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A vibrant city with the imposing...
The stronghold of several erstwhile...
Declared as India's first UNESCO World...
The verdant Ananthagiri Hills is...
Located on the banks of River Godavari,...
Situated around 40 km from Raipur,...
Ahmedabad is the first UNESCO city of India, and brings forward the best amalgamation of legacy and urbanisation. It is scattered with various tourist attractions. The road trip from this city to Polo Forest is unique and memorable. It passes through green spaces, quaint sites and spiritual stopovers. Here's how you can make the best of it.
Take the Chandkheda-Gandhinagar Highway that has multiple hairpin bends and takes you through the attractions of the Old City. It is marked by winding lanes throbbing with tradition and culture. A vibrant array of street food is a welcome sight and you can make a stop and indulge in a hearty breakfast. The old city, also known as the walled area, is characterised by pols (neighbourhoods), which are an ancient system of community-based housing. It offers great photo-ops opportunity.
If you want to pass by the New City, take the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway, which is a straight and neat stretch all the way to the capital city of Gujarat.
It takes around 40 minutes to reach Gandhinagar, which hosts a number of attractions: from beaches and a dinosaur museum to temples and art and craft centres.
Visit Wilderness Park
Stop by one of the largest hatcheries of dinosaur eggs in the world and the only dinosaur museum in the country. Some also regard it as the Jurassic Park of India. The park houses a zoo, massive skeletons of sea mammals like the blue whale, a vast botanical garden, an amphitheatre, interpretation centres and camping facilities. It also has a Wilderness Park, which is home to innumerable species of birds, reptiles, hundreds of nilgais, langurs and peafowls.
See the brilliant pink sandstone of the temple
A short detour will take you to the iconic Akshardham Temple, the largest comprehensive Hindu temple in the world, according to the Guinness World Records. Sprawled over a vast area, the complex looks like a splendid heavenly city when viewed from above. The temple itself has been constructed in pink sandstone and marble and is laid amidst neatly manicured lawns, pristine waterfronts and open courtyards. As you stroll along the breathtaking complex, you will spot intricate carvings of animals, flowers, dancers, musicians and deities that adorn the walls.
A 50-minute drive will bring you to Vijapur, which is speckled with spiritual sites. Pay obeisance at Jay Limbach Mataji, Khakhchauk Temple, Hamuman ji Temple, Ram Bagh Temple, Mota Mandir, etc. Drive on the Himmatnagar-Vijapur Highway from there, which is a clean road, bordered by verdant trees.
An hour-long drive will bring you to the scenic Rani Lake, which is a great spot for photo-ops. Breathe in the clean air and let your mind be at peace as you let the bird calls fill your ear. The canopy of trees provides perfect picnic spots, ideal to enjoy a snack at. A short distance away is the Pavapuri Jain Tirth, a holy site of Jainism.
Indulge in adventure sports
It takes around an hour to reach Polo Forest from Rani Lake. It is a brilliant green space on the outskirts of the city, where you can relax, picnic and soak in natural beauty. A thick canopy of trees provides a serene shade from the soft sun. There is a smattering of temple ruins, some of which are still in use. Watch out for myriad avifauna, with your camera handy to catch rare species in flight. The forest offers various adventure activities like trekking, rock climbing, river crossing, bouldering, rappelling, etc.
November to February
There are several cafes and eateries along the highway, where you indulge in specialities on the menu. The restaurants near the airport are a must-try as they offer a mix of budgeted and gourmet menus.
• Carry extra batteries for your camera • Carry bottled water • Don't leave your shades behind