Mumbai to Delhi : First stop Gandhinagar | Horn please, OK?

Mumbai to Delhi : First stop Gandhinagar

The Route :
Day 1 : Mumbai -> Gandhinagar
Day 2 & 3 : Gandhinagar -> Udaipur
Day 4 : Udaipur -> New Delhi

When : October 2014 | How far : 1500 kms | How long : 4 Days

Adalaj Vav, Gandhinagar

The route map

A swan song this was not going to be. Of that we were sure. 
We were moving to another country but we promised ourselves that we'd be back often enough to have regular posts up here. 

Packing up a house and life is an exhausting affair. It took us two whole days to get it all into 115 boxes. Stuff that couldn't go into boxes were coming with us by road to Delhi - stuff like a bottle of Soju, a bonsai plant, several suitcases of clothes and food from our fridge that we didn't have the heart to throw away. Oh and some birthday cake made by our dearest friend Maria

Day 1 : Mumbai -> Gandhinagar 
How far : 550 kms | How long : ~9 hrs 

Gandhinagar: Capital Cities

The 1500 kms from Mumbai to Delhi can theoretically be done in 2 days but we chose to cover it in 4, with stops at Gandhinagar and Udaipur. 

How much do you know about Gandhinagar? Be honest.
All we knew was that its the capital of Gujarat (yes, really) and its closer to Delhi than Ahmedabad. A stop over in Gandhinagar meant avoiding Ahmedabad city traffic, which we've heard is pretty bad, and a shorter drive to Udaipur the next day.

The route to Gandhinagar from Mumbai is via NH7 and is a smooth 9 hour drive. The only stop we made was outside Surat at a highway McDonalds- the last bastion of non-veg food, we thought but were wrong. 

Coincidentally we were driving in to Gandhinagar on Gandhi Jayanti which this year also overlapped with the last day of Navratri. Half expecting chaos and Garbha on the streets, we drove into the city tentatively.

Gandhinagar has a big city feel to it. Like a city someone spent time planning and not one that grew organically into a haphazard megapolis. And a city more in control of its emotions than most state capitals. Manicured, green swaths of land ran parallel to wide roads separated by verdant dividers and lush traffic islands. The roads still boasted zebra crossings and the pavements were freshly painted. All of it conveyed a sense of order. Some parts of the city reminded us of Lutyens' Delhi. But disappointingly, no street dancing.

Gandhinagar, Gujarat

Gandhinagar, Gujarat

We stayed the night at Fortune Inn Haveli, a comfortable and clean hotel and as our research showed, one of the nicer ones.  It helped that it was an ITC property. Our only piece of advice, stay away from the kebab platter. To be fair to them, who orders chicken in Gujarat during Navratri?

Fortune Inn Haveli, Gandhinagar

Adalaj Vav & the Kingdom of the Water Temples

Udaipur is a 5 hour drive from Gandhinagar. That meant we had enough time to go looking around for interesting things to do and see. This led us to the Adalaj Vav. 

Adalaj Vav, Gandhinagar

We've been fascinated by step wells ever since we laid our eyes on Rani ki Vav in Patan and this one did not disappoint. Adalaj vaav located 11 kms away from the city is a step well dating back to the 16th century. It was built by Ruda (wife of Vaghela Chief Virasimha) in 1499 AD during the reign of Mahmud Begda. And like so many other step wells in Gujarat, is incredibly ornate but unlike the others though, it still holds water. 

Adalaj Vav, Gandhinagar

This octagonal step well has 5 levels, each beautifully carved. There wasn't much literature at the site to explain the significance of the carvings but the figures and motifs depict a fusion of Hindu and Muslim architecture.

Adalaj Vav, Gandhinagar

Adalaj Vav, Gandhinagar

Adalaj Vav, Gandhinagar

Stepwells were built to provide water and doubled up as a place of rest for weary travellers and pilgrims. They were designed to tap in to the water table and provide fresh water. Many of Gujarat's step wells were made by queens who used the wells as a sanctuary not only from the oppressive heat but from the male dominated world that surrounded them. 

The step well is constructed in such way that direct sunlight doesn't enter the well as a result the temperature inside is said to be 6 degrees lower than the outside. Read more here

Adalaj Vav, Gandhinagar

Adalaj Vav, Gandhinagar

Adalaj Vav, Gandhinagar

The haunting beauty of the place makes it easy to conjure up images of queens and their handmaidens  gossiping, exchanging stories and letting their hair down in the seclusion of the step well. If you close your eyes, stand in front of the water and listen really hard you might just hear their laughs echo off the dilapidated structure surrounding you.

Stories from the entire trip
Day 1 -> You just read it
Days 2 to 4 -> Gandhinagar - > Udaipur ->Delhi

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Maria George said...

Lovely writeup. To many more travels!

Trip-a-doodle said...

Thanks Maria Maria! And to many more readers :D

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