When I checked in to my hotel room in Saputara in Gujarat all I could see were clouds and lights twinkling from distance. It was quite chilling and windy. From the chilling vibes I got at night I knew that the morning would be full of surprises. And well I was right the view from my balcony of Toran Hotel in Saputara in Gujarat was jaw-dropping. I enjoyed the morning view right from my balcony with my morning hot cup of tea. It was my first trip post-pandemic restrictions this year and what a start!
Gujarat is home to some of the best tourist destinations in our country. From national parks to heritage architectures and World UNESCO heritage sites the state has it all. But along with all that Saputara is like an oasis in the state which is otherwise a melting pot of all man-made glory. Tourists flock in to get a fresh breathe of air and explore the green pastures in Saputara,Gujarat’s only hill station. It’s like a nature’s paradise still untouched by the world outside.
There are so many unique places to visit in Saputara ranging from flat-out natural wonders like beautiful waterfalls to religious temples that have deep roots in Indian mythology. Along with that Saputara is also famous for adventure activities like boating, ropeway, paragliding, trekking, horse riding etc. It is an adventure lover’s most desirable place.
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A brief insight into the geography of Saputara
Saputara is a part of the Dang district of Gujarat. It is situated on a plateau in the Sahyadris or the Western Ghats having an altitude of around 1000m above sea level. Saputara shares its borders with Maharastra. It is around a 6-7 hours drive from Mumbai. Due to other popular hill stations in Mumbai and nearby places, Saputara is often neglected by tourists but this place has its hidden charm. This place is as exotic as any other popular hill station in our country. With its lush green pastures, mountains and valleys it makes an ideal romantic getaway and a nature lover’s paradise.
On way, we took a short break and had lunch at Express Hotel in Vadodara where I savoured upon the best Gujarati thali ever. It was Rs 380 per thali with unlimited servings. The ambience of the hotel was spectacular as they played Gujrati folk songs in the restaurant presenting the perfect atmosphere we could have asked for.
How to reach Saputara in Gujarat
The nearest airport to reach Saputara is Surat and the nearest railway station is The Waghai Railway Station at Billimora located just 50 km away. From the railway station, you can hire a shared taxi or cab or board a bus which is also one of the most economical ways to reach the hill station.
My journey to Saputara commenced after spending a delightful day exploring the old city Ahmedabad which is a World UNESCO heritage city and then from Ahmedabad to Saputara a journey for nearly 10 hours.
Saputara is a place for nature lovers and for those who want to take a break from the hullabaloo of daily life. So here are some of the best places of Saputara in Gujarat that you must visit.
1. Nageshwar Mahadev Temple
Located at a walking distance from the Toran Hotel is the Nageshwar Mahadev Temple. You can see Saputara Lake just behind the temple premises. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva ( also known as Nageshwar, God of Snakes) and is said to be one of the 12 Jyotirlinga Shrines. Located on the southern bank of the Saputara Lake this temple is considered one of the holiest temples of Gujarat.
The ambience is quite calm and peaceful. There is a statue of Nandi facing the Shivalinga. When I visited the temple Puja rituals were going on and a lot of devotees had gathered to offer their prayers. The temple architecture looks incredible with intricate carvings. A large number of devotees visit this temple during Mahashivaratri every year.
2. The Saputara Lake
Saputara Lake is one of the top attractions in Saputara. The lake is famous for boating activities. On a foggy day, the lake presents a beautiful landscape with clouds playing hide and seek. Do indulge in boating on the lake and enjoy watching a flock of ducks sailing alongside your boat. It was raining so I skipped the boating part.
Along with boating, there are a lot of activities like cycling, bike riding for kids, etc. The lake area is full of life with lots of food stalls, small shops from where you can buy gift items and if it rains do sip on a cup of tea and enjoy the weather. Trust me it’s amazing.
Some other popular activities that can be done in Saputara in Gujarat include Paragliding, Bike riding horse riding, camel riding. Paragliding takes place from the location near the Jain Temple and the other activities are mostly available in almost all the popular tourist spots like the Table top point, the Saputara lake.
