Thursday, 7 March 2013

Serene Saputara_February 2013

Plan for Saputara was decided in minutes. Actually there was a chance of family picnic in last May. However, such a long journey in summer would have been very hectic. Hence we didn't participate.

Climate this season was very pleasant. Nights were chilling while that day was windy & cool. February is actually the off-season timing in Saputara. Hence there was no rush. Occasional groups & families were seen. Everything was very peaceful. Hotels were near to empty. I had, however, done prior booking online.

We started off from Pune at 6.15 in the Sunday morning of February 24, 2013. We joined the Pune-Nashik Highway (NH-50) at Kasarwadi. We had expected "no traffic" this Sunday morning. However, there were Heavy Trucks & Trailors plying on the road carrying huge industrial machinery.

We reached the newly opened Vitthal Kamat Restaurant at Bota by 9 am. We decided to skip Daulat this time when we saw Vitthal Kamat's advt on the way. And it was a nice decision. It is much cleaner that Daulat; toilets too. Food was good.

We started off ahead by 9.20 am and reached Nashik at 12.15 pm. We had planned a lunch-break at our uncle's place. Post lunch and a nap, we started for Saputara at 5.15 pm.

We took the Dindori road. It is a toll road with Rs. 25 as one time toll for a car. The road goes by the place Vani - Goddess Saptashringi Temple is 22 kms from here. It is one of the Shakti-peeths. Temple is located on a hill range of seven peaks with about 500 steps to climb. We had decided to visit here during our next Nashik trip.

We reached Borgao, last village in Maharashtra on this road. From here we entered Gujarat. Just after border, in Gujarat, there is a check post which collect Rs. 20 per vehicle for entry in Saputara. It was 7.15 pm. We could see the street & hotel lights glittering in the dark from here. The Saputara lake or the main circle is hardly 1 kms from here.

We could find our hotel Shilpi Hill Resort easily. Its a 3-star property, with ample parking, green lawn in the front and nice lobby. Room allotted to us was also clean & tidy. Food was awesome.

After check-in and a brief rest, we started out for dinner. Just opposite the lake by the main road there are many road-side stalls which serve Paav Bhaji, Pulaav, Omlette, Chinese, etc. We walked till the the Main Circle which had all the information boards for various places to see. Only one problem - all information is in Gujarati. Administration should atleast provide this information in one of the more common languages - Hindi or English.

We had Pav-Bhaji and planned our next morning Tour de Saputara.

Next morning we left our hotel at 9 am after a full, tasty breakfast. It was very windy day that day. We first went to the Steps Garden just by the side of the Saputara Lake.

We went for Boating in the Lake. Pedal Boats are available for a small family, while Rowing Boats for a larger group.
Saputara Lake
After boating for about 1/2 hour, we went to another garden by the name Rose Garden. It is small garden with many rose saplings including other flowers as well located a little remote from the lake (towards Sun-rise point). However, major maintenance is needed (may be we thought that way as we visited in hot summers).
Sun Flowers in the Rose Garden    ;-)

From here we tried to go to the Sunrise point, however halfway and we came across the pathetic road. Hence we decided to turn back.

There is the Tribal Museum, Aquarium and a large statue of a Snake in a garden on the main road opposite the lake. We saw the Aquarium. Nicely made - small and sweet. The garden next to it was again - badly maintained. Large statue of a snake (Cobra) is an attraction. Saputara actually means an "Abode of Serpants".  Locals tribals worship snakes.
Saputara Lake and Town - view from the Rope Way
From here we returned back to our hotel, had a sumptuous lunch and a brief afternoon nap. We started off at 4.30 pm and went to see the Tribal Museum. It was a nice learning experience. The museum depicts the tribal life the region very well. Their dresses, utensils, weapons, equipment, musical instruments, etc are displayed. Some photographs show their festive celebrations. The statues explain their day-to-day lives.

From here we went for the Sunset point. The best way to go is by a Rope-way. About 8 minutes ride is awesome; with the trolley stopping mid-way for a minute to embark/disembark patrons from other two trolleys. The whole view of the town surrounding the lake as seen from above is scenic. The ticket was Rs. 50 for adults (two-way). One can spend some time at the Sunset point and return back. We were here for about 20 minutes. There are horse rides, snacks and drink points.

(Note: In May 2013, there was a news in newspapers that the Rope-way got stuck in between due to some technical issue for 4 hours. Team from Mumbai had to be called for repairs. It might not happen every time, but one needs to be aware.)

View from Sunset Point
We starter our return journey next morning at 9.30 am. We took an hour's break at Nashik and reached Pune by 6.00 pm.

More info on Saputara Sight-seeing.
Odometer Readings:

00 kms          Pune
13 kms          Nashik Phata (Kasarwadi)
34 kms          Chakan
109 kms        Bota
225 kms        Nashik
258 kms        Dindori
276 kms        Vani
312 kms        Maharashtra-Gujarat Border
313 kms        Saputara

Return journey
335 kms        Saputara
425 kms        Nashik
498 kms        Sangamner
539 kms        Vithal Kamat Hotel, Bota
647 kms        Pune


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