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Old 19th September 2020, 02:28   #1
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Default A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh

2020 has been a year that gave a new meaning to the word Uncertainty. We were stuck inside our houses and cars at their respective parking spots. Work from home became the new norm and going on drives with our family members became an old one. However, one fine day, I was determined to break this monotony which made me think why not to visit a place that is wide open, is kind of a tourist attraction and the isn't way to far so the exposure time is limited. Additionally, I am gonna be taking a car so without lowering the windows, everything should be fine...!!
So I took out my tried and tested 17-year-old Alto which was very well sanitized by me just a couple of days back.

A sneak peek into the story ahead...!!
A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh-img_20200913_124425332.jpg

The Significance

Well for the people in and around Gujarat and parts of MP, we are quite aware of this name, however for the fellows who don't know, Pavagadh is a hill that was formed many million years ago due to a possible volcanic eruption. Usually, we see there is a range of at-least multiple hills side by side whcih is not the case here. It falls under the Vindhyachal range but visibly is a single high (really steep) hill that has another significance due to the presence of Kalika Mata Temple atop it. Devotees can be seen trekking through the old walkways on the hill. Cars or bikes can only take you halfway through, for the rest, there is a ropeway. If an enthusiast visits the place, they can even ditch ropeway to trek and many locals do so, however, neither did I nor any of my friends or family did so. If you want to enjoy visiting the temple, you need one whole day.

Further, the hills have a historic significance as well with multiple ASI certified tourist spots on and around the hill. More on this later.

For more details, you can visit the following link:,_Pavagadh
Since, we wanted to minimize the exposure time plus the crowd of people thinking COVID was over, we were definitely in no mood of visiting the temple.

Distance from Vadodara City: ~55 Kms (Base of the Hill) add ~3 Kms for additional place (One Way).

Time Chosen: 10:00 HRS (Sunday) (Yes the lazy person in me is writing this short piece of travlelogue after 6 days straight)

Edibles: Home-made Snacks and fruits which could be consumed on the Go.

Precautionary Measures: Masks on 95% of the time (Even in the Car), individual bottles of Sanitizers and a disinfectant spray. And it was already decided that under no circumstances anyone stepping out with people around the car and only biobreaks to be taken where no ones is around and there is ample greenery to soak your crime (Sorry about that but, couldn't help it, couldn't have afforded to enter public restrooms in these unprecedented times).

Now, in order to reach Pavagadh, you have to take a State Highway which is also called as Halol Toll Road (SH 87). This SH startes from Vadodara and ends in Godhra passing through Halol. Well, Halol holds a different place in the Indian Automotive scenario. When GM entered India in collaboration with Hindustan Motors in the 90s, it set-up its first plant in the Halol town which changed multiple hands over the years, finally falling into the Chinese pit of "Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) Motors", fondly hidden behind MG (Morris Garages).

Since 2017, private vehicles bearing GJ registration do not need to pay tolls on state highways anywhere around the state. However, before this, people used to state themselves as locals and sneak on to the main toll road. To tackle this problem, the officials came up with a solution on making small boundaries on the main road and provide a poor quality service road alongside.

The road is smooth, not butter smooth and filled with curves but, there is a heavy truck traffic which might not please everyone. Morover, the road has divider cuts in the middle from where people of all agegroups tend to come, sometimes without looking and traveling at an alarming speed.

The Route:

Once you are on the Halol toll road, it is kind of a straight forward way as you simply need to follow the road itself. Nearly 35KMs into the journey, the Pavagadh hill is visible however, I won't advise one to stop, remember, the narrow road filled with loads of truck traffic.
People living near mountain ranges might not be impressed with this but, here you go with one picture of the same:
A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh-3.jpeg

After driving for ~47 KMs, the toll road ends and traveling <1Km takes you to a round about from where a right turn has to be taken. You will be greeted to a scene like this:
A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh-4.jpeg

Leading to this gate whin a few Kms, marking your arrival into the territory :
"The Pandavas were actually leading us into the area in a WagonR."
A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh-9.jpeg

The road is well paved with proper barricade on the left for pilgrims who walk to the temple. It has so much of a religious belief that there is even a famous gujarati song fondly played during the renowned Garba season (Will be missed this year though). BTW, Vadodara is also called as "Sansakaar Nagri" and is the traditional capital of Gujarat. The United Way Garba is the largest in terms of size, population, & enhusiasm and famous around the world with some real talented artists taking part in the ceremony.

