We decided to go to Baroda by road. It was me and my wife and her cousin and his wife. Just 4 of us. Her cousin, Sanjay, a very enthusiastic person and a good driver too. He was ready to take his car and drive it upto Baroda. That made me happy as I love to travel but hate to drive.
We started our journey by 6.30 a.m. on 21 September, 2013 from our residence at Thane (30 kms. from Mumbai). We wizz passed through Ghodbunder road as it was without much traffic at such an early hour that too on Saturday. Within 40 minutes, we hit Mumbai Ahmedabad Highway which was also not having much traffic. Just a few trucks. We could see few white clouds in the sky and no hint of rain. The road looked great devoid of much traffic. Hurray.
Later we had our breakfast after Manor village in a small restaurant. My Puri bhaji turned out to be very tasty, though puris were bit oily. Its ok, after all we are on our holidays. Similary, Potato vada and medu vada too were equally tasty.
After our breakfast we were in a mood to listen to wonderful music (old hindi film songs) and started appreciating the beauty outside. It was the end of monsoon so it was lush green everywhere. It was a sheer pleasure to look out of the window.
On such a clear road, wonderful scenery along the highway, melodious music being played on music player in the car, there were few moments of irritation. Trucks occupying all the three lanes. We had decided not to exceed the speed of 100 kms. per hour. But such truckers made us crawl after them for few minutes till we pass them.
We were required to cross the check post of Maharashtra State before we enter in Gujarat State. The check post is very huge and it makes you feel as if you are entering in another country. They were checking papers of trucks and they did not bother about cars.
Sky was clear and blue. At times there were white clouds in the sky. Outside the humidity must be higher but we were sitting in cosy air-conditioned atmosphere.
Now we were in Gujarat passing towns like Vapi. Now we were sharing highway with small tempo, tractors and two wheelers. Luckily the traffic was not much.
In places like Vapi sudden appearance of vehicles in the first lane without any notice etc. is a common thing.
We came across our first traffic jam near Ankaleshwar town. A bridge on Narmada river is not as wide as required. Hence there is a delay and long queue of trucks. Luckily there was a separate lane for small vehicles and it was relatively free and we could get through that chaos with just half an hour delay.
After Bharuch just before Baroda city we visit “Subway” and had our lunch followed by a plate of pakora with spicy hot tea. By 2.30 we reached Baroda at our relatives home. We stayed there overnight and it rained a lot at night.
Next day morning the sky was grey and full of black and grey clouds. It was still raining. But our enthusiasm refused to get damp. We had rented a bigger car, Toyota Innova as three of our relatives also joined us for a one day tour to Garuddeshwar and Sardar Sarovar dam project.
Garudeshwar is a temple of Shri Datta Guru on the banks of holy river Narmada. There are n number of temples on the both side of the river across its length of over 500 kms. There is also a temple of Saint Vasudevananda Saraswati who took samadhi (burying in a room under the ground while alive. Yogi and Godmen used to do it) People build tomb on the place of such burial and build temple around it).
We deliberately selected a country road for our travel which was going through the farms, jungles and small villages etc. It was now drizzling heavily. We reached the temple. A bridge on the river Narmada was looking hazy due to rain and fog.
The following are the steps that lead from the temple above to the river water level. Temple is about 60 feet high from the water level. Thus even during the high rains the temple does not get flooded.
There are no restaurants in the area except for a small tea stall. The temple offers very simple meals as “prasad”. We knew this and we therefore, carried our food items. We finished our food carried from home in the car itself as due to rain, there was no dry place for us to seat and eat.
Then through rains we marched towards Sardar Sarovar dam project. It is built on the holy river Narmada. Due to rains it was overflowing.
The following is a picture of Saint Vasudevanand Saraswati.
Overflowing dam is seen below.
Author and Photographs by Sanjiv Mulye