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Saturday, December 24, 2016

The last week of December 2016 - Day 1 and 2 - Ahmedabad.

Hello there! It's been two years since I wrote here, and it definitely feels good to be back with a bang! What an eventful week it was - the last week of December 2016. It's been a week plus since we returned, and I decided I definitely need to do a little travelogue to record this trip such that it remains etched in our memories.

A gang of 21 of us from Bangalore, comprising of 10 kids and 11 adults, decided to do a trip to Gujarat, covering a tiny bit of Ahmedabad, moving to Veraval to cover Somnath, Diu, then Porbandar and finally Dwarka. The age of the kids ranged from one and a half years to 9 year olds!

24th Morning, we took a flight to Ahmedabad from Bangalore. Ahmedabad welcomed us with a map of Gujarat and it was a beautiful one, giving us a clear picture of what was in store for us around Gujarat.

By the time all of us convened at the Ahmedabad airport (we travelled in two different flights as we didn't get tickets in the same one), it was 12:30 pm. Deepak had arranged an awesome 20 seater mini bus to take us to our hotel. We decided to stop on the way for lunch as we were famished. And what better way to start our trip than with a super awesome Gujarati thaali at "Toran"! Here's what it looked like - and we couldn't wait to dig in! It was heavenly.

After a "Meetha Paan" to end the delicious meal, we checked in to our rooms at Lord's Inn. An hour of freshening up, and we got set to visit Akshardham.

At Akshardham, one is not allowed to carry cell phones, leather wallets or bags stuffed with one's belongings into the temple premises. We either need to leave it in our buses/cars or drop it off at the entrance where they give you a token to collect it at the end of your trip. The temple premises are beautiful with long walk ways and gardens all around and lots of places to sit and relax. The inside of the temple was massive and had the history of all prior Gurus written all around, with plenty of place to sit around for a moment of peace.

The highlight however, was the Vadilal ice creams that Deepak uncle treated all of us to! And then the wonderful laser show depicting the story of Nachiketa and Yamaraj. It was a wonderful combination of mythology with the current technology, and was mind-blowing. All of this left us famished and the temple campus itself had a good canteen with some super awesome khichadi dahi, and other interesting items. Dinner done, we headed back to our rooms and hit the sack.

Next morning, relaxed breakfast after, we checked out from our hotel and proceeded towards Adalaj Ki Vaav. This was around an hour's journey from the Lord's Inn. Adalaj Ki Vaav is a stepwell which is five stories deep. This was built in 1499, when such step-wells were used for storing water in the arid regions of Gujarat. The temperature at the bottom is told to be 5 degrees lower than the outside temperature. Beautiful intricate carvings adorn the walls leading to the bottom. You could read more about the history of Adalaj Ki Vaav here -

At Adalaj Ki Vaav, there was a huge garden with a lot of open space and green grass for children (and the forever young adults) of the group. We (yes, adults and kids) spent a good hour and a half playing polo, running catching, hide and seek and whatever not. Woh bachpan ke din yaad aa gaye!

We still had some time for lunch, so we headed to the famous Sabarmati Ashram. This was a beautifully maintained place, with a lot of information, pictures and details about Gandhi Ji. We sat around a little, allowing the information to seep in and letting the kids get their share of fun in the pebble pool as I liked to call it.

It was definitely time for lunch now. We headed to Neelkanth's Patang - another famous restaurant at Ashram road in Ahmedabad. This restaurant is located on a tower which is 221 ft above the ground. It is also a revolving restaurant and gives a 360 degree view of the city right from where you are seated! What an out of the box experience. To top it all the view includes the Sabarmati river front! The buffet was a huge spread as well and as we had to spend the entire day till we get onto the train at 11 pm, it was a totally "RELAXED" affair!

After the lunch, we went to a famous park where we thought there might be trees and some shade to sit around. But it was not to be! The hot sun followed us where ever we went. There were lot of play things for kids though, and they had their share of fun in a chota bheem "tora tora" and a lot of other games. After this, we did some shopping in the National Handloom house (I got an experience of how crowded a store can actually get), and then hit the food street at Ahmedabad. Superb arrangement of street foodie joints complete with tables and chairs outside each joint. The food and the different kind of ambience was just unbelievable. The lassi that we ended our meal with was heavenly.

Now to the railway station to board our train to Veraval. With the help of porters, trolleys and transporting luggage across tracks, we were excited to finally reach the platform. We looked at other people like us with bedspreads on the platforms and comfortably settled for the night. We chatted around and wondered at how they could just sit there on the platforms! After a few minutes, we were told the "delightful" news of our train being behind schedule by an hour and a half. What!???? Ofcourse not... Ofcourse yes!!! Oh well, let's just settle on the platforms. And now it was our turn. Forget the bed spreads. We just sat right there on the bare platform floors and arranged suitcases together for our kids to sleep on them and huddled and waited for the train to arrive. So much for commenting on the other folks!

When finally the train arrived, we had some really "COLD" issues to handle. 2nd class compartments, with each of our seats spread across from s3 to s11 (yes!), and all of it being Side upper berths, and none of the shutters closing properly for the nights, and all of us running really low on winter clothing and bed spreads and last but not the least - kids ranging from one and a half to 10 years - you can definitely imagine what an eventful the train journey to Veraval might have been!! :)

Learning - Load yourself with winter wear and blankets when you travel by train. Definitely carry a pair socks, and something to cover your ears as well!

I will stop here for now (December 25th night) and continue the next few days' account in my next article. 


Sunil Kumar Prasad said...

This is a nice article, we are waiting for your new article.

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