India on the Road

From Ahmedabad to Junagadh

Junagadh ,Tomb of Bahar-ud-din Bhar
Junagadh ,Tomb of Bahar-ud-din Bhar
19 JAN 2016
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Route: Ahmedabad – Bavla – Limbdi – Rajkot – Gondal – Jetpur - Junagadh
Distance: 336 Kms
Driving time: 7 Hours
Note: The west coast state of Gujarat has a long and varied history and a great number of interesting places to visit. Here, you can go right beyond history into the realm of legend, courtesy the magnificent Somnath Temple and on the south coast where there are sites where some of the great events in Lord Krishna’s time took place. On more historic footing, the state was the site of Indus Valley Civilization (Lothal) more than 4000 years ago. Gujarat was to suffer from Muslim incursions and the British as well as the Portuguese had their suzerainty here. More recently, Gujarat had a close tie with the life of the father of modern India – Mahatma Gandhi. He was born in Gujarat and spent his early years in this fascinating state. He chose the city of Ahmedabad to wage his long struggle with the British for independence. Geographically speaking Gujarat is stupendous and the journey from mainland Ahmedabad to the historical city of Junagadh is a trip not many travelers take. But it is an interesting circuit in itself and Junagadh in particular is situated at the base of the temple-studded Girnar Hill, one of the holiest Jain pilgrimage center. The Jains are one of the most affluent Indian communities and it isn’t surprising to know that Gujarat is one of India’s wealthiest states. Junagadh is also the jumping off point for visits to the world famous Gir Forest, the last home of the Asiatic Lion.

Ahmedabad

The principal city of Gujarat, Ahmedabad is also one of the major industrial cities of India. It has earned the nickname – “Manchester of India” due to its many textile industries. The city has witnessed several ups and downs in its chequered history of 600 years. Ahmedabad is one of the best places to study the blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, better known as Indo-Saracenic. The city sprawls across the Sabarmati River and one of the city’s most outstanding landmarks – the Gandhi Ashram is on the west bank of the Sabarmati river.

What to See:
Gandhi Ashram, Bhadra and Teen Darwaza, Jami Masjid, Tombs of Ahmed Shah and his Queens, Sidi Sayed’s Mosque, Ahmed Shah’s Mosque, Rani Rupmati’s Mosque, Rani Sipri’s Mosque, Sidi Bashir Mosque, Hatee Singh Temple, Steep Well of Dada Hari, Kankaria Lake, Calico Textile Museum, Museum of Miniatures, Shreya’s Folk Museum, Tribal Research and Training Institute Museum, The Institute of Indology.

Where to Eat:
Tin Darwaza, Nilam, Paramount, Kwality, Nishat, Down Town Fast Food, Chetna Restaurant, Apna Restaurant, Saurashtra Dining Hall, Gopi and Patanga Restaurant are very popular. Try out the Gujarati Shrikhand, Suterpheni, Bhundi Raita, Undiya, Puranpuri and Tarella Roti, all of which are specialties of Gujarat.

What to Buy:
Patola Silk Sarees, handicraft items made of ivory and wood.

Bavla

From Ahmedabad one has to take the Narodi Link Road and then onto NH – 8A to Bavla, which is located at a distance of 38 Kms. Bavla is municipal town of Gujarat. It is a town best suited for business, particularly pharmaceutical industries. Astra Lifecare, Cadilla Healthcare, Vigma Laboratories, etc… all have their units here at Bavla. Bavla has also been selected as a site for an exclusive Film City.

Where to Eat:
The strict Jain vegetarianism concept is very palpable at Bavla and the many restaurants here serve authentic Gujarati food. The “Thali” concept works well here. Try out the local Yoghurt.

What to Buy:
Textile and embroidered fabrics.

Limbdi

From Bavla continue on NH-8A to Limbdi, which is located at a distance of 72 Kms. Limbdi is a municipal town in the district of Surendranagar and previously it used to be a princely state under the rule of the royal dynasty of Jhala. After independence, Limbdi was amalgamated with the state of Gujarat. When it comes to the question of women’s education, Limbdi prides itself for the Lady Wellingdon Girls School that was established way back in 1859. It started off as a “girl’s only” school but now is a co-educational school. The shimmering Bhogavo river meandersits way through Limbdi. And on a lighter side, Limbdi is popularlly as the “Kashi of Gujarat” due to the presence of temples in literally every lane and by lanes of this town.

What to See:
Ramkrishna Mission, Mota Mandir, Gandhi Smriti Mandir, Jain Bhandar and Jagadish Ashram.

Where to Eat:
Jain vegetarian dishes can be savored at Limbdi’s popular eating joints on the Main Road. Try out the traditional “Kachariyu” dish that is prepared with Sesame seeds.

