Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Suvali Beach, Hazira, Surat

If you are in Surat and looking for a beach to unwind and relax but hate everything about Dumas Beach, then Suvali is the place to be. An isolated beach and away from the hustle and bustle of Surat and the industrial town of Hazira, Suvali is a good retreat for people who want some solitude, sun, sand and sea. Thanks to the lack of development, this beach is not yet that popular with the masses.

Suvali, like most beaches in Gujarat has black soil, absolutely low-to-no tide and shallow waters. And this in my opinion takes the shine away from the beaches. To me a beach is all about about the roaring tides, crystal clear water and pearly white sand. Quite ironically the roaring tides have a calming effect on me. All of which is lacking in the beaches here. To make matters worse, when you look far into the sea, you don't exactly find seemingly endless stretch of water, rather Steel plants and Oil rigs. And that's not really a pretty sight.

We spent our Saturday evening playing catch and ogling at the Sun getting devoured by the sea.

Getting-there: Take the lane between L&T and GSEG on Hazira road and keep going straight for about 3 or 4 kms.

Must-Do: Watch the sunset
Must-Don't: Littering

My Rating: 4/10
Pic Courtesy: Travelersguideindia

Monday, July 22, 2013

Laxmi Vilas Palace, Baroda

After the disappointment of not being able to see the Palace the previous weekend, this time howev
er I was lucky enough to gain entrance into the majestic and stately palace. Laxmi Vilas by no means is just another palace. It is simply the largest private dwelling built till date and believed to be four times the size of Buckingham Palace. Built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, everything about this palace is extravagant. The Palace cost a whopping GBP 180,000 way back in 1890 and boasts of having one of the most exquisite Darbar Halls complete with Venetian mosaic floor and Belgian stained glass windows. The palace also had modern amenities like an elevator, plumbing and even a miniature railway line within the palace compound which was constructed to ferry the children of the King between the Palace and School.

This palace is also a paradise for art lovers. Many paintings of the great Artist/King Raja Ravi Verma adorn the walls of this palace. The 700 acre palace compound houses the Moti Baug palace, a museum, a cricket ground, two clay tennis courts, a golf course and a rare teak floor tennis and badminton court. There's also a zoo and a well called the Navlakhi baoli.

Looking at the grandeur and magnanimity of the palace you cannot but swell with pride about the fact this extravagant (yet somewhat lesser known palace) is one of India's crowning glory. This is one of the very few (probably only) palaces in India where the Royals still reside and yet have thrown its doors open to visitors. The visitors are given a voice-recorded guided tour of the palace. Do not forget to spend a little extra time gazing at the armoury room and the paintings of Raja Ravi Verma and the Stained glass work and...

Also check out the Navlakhi well. Though its not well maintained and with limited visibility, it is still worth a visit. Overall it's a thrilling experience to walk around the palace and get a glimpse of how the Royals live their life.

Getting-there: It's a short drive from Baroda Railway station. There are frequent buses and autos running in this route.

Must-Do: Gaze at the paintings of the Raja Ravi Verma, stained glass work at the Darbar Hall, Armoury Room and the Navlakhi well are some of the highlights.
Must-Don't: Vandalism and littering. Photography inside the Palace.

My Rating: 8/10