Palanpur Railway Station
Well, it all started on the Christmas Eve when I was not allowed to board a train to Gujarat because I missed the confirmation of the ticket by a brink. Setback was more fatalistic than due to carelessness. On that bitterly cold night, I was left with no other option but to retreat back to a warmer place and slumber. Few days later, I was occupying a berth in the same train with a valid ticket and was cruising through Rajasthan with a naive hope to land in Gujarat… Finally I de-boarded at Palanpur railway station to set off a journey with no definite time frame and with no preconceived notions… All I was aware of the map so far and now it was the territory waiting to embrace me with its vibrant colors.. Gujarat it was…
Salt lake on the way to Bhuj
Palanpur is indeed the first major town if you are entering Gujarat from North and is also the gateway for the travelers to Modhera and Patan. Influence of neighboring Rajasthan reflects on Palanpur’s street food and snacks. The town itself does not offer any major tourist attraction but full of vibrant streets which gets busy after the dawn. My train to Bhuj was in the afternoon so I got enough time to saunter around the streets of Palanpur. The short stint in Palanpur offered me a primitive glimpse of Gujarat which was quite appealing. After frosty December in the North of India, a warm Sunny day was so pleasing that I could not resist sleeping on a bench under the sun. And here it arrived…
Train to Bhuj: Bhuj became the first destination in the list because Kutch is one of the most captivating landscapes of the country or perhaps because of my partial affection to lifelessness in Deserts. I am yet to comprehend it completely why deserts look so fascinating to me…. May be one day…. Palanpur to Bhuj is a scenic railway track through the countryside of Gujarat. This railway track touches the edge of “Little Rann of Kutch” where you will get the first glimpse of Rann. In Gujarati Rann means “Arid Mass of Land” but in geological terms, Rann is a seasonal salt marsh which was once a vast shallow of Arabian Sea.
The edge of Little Rann before Bhuj
Train traversed through the open fields of cotton farms and sometimes kissed the edges of Salt lakes those were home of migratory birds. Distant high chimneys indicated the industrial growth which Gujarat witnessed in recent years. In comparison to rest of India, Roads looked friendlier with thin vehicular movement. In between ever changing scenes, lies a long stretch of salt panes separated by levees.
Lake and the desert near Adesar
I had not taken much food since the beginning of the journey so I incidentally slumbered while appreciating the essence of train journey. Finally I was awakened when train arrived at Gandhidham which is close to Kandla port, largest in Gujarat and country’s only free trade zone. Bhuj was also not very far. I was hungry and had to settle on a Bada Paav which I don’t like much despite of spending significant part of my life in Maharashtra. I was surprised to find Bada Paav in Gujarat and was worried as well. Just like the train, my life in Kutch started in a slow and dreamy fashion. Finally surroundings were over casted by the twilight as Train approaches to Bhuj…. Bhuj…I stepped out of the train…again on a self deluded quest of finding a perfect place….
Trailing Gujarat Series: In Chronological Order