What to Buy:
Textile and fabrics.

Rajkot

From Limbdi continue to drive on NH-8A all the way to Rajkot, which is located at a distance of 116 Kms. via Chotila. Rajkot is a pleasant town and was once the capital of the princely state of Saurashtra and also the British government headquarters. Mahatma Gandhi spent the early years of his life here while his father was the Chief Minister or Diwan to the Rajah of Saurashtra. The Gandhi family home – “Kabha Gandhi no Delo” now houses a permanent exhibition of Gandhiji’s items. There is also the impressive Jubilee Gardens where the Watson Museum showcases priceless exhibits related to the rich Saurashtra culture.

What to See:
Ramkrishna Mission Ashram, Azi Dam, Lal Pari Lake, Zoo Garden, Sheni Memorial Bird Hospital.

Where to Stay:
Paresh Guest House, Ashirwad Guest House, Hotel Samrat International, Hotel Milan, Hotel Ruby, White Way Lodge, Kathiawad Lodge, Sardar Bagh Atithi Griha, City Rest House, Hotel Mohit International, Silver Palace.

Where to Eat:
Havmor Restaurant, Taj Restaurant, Vaibhav Restaurant, Rainbow Restaurant, Babha Dining Hall are some of Rajkot’s popular eating joints.

What to Buy:
Sarees and Groundnut.

Gondal

From Rajkot as you proceed on the NH-8B, you will come across the princely town of Gondal, which is located at a distance of 40 Kms. The city of Gondal is located in the district of Rajkot and in the past it used to be a princely state of the famed Kathiawar Agency during Bombay Presidency. Gondal’s most prominent ruler was Sir Bhagwant Singhji who ruled Gondal from 1888 to 1944 with distinction. He was a pioneer in introducing women’s education, tax reforms and abolishing the system of “Purdah”, which was widespread during that time. The town is ideally located on the banks of the Gondali river that meanders through the town. Today the Huzoor Palace hosts the royal family and one portion of the palace is open to the public. The Royal Garages, in the palace premises has a bewildering array of vintage cars.

What to See:
Huzoor Palace, The Riverside Palace, Naulakha Palace, Nani Bazaar, Town Hall, Moti Bazaar, Tulsi Baug and Ashapura Gardens.

Where to Stay:
The Riverside Palace and The Orchard Palace.

Where to Eat:
There is no dearth of traditional Gujarati restaurant in some of Gondal’s busy neighborhoods like Nani Bazaar and Moti Bazaar that serve authentic Gujarati vegetarian fare.

What to Buy:
Groundnut and local handicrafts.

Jetpur

From Gondal as you continue to drive on the NH-8D all the way to Junagadh, you will come across the quaint town of Jetpur, which is located at a distance of 34 Kms. Jetpur is a small municipal town, which is located in the district of Rajkot. The city has carved a niche for itself for its state-of-the-art saree manufacturing industry. The “Khanga” and “Kitange” fabrics in particular are exported abroad. When it comes to block printing, screen printing and yarn dyeing, the city of Jetpur is much preferred by the various saree Udyogs. The city’s scenic locale by the Bhadar riverfront is truly breathtaking.

What to See:
Swaminarayan Temple and the Bhubaneswari Stud Farm.

Where to Eat:
Traditional Gujarati meals (Vegetarian) are readily available in Jetpur’s many Bhojanalays.

What to Buy:
Cotton Sarees.

Junagadh

On the last leg of your journey from Jetpur, continue to drive on NH-8D to Junagadh, which is located at a distance of 36 Kms. The city of Junagadh takes its name from the fort, which is enclosed in the old city. The Ashoka edicts, dating back to 250 BC, near the town indicates the great antiquity of this place. At the time of partition, the Nawab of Junagadh opted to take his tiny state to Pakistan but the inhabitants were predominantly Hindus and the Nawab soon found himself in exile.

What to See:
Junagadh Fort, Naogaud Kua, Buddhist Vihara, Jami Masjid, Nilam Cannon, Solapuri, Stone Inscription, Damodar Kund, Bajeswari Temple, Rang Mahal, Mahabbat Mokbara, Sakher Bagh, Mt.Girnar.

Where to Stay:
Sarada Lodge, Muralidhar Lodge, Gita Lodge, Jayashree Guest House, Monaranjan Rest House, Lake Guest House, Capital Guest House, Hotel National, Hotel Anand, TCGL’s Hotel Girnar, Majico Do Mar are some of the popular hotels of Junagadh.

Where to Eat: Geetha Restaurant, Sharda Restaurant and Relief Restaurant are very popular amongst the visitors. Don’t miss out on the local “Keshore Mango” and “Cheeku” available at Milk Shake.

What to Buy: Sarees and handicraft items.