World Heritage City – Ahmedabad

Almost 4 months of a gruelling schedule and a chance to getaway for a couple of days, brought me to Ahmedabad in June 2019.

I had decided to travel by train this time as Ahmedabad is only a night away from Mumbai. Isn’t it amazing that you board the train, have a good night sleep & when you wake up in the morning, you are in your destination city?

My family roots are in Kutcch, a district in Gujarat but barring a visit couple of decades back, I haven’t been there and it is such a shame. Because Gujarat has a rich history and places which I would love to see & explore.

From my first visit to Vadodara & Ahmedabad, being the foodie I am, I vividly remember, the bhakarwadi, fulwadi & the spicy aloo subji & poori lunch we had in Ahmedabad ST depot canteen and of course the amazing sukhdi prasad of Mahudi!

Back to the present (or maybe the recent past), I boarded the train Thursday night & reached early Friday morning. I crossed the Mehmadabad junction & Manipur station – about which I had read in the Gujarati novels. The Leaning Tower of India (Jhulta Minara) are right next to Ahmedabad railway station. Since I was a bit tired after the train journey, I didn’t explore the place. On my way to the hotel, what amazed me was Nashta house peppered across the city! Side note: Travelling within the city is easy with Ola autos available & I checked the fare with the normal auto drivers (most don’t ply on meter) & there wasn’t much of a difference. Getting a public transport at night is a challenge though.

I had planned to go to the Auto Museum on the first day as it was the biggest attraction for me. I have a special love for Vintage Cars! First stop was Vishala for lunch. I had heard a lot about the food – but sadly they do not serve Thali for lunch, only for dinner so I had some Puri Shaak but no match to the one I had at the ST depot years ago :p

The ambience of Vishala is amazing though. It feels like you have entered another world & the surprise find was Vichar – Utensils museum – I really enjoyed looking at all the different types of utensils of yore – specially the opium “kharal” (mortar)

Next Stop – Auto Museum

One of the biggest personal collections of vintage cars, bikes, buggies and utility vehicles, Auto World is a delight for those who love wheels. Amongst the 300 plus menu of mechanical extravaganza, some noted ones stand out; the car that was used in the movie Gandhi and the first May Bach ever made. Visitors can also find rare and wonderful assemblage of vehicles including a Bentley, Lagonda, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Austin, Jaguar, Mercedes and Auburns.  The 1923 Rolls 20 HP with a typical shooting brake-body by Barker is one of the most fascinating cars from the Rolls Royce cache. The museum has also found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for this amazing collection. Pranlal Bhogilal started the Auto World Museum in his private estate of 2200 acres, Dastan, in 1927, and earned the Guinness Book of World Record listing in 1987 as the owner of the world’s largest private garage. An enthusiast for many years, Bhogilal collected over 204 cars of which 105 are in Ahmedabad. He ensured that all cars were in running condition. Pranlal Bhogilal passed away in 2011 at the age of 73. It is said that in 2006, Ulrich Schmid-Maybach of the illustrious Maybach family flew down to Ahmedabad from Germany to convince Pranlal Bhogilal to sell him a 6-cylinder Maybach that was designed by his grandfather. Bhogilal refused to part with this treasure. (From Gujarat Tourism website)

The entrance of museum is just astounding with a garden, peacocks and squirrels running about and lush greenery. It also has a kids park and a restaurant. The museum also houses the statue of Pranlal Bhogilal. They also offer a ride in the vintage cars for a price.

I had a ball of a time ogling at the gorgeous vintage cars and bikes. The goat cart was absolutely adorable!

Next day started with going to the Hathisingh Kesarisingh Derasar (Jain Temple) – My dad had recommended. Co-incidentally my dad’s name is Kesarsinh :p The Kirti Stambh near the entrance is just magnificient!

Sidi Saiyyad Mosque is known for it’s lattice work windows and known as Sidi Saiyyad ni jaali. The latticework is also inspiration of the logo of IIM Ahmedabad. As I was trying to photograph the latticework, I was shooed away saying women are not allowed in mosques (why this discrimination, why?)

