We leave Surat in the afternoon with a plan to sleep at Navsari after covering a couple of places on the way along the coast. The first place we drive to is a popular beach named Urbat.
The beach is quite good but dirty as most of the beaches in Gujarat are.
The next place is not far away. It is at the opposite side of Urbat in the peninsula jutting into the sea. This one is called Borsi has a Lighthouse ( called Borsi-Vasi Lighthouse) and a fishing harbour. The Lighthouse design is quite interesting. One can see the staircase all the time. Yes, one can go up the top but the stairs are slippery after the rains and the persons in-charge advised us not to do so as it could lead to accidents.
The fishing harbour is walking distance from the Divadandi. The boats are on their way in. Fisher folks are busy in their activities. This is not the high season but that will start shortly. They do get a variety of fish and prawns. The place across the creak is Valsad.
planned we get to Navsari at the end of the day. Finding a hotel was not difficult. We decide to stay here and explore the places around. The next morning, we proceed to Dandi the place made famous by the ‘Salt Satyagraha’, led by Mahatma Gandhi and an important event in India’s freedom movement. Reaching Dandi from Navsari or from anywhere else needs travel through these overgrown thorny Babool trees. This is a feature of many of the village roads along the sea coast.
Dandi has quite a good beach with some afforestation for company courtesy Gujarat Forest Department. Cows go there for their morning walk.
The place for prayers and Gandhiji’s statue is well-maintained.
Saifi illa where Gandhiji stayed the night prior to the event is well maintained and has a permanent exhibition of photographs and some articles of the time.
One interesting thing the caretakers told us is that the actual act of defying the tax on salt imposed by the British Government took place at the doorsteps of the Saifee Villa. This implies that the sea or at any rate the place where salt was extracted was close to the Villa. Now it is about a kilometre away. This phenomenon is observed at many places. At some places the sea has receded like here and at some other places it has gobbled up land. We can see many places along the Gujarat coast (including near the Dwarka temple) where a lot of money is spent by creating embankments to prevent this.
On the way back from Dandi we miss our way and go into wrong direction to reach a village to witness a prawns harvesting activity at Samapore.
The prawns are harvested once in two years and our visits coincided with one of those.
The prawns are large in size and are destined for the big cities and for export market after processing. These are captive bred prawns and not form the sea/creek.
A small distance away, this man is hunting crabs by the creek.
We get back to Dandi again and go to Bhutsad Lake. The area around this small lake has plenty of birds, butterflies, insects and plant species.
The next place we visit near Dandi is called Onjal. There is nothing much at this place except that it has a Lighthouse. No, you cannot visit it now. Come at 4 in the evening.
The rates for visitors are displayed.
But this appears to be a permanent fixture on the gate.
21st & 22nd September 2016
Posted on 27th Sept.