Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Gujarat Diaries:Polo Forest

It is said that tucked away in the forests there are secrets to be revealed and to be discovered. Polo forest is one such place with dense and green forest, gushing and crystal clear streams, unexplored and house to some of Gujarat's most ancient temple ruins with astounding beauty and a place away from the crowd and noise of the city and also from its pollution. A place worthy of spending your weekend and rejuvenating the lost energy of the week.It is comparatively cool there compared to the sizzling hot Ahmadabad. 

The best time to visit is during or right after the monsoon, when the places turns bright green.The 400 square km area of dry mixed deciduous forest is most lush between September and December after the monsoon rains when the rivers are full, but at any time of the year it provides a rich wildlife experience. There are more than 450 species of medicinal plants, around 275 of birds, 30 of mammals, and 32 of reptiles. There are bears, panthers, leopards, hyenas, water fowl, raptors and flying squirrels (mostly heard, rarely seen), all living under a canopy of diverse plants and trees. During winter, all manner of migratory birds occupy the forest; during the rainy season there are wetland birds. Its located near a place called Idar which will be your base as Polo forests have no hotels or guest houses where you could stay. The Polo Camp site is located in Vijayanagar taluka of Sabarkantha districts and is near to Vanaj Forest area, Harnav River and Damsite.It is 150 km from Ahmedabad and 70 km from Himatnagar.The area is surrounded with archeologically important Shiv Temple at Sarneshwar, Sadevant Savlings Deras, Surya Mandir, Lakhena Temple, Jain derasar, the ancient Polo Jain Nagri.

To walk among the lush green forests with your loved one or with your energetic friends or bubbling family members or in your own solitude has its own pleasure which can be experienced walking through the paths of polo forest. the streams flowing through this forest is crystal clear that you can see the pebbles beneath and enjoy watching the tiny fishes wading through. The ruins of the temples there gives us a glance into our past making us realize the richness of our culture and its uniqueness.

There is 15th century sandstone temple which is notable for its carved ceiling and its mandap jalis with a rich variety of geometric and natural patterns. the entrance to the gudha-mandap has an icon of the tirthankar  Parshvanathon the lintel,  and the images of yakshini Padmavati, traditionally attendant upon him on the side posts. the trika mandap , connecting two mandaps at different levels is an architectural response to local topography.

Another temple is the Sharneshwar temple which is described as a temple in enclosure. it was built in the 15th century and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. it is notable for its two storeyed construction surrounding wall with entrances on east and west, Nandi-mandapa in front and ambulatory around the sanctum. Carvings in the plinth and external wall depict divinities, scenes of social life, mythical beings and bands of elephants, horses and swans.

Some of the beautiful photos i go to click during my journey to this mind blowing place.

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