I was famished by then anyway & thinking what to do next – There came a rickshawala to my rescue asking me where did I needed to go – I told him take me where I can have a good breakfast *insert giggle emoji* He took me to the famous Chandravilas restaurant (God bless his soul), from where apparently Amitabh Bachchan also orders breakfast when he is in town. I ordered for a breakfast platter so that I could taste everything – Batata wada, Gota, Khaman, Jalebi & Fafda, washed down with hot milky tea! This was no less than Food for the Gods ๐Ÿ˜€

Sabarmati Ashram – Was one of the many residences of Mohandas Gandhi. It is built near the banks of Sabarmati river. It’s an opulent and a very charming place. It is interesting definitely as a huge part of Indian history. Lots of political meetings must have been conducted here!

Sarkhej Roza was a surprise find, not heard about it anywhere. It’s a mosque and tomb complex & you can’t wear footwear inside. It was afternoon and feet scalding hot – I couldn’t bear it much & rushed outside only to find that my shoes had become burning hot too! There is a Sarkhej Mahal as well & the backside view has a garden so I had a glimpse of the structure while cooling my feet & my shoes.

Usually when I am on my solo trips, I do not post on Social Media but this time I knew that I wouldn’t be able to post anything after I get back to the grind due to lack of time (Reason I have not been blogging for years now) Thanks to the photos posted, my sister in law came to know I was in Ahmedabad. They were also going to be in Ahmedabad for the weekend so had an impromptu meet planned & thanks to them I got to visit Manek Chowk, for food bingeing! The chocolate cheese sandwich was yuck but the Ghotala Dosa was super yummy (not at all healthy though)

Modhera Sun Temple – Situated 4-5 hours away from Ahmedabad, it is one of the most beautiful temple complex and an example of great architecture of ancient India. No worship is offered in the temple today & the complex is maintained by ASI. It is quite a peaceful place.

Adalaj Stepwell – Rudabai ni vav (vav being stepwell) also known as Adalaj ni vav (since it is in Adalaj) is another architecture marvel. Popular spot nowadays for pre wedding shoots, it is ruined by the pigeons (foul smelling)

Trimandir, Adalaj – All Gods in one place is the concept behind this beautiful complex. Similar complex is being built behind National Park, Mumbai

Creepiest place I have ever seen – A tea shop built over a graveyard! I felt creepy even while taking the pic – how do people manage to eat & drink here? No respect for the dead?

To wash off the creepiness – I went to Agashiye (literally on the terrace) a luxurious fine dine Gujarati Thali – Expensive but the food was worth it! It’s a beautiful hotel & houses a sort of museum of ancient textiles, etc. I would love to stay there overnight one day!

Ending the trip with a bang, what say? Did some shopping for lovely mukhwas in Manek chowk – Do try the keri ni gotli no mukhwas – It was the most amazing purchase. I did want to take home fulwadi – Das Khaman had the yummiest but only a little bit was left over. I also tried the khamni & it was simply mindblowing! I am sure places like Borivali / Kandivali would be stocking such yummy gujju snacks but now will have to wait for the lockdown to get over.

I could not visit many places which I had planned to – Kankariya, Calico Textile Mills, etc. but it is just an excuse to go there again & again!

Today is Gujarat Day too & I wish a Happy Gujarat day to all Gujjus! #JaiJaiGarviGujarat

PS: Though I have written Ahmedabad throughout my post – we rather call it Amdavad. Ahmedabad is a city but Amdavad is an emotion!

A weekend in Pune!

This year I had decided to not waste my weekends lolling on the bed. I finally made it to my first weekend getaway last week!

It feels weird that there are so many places to visit near Mumbai itself & I have never been there yet! Anyway better late than never, right? I decided to start my journey with Pune. (For more than one reason ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Booking tickets was not a new task for me. But hotel reservation was. I had planned to reach Friday night so that I can start early on Saturday. Had thought to meet couple of friends on Sunday & leave for Mumbai at night. Hence booked only from Friday to Sunday. Big mistake it turned out to be. Plan of meeting friends fizzled out.ย Had to walk around the city along with my luggage. Only if I could stow away my luggage I could have had a fruitful Sunday too! Anyway, the hotel was chosen based on the best deal Clear Trip offered & it turned out to be a pretty good deal. The room was quite spacious & I was happy to have a room of my own even if it was only for couple of days ๐Ÿ˜‰ And a perfect mirror for MIRRORFIES!!! YAYYY!!!

German Bakery Date

I had heard the name Deccan Queen since childhood but never travelled in one! I was super excited! The train journey took almost 3.15 hours and the view from the train was amazing!

