Darshan - A Weekly Tour Coducted By
Darshan is the only weekly tour conducted by Gujarat Tourism, besides
the Royal Orient package.The four nights, five-day tour offered by
Gujarat Tourism covers an array of cities and sights fringing the
western coast of Gujarat, collectively called Saurashtra. The tour
commences early on Friday morning and concludes late in the evening on
- Rendezvous With The Legendary Gujarat
The streak of spirituality and the saga of salvation contours the
coastal state of Gujarat, which has mellowed civilizations since 2500
BC. Laced with the legend of Lord Krishna, one of the most beloved
deities of the Hindu pantheon, the land is redolent with the aura of
Ahimsa - the focal point of Jain philosophy and their shrines continue
to shadow the landscape of Gujarat. At places, the vestiges of
Buddhist glory have withstood the ravages of time and that have added
to the incredible marks left behind by the different imperial
dynasties that crisscrossed the political history of Gujarat.
¤ Saurashtra Darshan - The Tour Begins
The boarding point is Ashram Road in Ahmedabad and after skirting
216kms of the central hills of the Kathiawar Peninsula we reach
Rajkot, a fast developing town, which was formerly the capital of a
Rajput princely state. The place is best known as the early home of
Gandhiji where he studied at Alfred High School. Another point of
interest is Watson Museum, noted for its colonial collection and Indus
¤ The Saurashtra Tour Attractions
¤ Legend Associated To The
Legend has it that Krishna shifted to Dwarka when Jarasandh, the
Magadhan emperor attacked Mathura a number of times. Dwarka was safe
in the middle of the sea and was blessed by the gods who showered it
with gifts like Sudharma - a grand assembly hall, Varun - a horse
swifter than wind, and Kuber filled the coffers to the brim. However,
the grand city was destined to be submerged by the marauding waters of
the Arabian Sea.
Ninety-two kilometers northwest from Rajkot is Jamnagar, our next
destination that is reached through Paddhari and Dhrol after crossing
River Nagmati. Jamnagar was once the popular pearl fishing town and
the capital of the Jadeja Rajputs. Here one can enjoy watching the
flamingos in the backdrop of Ranmal Lake that was the nucleus of the
old town. Adjacent to this lake is the famous Lakhota Fort and a
museum with its Kotha bastion extending into the lake. The cremation
ground of this city is very attractive, with a plethora of beautiful
statues of saints and sages depicting religious episodes. The city is
noted for its Ayurvedic College and Research Centre.
Winding through the countryside and some straight driving leads us
to Dwarka. It is evening and the best thing to do is to watch the Suns
last yawn of light disappear into the Arabian Sea, while the breeze
blows softly bringing in the unmistakable aroma of the salt sea. and
arrow indicates. You are standing at the western most point of India.
The early morning peal of the temple bells eliminates the need for a
wake up call and soon we discover the ever-swelling crowd of devotees
around the Dwarkadhish temple. Everyone is eager for the darshan of
the idol of Lord Krishna. In fact, pilgrims have poured in from
all over the country, as Dwarka is one of the four mukti-dhams (abode
of salvation). Comparatively Bet Dwarka (30 kilometers off) is a less
crowded and more picturesque island with no lesser attractions as this
place is acknowledged as the private residence of Krishna and his
The origin of Dwarka is steeped in myths and legends but marine
archaeologists are hard at work trying to establish history.
Triangular anchors weighing more than 250 kilograms have been salvaged
establishing the citys trade links with Cyprus and other far
flung coastal places as early as the Bronze Age. A visit to the nearby
Archaeological Survey of India Museum brings to light some interesting
finds from the sea.
spent considerable time at Dwarka we now move to Porbandar, 120
kilometres southeast and the next destination in the Saurashtra Darshan tour. It is a well-known name associated with Gandhijis
birthplace and the precise spot is marked with a swastika. Adjoining
this building is Kirti Mandir, which is a small museum that recreates
the life and times of Gandhiji. On the sea front one can admire the
Maharajas Hazur Palace and watch the cargo ships and fishing
boats float by. Night halt is arranged at Toran Tourist Bungalow.
Our next port of call is Somnath. The Chorwad Palace Hotel loomed
dramatically silhouetted like a postcard cliché against the
setting sun. Though not a part of our itinerary, this hotel was the
summer palace of the Junagadh Nawabs, built in 1928. It reflects the
colonial style through its huge, high ceiling suites; brass bedsteads
and elegant corridors well ventilated by the sea breeze. On reaching
Somnath the tour diverts to Sasan Gir and thereby another unspoilt
beach at Ahmedpur Mandvi remains off route. The Samudra beach resort
at this place offers various water sports facilities like the
speedboats and water scooters amidst ethnic surroundings.
The third day Saurashtra darshan excursion is livelier which begins with the Somnath
Temple. As the name suggests it was built in gold by the Moon god
himself. The lust of gold weighed heavily on the minds of free booters
who despoiled it time and again The foundation of the present temple
was laid in 1951.Remains of the earlier temple can also be seen at the
backyard of the temple. This temple is dedicated to Shiva and it has
one of the 12 sacred jyotir lingas making this place a popular pilgrim
point. Five kilometers from Somnath is the fishing port of Veraval
where dhows are still constructed and used for fishing. Another
deserted seaside palace of the Junagadh Nawabs can be seen at Veraval,
next to the Toran Tourist Bungalow.
