Gujarat Tour – (Last) Day 8

Gujarat Tour (Last) Day 8 (01/12/2019) – Statue of Unity and winding off

Started by 6:45 AM from Club Mahindra, Nadiad.
Reached Vadodara (Old name Baroda) on the way to Statue of Unity and roamed around in search of some South Indian restaurants. Being a big city, we were hoping to find one but were disappointed to know that all the restaurants start only by 11 AM. Finally we could find one Gujarti Hotel Krishna Park and Guest House at Kapurai Chokdi 4 way junction, which was just ok. Lakshmi Vilas Palace at Vadodara is an important heritage place which we wanted to visit during the return trip but didn’t have time.

By 10:30 AM we reached Statue of Unity, the world’s tallest statue (182 m), made of iron, for the iron man, Shri Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The first sight of the statue was visible about a km before itself and everyone in the car burst out a “wow”. The statue was covered in a thick fog and it added beauty to the statue. From such a long distance itself, its magnificence and the fact of being the tallest statue of the world was realized and it was simply amazing. As we go near, we were further more exclaimed with his face being 100% realistic and looks as if he is standing live in Viswaroopam. What an engineering marvel it is, not just the height but the perfection with which he is reproduced! (I can’t stop comparing with what we had done in Kanyakumari /Tamilnadu, with the Thiruvalluvar statue standing in a girlish body language posture and in other cases like Jayalalitha statue etc.,)

Only a person who was fuming inside right from his childhood, that the true leader of the nation was masked off by the petty politicians, can burst out one day to do this when he got powers to do – and only Modi could have done this!

I had seen so many engineering marvels around the world but to see one in our own soil and that too, that of a true leader of the nation, in front of our eyes – a true patriot will certainly rejoice in tears.

The car parking area was very huge and the view of the statue from the car parking in the backdrop of the Narmadha river was fantastic. There was just one ticket counter and there was a long queue before that. We were wondering why, after developing such a world class marvel, they had put just one ticket counter. We stood in the queue for a few minutes and then got the answer that there is an online ticketing facility (we should have expected it already!) and ticketing at the counter is discouraged, possibly! We came out of the queue and booked it in online in no time.

Before starting itself, when our driver informed that there are various levels of ticket we had decided to buy the highest as our contribution for the project.
There are 3 levels of tickets at Rs150, 380 and 1030.
Rs 150 ticket is for entry at the Pedestal level only.
Both Rs 380 and 1080 tickets, are entry to the highest viewing gallery for the public at the chest level of the statue next to the 2nd collar button from the top at 400 feet (beyond which no public and only officials are allowed). While Rs 380 queue will take us through normal lift, Rs 1030 ticket will take us through high speed lift bypassing queue at every place.

The wordings on the ticket itself is highly impressive and motivating. It reads:
“Dear Visitor,
We express our heartfelt gratitude and thanks for visiting the Statue of unity and contributing to the propagation of idea of ‘EK Bharat Shreshth Bharat’ which spreads the message of a modern united India.
This memorial of Sardar Vallabhai Patel will inspire the people of our country to inculcate his visionary ideologies of unity, patriotism, inclusive growth and good governance.
Your visit will immensely contribute in the socio economic development of this area”
It justified our getting the highest ticket!

There will be no queue for the highest ticket and you will be treated as a VIP everywhere. From the ticketing counter to various places walkalators and escalators are installed. At the Pedestal level there is a grand exhibition of Shri Vallbhai Patel’s life with giant displays, interactive touch screens and a mini theatre.

For the highest ticket holders, there are two high-speed lifts, with a capacity of 26 passengers each that takes less than 40 seconds to rise 400 feet to the viewers’ gallery. You will realise the climbing up of such a height (in a fraction of a minute) only with the pain in the ear drum!

The breathtaking view of the Narmadha river front from such a height is astonishing and reveals how much of work is still going on. We can see plenty of tipper trucks, crushers and JCPs at work.