Deccan Queen


The hotel I had booked was near the legendary German Bakery! I was already looking forward to visit other legendary places. ๐Ÿ™‚

The climate in Pune was very cool & air condition is absolutely unnecessary. I was feeling chilled even with the fan on! Woke up early as decided & had yummy coffee & pancake at The Yogi Tree, which was incidentally next door to the hotel I stayed.

Yogi Tree 1Yogi TreeFirst on the agenda was to go to Osho Ashram. It is situated in Koregaon Park (referred by Punekars as KP). While on the way I had darshan of the German Bakery from outside :p Lane no.1, where the ashram is situated, is surrounded by trees on both sides. It is a walker’s paradise!ย Earlier, they used to have a tour of the ashram. But they have stopped it now, unfortunately. If you want to visit then you would have to buy some costly day packages. ๐Ÿ˜€

After the ashram, moved on to the Aga Khan Palace, which has been turned into a Gandhi memorial. The palace is surrounded with breathtaking greenery! It is a photographer’s delight!

Aga Khan PalaceAga Khan Palace 1

It was humbling to walk around the place where legends have walked!

Moved on to Raja Kelkar Museum. The museum is a tribute by Dinkar Kelkar to his son, who passed away at a very young age. He along with others, collected unique items of daily use. The creativity is amazing!

Kelkar Museum

Kelkar Museum 1


Kelkar Museum 2

Ivory Door, part of the museum collection

Erotic Nutcutters, Interesting

Erotic Nutcutters, Interesting

Though I loved the entire collection, the musical instrument section was the best! They play classical music in the section & it was so soothing & charming! I got a book about the museum & DVD of the virtual tour for my parents (So much for the resolution of no shopping, no increasing baggage!)

After I left for the museum I remembered I needed to get couple of things. Had a chat with the shopkeeper couple, who knew immediately that I was new in the city. They told me inspite of living walking distance from the museum they had never visited it. I urged them to do so. ๐Ÿ™‚

My spirits were high & was off my way to the next stop Shaniwar Wada. The GPS told me it is quite nearby & since I was in a mood to explore the city on foot, I walked towards the fort. By the time I reached the fort I was utterly exhausted. I couldn’t explore the fort much & came back to the hotel.

Shaniwar Wada, a heritage site

Shaniwar Wada, a heritage site

After a quick lunch & a short nap, I was raring to go out again!

Wasn’t in the mood to have anything so just sipped on ice tea at German Bakery. I just loved the ambience! From German Bakery I moved to Goodluck, the much revered Iranian Cafe. I ordered for tea & bun maska, but I wasn’t actually hungry & also was a bit disheartened, so just had the tea. It was delicious!

Famous Bun Maska

Famous Bun Maska

So that was Day1.

Next day, I decided to have some nice spicy puneri breakfast. Pataleshwar caves was the only one on my agenda. It is situated on Jangli Maharaj Road & I found a very nice restaurant there which serves yummy & spicy misal pav. Day = made!

Spicy Misal Pav

Spicy Misal Pav

The Pataleshwar Cave Temple is located on the main road. And is an interesting site. Not much to see though. But the stone construction & banyan tree at the entrance enchanted me!


Banyan Tree

Banyan Tree

I was clueless regarding my next stop. So I just roamed around. Walked till Deccan Gymkhana, bought some goodies for home & team from the very famous Chitale Bandhu, walked towards FC Road but then it was too hot so I went to Phoenix Mall, Vimannagar, which is very far from the city & getting a return auto from there is very difficult. I spent couple of hours in the mall for the AC & then returned to the city. I wanted to visit the Sambhaji Garden, but it was closed for the afternoon & there was plenty of time left for it to reopen. I had fresh hot corn on the cob & some coconut water. That was my lunch for the day ๐Ÿ˜€ I walked around F C Road, in & around the smaller bylanes. But I got pretty bored & wanted to sit for a while. I wanted to visit Vaishali restaurant, but it was jam packed! I also wanted to visit Starbucks Cafe at F C Road as I had heard so much about it!

Starbucks FC

But by the time I entered the cafe I was pretty much bored & in pain what with carrying all my stuff around with me! I decided to end my journey. Last Checkin: Swargate Bus Stop ๐Ÿ˜‰

Overall I had good fun. I need to plan my trip in a better way.ย There are many places in Pune I have missed out on. I hope the next experience turns out to be a better one ๐Ÿ™‚