3. Honey Bee Centre
The Honey Bee centre in Saputara is one of the best places where you can know about how honey is collected. There was the installation of boxes where honey processing goes on. You can also learn a lot about the step-by-step procedures of honey collection in the centre.
It shows different stages of honey making and also the various kinds of hives that are commonly found in Saputara. From there you can also purchase pure honey. It is very well maintained and a tour around the centre is quite enriching if you are interested in honey culture.
4. Gajabhisekh Jain Tirth
Located on a slightly elevated land the Gajabhisekh Jain temple is considered a very holy place for the Jain community. The temple is dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankar of the Jain Sect Shri Chintamani Prashvanath. The intricate architecture of the Jain Temple with its doors and arches and beautifully crafted elephant statues almost on every side of the temple is indeed marvellous.
The temple houses a 500 years old idol of Sri Chintamani Gajaabhisekh Parshvanath. The truth is named Gajabhisekh as we can see Sri Chintamani Parshwanath is anointed by two elephants or gajas. The Jain Tirth is located just at the lap of the high mountains and presents a spectacular view of the dense forests and hills of Saputara. There is also a Dharamshala and Bhojanalaya attached to this tirth which can be availed on pre-booking.
5. The Sunrise Point
The sunrise point is located just near the Jain Tirth and is frequented by tourists to enjoy the charm of the rising sun from the hills of Saputara. But of course, a view of the sunrise depends on the weather God. During monsoons, it’s mostly foggy and with zero visibility watching the sunrise is like a distant dream. But taking an early morning walk up to the sunrise point can be quite refreshing.
6. Tabletop point
The Tabletop in Saputara is perhaps the best place to enjoy the breathtaking 360-degree view of Saputara hill station. The place is easily accessible by car and is popular for various activities like bike riding, camel riding, horse-riding, etc.
The place is called a table-top because the surface of the hill called Governor’s Hill looks just like a table-top. You can see the vast expanse of the hills and the valley in between and as far as you can see it’s all covered in greenery which is a seldom sight for we city-dwellers. There are numerous food stalls to gorge on some local food items or quench your thirst with cold fruit juices or enjoy a humble cup of tea.
7. Saputara Rope-way
The ropeway is a major tourist highlight in Saputara in Gujarat. It charges Rs.77 per person. It takes around 10 minutes to reach the endpoint, where you can take a break for 15 minutes before you start the journey onward to the starting point.
The view from the ropeway is magnificent with the view of hills and mountains, green pastures, and the Ciputra lake at a distance. This is a highly recommended activity in Saputara for the best memories of the hill station. There are food stalls on the other side too where you will be given a 15 minutes break.
8. The Rose Garden
The peaceful setting of the Rose Garden makes it a perfect place to sit back and enjoy the beauty of nature. The Rose Garden is at a walkable distance to Saputara Lake. The Saputara Bus station is also situated quite near and the park remains open from 9 am to 6 pm.
The well-maintained garden houses a variety of flowers most of which are roses, a perfectly crafted pond and pretty flamingo statues. This place is a perfect place for nature lovers and can be best enjoyed if visited in Spring when the flowers are in full bloom.
9. The Horseshoe bent viewpoint
The river Gira makes a beautiful horseshoe bent which can be viewed from the viewpoint. As it is a long drive from Saputara to reach the Girmal Waterfalls a short break at this viewpoint is highly recommended to enjoy the beauty of tall trees with mountains in the backdrop and the serpent-like river Gira flowing by.
10. The Girmal Waterfalls
The Girmal Waterfalls which is situated on the river Gira and also in the village Gira is one of the tourists most favourite spots. The place is approximately 50 km from Saputara and can be reached by road that connects Ahwa and Singala or Navapur and Singala. This is the best place to witness a cascading waterfall from such a great height in Dang.
The vehicles can reach up to a specific spot from where the picturesque Girmal Waterfalls can be viewed falling from a great height of 172ft. The best time to visit is during and after the monsoons when the waterfalls are in full bloom. If you are travelling from Surat to Saputara, you must visit these Waterfalls. The place is also home to a lot of monkeys so please be kind to them and let them enjoy their share of nature.
