Monday, December 26, 2011

Trip to Scenic Jawhar and Dadra nagar haveli

Jawhar - A small erstwhile princely state and stunningly beautiful hill station, lies just 170 kms from Mumbai or 80 kms from Nasik. On Mumbai - Ahmedabad highway, take a right turn from Mastan naka to go towards Jawhar. As you drive deeper and closer to the destination, the road becomes serpentine passing through dense forest, climbing the Sahyadri hills, passing through deep valleys and once you reach the top, its like a plateau. Just marvellous !!!!!!!

Road to Jawhar

The best time to visit is during rainy season when its lush green and water gushing into the deep valleys from plateau creating some extra ordinary waterfalls. But winter is also best time to visit with chilly cold nights and beautiful sunset which can be seen from the sunset point in Jawhar.

Jawhar Plateau
The attractions in Jawhar are 

  • Hanuman point : This spot gives breathtaking view of deep valley beneath. Legend stories goes that Lord Hanuman relaxed here while on his way to meet Lord Rama. But one place not to be missed when in Jawhar.

  • Jai Vilas Palace: The official residence of Royal Munke family, the erstwhile rulers of Jawhar. The palace is situated on the highest point in Jawhar on the rocks so as to enable the rulers to look at his kingdom. The palace has some attractive carvings and lush green surroundings around it.
Jai Vilas Palace
  • Sunset point: The spot from where one can get the amazing view of sunset overlooking a valley. They have constructed a machaan for tourist to get unobstructed view of sunset best watched during winters and summers. There is also a small resort called sunset point nearby which provides staying facility and is also famous for its spicy veg and non veg menus.
  • Dabosa waterfall:  One the way to Silvassa, 18kms from Jawhar lies this tiny tribal hamlet village  called Dabosa famous for its 365 days waterfall. The road again passes through dense forest and tribal - adivasi village. But once you reach the place, you are sure to "wow" the place which gives a spectacular view of Dabosa waterfall. Its also has a resort which provides staying facility overlooking the waterfall. Must watch during rainy season when the whole place is in full glory of natural beauty.

If one plans the trip for 2days then one can come to Jawhar from Mumbai - Ahmedabad highway, stay for day or two in Jawhar and on the way back, take the route to Silvassa - Vapi - Mumbai as it passes through reserved forest areas of Dadra Nagar Haveli. Again the ride is amazing passing through tribal villages famous for its Warli paintings. One can also visit Silvassa for day before taking  trip back to Mumbai in the evening.

How to reach: State transport buses are easily available from various nodal points like Borivali, Dadar, Kurla, Parel for Jawhar but best would be to take own vehicle to view and enjoy the beauty of the place.

Here are some of the pics from day trip from Mumbai -Jawhar - Dadra Nagar Haveli - Mumbai. Even though my trip was one day long drive trip. I still look forward to visiting the place again this time during rainy season to catch the glimpse of its breathtaking beauty when nature is at its best and on its crescendo.


On way to Silvassa

Tribal Lady

On way from Dabosa

Economies of scale - Jeep Taxi

DNH reserve forest area

Adivasi Hut
Village road in DNH forest 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Aksa & Madh Marve Beach

Hola Amigos,

After a gap of couple of weeks, I am back with another adventure trip which takes you to nature's gift to Mumbai. Its beaches .....

Mumbai being an island city close to Arabian sea  is flooded with some amazing beaches, some very popular and some not so popular. Only complaint is the cleanliness part which is lacking on most of the beaches due to lacklustre behaviour of the administration of BMC and also lacking of cleanliness among the general public. But nevertheless, walking on the beach in early morning or sitting on the sandy beach watching the sunset or just hearing the waves making rhythmic sound when it reaches the shores or just walking on the beach as waves hit the shores is feeling in itself.

List of popular beaches in Mumbai are Gorai, Aksa, Madh, Marve, Versova, Juhu, Band stand, Dadar Chowpatty, Girgaum Chowpatty and number of other beaches which are outside town limits in Vasai, Alibaug and Navi Mumbai.

Aksa Beach: Located in Malad suburb of Mumbai is popular beach with bungalows and fishing villages near it. Aksa - Madh - Marve belt has some amazing row houses and bungalows which is often rented for shooting of television serials and movies. I find this beach among one of most clean as its mostly crowded only during vacation and weekends but not on weekdays.

Buses are available from Malad station on west side (No 271 from Malad West & 269 from Borivali Station ) and also rickshaws are easily available to get here. The beach is also close to Indian naval base - INS HAMLA.

Though being one of the most cleanest beach in Mumbai, Its also is one of the most dangerous beach with most of the unfortunate incidents happening here due to its quick sand, shallow water with shifting sand which is often misleading. But sunset is best viewed from here with fresh air and ocean side ambiance provides a great backdrop for escapades. Its just truly Magical.

Marve Beach: This beach which is close to Aksa beach is pretty small as compared to Aksa. Used mainly by people who wants to cross over to Manori Island by boat. The beach has restricted access as is used by Indian Navy for training and exercises. But its one of the two nodal points to go to Esselworld amusement park (other point being at Gorai in Borivali). But the view one gets of the largest Global Vipassana pagoda sitting on Manori island right across the sea is amazing.

One can also get the glimpse of dense mangroves which protects the Mumbai coast line. On a any given day one can find fishing boats anchored ready to get the fresh fish catch every morning.

This beach is also not fit for swimming due to sinking sand and strong water currents but its ideal for enjoying the evening with sunset and sea in complete silence.