There are a few spots around the hill which can be and should be visited (only if you are keen about the history or like photography) by taking the only left you will encounter after travelling around 5Kms from the round-about. There is a 2 Historic places amongst which one is the Jami Masjid which was built in 1424 and the other one being Khajuri Mosque, both of which have been certified by the ASI. The latter has free entery while I am not sure about the price of the entry ticket for the former one.

Though I did not get down from the car near Khajuri Mosque, thanks to the crowd around, I did manage to find one photo from one of my previous visits:
A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh-5.jpg

So we drove a bit ahead to an open field, had some snacks. Just opposite to this lies a large lake in which, the water level remains low most of the time but monsoons. While returning from the open field ahead, I found a sweet spot where the Car could be photographed with the Lake and the Hill in the same frame. Later I realized that the sweet spot was actually a no parking zone hence, as soon as I got down, the costable started shouting. Realizing what the situation was, I requested him to stay calm as that I was leaving within a minute. Quickly took out my phone and clicked a few photos which, I think turned out to be great. I will let the pictures to the talking from here on:
A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh-6.jpg
A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh-7.jpg
A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh-8.jpg

Then we proceeded towards the actual hill drive and the rest of the drive was pretty much just about driving and enjoying. Driving on the hill needs caution not because of two things:
1. It is a steep climb (I swear, my 2015 Honda Jazz needs downshifting to 1st gear at multiple instances, which was not the case with Alto though, turn off the AC for an instant boost)
2. The public carrier jeeps are driven in an extremely rash fashion.

Well, the last photo of the trip was:
A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh-10.jpg

Some information about the Car:
2003 Alto LX Special Edition named Celebration edition
5Speed MT with 47HP 796 CC 3 Cylinder F8D
Odo Reading 487XX
The car has spent most of its life in Gujarat, was bought in Sibsagar, Assam and is nowadays spending its life in Pune with me (before Lockdown though)
I tried maintaining a steady speed of around 80Kmph and the car returned an efficiency of 18.6Kmpl under 100% AC on run and a few minutes of stationary AC operation and 10 kms of hilly drive.

This was my first ever travelogue, hope you guys have enjoyed it...!!
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Old 19th September 2020, 08:25   #2
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Default re: A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh

Short and crisp! Nice read for a weekend morning.
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Old 19th September 2020, 10:26   #3
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Default re: A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh

Originally Posted by Aish_4761 View Post
Khajuri Mosque
The architecture of the mosque looks quite interesting. Pillars don't look like typical mosque pillars.
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Old 19th September 2020, 11:54   #4
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Default re: A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh

Originally Posted by vagabond128 View Post
The architecture of the mosque looks quite interesting. Pillars don't look like typical mosque pillars.
AFAIK, the mosque was build in the 15th Century by Sultan Mahmud Begadha (1458-1511) A.D. Over time, the monument has suffered major damage owing to the environmental elements. However, since it has made it to the UNESCO heritage site list, steps are being taken to preserve what-ever we are left with.
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Old 23rd September 2020, 19:19   #5
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Default Re: A short & crisp drive to Champaner & Pavagadh

Wow! This reminded me of our trip to Pavagadh with family last year in October, coincidentally in my Alto LXi.

I so wished to take my Alto right up till Manchi (the base / ropeway station) but the time period being of religious significance, all vehicles were required to be parked at dedicated parking lots near Champaner bus station. And GSRTC buses carried us all the way to Manchhi from there (the frequency was really good - 2 to 3 buses every 10 mins).

The only regret from that trip was that I couldn't drive on these serpentine roads! (Pic attached for fellow BHPians).

Other regret being, I almost blew off my engine thanks to the temptation of driving my alto with 5 adults onboard and boot full of luggage, on NE-1 at speeds excess of 110 kmph constantly. Realised the coolant reservoir empty and the radiator almost empty when engine overheating light came up at Reliance / Honest on the Ahmedabad side, the car took approx 10 liters of mineral water and 2.5 hours.
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