11. Shabari Dham
One of the holiest places for the Hindus in Saputara, Gujarat is the Shabari Dham temple. The history of this place is deeply rooted in the Indian Epic Ramayana. It relates to an incident from the epic that is known by almost everyone.
As the story goes Lord Ram happened to pass by this place when he was in search of Sita. It is said that Lord Ram spent 11 years of his exile in the forests of Saputara so you can imagine the importance of this place in Indian mythology. I am sure there must be more stories associated with this place.
He stopped here and met one of his ardent devotees Shabari. Shabari offered Him wild berries also known as “ber” in Hindi. To ensure Lord Ram get the best of the ber-fruit, she checked them by taking a small bite and then offered the best to Him with great devotion and affection. Lord Ram was very pleased to see her simplicity and devotion towards him. which earlier used to be an empty land.
Earlier this place used to be an empty land but later this temple was constructed for devotees to offer their prayers. The temple is surrounded by mountains and presents the view that encompasses the whole of Saputara in Gujarat.
12. The Gira Waterfalls
Situated just 6 km from Waghai town the stunning and massive Gira Waterfalls is 30 m high as it falls on the river Ambica. It can be reached by hired cars or state transport buses and luxury coaches from Ahmedabad. The nearest railway station is Waghai.
Presenting one of the most spectacular sights in the Dang district, the Gira Waterfalls attracts lakhs of tourists every year. The waterfalls are very massive so a reckless dip in the water is not recommended and also many security guards are keeping a check.
There are huge boulders and lust green trees all around the waterfalls adding to its charm. The Gira Waterfalls is a treat to the eyes with a visual spectacle. The best time to visit the Gira Waterfalls is during the rainy season or just after it when the water flows in all directions with all its might and vigour.
On way to reach the Gira Waterfalls, you can purchase tribal handicraft items sold by the local people of Dang. The people who live in Dang are known as “Dangi” and they are greatly skilled in art and craft. There is also an Artistic Village in Dang district where you can see artistic creations of the Dangi people and you can also purchase some.
13. The Waghai Botanical Garden
Spread over an area of 24 hectares, the Waghai Botanical Garden houses rare, sacred, ancient and also medicinal plants and herbs. It was established by the forest department on 1st May 1996. The place has in store plants not only heard of but also those which cannot be found in urban areas.
They have a good collection of cactus and many medicinal plants. In Waghai Botanical Garden ancient plants can be seen some of which are more than 100 years old and some of which are 100 feet in height. This place is also home to around 25 plant species which is found exclusively in Gujarat. Besides this, the Herbarium is also unique with 3000 herbarium specimens collected.
Not just that the garden is very well maintained and also provides many activities like bowling, archery, Air Rifle shooting and toy train ride. It’s a perfect place to spend the day with family so close to nature.
For more specific information on various species of plants and trees of Waghai Botanical Gardens, the FLORAL SAFARI APP can be found very useful.
The park lies close to NH-8 and the nearest town is Waghai at a distance of 2 km. The nearest railway station is Waghai narrow gauge and is also connected with Mumbai Ahmedabad-Delhi broad gauge. The nearest airport is Surat.
Where to Stay in Saputara
Toran Hill Resort, Toran Hotel, Toran Ambika are some of the best properties to stay in Saputara. We stayed in Toran Hotel and we received great hospitality, clean and hygienic rooms and yes good food. The view from Toran Hotel is also something you will cherish. The properties are maintained by Gujarat Tourism so you confirm your booking from this website HERE.
Points to remember when you visit Saputara
1. When in Saputara carry an umbrella or a raincoat as there can be sudden rainfall. If visiting during the monsoons these are highly recommended.
2. You must wear fully covered clothes when entering the Jain Tirth. Wearing shorts while visiting the temple is restricted. Also, there are a lot of religious places where a descent mode of clothing is advised.
3. Wear comfortable shoes when visiting the tabletop point as you may need to walk some elevated points if interested to grab stunning views.
4. Carry light woollens as it may get a little cold as the day comes to an end.
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Disclaimer: I visited Saputara in Gujarati on invitation by Gujarat Tourism, Mumbai Tourism and Ministry of India Tourism.