A night in Polo Forest, Gujarat, on the bank of river Harnav surrounded by the beautiful Aravali range of mountains, made a perfect ambiance for me to experience the tribal culture of Gujarat. Polo Utsav showcased 10 dancers from the nearby adivaasi area dancing on Gujarati folk songs called "Garba". It was beautiful to experience this side of Gujarat in the chilly foggy night around a bonfire.
Polo Utsav gave a glimpse of Gujarat's culture though folks songs like Lagna-geets, Marasiyas; dances like Garba, Bhavani etc. The best part here was the lip smacking Kathayawadi food made by the tribals in the most authentic way.
About Polo Forest
Polo the name is derived from pol, the Marwari word for "gate," signifying its status as a gateway between Gujarat and Rajasthan. Its quick accessibility from the cities like Ahmadabad (160 kms) and Udaipur(120 kms) makes it a perfect weekend getaway to the people around.
Polo, also known as Mini Kashmir of Gujarat, is spread across 400 square km area. It is home to more than 450 species of medicinal plants, around 275 of birds, 30 of mammals, and 32 of reptiles.
Polo Tent City
A stay in Polo Tent City will fulfil the very purpose of synchronising yourself with nature in Polo Forest.
Situated on the banks on Harnav in Abhapur Gujarat, Polo Tent City's 36 Deluxe & Super Deluxe rooms are beautifully furnished with natural material.
Built circumferentialy, the extended deck from every room faces the open area, where the events of Utsav takes place. This place serves some authentic vegetarian food which one can enjoy with local culture, dances, songs, art and handicrafts. Those seeking the thrill can go on trekking trails, riverside walking and camel rides.
The luxury rooms might need to be conditioned with A/c & a room heater simultaneously over day & night with the fluctuating temperature. Comfortably spread wooden furniture, block printed curtains, cozy bed with all required amenities and lovely lanterns as a side lamps here give a feeling of living in a super luxurious hut.
Nature trail to Harnav Dam through Vanaj Forest Area
.A nature trail to from the Harnav river takes you to the reservoir of the river. On our dam journey we heard stories about the jungle and its residents like flying squirrel, grey hornbill, hyenas, wolves, sloth bears etc. from our guide. Some people in our group got thrilled & hopeful to spot them, but the sarcastic devil inside me told 'If I were one among those animals I would have been taking a royal nap after my sumptuous meal'.
We continued our uphill trek and as we climbed up we found a beautiful calm site in front of our eyes. Wherever the eyes could reach they just saw the picturesque beauty. The beauty of the stable blue sky; clear water of harnav which smiled with every gust of wind; the happy fertile land loaded with the trees; the ochre leaves which will sway away with time and give way to the new green ones to blossom.
In this breathtaking journey we spotted no species of animal, glad to know animals and me share the same sentiments.
A walk to the Jain Temple
The Jain Temple is one km walk from the dam. I took 60-90 minutes to walk this kilometre as I didnt want to leave the delirious forest soon. I was lucky enough to spot many migratory birds on the calmer side of river which was bound together with pavement. The other side was just the opposite, fearsome and fast.
You cannot miss small one feet linga of Shiva in the ruins of temple, situated in front of the entrance. My journey to witness the architectural marvel started from here. Built in 14th century by Parihar dynasty, main facade of Jain temple is surrounded by three small temple structures and a stepwell.
One can spend easily about 3-4 hours here admiring those intricate carvings.
Miraculous Gular Tree
After paying offering to my favorite Lord Shiva in Vireshwar temple and meeting the mysterious young baba in the temple we headed some 600 metre uphill wearing our investigative hat.
The investigator in all of us wanted to check the roots of this mysterious Gular tree which is said to be the source of the water, for Gupt Ganga, for all 365 days in a year. Local story says this place became a life saver & famous, in the drought which took 70 years back. People from 10 or more village used to come for water. It is famous not only for pumping water throughout the year but also for its medicinal power. This story was enough to make me jump in the valley to taste this divine water from the chute built on its root.
Historians say people came to Polo to hide whereas I explored the nature that helped me in removing the dust from my soul, caused by the busy life of city. I met some real heroes of life in form of Adivasis and their songs in my head remained as a autograph.
P.S. I was invited by Gujarat Tourism Board for this trip.
Pallavi Sharma had represented RavenousLegs on this trip. The post and the pictures are to her credit.
Namaste! I'm Medhavi Davda.
I travel to Evolve..
In Nature, I confide..
I find my calling in the Himalayas..
In the Oceans, I meditate..
A High-Altitude Trekker & PADI certified SCUBA Diver, I love exploring the heights and depths of the planet with my regular doses of mountains and oceans.
Discovering myself & life through nature, adventures, travels, sports and dance has been an addiction since my existence!
Quite fond of the natural & cultural diversity of India, I've travelled extensively in my own country before exploring international destinations.
I had left my 9+ yrs of career in Software Industry in a quest to make a living out of my passions. I packed my basics in my car (gave away the rest) and lived in different parts of Himachal Pradesh for 16 months. This invaluable time taught me to experience life from a broader perspective.
I'm currently living in Mumbai to work with an Adventure Travel company as a product manager for Scuba Diving. I continue living a minimalistic life.
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