Route: Reliance greens (Jamnagar) -> Khambaliya -> Madhi -> Dwarka -> Nageswar -> Mithapur -> Okha -> Dwarka -> Highway 947 (Charkala)-> Khambaliya -> Reliance green
Bike: Honda Unicorn
Trip meter -> ~300 kms
Time: 7:15 Am to 5:30 PM
Places of interest:
- Beautiful beach of Madhi (also called Bechtel beach))
- Teerth sthal (holy city) of Dwarka
- Nageswar (supposedly a Jyotirling) & Gopi kund.
- Okha (one of the western most tip of India) & last/1st railway station
- Expansive salt lakes throughout the journey. Most amazing one seemed to be “Charkala” salt works on highway 947
- Island of Beyt Dwarka
- The region is heaven for Ornithologist, with some unique birds, which I have not seen in other parts of India.
- Debate over lost city of “Dwarka” also makes it interesting place for archaeologist & historians.
- Good quality roads, little traffic, wind mills, occasional salt lakes, coastline etc. on a winter day, is a perfect recipe of a pleasant drive.
- Fuel stations, both for vehicle & stomach are very few.
- Choosy foody people may suffer. In whole route, Dwarka is only place with certain options. Otherwise, it’s only “khakra & jalebi”.
It was my, what 20-odd trip to Jamnagar & I had hardly explored the region. This time I was on 2 weeks trip & so decided, will see all the places around. I borrowed Honda Unicorn from my friend (thanks Prakash R) & set on to Dwarka on a perfect wintery Sunday morning, around 7AM, alone. The 4 lane highway near Reliance mega refinery, gives way to 2 lane highway immediately after Essar refinery. But still quality of drive remains more or less same, as road was good & traffic, less. I filled bike tank with petrol & my tank with breakfast of fafra & jalebi. The NH-29 to Karunga is a bit boring drive, with dry arid region & scrub vegetation, with occasional wind mills.But right turn towards Dwarka near Karunga & suddenly view changes. Now, I was on NH 8E/6, which connects Dwarka & Porbander (birthplace of Mahatma Gandhiji). Few miles away from the right turn in Madhi beach. On one side of the road is beach & other side, huge salt lake, which makes a perfect place to stop & capture some photographs for memory & facebook. The beach also got a small, turtle egg laying place. Good part is, since there is no eating place, it looks like hardly any Indian visit here & so the place is very neat & clean. Interestingly, it is tagged as Bechtel beach in google map, which shows the no. of visitors Reliance gives to this place (Bechtel is Oil & gas DEC behemoth & is DEC contractor for Reliance Jamnagar refineries).The few benches on the beach (this is best thing I like in Gujarat…they have benches for seating, everywhere) makes a perfect chilaxing point. Although I wanted to stay for some more time, but the thought of reaching Dwarka before temple closing time, I started from Madhi beach with a resolution that, I will come back again here for a night camping. Madhi to Dwarka is ~25 kms highway running parallel to the coast. Few pics of beautiful Madhi beach:
So by 9:30 AM, I was in Dwaarkadheesh temple. After getting the darshan of lord around 10:15 AM (to my surprise, it was not crowded at all), I started exploring the place around the temple. Mobile phones, bags etc are not allowed inside the temple. The walkway to temple, seems to have been developed by Ambani family. The tiled walkway has got some 100 odd paintings depicting life of Lord Shree Krishna. Some decent infrastructure is provided around the temple, but as usual like any other Indian religious place, the place is bit dirty. There are again benches in Promenade behind the temple, a perfect place to see sunset. There are many more ancient temples, a hanging bridge over the (shallow) Gomti river, as it flows into the sea. But I was not that interested. So, after a stay of ~1hr, I started my drive towards Nageshwar. Here are few pics of Dwarkadheesh temple.
BTW, I did my research on Old Dwarka city (after returning from journey). I am convinced, that a great city (not the way it is not shown in some mythological serials. The serial is an artist depiction.) did exist 10,000 yrs ago & got swallowed by sea. It’s pity that our own govt has stopped exploration of our great history.
Back to travelogue, I started by 11:00 towards Nageswar temple, ~18 KMs ride from Dwarka. Some people, across India, believe it is a Jyotirling, one of 12 holiest places of lord Shiv. Nevertheless, I visited more as a tourist than a religious person. Luckily, even this place was not crowded and within few mins, I got darshan of Lord shiv’s jyotirling (It was inside a glass enclosure). The temple also had a big statue of lord Shiva. After savouring on coconut water, I started towards Gopi kund, where supposedly Lord Krishna took bath along with Gopis. Against my expectation, it was a very small (Indian) pond.
From Gopi Kund, I started towards Okha, with a resolution to reach one of the westernmost tip of India. The road seemed to be polluted with salt & also could be seen was Tata chemical factory of Mithapur. On way, also comes Arambhada, which it seems has a ship breaking & recyling industry.
Finally I reached Okha, the place I had heard all these years in train name “Puri-Okha express”. As I was in Okha railway station, I realized I was like ~2000 kms away from my hometown & ~50 hrs away, if I travel in Okha-Puri express. Okha, is the western most railway station on Broad gauge line & is connected by rest of India with number of long distance pilgrimage express.Both road & rail line terminates in Okha port, which also is gateway to island of “Beyt Dwarka”. Because of lack of time, I decided not to visit Beyt Dwarka. After few clicks of Western most tip of India, I started my return journey.
On return journey, I had my lunch in Dwarka and took highway 947 via Charkala , to reach Khambaliya. From maps, I always knew that this road is far from coast, but was surprised the moment I reached Charkala salt works. The salt lakes were like sea. There was no end to water, as far as I can see. Later, I figured out, actually they had channeled sea inside landmass, resulting in massive salt lakes. Those were last clicks of my day long tour & I reached Reliance guesthouse by 5:30PM.
It was good day long bike trip after almost a year. Now out of 4 teerth dham, I have visited 3 , with only “North Dham” Badrinath remaining. Interestingly, I have done all 3 in bike, hope to do 4th one in bike as well. JAI SHREE DWARKADHEESH. JAI SHREE KRISHNA.