EP 4 Junagadh part 2 | Gujarati breakfast, Kashmiri Bapu ashram, Cave visit, Gujarati Food
Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. We are on a tour of the Saurashtra region in Gujarat and.... . ...right now we are in Junagadh. We are going to start our day today by eating Khaman at Girnar Khaman shop. We are near the Kalwa Chowk right now.
Please give me one plate Khaman and is this white Khaman called 'Sandwich' Khaman. Yes! Please give me 2 pieces of each! Khaman, Sandwich Khaman and Khandvi! Let us start with tasting Khaman first! Ohhh! The taste of this Khaman is totally different. Khaman that I've eaten so far, during my previous Gujarat tour,... ..in Surat, Ahmedabad, and now this, are totally different in taste. The previous Khaman didn't come with so much of chutney. But here, they first added the sweet chutney, then the spicy, chili chutney. So the taste of chutney is powerful in this Khaman as is a strong garlic flavor! So this taste is totally different but delicious! Girnar Khaman is an old eatery, and it serves customers between 9 am and 9 pm.
You'll get to eat Khaman, Sandwich Khaman and Samosa, etc here. I liked the overall taste here, especially the combination of spicy and garlic chutneys. Overall good taste! The Khaman is made with besan (chickpea flour) and this is made with rice flour. I liked the taste of Khaman better because of the chutneys on it. Wow! Delicious! Khandvi is super-fresh, soft, and this tempering of curry leaves on top, lovely! I am liking this Khandvi as well. So, I really loved the flavors of 2 out of 3 dishes.
Awesome taste! After breakfast, we are going to go to the nearby Swaminarayan Temple. And after that, we will go to the ashram of Kashmiri Bapu. We have come to the Swaminarayan Temple in Junagadh. I am going inside for darshan and will join back in a short while.
Inside the temple, I saw the idols of Shri Hari Narayan and Shri Radha Raman Dev. Right now, I've come out of the temple, into the temple premises. We have with us the Mahant of this temple, who will tell us about the significance of this temple. This temple was established by Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan himself, along with 5 other temples. The idols inside the temple have all been established here by Shri Swaminarayan too.
Shri Siddheshwar Maharaj's idol is established in the form of a ruler or king. n fact, Shri Swaminarayan directed Shri Siddheshwar Maharaj to fulfill the ... ...wishes of devotees to the temple who came here with true belief in their heart. The 'Maha-pooja' (grand prayer ceremony) that we conduct here is popular all over.
Shri Gunateeta Maharaj served at this temple for 40 long years. It is a strong belief of devotees that visiting this temple and sharing... ..your wishes with the lord is a sure-shot way to have them fulfilled. Such is the significance of this temple! Jai Swaminarayan! Thank you very much! Thank you! We've come back to Bhavnath Taleti in order to reach the Kashmiri Bapu Ashram. Last night, when we were here, you saw the temple decorated with lighting, etc. This is the day-time view of the temple. Bhavnath Temple is the most popular and ancient temple in this region,...
..as I told you in the previous episode as well. Nearby this temple is the historic Juna Akhada and there is another one.... ....close to this known as Agni Akhada. You can also see the Girnar mountain from here, and the ropeway also start from here only. The main purpose of coming back here is to check out the accommodation available here.
The place where we are right now is known as "Narsinh Mehta Dham." I am going to go in and talk to a staff member about the available accommodation facility. The rooms are upstairs? We have rooms at ground floor, as well as on the upper floors, with the lift service too. Okay, you have lift service! Yes, we have lift! The charges of staying in a room like this are Rs. 800 for non-AC and Rs. 1100 for AC accommodation. To book a room here, you can book on phone and transfer the rent in advance into their bank account.
Nice room! Very good! He gave us the contact numbers for phone booking. You can book a room in advance and transfer the amount to their bank account. Here we also have a painting of Narsin Mehta Ji. He existed about 600 years ago. A lot of people have told us so far that whenever Narsi Mehta Ji used to sing...
..Raag Kedar, Lord Krishna would appear himself to listen to him. And Narsi Mehta Ji used to sing Raag Kedar whenever he felt sad or faced a problem,... ...hoping that Lord Krishna would appear before him. This was the same era when another great Krishna-Bhakt Meera Bai also lived. Now we are leaving here to go to Kashmiri Bapu Ashram.
Thank you very much! This is your paper! We travelled half a km from the Narsi Mehta Dham and looking around us.... ....we have already started feeling that we are walking towards the jungle. We've parked our car here because the road ahead is not motorable. We will have to walk on foot.
We need to walk through the jungle for 2 km to reach the ashram. Let us start walking and we will show you more on our way. Let us start walking and we will show you more on our way.
