Saputara - A Serene Heaven Where God Once Lived

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 24 Jun 2018 12:01:28


 

By DR RASHMIN DESHMUKH,

I t is everyone;s fanciful dream to have a glimpse of heaven once in lifetime. And if you truly wish to experience the fancy of being in the Lord's real living place, I earnestly recommend youatrip to this pristine and peaceful paradise. Saputara is the only hill station in Gujarat near Maharashtra Gujarat border.

It is located in Dang district of Gujarat on Surat-Mumbai highway. It is believed that Lord Ram spent eleven years of his exile in this region. Saputara (meaning Abode of Serpents) is a small hill station beautifully carved in Sahyandri ranges at an elevation of 1000 Meters. In spite of the fact that it is nearest out of state hill station for the majority of Maharashtra Saputara often misses our travellers; itinerary.

Saputara receives lot of tourists from Gujarat but only few people from Maharashtra have explored it. Being regular visitors to Nashik to my Granny’s place, we had always heard about Saputara’s splendour, but never visited it. This time we made it a point to actually visit it.

Saputara is around 80 kilometres from Nashik just less than 2 hours journey by road. Thus by road it is approximately just 250 kilometres from Mumbai and 290 kilometres from Pune. Nashik isjust under eleven hours journey from Nagpur(650 kilometres) by train and good numbers of trains on Mumbai route are available for Nashik. Plenty of taxis and traveller buses are available from Nashik to Saputara.

Nearest Airport from Saputara is Surat Airport (156 kilometres approximately), nearest railway station is Waghai (50 Kilometres approximately). We started for Saputara early morning from Nashik. As we moved ahead towards Saputara along the soft brushing breezes from Sahyandri hills, the visual treat of elegant Grape and Strawberry farm was simply sumptuous. Fresh Grapes and sweet Strawberries were available with road side sellers at reasonable rates all along the route. As we entered Saputara, we were stunned by an absorbing view- an elegant fountain, the splendid side view of Step Garden, an awaiting white silent lake, a beautiful backdrop of lush green hills.

Everything bathed in God’s yellow looked lovely. It was a ‘Eureka Moment’ for us having discoveredaserene heaven on this very earth. One can precisely perceive the busy Surat-Mumbai highway going very peaceful along the stretch of this God’s land. With our bellies quiet full after a lavish brunch we straight away began our sight- seeing. Most of the scenic points in Saputara are very near to each other barely atadistance of few Kilometres.The first place we visited was the Sunrise point. Though the Sun had already moved above our heads we got a wonderful view of scenic Saputara from this point. The vast misty valleys, high hills connecting the wide sky stretches, nature was silently sprinkling freshness around.

 

In the sunny and quiet surroundings we could distinctly hear low notes of traditional tribal music being played downadistant hill. Yes we were truly in nature’s lap at an altogether different place. We experienced an unalloyed joy in true sense. On way to Sunrise point is the Gajabhishek Jain Tirth a beautiful Jain temple with Dharmashala and Jain Bhohanshala where very good Jain food is available.

It isapious place with very positive vibrations, make sure you visit it. Near to it is a Paragliding point where one can experience the thrill of Paragliding. Moving towards to our next destination the Rose Garden we had a memorable experience of visiting the Girimata Catholic Church a serene place with tranquil surroundings so close to nature.

Rose Garden the most colourful garden in Saputara serves a floral feast for nature lovers which includeslarge varieties of fresh Roses and other flowers namely Marigold, Bougainvillea, Chrysanthemums, Canna lily. A tall and gorgeous Christmas tree in the centre of the garden attracts the attention of every visitor with its natural charm.

The Sarpa Ganga Udyan and The Step Garden are also other placesin vicinity which are worth visiting. The ‘Shram Yogi Yuvak Mandal’s Madhmashi Palak tatha Utpadan Kendra’ (Honey bees breeding centre) is a place nearby where you can witness Honey bees being bred, fed and stored under experts' guidance, the placards and posters here give you some very useful information about Honey bees. It was well past lunch time now and we were really hungry. We stepped in a famous local restaurant and relished Gujarati Thali with variety of wonderful Gujarati cuisines. For those who visit Saputara, don’t forget to taste the Nagali Rotla and the accompanying Aachar (pickle) which have traditional aroma and characteristic Gujarati flavour.

It is the speciality of this tribal land. The great taste of tradition of this land goes back to the time when lord Ram had a taste of Shabri’s sweet ‘pre-tasted Bers’ from the forests of this very region. Post lunch we visited the Saputara Museum which is nicely maintained by Department of Archaeology and Museums Gujarat State, Gandhi Nagar.The various displaysin the museum reflect the ancient and present tribal life of various tribes originating here these include the Kathodiya, Kotvaliya, Nayaka, Kunbi, Bhil and Warli tribe. The tribal museum exhibits various artefacts like ornaments, musical instruments, weapons, currencies, arts, crafts, of the local tribes residing here.

The fabulous Warli paintings displayed here simply refresh your, soul. It was a rare opportunity for us to witness outside the museum a tribal musician playing ‘Pavri’, a traditional musical instrument. Dang Darbar is a cultural festival held every year in Saputara in March and April which featurestraditional tribal dance and music. The fish aquarium, besides the Museum is also neatly maintained. The unique variety of fishes here from Singapore, Malaysia, United States are amazing to watch. Next we visited the Nageswar Mahadeo Temple which is a very old temple located in calm cool and green surroundings on way to the Sunset point. The sight-seeing in Saputara and surrounding region requires a period of two to three days. Accommodation is available at various hotels with room rent ranging from Rs. 2500 to 4000 per day.

Dormitories are also available for an economical yet comfortable stay. We tried to cover maximum spotsin ourshort tour. One such spot we visited briefly was the Echo Point where every time you may not hear a clear echo but you can get some quick clicks and beautiful pics. If you have more time to spend then there are many places nearby which you can visit like Gira and Girmal water-falls, Hatgarh fort, Maharshi Sadafaldeo Dandakvan Ashram. One can also enjoy forest fire camps in the nearby forests of this region.

The last ‘point’ of our tour was the Sunset point also calledTableTop Point being a flat table like surface on top of a hill called Governor's hill. This is a picturesque point where one can view the retreating Sun portraying nature's finest scenery. Nature is draped with its best shades here. Here we enjoyed the high and bumpy camel riding. One can also enjoy motor bike, bicycle, horse riding and also toy car riding here.

 

At the Saputara Adventure Park on this very hill nature adventurists can venture into a host of activities like Zip lining, Valley crossing, Tree walk, Paragliding , ATV Ride, Bouldering ,Wall climbing, Trekking, Hiking, Zorbing, Mountain Biking, Trail Running, Natural rock climbing, Archery, Ascending, Rappelling, Body Zorbing etc. The Cable Car ride on the sky high rope way was a very exhilarating experience.

Aride just costs rupees sixty two per person. From the cable car you have a spectacular view of Saputara town, with meditating Saputara Lake at the centre, the surrounding lovely valleys and the curvy roads coming in and out of Saputara. Soon we reached the Saputara Lake, and hurriedly boarded the row boat.

The sunset was an unforgettable experience, watching the orange ball disappear in the humble hills behind the lake as we sat in the row boat. Saputara is a real heaven with lavish lawns, foggy forests, elegant flowers, serene temples, silvery and muddy water falls, natural portraits. The best time to visit Saputara is from Octoberto February. It is a dreamland with pleasant weather and quiet harmonious environment, a land with an idyllic blissful aura.