This Sunday 21st April 2013 myself accompanied by 4 more guys we visited the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary. Having visited only 2 other Tiger Sanctuary before this, it was my first visit to Sariska.I’ve visited Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand and Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. Surprisingly Sariska is the one which is closest to Delhi was never on my radar. So when I came across this travelogue from my friend Gurudutt, I in some corner of my mind started dreaming that I would be visit Sariska someday in future. Since the day I saw the travelogue I am a big fan of Gurudutt’s photography skills and the dedication with which he keeps visiting Sariska throughout the year and keeps his travelogue up-to-date. Adding fuel to the fire was travelogues by Dhiraj Kapoor and his fantastic photographic skills as well.
Though Gurudutt visits Sariska quite often somehow I never was able to accompany him on one of his travels. Sometimes the date’s didn’t suit well but most of the time I was too damm lazy, however the inclining to visit didn’t die out.
It was last week that I saw on Gurdutt’s thread that he was planning to visit Sariska on Sunday 21st April 2013 I saw an opportunity and got in touch with him. We’ve known each other for quite a long while having interacted on Social Networks and various forums but had never ever met each other in person nor spoken over the phone. So much so that we didn’t even have each other’s phone numbers. Funny thing that happened was when he called me on Friday 19th April 2013, I picked up the phone and greeted him like I knew who was calling. Gurudutt was surprised that I had his number but I told him that his number appeared on my phone through software by the name of TRUECALLER.
So we finalized that we would leave early morning on Sunday as only three of would be going we would leave in one vehicle. The third person to accompany myself and Gurudutt was Shahid Ahmed another common friend who I knew from my off-roading circle of friends.
I came home and when I told my plans to my brother, Harbeer, he too was interested. So now we were four people Gurudutt, Shahid, Harbeer and I.
The plan finalized was that me and Harbeer would pickup Gurudutt from Gurgaon at 3AM, then proceed towards Shahid’s place on Sohna Road and latest by 3.30AM start for Sariska.
21st April 2013
The night before I got my gear in order. Camera charged, Memory Cards emptied and formatted, extra memory cards packed, Tripod, GPS charged and emptied of previous tracks, binoculars, etc.
For this trip I’m using a Canon 550D along with Canon EF-S 55-250 f4-5.6 lens. It was the only lens I could afford at the time I bought it a couple of years back.
Called up Gurudutt informed him that my brother too would be accompanying us, understood the location to his house so that I don’t waste time trying to find it in the morning.
In the morning of 21st Apr’13 or I should say the night of 20th Apr’13 me and Harbeer were in our car at 235AM and started for Gurudutt’s house. We were there at 3am and found Gurudutt waiting at the gates of his building complex. Immediately we started for Shahid’s house on Sohna Road and were there in no time. Shahid Bhai was too waiting for us and it was decided there that we would take his Bolero for the journey to Sariska and back.
God only knows why none of us objected to this but we left behind four perfect and comfortable vehicles behind 3 Scorpios (2 belonging to Gurudutt and 1 to Shahid) & my Landcruiser. I think for me it was the excitement of visiting Sariska for the first time that I didn’t even think about this decision. More on that later.
We were now accompanied by Shahid’s driver as well, Rajesh, and were a party of 5.
Left Sohna Road at 3.30 AM and decided to take the Sohna- Nuh- Firozpur Zikra- Alwar By Pass and then Sariska route, a distance of 165Kms.
There were ‘n number of speed breakers on this route and the last stretch of 30 odd kms is in a bad condition, resulting which we reached the Forest Office only 10 minutes to 7AM having originally planned to be there by 6AM. The reason for the delay was Rajesh was driving at a comfortable speed of 60-70 KMPH and the last stretch of 30 odd Kms, being double lane boken roads delayed us by quite a bit.
Good news was that Gurudutt’s guide Hari Singh was waiting for us at the Forest Office with all the permits and paperwork in order as well as the vehicle. Wasting no time we all got our gear out of the vehicle and hopped into the waiting gypsy and made an entry in the forest at 7AM.
25th March 2013:
I’ve been a bit lazy with updates for my blog. So toady’s the last day of the tip and I’m posting this from Udaipur.
On the 22nd of March after spending two days in Sasan Gir it was time for us to head to Jamnagar, our fourth city. We started early around 9am and visited Deviliya enroute to Jamnagar. I dropped my earlier plan of doing the coastal trip via Somnath, Porbandar, Dwarka and then Jamnagar as I did’t want to do a canon ball run and wanted to take it easy while doing this coastal route and give time at each place I stop and take it in. The route we took on this day was Sasan Gir- Deviliya- Malkana- Junagarh- thru City- Jetpur- Goandal- Rajkot- Paddhari- Dhrol- Dhunav- Jamnagar. We arrived in Jamnagar at approx 10 mins to 3 PM.
