A road trip amidst Mother Nature – Polo Forest of Gujarat
Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved Diwali – festival of light a lot and the main reason for this is my father. Of all the festivals, Diwali is the only one when Dad takes vacation for 5 days. He does take a leave on other festivals too, but those days he works on his phone. Diwali has always been different though.
This Diwali, Dad and I had gone out to get the lights and diyas and as we were walking through the narrow streets of the market he said something which took me by surprise. I had to ask him again just to make sure that I’d heard it right when he said, “Let’s plan a road trip.” Once the surprise wore off, I replied, “Baba, you never plan any trips, let alone a road trip.” My reply made him laugh out loud and he shrugged, “Well, I want to, this time. I was thinking about Mount Abu but we’ve already been there so you suggest something.” Now, I have a lot in common with my dad and the one that tops the list is the fact that we are not very outdoorsy. However, a couple of my friends had recently been to Polo forest of Vijaynagar Gujarat and they had told me to visit at least once. “Polo Forest”, I blurted but when dad asked me about the whereabouts of the same, I was clueless.
Polo Forest is a beautiful place located near Abhapur village and is about 140 km from Gandhinagar. It is a great weekend getaway for residents of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. It is still a largely unexplored and houses some of the oldest Hindus temples in Gujarat. We decided a date and invited my uncle to join us as well. To those of you who’re planning to visit Polo forest, there’s one travel tip I have – you will have to take your own food. You might get some chips and dal wadas but not a proper lunch/dinner. My mom got up early on the day of our trip, prepared lunch at 6 in the morning (talk about being a superwoman) and we hit the road around 7:30 am. Another useful travel tip is timing. The best time to visit Polo Forest is rainy season until early winters (June-November).
Polo Forest – Things we did
The thing about Polo Forest is you don’t need Google maps or any sort of sign to know you’re there. Surrounded by hills on both the sides, I couldn’t help but ask dad, “Are we there yet?” every 5 minutes. Not that I was not happy being in the car with music and amidst the hill. We reached our destination around 11: 30 a.m. Since I had forgotten to look up the places worth visiting, we decided to go where everyone else was going. It wasn’t a bad experience after all, just going with the flow.
The places over there don’t have names so I don’t exactly know where we were walking but it was like taking a stroll in a park with a tiny rivulet flowing by the side and some ancient ruins of Shiv temple. I must say it was a long stroll and we took quite a few stops to click pictures. Also, dad told me all about the mountains and that was the best part for me. We were tired of walking around and the scorching sun was urging us to take a break, so we found a spot under a huge tree where we could spread our mattresses and have lunch. Mom had brought aloo puri and khichdi. (P.S. My mom makes the best aloo puri).
After having lunch, I was so full that I could have slept under the tree but we were supposed to go and see Harnav river dam about 4 km north from camping spot. We drove uphill, visited the dam and ended our visit with an ice cream. The only annoyance about the whole trip was the lack of parking space but everything else made up for it. Nonetheless, I’d suggest take along someone who knows about the place and the must visit spots as I’m afraid we might have missed out on a few such as Lakhena temple and Jain temple.