How to plan a trip to the Statue of Unity?
In the year 2020, I started my first full-time real job in Vadodara, Gujrat, after completing my Master's in Public Health from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK. It was my first time staying or for that matter visiting Gujarat. Initially, It was a bit challenging for me to stay in Gujrat due to cultural differences, traveling feasibility, language, and food preferences. Gujarati spoken in Maharashtra is much different from the Gujarati spoken in Gujarat. You may not get delicious non-veg easily and everywhere. But definitely, the cities offer admirable vegetarian food. Also, the cost of living is cheaper than in my home town Pune. During my stay for 4 months in Gujarat, I did not miss a single opportunity to explore the places and try the food in Gujrat.
Every morning here starts with a savory and a bit heavy breakfast like dhokla, samosa, thepla, khakhra, etc. I enjoyed it initially for a week or two but after that switched to milk and muesli. However, one gets the most delicious dhokla, fafda, chaat, kacchi dabeli, Kachori, and many other Gujarati delicacies in Gujarat. I loved the Chinese samosa the most.
In Vadodara, I visited Laxmi Vilas Palace, Sur Sagar Lake, and EME Temple. Laxmi Vilas palace is huge and requires half a day to explore. To explore this historic property built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad 3, there is an entry fee. But it was completely worth it. It is a nice place for collecting a couple of clicks and making reels.
Laxmi Vilas Palace
Sur Sagar Lake is a city center and a peaceful place to spend a relaxed evening. Also, many foods and shopping options are available in the vicinity. You get all the local variety of food and clothes. We purchased a variety of beautiful dupattas and Chaniya cholis from this market. I often used to go for a walk at the lake site.
Sur Sagar Lake
EME Temple is in the military authority area. Quite a place and famous for its construction. I spent hardly half an hour there. However, Nilkanthdham, Poicha is a beautiful temple. I spent the entire day there. They also have a food court. Impressive architecture. However, this place gets crowded many times. It is similar to Swaminarayan Temple in Pune
In Vadodara, many bhurji points are famous, my two favorite points were Maji Sainik Omlet Centre and New Raju Omlet Center. Additionally, Rajasthan Ice Cream Parlour, which serves ice cream in unique flavors like Modak and Puran Poli, is a must-visit. However, I enjoyed the Alkapuri area the most for shopping and fancy restaurants. If you love eating healthy with delicious coffee and a lively ambiance, visit The Signature Brew in Alkapuri. Khadi Bhandars are all over and have a really good variety of khadi clothes. I bought many Khadi kurtas, they were super comfortable. It is possible that you will not find many meat options in Gujrat if you are a fan of eating meat frequently. However, Kathiyawadi khichdi, Kadhi, Khandvi, and Undhiyu are the must-try dishes.
During my stay in Gujrat, I had a chance to visit Anand and Gandhi Nagar. I spent just one day at each place. However, when I was in Anand I did not get a chance to visit the Amul Factory, however, I tried many Amul products which we do not find in Pune often. Also, I must say the sweets and other products made from milk were remarkable. The ‘Mawa Burfi’ was mouth-watering. I almost had half kg of burfi by myself. You can go to any sweet shop and find the same quality.
Gandhi Nagar is a grey city. Full of cement buildings, large roads, corporate offices, and Gujarat government offices. As I was there only for a day I did not get a chance to visit Akshardham.
My best trip was to the Statue of Unity, during my stay in Gujrat. Despite a lot of arguments regarding the cost of making the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, I supported its construction. must say it is a beautiful place to visit. This place is full of fun activities with the tallest statue in the world. I spent the entire day here — a clean and well-maintained place with a beautiful light show and fountain show in the evening time. The variety of plants and flowers in the garden around it is worth visiting. Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is a huge area to watch animals and birds. Also, water sports are available but we didn’t do them as it was sunny. If you are planning to visit this place in the summer make sure you keep yourself well-hydrated, apply good sunscreen, and cover your head. There are many food stalls available on the spread. Perfect spot for a picnic with family or friends. If you are visiting Gujarat this place should be on the list. Many shopping options are available to get a souvenir.
I also happened to visit some villages from the route of Narmada Parikrama. The bank of the river is clean and the water is clean, unlike the banks of the Ganga we visited in Kolkata and Rishikesh. After the tiring public interaction day, this was the spot to relax and enjoy the cold breeze.
Let us know your Gujrat visit experience in the comments below. Also, I am looking forward to attending Rann Utsav in the future. Feel free to drop your suggestions.
About the Author:
Dr. Priyanka Mohol [BHMS, PGDEMS & CC, DDHN, MPH (Scotland)]
Public Health Consultant & Community Nutrition Specialist