....the Datareshwar Temple, which also houses the Kashmiri Bapu Ashram. We are going to take off our shoes and go inside. As you already know, we are at the Kashmiri Bapu's Ashram. We are here for the past 2 hours. I am going to tell you about our experiences here so far. Before that, I would like to introduce you to Kishore Bhai, who works at the ashram We would get to know more from Kishore Bhai about this place. However let me tell you when we reached here, the first thing we did...
...was to have a darshan of Kashmiri Bapu. When we asked his permission for videography, he said... ...we could shoot the place, but not him and the Mataji with him. So, getting permission to shoot here is the rarest of the rare opportunities for us. Also, when I requested Kashmiri Bapu for 5 minutes of his time,... ..he generously spent 15-20 minutes talking to us. When I asked him about how he reached here, he said...
....he came here about 55 years ago, when this whole area was a large jungle. Although, this place is still surrounded by a jungle, he told us that he built himself... ....a cottage in the midst of the jungle and meditated, a practice which he continues to this day. When I asked him where he hailed from, he informed that he was originally from Kashmir. Speaking about his early journey, he said he belongs to Kashmir region and core journey.... ....began at Haridwar and after passing through different religious destinations in India.... ...culminated here, where he made a home for himself. They also informed us that all the pilgrims who come to the ashram are offered the temple prasad.
They serve food here between 9 am and 7-8 pm every day. Since this is a jungle area, pilgrims come only till 6 or 6.30 pm but... ...everyone is served the bhojan prasad here. The whole surrounding area is a jungle? Yes! So, there must be wild animals around here like lion, cheetah, etc.
Yes, all sorts of wild animals visit the ashram, including monkeys. But if you don't say or do anything to them, they leave harmlessly. But you need to be cautious? Yes, of course, it is important to be cautious.
Thank you very much for telling me in detail about Kashmiri Bapu as well as this ashram. Thank you! Thank you! After leaving ashram, we've not reached the place where our car is parked. You won't believe that we have been standing here for the past 25 minutes. All this time, I have been looking in all the directions in the jungle.. ...the scenery all around is beautiful and this place is so tranquil. Nobody else is here except for us and there is the light chirping of birds. Coming here today has been a heartfelt experience for us.
We came here at 11 am and now it is about 3 o'clock so we've spent a good amount of time here. Now we are going to take the taxi to go to a place called Uparkot which is 5-6 km away. Though we've got the information that Uparkot is closed right now.... ....as it didn't open after Covid and there is also renovation going on there. Still, we will find out more once we are there. We've just reached the Uparkot Fort. There is renovation going on here and there is no way we can go inside.
But we have with us guides Ashwin Bhai and Shailesh Bhai. You can tell us the history of this Fort as well as .... .... what we would get to see inside the Fort. The construction of this Junagadh Fort was started during the reign of....
...King Ugrasen, Lord Krishna's maternal grandfather, as per folklore. Till 8th century, Junagadh was ruled by the Maurya dynasty. In the 8th century, the Fort was taken over by the Chudasama kingdom of... ...Bhavnagar, after they attacked and defeated the Mauryas. The Chudasama Family ruled this place from 8th to 15th century. This place used to be their headquarter. In the 15th century, Mughal governor of Ahmedabad, Mohammed Jaffar attacked Junagadh.
He took over the Fort. From 15th century to 1947, Muslim power dominated Junagadh. This Fort represents the combination of the Maurva dynasty power, Rajput power of Chudasama family,.. All three dynasties have contributed to the development of the Junagadh Upartkot Fort. Inside the Fort, you would see huge ancient tanks, beautiful Rajput palace,...
..Buddhist caves, water reservoirs, food storage godowns, etc. You will also see the spots where the authorities used to punish criminals by pushing them over a ledge. Such rigorous punishments used to control crimes. You can look at these photographs to understand what is actually present inside the Fort. If you want to see this Fort properly, in full detail, you need at least 4-5 hours for that. It is wonderful that you showed us this Fort through your description, without us... ...even going inside. Next time we will be in Junagadh, we will definitely keep ample time aside for this visit.
That is what I am feeling right now. Thank you very much! Thanks to you too! We've come to the Khapra Kodiya Caves. These are 3rd century caves and it is amazing to imagine that... ... it was so long ago that Buddhist monks used to live, pray and meditate in these caves. One observation of this visit is that this is a single rock, which has been cut and carved.... ....to make these caves. That is an important information. Second observation - the pillars you see are 118 in number.
This is the information we shared with you while we are still standing outside the caves. Now let us go inside, see the caves closely and show them to you as well. We saw these small pits as soon as we entered the caves. These pits were used to store water during the ancient times.
