30, 31st December 2011
Continued from Gir.
Today would be the longest day in our Gujarat trip. We were getting back to religious circuit. Te destination was Dwaraka about 230km from Gir. The taxi arrives promptly at 10AM and in few minutes we depart from Sasan Gir. Most of the journey between Gir and Dwaraka is along the coast. At places like Madhavpur the road passes next to the sea. The most visible structures during the journey are omnipresent wind mills. They are in thousands all along the road.
The major town on the way is Porbander. We had our lunch on a good road side restaurant. The scenery changes a bit after Porbander. We see several lakes and rivers. Many of them are home to the migratory birds. I mentally take a note of these places so that I could ask the driver to stop while returning back.
We reach Dwaraka at about 3:30PM. First task was to check in to the hotel and drop our bags. This was done in a jiffy and very soon we were on our way to Bet Dwaraka.
|Sea Gulls at Bet Dwaraka|
Bet Dwaraka is a small island 30km away from Dwaraka. It was here that the capital of Sri Krishna was submerged. The recent explorations in the sea have revealed the presence of a trading city. Since the ruined city is under the water there is a proposal for a under the sea museum. But I have no clue on its progress.
On the way to Bet Dwaraka is Nageshwar, one of the twelve Jyothirlingas. The Temple looks very modern. There is also a huge statue of Shiva next to the Temple. Behind the Temple is a small lake. Since there was long queue in the Temple, we decide not to enter and spend some time near the Shiva statue and the lake. After some time we notice dwindling queue and quickly we join it. Within few minutes we finish the darshan!!
We then head towards Bet Dwaraka. It is already 5:30PM and we have to take a boat to reach the island. Driver says that we need not hurry and can come back at any time. The situation at the jetty was difficult. We see lot of people who are trying to get into a boat. The boat is overloaded but still people are pouring into it. The boatman is not still satisfied with the numbers and is trying hard to push more people. There is no sign of life jackets in the boat. Seeing this, my wife says that she is not ready to get into such overloaded boats. I myself was not comfortable on travelling on such conditions. We patiently wait hoping for situation to turn better.
People continuously come in and now I look for alternatives. I find some private boats ready to ferry us to the island. The rates are much higher than the normal ones. I generally not like to blow the money but then there are exceptions especially when it concerns to safety. We make a deal with a private boat. Things move quickly then and within no time we are in the sea!! The sun was already setting down. The place is filled with sea gulls. It looks like the place has good number of fishes for gulls.
It takes about 20 minutes to reach Bet Dwaraka. Looking at the crowded Jetty we congratulated ourselves for choosing a private boat. Boatman promises to wait while we enter into Bet Dwaraka. The narrow roads are filled with shops selling souvenirs, toys and pooja items. The Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is old and small. One has to be careful about religious frauds. They have a simple strategy. Install fear in the minds of gullible people by saying that they need to perform some religious rites and extract as much money as possible.
It was fully dark when we come back to Jetty. But it does deter boat drivers who are very well experienced in such scenarios. Back on the mainland, we go to a nearby hotel to have some snacks. Our driver is surprised by our quick arrival.
Returning back we take a direct road to Dwaraka. On the way is the town Mithapur famous for TATA chemicals factory.
Back in Dwaraka, we head to Dwarakish Temple. Architecturally, this is a great Temple. The Temple is in the heart of the town and just next to river Gomati.
Until now we had not tasted authentic Gujarati food. Our driver takes us to a hotel and we have a great dinner. We then decide to have only Gujarati food in our remaining trip!
Our long day ended at 10PM.
The sea at Dwaraka is rocky. It is hard to get into water but the views compensate for it. A well maintained beach side must be visited.
We also paid a short visit to Rukmini Temple on outskirts of Dwaraka. It is a small Temple with good architecture. The crowds seen in Dwarakissh Temple were missing here.
We were almost done with our Gujarat journey. A small part was remaining for the last day!!