has an air-conditioned restaurant to sit and disco for recreation. There are frivolous and camel rides for children The place hosts a large number of activities like classical Rajasthan, swimming, live music Programme and more. You could easily spend more than a couple of hours here without getting bored. Besides delicious food, ‘Choki Dhani’ offers a lot more to keep you entertained!
How about spending some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city?
This weekend is not about planning something flamboyant or adventerous. Its time you relax amidst nature and rejuvenate yourself to prepare for the Monday morning blues!
For this weekend we have,
1. Travelling & Night Out
2. Forest Safari and Camel Ride
3. Waking up with the nature
4. & Near by places to visit
Travelling and Night out:
No matter if you are with friends or family, driving up to ‘Aalloa Hills’ would be quite a thrilling way to spend your weekend. An hour’s drive from Ahmedabad, and 15 Kms from Gandhinagar, the resort is a perfect treat for a luxurious weekend. Besides having a swimming pool, indoor sports and card room, the resort hosts an Ayurvedic Massage centre that would help you relax your body and mind.
Forest Safari and Camel Ride:
The resot is tucked into 500 acres of undulating landscape, surrounded by hilly terrain and dense plantation. On the other side, it reaches down to the banks of Sabarmati river. The hilly forest region also contributes to the bio-diversity of the area. You can venture around in the area and take a camel ride for a change.
Waking up with nature:
For nature lovers, this is a real treat. You can wake up and have a bird watching tour in the vicinity. Birds like Tree pies, sun birds, Ioras, King Fishers, small minivets, golden oriols Indian rollers can be spotted here. A small stroll down the valley surrounded by various flora and fauna will rejuvenate you for a busy week ahead. Clean air full of oxygen will charge your spirits and enhance your creativity.
Aalloha hills also provides Home Theater, Table Tennis, Pool Table, Health Club, Walk Trial in Valley & River, Carom Board, Badminton, Monkey Bridge, Burma Bridge, Tyre Jhula, Skating Ring and Children’s Play area You can also avail steam and Jacuzzi facilities, Golf play area, Cycle on Rent and Aalloa Ayurveda PanchKarma Centre Treatments on Sundays.
For more information on room tariffs and holiday packages visit: http://www.aalloahills.in/index.html
Places of interest near Aalloha Hills:
Ahmedabad SG highway
If you have never been to "Sanskari Nagari" or been there but haven't really got a chance to explore the city, start with this "must see" sight seeing city break at Baroda.
This weekend plan has options for:
1. Hang Out
3. Eat Out
4. & Shopping
What more is needed to fill whole day? Dive in for the details...
LAXMI VILAS PALACE: The Lakshmi Vilas Palace could turn out into a fabulous hang out destination this weekend. Entertaining yourself while still peeping into an architectural artwork of eclectic Indo-Islamic design, would surely leave you in awe. Maharaja Savajirao III commissioned Major Charles Mant to build the Lakshmi Vilas Palace. This magnificently remarkable interior is a kaleidoscope of multi-coloured marble and mosaic artwork. The palace grounds include a golf course and Sayajirao's museum that hosts original paintings by Raja Ravi Varma besides the king’s other personal belongings. If you plan to end up doing something different this weekend, than a historic tour around the palace would be worthwhile.
The museum is functional from 10:30am - 5:30pm and the entrance fee is Rs. 100/-
For a tour around the palace you need to contact Maharaja’s secretary in the palace office or call +91 265 242 6372. Both palace and museum are closed on Mondays.
SUR SAGAR TALAV: Besides the Kamati baug museum and zoo, Baroda has several spots that would catch the tourist attention. The Sursagar Lake (Chandan Talao) lies in the heart of the city. The lake is restored with stone banks and masonry and remains full of water round the year. This makes it a great place to hang out as well as boating. A concrete wall circles the lake which is used by people to sit and enjoy the evenings. A 120 ft tall statue of Lord Shiva stands in the middle of the lake. The lake offers a fantastic view with the special lightings on weekends between 8pm and 10pm. In and around the lake, you can unwind the roadside food joint and sumptuous range of local Gujarati and Indian delicacies.
TEMPTATIONS: When it comes to food, Gujaratis would want it to be a more luxurious experience. This weekend you can consider visiting ‘Temptations’. The restaurant boasts a wide menu including an array of multi cuisine delicacies. Including both contemporary and traditional dishes on its platter, the place is one of the best food joints across the city. Besides this, it has a good ambience and a service that you deserve and desire.
The restaurant serves food that is friendly for your pocket. The average cost per person would be between 150-200 Rs.
Address: Ground Floor, Taksh Paridigam 5, Charotar Society, Manishar cross roads, Near Alka Restautant, Old Padra Road, Vadodara. +(91)-(265)-3390000,339099
KHADI BHANDAR: A home for the regal Gaekwads, Baroda, hosts a variety of shopping options besides other tourist attractions. A weekend remains virtually incomplete without venturing at the local markets in the city. As the summer has taken its toll, besides everything you can visit the Khadi Bandar centre that is famous for handicrafts, fabric and ready-to-wear hand spun clothes. The city has always been famous for Gujarati handicrafts, tie and dye and fabric printing techniques. Khadi Bhandar offers a wide variety of khadi clothes, tapestries, natural edible products (honey, sharbat, fruit squashes, coconut oil), accessories (jackets, briefcase, chappals, purses) and a vast collection of gift items (flower hangers, baskets, soaps, ceramic utensils and more)
Address: Sadhana Nagar Road, Vadodara
For a weekend gateway, apart from a holiday resort or a beach, Chhota Udepur is a perfect place near Baroda. The small town sits at the edge of a big lake “Kusum Sagar”, with endless temples along its periphery. While spending a night at one of the heritage hotels, you can loiter around the place and know the kith and kin of the town.
Chhota Udepur is quite near to Vadodara. (122 Kms). The best mode of travel is by road. Your total travel time would be approximately 2 hours, depending upon the halts you take and the traffic. Another interesting way to reach here is through the narrow-gauge rail which functions thrice a week.
Night Out & Eat Out:
The Kali Niketan Heritage Hotel (Contact Tel: +91 79 26302019.) offers a luxurious stay besides Indian and continental meals and travel facilities. This mansion was originally called Nahar Mahal, built some 10 decades ago. The Mahal was also one of the summer residences for the inmates of the royal family. Amongst the sumptuous food orchards, his mansion has fountains, forecourt and a big courtyard. The palatial residence offers a comfortable stay.
Other fabulous option to stay is: Kusum Villas Palace.
The Jain temple here is an interesting paradigm of the Victorian art dominance. Besides this, you can have a look at the Kusum Vilas Palace (heritage hotel) and Prem Bhavan. Chhota Udepur has sightseeing destinations including the visit to the tribal villages at the Madhya Pradesh Border. In and around the town, there are some interesting old buildings and monuments including the tribal museum. One may also find the tribal Haats (Saturday weekly markets) worth visiting.
Other places of interest near Chhota Udepur are:
Pavijetpur, Soma Talav, Bear Sanctuary