¤ Visit Sasan Gir Wildlife
The remaining part of the day is spent in exploring the rich flora
and fauna at Sasan Gir, home to the Asian lion.
Its other inhabitants include langur, leopard, hyena, sambar, chital,
nilgai, chowsingha, chinkara and wild pigs. However tourists are more
concerned with the lion, which closely resembles its African cousin.
Sighting a lion becomes easier with the assistance of the tracker and
guide. Evening is approaching and soon the lions will disappear into
the thicket and so do tourists. Lion Safari Lodge and Forest
Department Guesthouse are the only two options for the night.
fourth day is spent in exploring Junagadh, a sprawling city at the
base of the fabled Mount Girnar, the highest peak in Gujarat.
The best place to begin with is the old citadel of Uparkot, which was
once the stronghold of the Mauryans, in the third century B.C. Dating
back to the days of Ashoka are the rock cut Buddhist caves.
Next to the medley of caves are the two interesting rock cut wells,
Adi Chandi Vav and Navghan Kua, deemed to be one of the five precious
possessions of Saurashtra.
Other interests include the two cannons, Nilam and Chudanal, which
continue to be well positioned on the hill. Cast in Egypt in 1531,
they were left behind by the Turkish Admiral who had come to assist
the Sultan of Gujarat against their common enemy - the Portuguese.
Ashoks famous Rock Edicts are engraved on the rounded granite
boulder, preaching his missionary zeal and the lessons in piety and
compassion. Later rulers added two subsequent epigraphs and they
record the repairs done to save the adjoining Sudarsana Lake, which
has been well looked after by a chain of kings through ages. Mount
Girnar is home to 16 Jain temples at different heights, the oldest
ones being on the top, namely Naminatha and Mallinatha.
¤ Durbar Hall Museum
Until recently walls and gateways surrounded the city of Junagadh but
now they have given way to the expansionist urge of the people. Durbar
hall Museum is worth a visit for its memorabilia. Junagadh was a
princely state and when the Nawab went over to Pakistan his property
was attached by the government and so various buildings of the Nawab
are now grand government offices. Two of the mausoleums of the
Junagadh Nawabs and their families are well worth visiting for its
unusual cluster of domes and extraordinary minaret with spiral
¤ Shatrunjay Temples
Later in the afternoon the tour turns to Palitana where there is
sufficient time to rest and recuperate for the next days uphill
affair with Shatrunjay hills - perhaps most dramatic - worth saving as
a climax to a holiday. Much before dawn everyone is prepared for an
assault of 3282 stone steps rising to 600 meters. The steps are easy
and an average person (reasonably fit) can manage the ascent in 75
minutes, but affluent looking visitors find themselves at the centre
of a swarm of doli bearers who, for a modest price, will carry the
pilgrim or the tourist to the top and down again.
Thousands of years ago, so goes the legend, a Jain priest who could
fly and a disciple who could create gold founded a glorious sacred
city on the crest of a mountain. They called it Shatrunjay, which was
to become the Jain's holiest pilgrimage with 863 shrines dating back
to the 4th century A.D. These shrines are half palaces, half forts
with their sculptured shikharas spearing the skyline. The hills are
sacred because of the several sages who are believed to have attained
Nirvana here and hence called the abode of enlightenment.
¤ Lothal--The Excavated Remains of Harappan Settlement,
Before the tour terminates at Ahmedabad, the last point of our
interest is Lothal, the excavated remains of an ancient Harappan
settlement, rendered almost comprehensible by a good museum. Back to
Ahmedabad one can amble leisurely and explore the city. It may take no
less than four days to acquaint oneself with the numerous mosques. Not
to be missed is the grand Jama Masjid in the heart of the city, Sidi
Sayyids mosque is noted for its exquisite jali work while Sidi
Bashirs mosque is famous for its shaking minarets, museums
especially the Calico Textile Museum and the Vishala Utensils Museum.
Sarkhej is an ideal architectural complex where a number of medieval
tombs are located in the vicinity of the Sufi saint who predates the
foundation of Ahmedabad. Gandhi Ashram is an excellent photo gallery
chronicling Gandhis life and has a regular son et lumiere
presentation. Once impressive exhibit is the photograph of Gandhis
earthly possessions - sandals, dhoti, glasses and a food bowl!
Ahmedabads famous step wells are Dada Harir Ki Vav, 20
kilometers off is the most picturesque Adalaj Vav and still further,
at Patan, one is impressed by the ruins of Rani Ki Vav.
- A four night, five-day package tour is conducted by Gujarat
-The tour commences every Friday from Ahmedabad and concludeslate in
the evening on Tuesday.
-Tariff is Rs. 15,000/- per person on twin sharing basis. The fare
includes night accommodation but not meals but canteens are available
at all halting points.
- Night halts are at Dwarka (Toran, Dwarka Tourist Bungalow),
Porbandar (Toran, Porbandar Tourist Bungalow), Junagadh (Hotel
- Bookings can be made at Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited,
H.K. House, Ashram road, Ahmedabad - 380009.
TCGL regional offices at:
A-6 State Emporia Building,
Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi - 110001.
Dhanraj Mahal, Apollo Bunder,
Mumbai - 400039.
Narmada bhawan, C Block, Indira Avenue,
Vadodara - 390001.
During the summer months an additional tour is conducted
thatcommences on Thursday and concludes on Monday. During the monsoons
the tours are discontinued.