After spending a day in Jamnagar on the 24th of March Sunday we stated our journey to our last halt Udaipur. Again I avoided going to Zainabad as it had become quite hot during the day time, and personally I having witnessed the heat in the RANN a couple of time as a Rally Marshall, I didn’t want the kids and wife to experience it at time time of the year. I decided that we would be doing the Little and Great Raan later this year, maybe during the Dussara or Diwali break. The route taken during this day was pretty straight forward. Starting from Jamnagar at 930 AM the route we took was Jamnagar- Dhrol- Paddhari- Rajkot- Chotila- Syala- Limbdi- Bhagdora- Bavla- Ahmedabad (lunch break at Subway)- Gandhinagar- Himmatnagar- Udaipur (630PM).
After staying for a day in Udaipur, tomorrow morning we would be starting our final leg of the journey and heading to Delhi. The plan is to start early from Udaipur and be back home by 7pm ish.
Thats all for now. Thanks to all for taking the time for going through and keeping a tab on my updates.
PS these are just on the road updates, and I would surely be penning down a detailed travelogue once with pictures, road distances, places visited once I’m back home.
20th March 2013
We started the day today on a very easy note. Got up lazily in the morning and checked out of the Hotel Hoka at approx 11am after having a scrumptious breakfast. We had seen the rest of Diu (actually nothing much to see as it’s quite a small town and all the places to visit are in the same vicinity) except the Diu Fort, yesterday itself, so we thought that we’ll visit The Diu Fort in the morning and then make a start for Gir, contrary to our earlier plan of halting at Diu for another day.
So we were at the Fort before 12 and spent a good 90 mins here. Thank god we didn’t miss this place. This should be on the itinerary of anyone who visits the beautiful town of Diu. Will be sharing pictures of the Fort when I’m back home. We again went back to the hotel to get packed sandwiches for the kids, and by the time we started for Gir it was 10 minutes to 2PM.
We took the most direct route to SASAN GIR and covered 98 Kms in about 90 mins.
The routes we took was through Tad, Dolasa, Kodinar (bypass), Prachi, Madhopur, Talala, Sasan Gir & Balchel. Our Guest House is in this small village near Sasan Gir.
It’s more of a home stay facility than a proper hotel property. It’s 1 Km inside the jungle and last time I was at this place I could hear the Lions roaring during the night, it was a wonderful experience. The guy who owns this property is the sarpanch of this village and stays here with his family. Extremely warm and always ready to help. Though I’m coming here only for the second time, I feel like I was meeting a very old friend when I met him today. He owns a very big parcel of land here and is traditionally a farmer.
We guys are planning to take a walk around his farm later during the evening and Will be here for 2 nights during which we will be taking 2 jungle safaris and 1 safari in the Deviliya Park . Thereafter headed for Jamnagar on the 22nd. Haven’t finalized as yet what route we’ll be taking. All options open as of now.
Will keep you guys updated on the progress.
Cheers for now.
It was 23rd or March 2012 and was time for us to head back for New Delhi Via Mumbai and Udaipur. The earlier plan was that we’ll go to Mumbai via NH17 and take a night halt at Tarkarli, I had spent weeks preparing the GPS Tracks for that area, planning the routes with the help of HV Kumar sir, however this plan was shelved at he had already been about a week since we’d left home and the children were not up to it. Me too personally had developed an inkling that it was time to head back and maybe leave Tarkarli for a later time. The homework’s been done and the trip is surely on the cards for a later date.
Taking a final look at the place we started our 2200 Kms return journey to New Delhi at approx 826AM.
Ramada Carvela, Main Building
The Land Cruiser and its occupants at Ramada’s main entrance
Distance to Mumbai from Panaji
We made good time and cover 85kms were at the Mumbai Goa Border in a little less than 2 hours. Crossed the Goa Border Check Point with no issues but at the Maharashtra Check Point/ Excise Post, it was a different story. At this place I was asked to park my car and come out for inspection. This was about 7 Kms after the Goa Check Point so now I’m thinking that it can’t be the border post and must be the Excise Check Point.
After 3 days of driving through almost half or maybe three-fourth the length of the country, covering 2200 Kms we had arrived at our destination in Goa, Ramada Carvela Beach Resort.
Ramada Carvela Beach Resort
I will not go into details about how the hotel is/ was as I have posted a detailed review on Trip Advisor, so would be copy/pasting it here.
18th March 2012 Ahmedabad ––> Mumbai
Again as the previous night we were a little late for retiring for the day and were able to hit the bed only at 1AM.
Rooms at The Karnavati Club, Ahmedabad
Additionally having done 700 Kms the previous day, the drive for this day was just a little more than 500 Kms, so we thought that I could take it easy. Further as always, whenever I visited Goverdhan Thal, I never felt hungry the next morning, hence we skipped breakfast and headed straight out for Mumbai. The hotel bill settled, we were on the road at 8AM and reached the Ahmedabad- Baroda Expressway at 830, covering approximately 20 Kms. Inside the city, being early and a sunday I encountered little traffic, but I could sense that had it been a weekday and slightly later during the day, we would have encountered much more traffic.
The Ahmedabad Surat Expressway is a drivers dream and we covered the distance of 93 Kms in 58 Minutes, clocking an average speed of 95 KMPH. I was driving at 120-130 KMPH but I guess stopping at the 3 toll plazas reduced the overall average speeds. From here we took the Baroda ByPass and the NH8 all the way upto Baruch.
Old Golden Bridge