To visit Gujarat had been a topic of acrimonious discussions in my house during the last couple of years; it wasn’t a fight over whether a visit was needed or not, but over the length of the visit.
Initially, we were only interested in a religious, pilgrimage type visit to Panch Dwarka and Somnath. Unless we flew by air, the trip would still have lasted at least 7/8 days. I was against a hurried air travel, spending a lot of money.
Also, a small passion to visit several places in India, subsequent to compiling my book: I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT … INDIA, ITS STATES, AND IMPORTANT CITIES, that lay dormant surfaced again and forced me not to ignore the great deserts of Gujarat (Rann of Kutch), a few historical and ancient places (Junagadh, Jamnagar, Mandvi, Lothal, Dolavira etc.), and the beautiful beaches of Diu.
Besides, several reports in media during the last several years on Gujarat about the developments that had taken place during the time of Mr. Modi as its Chief Minister had kindled a curiosity in me to see, after all, what those developments were.
After some hectic negotiation with my wife I, finally, settled for an 11N/12D trip to Gujarat. We identified the name of a decent travel agent from the Gujarat Tourism website. We made a few changes to their standard published itinerary and decided on the following tour plan. The cost of the tour included travel by an air-conditioned car and accommodation in hotels/resorts at places of stay:
Day 1: Little Rann of Kutch (Patdi)
Day 2, 3, 4: At Bhuj and Great Rann of Kutch
Day 5: Mandvi
Day 6: Jamnagar
Day 7: Dwarka
Day 8: Porbandar and Somnath
Day 9: Diu
Day 10 Junagadh
Day 11: Bhavnagar
Day 12: Return to Ahmedabad
The stay arrangements were at some of the finest cottages in resorts and hotels. Though the trip turned out to be a little costlier than what I would have spent if I had planned it on my own, we had the opportunity to spend time in some of the finest places during the trip and visited some of the rare places people usually go. We also enjoyed excellent food in all the places. We left out some of the important commercial centers like Vadodara, Surat etc.
It was a fantastic tour.
The following are my impressions on Gujarat. Please remember, they are my personal impressions only and not based on any factual data. So, don’t jump guns on me if they do not meet yours.
... Await for my impression in my next report tomorrow