The ride from Gira Falls to Saputara is in my book the best and most exhilarating bike ride I’ve ever undertaken till date. Saputara means, Home of the Serpents. Although I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the statement in current times, the only thing serpentile enough here were the roads. The ride through Vansda National Park with their winding ghat roads is an experience that has to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. The road in this section is absolutely spot-on, which makes it a ride to remember. Saputara is Gujarat’s only hill station. However, standing at 900 odd-meters, Saputara hardly qualifies to be called a “Hill Station”. It is also aggressively promoted as a monsoon destination of Gujarat. The lush green forests of the Sahayadri ranges of Gujarat attract thousands of tourists not only from Gujarat but also from Maharashtra. Although it’s the monsoons that see people come here in the thousands, the dry and de-leafed autumn of Saputara is equally magical.
By the time we reached Saputara, the Sun was completely out and just about getting warmed up for a rough day in the office. As for us, we tucked into some lip smacking Aloo/Gobi Parathas and Poha. With a filled stomach and a content heart, we were ready to take on the menacing March Sun of Gujarat. We rode to the table-top of Saputara to admire the views. And the views that greeted us there were absolutely mind numbing. The entire panorama was so dry and yet so beautiful. We parked our bikes at one of the view points and decided to hike a hill, which probably was the highest peak in Saputara. Though it was a short hike, it dawned on us that we almost used-up all our drinking water reserve in the process. Yet we spent a little time at the peak soaking the sights.
There are a few adventure sports available here for the benefit of the adventure-minded tourists including parasailing and zorping. Although zorping is on my bucket-list of things to do, I gave it a pass. The zorping here was laid upon what looked like a cricket pitch - only slightly longer than 22 yards. And in no way exciting. We would have spent a little more time here, but there was one more place to cover before we headed back to Surat. And for that we had to cross-over to Maharashtra.
Getting-there: Surat->Navsari->Chikli->Vansda National Park->Saputara.
Must-Do: Get a bird’s eye view of the Saputara landscape. Carry adequate water if you are going there in the summer. Must-Don’t: Littering and misadventure.