Prime Minister Visits Saputara

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is fond of touring all around India and the world. Now, when a VVIP of his stature visits a place, security personnel don't allow others to be around. The place would become deserted and reserved for him only. So was the case when we - Dr Vijaybhai Desai, his wife Minaben, my wife Dr Bhavana, and I - visited Saputara last weekend on 19-21 March 2021. The whole place was appearing reserved for us - because almost all the hotels, restaurants, and tourist sightseeing places were empty, without many people around, making us experience a VIP status - something rare to find.

Here is how it all happened. My friend Dr Vijaybhai Desai could manage to find out a garden-like farmhouse with a bungalow in the centre of Saputara. Four of us - the two couples - were planned to stay there, accompanied by the staff on duty to serve us only! While wandering all over the town, we could not count even twenty people in all. The dining places, markets, and all places were lonely. The privacy there was never to happen again. The Corona episode extending for more than a year now made this happen - certainly surprising and exciting as well. Nobody to disturb and nobody to accompany as well!

Now let me tell you the story of Saputara. The word 'Sap' (સાપ) in the Gujarati language means 'snake'. The place had many roads having curvilinear track like snakes. There were also snakes found in the area in plenty. Hence the place became to be known as Saputara - the home for the snakes. The hill station is situated ~1000 metre (~3280 feet) above sea level, on the Vansada-Waghai-Nashik highway. Roads are certainly praiseworthy and not very steep to make you tense while driving. Well, your driving skill and good vehicle condition are a must for going to the Sunrise, Sunset, and Tableland points. Just relax and be cautious, nothing is worrisome.

What did we do all three days? Without writing a detailed tour diary, let me summarise it - free unplanned wandering, playing cards etc. games, eating, sleeping and shopping! I am sure you may not have played the 'snakes and ladder' game recently! Getting down again and again because of the snakes on the board while playing is depressing to the extent, Minaben and I opted to leave the game halfway!

The first day we tried Sunset point. They have unnecessarily put the barricades to stop you halfway. We, the seniors with little desire to climb the steep hill, opted for a motorcycle ride - a thrilling and pleasing experience. The cloudy atmosphere does not allow you to see the sunset properly. But we were excited to enjoy at any cost - cycling, jokes, laughing and photography made the evening pleasant. Our way of enjoying attracted a young Vora couple who could not but praise us all. An ideal way to reach sunset point is via ropeway. But sometimes ignorance unknowingly helps to have more fun.

The next morning, our enthusiasm to see the sunrise made us wake up at 5:30 AM to reach the place before 6:35 AM - the time of sunrise! The road is good and wide, but steep enough to lose your driving confidence. If you are not confident about your driving skills and vehicle efficiency, better avoid experimenting here. But once you reach here, pleasure is all yours! Multiple hills and deep enough valleys make the scenery worth experiencing. The beauty of the rising sun is better experienced than told. Our mannerisms and flowing love attracted a Maharashtrian family from Baroda - Ravi, Hetal, and daughter Ahna! Their good gesture reciprocation made us be with them for a while.

The government of Gujarat has built great infrastructure in and around Saputara to make your visit enjoyable! To maintain your curiosity to visit Saputara, I will skip the details of the sightseeing points like step garden, rose garden, centrally situated lake with boating facility, paragliding, and multiple temples all around. I must tell this for alcohol lovers, the Maharashtra border is just a kilometre away at Hatgarh - if you wish to enjoy your drinks at a bar, restaurant or wineshops.

Hetaldidi's Tejashwini Ashram at Vesuna near Shivarimal

Saputara is situated near Ahwa, in Dang district. Dang has a thick forest, Adivasi community people, and recognized Kings of India receiving pension even today! Dangs have many beautiful places to see like Kilaad, Mayadevi, Mahaal forest, Pandav caves, Shabaridham, Pampa Sarovar to name a few. We started our Saputara tour by visiting one such place: Tejaswini Ashram of Hetaldidi at Vesuna, near Shivarimal. Hetaldidi developed this spirituality concept-based residential place with stay, food, prayers' place arrangements. Around 60 people can stay in airconditioned special rooms and/or dormitory at Rs. 600 per day, inclusive of all offered facilities. The road to the Ashram is a 5 km single-lane road with steep hills and acute curves. My friend Dr Vijaybhai Desai happened to have a new car, managed to drive through this difficult road and made us reach this destination. Hills and valleys make a scenic view worth visiting.

Now, let me conclude the long story short - the Tableland of Saputara is a must-visit. People who have visited the Table Point in Panchgani (near Mahabaleshwar) will have a similar feel here. A big area of flat land with a steep valley and a view of the whole of Sapuatara below is a photogenic place - it is a never-to-forget pleasant experience! Ropeways here carry you to the sunset point. Motorcycle ride, bicycle experimenting, horse ride and/or silent valley view with a walk are multiple options to enjoy here.

If you have three days' vacation, that should suffice to explore and enjoy Saputara. Some think, just a day tour with sightseeing and return the same evening is also enough. The choice is yours! Saputara welcomes you now and always. 

 -- Map directions to Saputara

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  1. It was really great experience to visit Saputara and Glad to meet to you and spend quality time.

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