“That’s why I love road trips, dude. It’s like doing something without actually doing anything.” – John Green
“You can be writing every day. When you go on a road trip, the trip itself becomes part of the story.” ― Steve Rushin
The journey started on Tuesday at 7.30 in the morning by Skoda Fabia. We were joined by a friend couple Poonam and Dharmesh. The excitement of road journey multiplied with many more excitements of visiting the world-famous statue of unity (SOU), having Ubadiyu on the highway, the famous Surati food and Ponk and many more road experiences.
After feeding our car with petrol, we had our first break at Kamath near Manor for a quick breakfast.
Then comes the first break for Ubadiyu near Valsad. We had a reference of two stalls on the highway who are famous for Ubadiyu. This unique local stuff is available in winter. This is so famous yet unknown that even Wikipedia does not have a page on this.
First, we got down at Krishna Unadiyu center. A lady managing it served us with Ubadiyu and Chass (buttermilk).
Then immediately within a half,a kilometer came Babubhai Unadiyu.\
After Ubadiyu we started the journey again. Our plan was to reach Bardoli, Sardar Patel Ashram by lunchtime. We took right turn from Surat Vadodara Highway from Palsana for Bardoli. Around 12 we were at Sardar Patel Museum, Bardoli, which is on the Bardoli station road.
The museum is worth visiting. It depicts a photographic journey of Sardar Patel’s life. A highly inspiring leader and worth visiting a museum.
Next door is Sardar Patel’s House. We could not visit as we were told it required some permission.
We were hungry as it was already 1 and Ubadiyu could not sustain us. We were guided by a salesperson of a local store about the good lunch option. We went directly to Kathiwadi Dayro.
After lunch, the target was to reach Surat as soon as possible. Enroute we visited Shri Labdhi Vikram Raj Yashsurjiswari Jain Tirth, at Baleshwar on Surat highway NH8. This is a nice and soothing place with facilities like accommodation and food.
The real pleasure of a road journey is to stop on route wherever we want to and enjoy the local experiences. On route, we saw several trucks carrying sugarcane. This area appears to be a huge sugarcane producing area. We stopped on the highway to taste the flavour of local sugarcane juice.
By evening we reached Surat. Our local acquittance joined us to quench our hunger for Surati food. We reached Ponk junction near Swaminarayan Temple, Adajan. Ponk is healthy and seasonal food.
Long queue and only one selling center. It took around one hour for us to buy Ponk. I thought we need Ponk centers all across India to deal with the economic downturn. Boom for agriculturist and retail business.
While shopping in Surat we searched for suitable night accommodation. We found the Hotel Royal Treat with 31, 5-star reviews on Google. Without thinking much we drove there. It is a newly-opened budget hotel. Our experience was good.
The next day started at 8 in the morning. When in Surat and not having Locho (foodstuff) is a bigger Locho (blunder). We decided to leave Surat after having a quick breakfast of Locho.
Thereafter for about 2 hours, we drove up to Ankleshwar. Then on way to Rajpipla, we visited Jhagadiyaji Jain Tirth in Jhagadiya. This is 400 years old temple. This is about 5 minutes drive from the main road.
The road from Mumbai to Ankleshwar is fantastic. There were several toll plaza but by paying the toll tax we are getting the value for money.
Productive use of the journey time with Surati Papdi.
From Ankleshwar to Rajpipla, some patch of the road work is under progress so roads are not in good condition.
Finally, we reached Kevadia where the statue of unity is situated. The whole area is charged up with many developments coming up. There is Kevadia station coming up to give rail connectivity to the place. Many hotels are coming up.
We reached our destination BRG Budget Stay. This is a new property, started operation about 4 months back. This accommodation has around 80 plus budget rooms.
While the check-in process was underway, we finished our lunch at the restaurant on the ground floor. After some rest, we started at 2 to begin our visit to the Statue of Unity.
A glance from the car.
We had a time slot of 2 pm for the Zarvani Eco-Tourism Bus and 4 pm for the Statue of unity. Both booked online. With some initial hiccups, we could reach the bus point for our 2-hour tour.
The Zarvani adventure zone covers the places like;
On route it also covers,
Narmada & Sardar Dam View
There are Valley of flower, Zoo (Coming up), Ayurvedic center, and many more attractions are coming up in the near future. Soon the place would be one of the most visited tourist destinations in India.
There are frequently small and big buses roaming in the area of Statue of Unity. The entire area is spread over 22 kilometers. When you go there do not think you will only see the Statue of Unity. It has a complete package to engage you for one and a half days.
After 2 hours we reached the entrance of the Statue of Unity at 5 pm. After the security check, we could enter the premise. We saw a huge statue of Sardar Patel in front of us. There are horizontal escalators so the visitors need not walk for a long.
There is an escalator but we choose the staircase (Fitness first).
We reached the statue base point.
It was a pleasant evening at the Statue of Unity.
Then we rushed to the viewing gallery situated at 135-meter height. Visitors are carried in two big lifts. There was a very long queue but it was moving fast. At the base is a Sardar Museum.
After viewing the gallery, we came down. The laser show was scheduled at 7 but by 6 people had started to occupy the seats to view the show from an appropriate position. It was a working day and not a vacation. But the crowd was mammoth. A few thousand people including many school children were seated and waiting for the laser show to start.
On one side enchanting view of the statue and on other so many people seated wherever they find the place. The atmosphere was electrifying. Sharp at seven the show started.
It ended at 7.30 with the national anthem. It was a goosebumps moment reciting national anthem with so many Indians.
After the show, so many people came out of the campus. There were many buses that took people to the parking area of a personal vehicle, tourist buses, Statue of Unity buses. Within a few minutes, so many people were cleared from the road.
The roads are beautifully illuminated. It was an exciting experience to be there. This has become a grand success story of recent India. The response from the large numbers of people flocking the place daily shows this is going to be a must-visit place for every Indian and every foreigner visiting India.
This is a Tajmahal of 21st century India.
Points to Consider:
- SOU remains closed on Monday.
- Budget accommodation is available. Though the site states about the tent city.
- Keep adequate time while visiting SOU. You are visiting a unique place. Do not rush your trip. A minimum of 36 hours of stay would be adequate.
- A few known people had suggested that visit during monsoon is ideal. The area becomes green and Sardar Sarovar Dam overflows.
- Book in advance whatever is possible to avoid disappointments.
- Avoid weekends. It’s hugely crowded.
- Carry adequate water and munching with you.
- & Keep clicking to capture moments for memories.
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you travelled.”