So many tourist attractions have already been developed and so many are still coming up. Projection mapping (Light & Sound show), Museum, Helicopter ride, Tour of Sardar Sarovar dam, River rafting, Cactus garden, Adventure Park, Garden of Five Senses, Selfie with Statue, Sardar garden,  River bed power house, View point, God bole gate, Tent city, Main canal head regulator, Two beautiful lakes – ‘Kamal’ and ‘Poyani’ are already there.
The wall of unity is constructed with a collection of soil from 1.69 lakh villages of India to strengthen the mantra of unity and integrity of the nation as envisaged by Shri Vallabhai Patel.
Valley of flowers project is a flower garden in an area of over 3,000 hectares in its final phase fully on drip-irrigation system.
So many natural treks – Reva Trek, Sadhu Trek, Vainkutth Baba Trek, Sardar Trek, and Ashwasthama Trek – have been developed.
Shoolpaneshwar is a separate nearby wildlife sanctuary where you can meet tribals and see wild animals

Free buses are plying frequently to take visitors from one tourist attraction to the other.

Hotels to stay are already there, more coming up. A renowned Luxury Hotel Brand – Shreshtha Bharat Bhavan (Ramada Encore, unit of Sankalp chain of hotels) is already present close to the statue.

With so much of ongoing work still, this has already become the “best modern day tourist attraction” of the country.

Note:
At this time, I’m also remembering how much Medha Patkar in association with many anti-nationals fought for several years to stop this wonderful dam project. Now, after crossing over all the obstacles, the dam and the Statue of unity stand majestically today!

After lunch at Hotel Ramada Encore near the Statue of Unity, we started by 2 PM to Ahamedabad. The expressway from Vadodara to Ahamedabad was superb and it was our first journey in a real expressway in India.

We then went to the Navarathri Traditional market at Law Garden area which is a street full of traditional items and colourful mirror work dresses for girls. We did a good shopping out there for our grandchildren. Actually this was on top of our shopping list for the trip but were very upset that we couldn’t find this market when we were desperately searching for it in the previous evening.  Finally we were very happy that we found it and our wish was fulfilled.

Reached Airport and got into the Spicejet 10 PM flight to reach Chennai home by 1 AM midnight.
Promptly thanked God for this happy tour without any health and other issues!

Winding up:

I couldn’t find any single site from where I could get rich info on Gujarat tourism and plan my entire trip. I had to do internet (re)search from so many sites which consumed a huge amount of my time to arrive at a travel plan. My idea of this blog is to give enough information in a single site so that your planning for the trip could become much easier and I hope it could serve some purpose on that front. I had given some remarks about the hotels, places, toilets, roads etc., so that you can be prepared for it and may look for alternate, if needed. As said in the preamble our problem was travelling the entire South, North and West Gujarat which resulted in significant amount of travel time. So we had to skip some of the important places and rush in some other places. I would suggest to plan West trip separately and North/South trip separately so that you spend sufficient time in each without skipping places. My following Gujarat map of places can assist you in proper planning.

Being Modi admirers, we wished to tour Gujarat and see its developments. Apart from the ancient heritage laurels, we had seen som many of modern day developments like Statue of Unity, Ahamedabad’s Narmadha river front, Rann of Kutch festival, well maintained corruption less Gir National Park, World’s biggest Cricket stadium etc., supported by 1600+ kms of highway work. All these have been done / being done without the revenue from liquor and ticketed dharshans from the temples. I can’t stop comparing with Tamilnadu where the tourism survives and depends only on the rich heritage temples of Cholas, Pallavas etc., and not a single modern day tourist attraction in spite of so much revenue from liquor and temples!

I sign off heaving a big sigh of “when will Tamilnadu get good fortune like Gujarat?”!

Happy touring!

4 comments

  1. Huge fan of your writing. This site is my single reference point for all my temple trips in TN.

    Gujarat has been a long term target for me. One question – I see you have chosen to travel by road completely. I could find night trains between Ahmedabad and Dwarka. Any special reason you decided to avoid trains?

    Thanks for your wonderful service to spiritual people!

    • Thank you Sir. It ws just that the train timings were not suiting our plan and there was no other specific reason. If trains suit your timing, you can very much opt for it.

  2. Can’t wait to read all your Guj. blogs, now that I have time! Really appreciate all your work. Did you enjoy GOP?
    – one of my favorite temples.

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