Especially during this weather. It had rained, not much, but considerably well for greenery to erupt everywhere. We realized on the way that it has rained much more in the nearby villages and towns of Baroda.
Talking about the trip, it was one brave attempt by us four girls to travel alone to Sardar Sarovar dam which is a good 96 kms from Baroda. M’s Wagon R as our carrier, we left at 6:30 am on last Sunday, all sleep deprived but excited. Thank God for Google Maps, we easily find our way through all our mini adventures.
SH 63 was beautiful. The farms on both sides of the road had abundant greenery to please our eyes. The thick trees formed long arches making the road look grander than normal. And it kept drizzling. Had it not been for the drizzle, the road wouldn’t have looked as picturesque.
After we crossed Dabhoi, the uphill route started. The sights on both sides left me wordless. I had not expected such beautiful scenery – tiny waterfalls, rocky streams, palm trees, mountains fading into low hung clouds – this looked no less than an exotic hill station. We couldn’t keep ourselves from stopping several times in between to take photographs. There was anyway less traffic on the meandering roads.
I had almost forgotten the much-talked-about dam as I got lost in the natural beauty of the surroundings. As we passed the administration office (where passes need to be bought for visiting the dam) and approached the main area, I comprehended the crowd that awaited us at the main spot. Indeed, the parking lot surrounding the dam was full of buses, jeeps and cars messily marked. Cows and people of all kinds swarmed around the whole area noisily. It was a Sunday. And India. What else did I expect?
Corporate spoils you. You get used to air conditioned sleek offices that are cleaned three times a day by professional housekeeping staff. And then when you are required to find your place among the crowd in rainy, sticky, weather and walk around in wet mud, it is repulsive. For me, it was, because I am exceptionally finicky. But after a while, I just learnt to embrace and enjoy it. I stopped caring about my shoes and hair and enjoyed the water.
You get the first glimpse of the dam as you make a turn after security check. The steep road turns right and there you can see the overflowing dam in its full grandeur. The sound of the gushing water is loud and compelling. The water flows into a river beyond which are mountains half covered in clouds. I wish the crowd was less; it would have been a delight to sit on the wooden benches and gaze at these gifts of nature.
An interesting stall has been put up by Gujarat Tourism in the area. All the gems of Gujarat, little known or popular, are showcased here in the form of photographs. And because no outing in Gujarat is complete without food, some food stalls are also put up here where we had bhajiyas (Rains have to be accompanied by bhajiyas). Dry snacks, cold drinks and fresh snacks like poha, bread pakoda and khaman were also available.
There are several View Points created around the dam where you can spend some time looking at the dam and nearby lakes from different angles. We felt we had had enough of the crowd and decided to head downhill despite the curious, questioning (and often disapproving) stares given by official guards. We even heard one of them muttering – Itni jaldi?
But this was the best decision taken by us. As we drove downhill, the crowd vanished. There were no guards controlling our movement either. There was peace amid greenery. Thankfully, the rain had also stopped. We stopped several times and strolled around, soaking in the magnificence at our pace. As we came back to the base, we passed several lakes and tiny waterfalls where people had stopped either for photographs or for vaghela makkai (boiled corn).
Though I dislike rains, I realized this locale wouldn’t have been as impressive otherwise. The trees, mountains and greenery look stunning only when they are washed over by mist or rain. Moreover, the splendour of the dam is visible only in this season.
A very satisfying experience, indeed.