Saputara (Gujarat) – Hill Station
Saputara is a city and a hill station municipality in the Dang district of Gujarat state in India. This picturesque hill station is perched on a plateau in the Dang forest area of the Sahyadri range at an altitude of about 1000 m. The highest temperature even in the summer does not exceed 28 °C.
Saputara means the ‘Abode of Serpents’ and a snake image on the banks of the river Sarpagana is worshiped by the Adivasis (tribals) on Holi.
Saputara has been developed as a planned hill resort with all the necessary amenities like hotels, parks, swimming pools, boat club, theatres, ropeways and a museum to ensure an enjoyable holiday in the cool of the hill. Maharashtra state border is only 4 km away from Saputara. Excursions from Saputara can be made to the wild life sanctuary in the Mahal Bardipara forest, 60 km. from here and to Gira Waterfalls 50 km away.
This time we decided to go for a hill station with our parents. We had already shortlisted Saputara as our destinations and had booked a room online in GTDC resort (Toran Hill Resort). The stay was for two nights in the resort.
We started our journey from Panvel as per our scheduled time and reached Nasik highway in an hour. The surroundings alongside the highway were picturesque as it was two months past monsoon. The hills, the landscape, the fields, the forest, the scene was awesome all through the highway. It seemed like rain gods have laid down a green carpet all over the place. We started climbing the ghats after crossing Kasara. The upward journey was quite comfortable and at the peak it was fully cloudy and the view of valley was breathtaking. Every time you pass through this region you will feel blessed by the nature.
We reached Nasik by 11.30 a.m. and decided to move on. We exited the national highway and headed towards Saputara by the state highway. The journey from Nasik to Saputara was full of natural beauty and we saw a lot of grape vine across the state highway. We were slowly and steadily moving towards our destination by enjoying the environment around us all through the journey. We crossed the Maharashtra – Gujarat border and in no time we were in the heart of Saputara at 1.30 p.m. The first glimpse of Saputara – the lake and the hills covered by cloud was sublime. And the feel of fresh air and cool breeze was quite astonishing. Even after a long journey covering 270 KM (Panvel to Saputara) in six hours, we were not feeling tired.
We checked in at the resort and went to our room. The room allotted to us had an amazing view of the valley which was a delight to us. We took a small rest and started exploring the place without wasting our time. We took a stroll down the lanes of Saputara in a misty climate.
The map laid down at different places is self explanatory. We went to the Rose Garden first: Rose Garden, as the name suggests, is a spectacular garden with many variety of Roses. Another garden is Lake Garden on the banks of Saputara Lake, which is an excellent picnic spot. One more attractive place in Saputara, step garden has the unique feature of a garden set up in steps. Well laid out steps are adorned with beautiful plants, flower pots and in the midst of nice woods. This is a nice place to spend the evenings away from town bustle and hustle. All these gardens make Saputara a beautiful place.
We went to the Saputara Museum after gardens and saw the portrayal of “Adivashi” culture and life of various tribes. The museum gives us an introduction to the lifestyle, costumes, heritage and ecology of the tribal Dangs. It is worth visiting to learn about many major forms of tribal expression such as a stone funerary column, grass ornaments, stuffed birds, woodcarving, clay ritual objects, body tattoos, masks used in dance-dramas, weapons and tools used by tribals, and musical instruments. The museum needs infrastructure development but it as an opportunity to educate ourselves about the local culture before venturing into it in a less mediated way.
We started our next day on a positive note. Our itinerary for this day was further exploring Saputara and an excursion to Gira Falls. It went like this:
Sunrise Point: This place was very near from our resort and in no time we were here. From this point, we saw an amazing view of the valley and hills. Even though it is named as sunrise point but it can be visited at any time of the day to catch a panoramic view of the valley.
Boating: The Saputara Lake is in the heart of the hill station and it is surrounded by greenery. We went for boating in the lake and it was quite pleasurable to sail in a paddle boat. The sail in the lake amidst a misty climate was a treat for us.
Sunset Point: After boating we started towards sunset point and reached the point after covering upward distance. This place gives a breathtaking view of the forest and Saputara. It provides an aerial view of distant villages in forest as well.
This was the most awaited part of our trip. After roaming Saputara we started our journey towards Gira fall, which is at a distance of 50 Kms from Saputara. The route is soothingly scenic with river flowing one on side and hills on the other side for most of the stretch. After a drive of 1 hour we reached our destination. We were mesmerised by the view of 30m natural fall on Ambica River. The gush of thick flowing water and the sound of the fall were amazing.
We sat on the bank of river at a local food stall. The whole scenario was a treat in itself, the waterfall, flowing river, falling rains, and the greenery. We had tea and snacks on the food stall and spent some memorable time there. There was huge temptation in our mind to get into the waters but controlled ourselves and watched the nature instead. We bought some artifacts made of bamboo by the tribals in a nearby stall at Gira falls.
We were back to our resort in Saputara by evening and were at leisure for rest of the day. We packed our bags as we had planned to leave early in the morning. Next day morning, after having our breakfast we left Saputara with sweet memories of the hills, valley, clouds, lake, river, waterfall, fresh air, & Gujarati food. It was a pleasant experience staying at this hill station situated in Dang district of Gujarat.
Pics of some Gujarati Cuisines:
Fact File about Saputara
Saputara is 172 km from Surat, 80 km from Nashik, 270 km from Mumbai, 80 km from Bilimora 420 km from Ahmedabad, 300 km from Vadodara, 589 km from Bhavnagar, 603 km from Rajkot.
Air: Surat is the nearest airport, 172 km away, Mumbai is the nearest international airport 225 km away.
Rail: Bilimora is the nearest railway station on Western Railways. There is a narrow gauge (0.7 m) (small train) from Bilimora to Vaghai.
Road : Bus facility is available from Chikhli, Bilimora, Nasik and Surat.
There are many hotels in Saputara besides the cottages and the log huts that offer a comfortable stay at Saputara. For food along with the hotels there are several restaurants and wayside stalls to cater to needs of the tourists to Saputara. Even the Gujarat Tourism Corporation runs a well-equipped guesthouse at Saputara.