The BEST bus 272 will bring you right at the tip of the beach passing through mini fishing villages and dense mangroves, giving you a feel of being in Goa within boundaries of Mumbai.

To be continued....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shree Ashapura temple - Nadol (Rajasthan)

Shree Ashapura Mataji is goddess worshipped mainly in Gujarat and Rajasthan, Its also a family deity for many in Gujarat and Rajasthan. One of the temple of the goddess is located in Nadol - Pali district and Modran in Rajasthan. There are other famous temples of the goddess at Matanamadh near Bhuj - Kutch, Jasdan - Rajkot, Morbi, Gondal, Jamnagar, Ghumli all in Gujarat.

Shree Ashapura mata is kuldevi of some of the gotras in Brahmin swarnakar samaj clans like Kala, Bhajud, Bhucha, Kathdiya, Kumbhalmera, Paldiwal, Solanki, Duhada, Kulmand, Lakhpal, Gugsa, Parkhavat, Ratanpal. She is also personal deity of Jadejas rulers of Kutch (Gujarat) and many other castes.

Shree Ashapura temple - Nadol

Reconstruction in progress

Gate of temple complex on Highway
Kuldevi : Every Hindu family has its own family deity which can be god or goddess and the families make a visit to obtain blessings of the deity especially on auspicious occasions like wedding, or new born in family. This tradition of having a kuldevi is similar to Tutelary deity worship which was practised in ancient Greece,Rome even in Native American religion, Asia and still practised today in Christianity.

Nadol - A sleepy small town in Desuri tehsil in Pali district on way to Jodhpur by bus from Udaipur. The town is famous for two important temples, one of Shree Ashapura mata which is also kuldevi (family deity) of people from Gujarat and Rajasthan, and Nadol Tirth which is Jain temple.

How to reach Nadol - Take a bus from Udaipur - Nathdwara which passes through towns of Gomti, Desuri, forest reserves of Khumbhalghar to reach Nadol. Takes 3 hours to reach from Nathdwara and buses are available in morning and evening. Nearest railway station is Rani junction which is 10kms from Nadol.

Lodging facility: Lodging facility is available in temple complex which also runs a Bhojnalay.

My visit: I had been planning a trip to get blessings of our Kuldevi - Shree Ashapura Mata since couple of months. After some research about Nadol, I decided to visit Rajasthan, Since it was my first visit and also first from anyone in my family so I decided to stay at Nathdwara which has better lodging facility and also it is 3hours bus drive to Nadol, bus & taxi service available from here. So it can be day trip.

Marble blocks

I boarded a Jodhpur bound bus from Nathdwara in the morning which stops at Nadol. The journey was not that exciting except for some eye popping marble and granite workshops along the route as Aravali mountains and Rajsamand in Rajasthan are famous for marble / granite mines. The bus also passed through the serpentine roads and picturesque forest reserve of Kumbhalgarh which is last green patch after which the barren desert starts. On reaching Nadol, found it to be small sleepy town which hardly would have a population of around 10000 and main highway to Jodhpur passes right in middle of the town. The temple complex which is a walk of 5-7 minutes from main highway is nice little temple which is being renovated and reconstructed with better facility for devotees. The idol of mata is quite unique and more mesmerising is to watch devotees who come here to seek blessings of the deity. The atmosphere is all charged with religious fervor. After performing puja, saw the temple complex also has lodging facility as well ;as Bhojnalay. After puja it was time for petpuja. The food served here is complete meal with roti, sabji, dal, rice, unlimited with charge of Rs 10/- per person.

After my darshan, I decided to return back to Nathdwara without doing any other adventures as October heat was taking its toll on me. On enquiring found that bus back to Udaipur had already left at 11.30am and next bus would be only in the evening. haha ... I was so !!!!!!!!!!!
Sitting on a stone arranged like a sitting bench on lone shop which was cycle repair shop on the highway, I decided to click pictures of Rajasthani folks passing by without offending them. With sun at its peak in mid afternoon, shop owner noticing that I was a novice or first timer in the village advised me to take a bus to Desuri village from where I would get other mode of transport to my destination. And I saw of bus to Desuri just pass by and I could only look at it as people were sitting on the roof of the bus !!!!!!!!

Gomti Village square
I started thinking that may be since I had not visited the kuldevi before, it was her way of punishing me for coming so late for her blessings.......But that was not the case as I saw a Maruti Omni which stopped in front of me and driver confirming if anyone would want to come to Desuri for a charge. I just hopped in the front seat without thinking twice. In Rajasthan, this is also one mode of transport as someone who is travelling to one location in a car, wants to make some money, would carry passengers for a charge. The driver dropped me to a village called Charbhuja which again is famous for some ancient temple of lord Vishnu. He also advised me to take bus to Gomti, from where I would get another mode of easy transport to Nathdwara. So here I was on a state transport bus to Gomti - town famous for Gurjar agitation and another important junction as buses going towards Jaipur and Jodhpur passes through it. Having reached Gomti, I was little more relaxed as it was only an hour drive to my destination so I decided to stop for a small tea break on highway tea stall all lined with "Khatiyas". Sipping hot ginger tea and watching the vehicles zooming past on national highway. It was first time for me to have tea on road side dhaba on a national highway. My journey back to Nathdwara from Gomti in state transport bus more reminded me of local train journey in Mumbai as it was a standing bus journey which got me back to Nathdwara.

This post is mainly for folks of Brahmin Swarnakar Samaj.

Rajasthani men & women multi coloured dressings.

Tribal women
Orange Pagdi

Red Pagdi