Our plan for the day was to reach Somnath.
After having our breakfasts, (I had batata poha, but it was not as good as the one I had in Rajkot), we started to Somnath.
It was a roughly 2 hour drive to Porbandar from Dwarka. On the way to Porbandar, we saw lot of birds flying in the sky in formations!(Is it because Gujarat is nearer to Ocean? I ventured a wild guess that the birds were migrating.)
There are a number of windmills near Dwarka and saw them once again enroute Somnath.
As we entered the city of Porbandar, I saw terracota pots with beautiful designs. We didn’t buy any, because flying with them to Hyderabad seemed a stupid idea.
Our Innova driver avoided taking us to Sabarmati Ashram, but he was of the opinion that Gandhi’s ancestral home should not be missed! So he dropped us off near Sudama Temple, Porbandar.
Taxis are not allowed near the Gandhi home. Though it is said to be a city, the roads in Porbandar are very congested and reminded me of a small town in Andhra Pradesh, called Amalapuram, which happens to be my mom’s town.
From Sudama Temple, where we were dropped off, we took an auto to Gandhiji’s home. The auto-wala demanded 150 rupees for a simple 5 minute drive! (Sheer waste of money, but he waited for us outside the building to take us back to the temple)
The auto-wala took us to the Gandhi home through very small streets, where only a single car can go at a time. On either sides of the road, there are many shops of agarbattis (incense sticks), jewellery shops and so on. To help ease the traffic, the rule the locals follow is to open shops on one side in the morning and then the open shops on the other side in the evenings.
The sarees worn by the local women were eye catchy! Their blouses were vibrant and now I know who was the inspiration behind Madhuri Dixit’s iconic Didi Tera Dewar Diwana blouse from Hum Aapke Hai Kaun.
We reached the Gandhi residence which is now a museum.
Photos of Gandhi, Nehru and other freedom fighters are filled in the museum, including photos of Gandhiji’s childhood till his death. (I am not much of a history geek, so I was bored after a point of time).
I loved one particular photo. It shows the bond between a grandson and his grandfather.
Once I came across this doors, I was eager to see what was behind it.
After we were done with the museum, we returned to the auto-wala, who took us back to the Sudama Temple.
We went inside the temple and there was nothing worth seeing! Only a cardboard life size photo of Sudama.
The small garden in the temple premises was being used like a park. I saw some young students taking pictures. They had one pair of goggles with them, which they kept rotating among themselves to take photos!
There was one statue of Sudama hugging Krishna in the park and we took a pic near it.
From Sudama’s temple, we started out for Somnath.
On our way to Somnath, we stopped at a Gujarati restaurant and had our first Gujarati thali. (We had been thinking of ordering a thali to see how the Gujarati cuisine tastes like, but never got a chance till then.) The butter rotis were awesome, even the curries were very good. Either buttermilk or lassi is a staple in the local menus and we had buttermilk and Mr.Bee had his favourite sweet lassi again.
After the meal, we bought local made ice cream by Amul, which was very good. (On our way to Beyt Dwarka, our taxi driver, our unofficial guide, showed us TATA salt headquarters.)
As we proceeded to our destination Somnath, we played ‘movie name Anthakshari’. (If there are two teams, one team starts the game with a movie name and the other team has to come up with a movie name starting with the last letter of the previous movie name. Almost like Anthakshari, except we don’t sing here, but just say the movie names out, loud. Best choice of game if you have lots of introverts around you or have reallly lazy folks or just need a new game! 😛 )
We reached Somnath by 4 p.m. Since we had a car at our disposal, we didn’t bother booking a room near the temple. Anywhere within 2-3kms was o.k. with us. While we had our afternoon tea, we planned our itinerary for the rest of the day. (Ra.One was being telecast in one of the channels. Coming to the movies on t.v., I observed that lots of telugu movies were dubbed in Hindi and being telecast in Gujarat. I never knew they were so popular. Almost every public place had a telugu dubbed movie on their t.v.)
We visited the Gita Mandir,where the pillars are inscribed with verses from Bhagavad Gita. Triveni Sangamam, where the boats taking to the main spot are not available after 6:00 p.m. We missed our boat by 5 minutes. Near the Sangamam, we saw lots of sea gulls and Baby Bee enjoyed watching so many birds at one place!
From Triveni Sangamam, we reached the Somnath temple and as luck would have it, it was a Monday and the rush of people near the temple can make even the most accustomed pilgrim, scared! After the security checks, depositing cells and footwear at the stands etc, we proceeded inside and spent almost 2 hours inside the temple, because the light show in the temple is not to be missed.
By the end, Baby Bee was very cranky and during our last minute shopping, I bought some very beautiful and easy – on – the -purse kurti and waist coat. (It is purchases like these that make any woman happy and even a QueenBee is no exception!)
After our shopping, we went to have our dinner. I ate jeera rice and mushroom pulav, which were awesome. Even the baby corn starters were to-die-for kind! I also had sweet and salt lime soda which was fantastic for gulping down the pulav!
The hearty dinner was the perfect end to a perfect day.
1. I love the fact that the temple gopuram differs in almost every state. In Telugu speaking states the gopuram is less colourful than those in Tamil Nadu. The gopuram from the North is very different from South. Makes me appreciate the kings a lot. We don’t find such variations in any other religious structures around the world.
2. I love visiting old structures and trying to guess how they were constructed,(owing to me being a Civil Engineer and all). So stuff like History does take a back seat. Doors , windows and secret passages are more intriguing than who ate dinner with Gandhiji on 1940 January 10th. (This is a clarification to people who may be offended by me being bored at the museum) By the way, the door which says Birthplace of Gandhi made me wonder what was really behind it. I would have given away my hard earned 100 bucks to find out! 😛
3. Small towns have their own charm. Even-though the narrow roads and duplicate Amitabh Bachchan poster that I found in Porbandar were far from idealistic, I found peace in the Sudama temple. It somehow touched my heart. Even in the hustle bustle, it brought back lots of memories and the surprising thing is I don’t know what memory was triggered by the temple! It was a deja-vu moment.
4. The restaurant, (sadly, the name is well hidden in my memory to be recalled at a short notice) which hosted us in Somnath is the best. The food is excellent and I can never forget it in a hurry! If you are looking to have lime soda, instead of just having only salt or only sugar, add a pinch of both sugar and salt. It tastes better that way!
5. Ever heard of ugly sweaters? They are very popular in the US and I have one, which I love the most. check them out here.