The water used to drop from here into these pits and... ...these chambers are connected with each other. This was visible from outside as well. So let us go towards the bigger chamber. If you see these four huge chambers, these were used for rain harvesting.
When it rained, the water used to get stored in these chambers. These are the stairs used to go down into the chambers when the water level receded. And these four chambers are also connected with each other. That meant the water level remained same in each chamber.
One more thing I would like to share with you is that... ...out of the 118 pillars, 80 were built in the 3rd century or... ...since these caves exist. Rest of the pillars, 38 in all, have been built by the government... ...in order to support the structure. I am standing next to the new pillar and the ancient pillars can be... ...identified by the presence of Pali language script on them. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) judges the inscriptions... ...to judge which period in history does this structure belong to. So the pillar on the right is a new one and the one on the left is ancient.
Let me give you some more relevant information once we reach outside. The place where I am standing right now was known as the "Sabhakhand. The main monks or senior monks used to sit in these three sections that you see here.
Their disciples used to sit in front of them. The senior monks used to recite from scriptures, hold sermons for the disciples. The visiting monks, from other monasteries also used to be seated inside this area. So, this area is called Sabhakhand. I will tell you one more thing about this place. These caves are Buddhist caves, no doubt, but the board outside read Khapra Kodiya.
During the subsequent centuries, when Buddhism was on wane and the caves were left vacant... ...during that time, there were two thieves named Khapra and Kodiya. Both of them were smart thieves. So smart that they used to inform their victim in advance about the date and time... ...on which they would strike for burglary, thus challenging them. This is what we've heard around here. Those two burglars used to store their loot in these caves. This information that I've shared with you was given to us by a local person.
Overall, I would say, when you'll come to Junagadh, you must take out some time... ...to visit these caves too. You will have to buy ticket to visit here. This is a good place to visit and you can also indulge in some photography around here. Let us leave here now. In about 5 min from the caves, we've now reached "Narsinh Mehta no Choro." I am inside the complex and it is early evening.
Let me tell you about the significance of this place. This holy place used to be the residence of the great poet Narsinh Mehta ji. The verandah that you see here, is the exact location where Narsinh Mehta Ji.
...is believed to have watched the Raas-Leela of Lord Krishna and Radha Rani with his own eyes. You can imagine how sincere a devotee he must have been for Lord Krishna to appear before him... ...along with Radha Rani and perform Raas in front of him. Narsinh Mehta Ji is the poet behind that famous poem that Gandhiji loved to hear and sing himself... ..let me recite a few lines from that poem... ..."Vaishnav Jana To Tene Kahiye Je... ..Peer Parayi Jaane Re." Now let us go inside. We had a darshan of Lord Krishna inside the temple. Let me tell you what I learnt about the idol placed here. Lord Krishna appeared in Narsinh Mehta's dream and asked him to...
...fetch his idol from near the Somnath Temple and... ...worship it here. This is the same idol. Right next to it is an idol of Shri Narsinh Mehta Ji, believed to be 550 years old. Let us move on now.
In this hall, you can have another darshan of Narsinh Mehta Ji. You will also notice here that they've put up illustrations all around on the walls. Under each illustration, you will find a description to read telling what the illustration is about. Like in the beginning, the illustration shows that Narsinh Mehta Ji... ..could not take interest in his studies. Just like that, the other illustrations also describe his life and works in detail.
If you go through these pictures and descriptions, you will come to know a lot about... ..the life of this great poet. It felt good to be here and we've already spent more than an hour here. We also came to know in great detail about this legendary figure. When in Junagadh, you must visit here. Though the temple opens up early every day, this exhibition opens between 8 am and 7 pm. We were on our way for dinner at Geeta Lodge nearby...
...when we saw the lighting of the railway station and stopped our car. Just look at this beautiful lighting. There you can see a large clock. This place is looking awesome with the lights on. Whenever you will be here, you would want to stop here for some time and... ..just watch & appreciate this lighting. The building next to it is named "Bahauddin Building", though some of the words are hidden.
Bahauddin was the brother of the wife of Junagadh's Nawab so, it would be safe to assume... . ...that this building was made in his name. You can see this gate is named Sardar Patel Dwaar (Sardar Patel Gate). Let us go for dinner now. Geeta Lodge is located about a 100 m from the railway station. We've come here to eat Gujarati Thali for dinner.
Chhaas and Papad are already served. This restaurant was highly recommended by a lot of viewers for dinner. The cost of this thali is Rs. 140 per person. I've also ordered Shrikhand separately and it costs Rs. 35 per serving. Generally, whenever I eat Gujarati food anywhere, the thing that I like the most...
...is these thin chapatis (flatbread). You tend to eat more chapatis because of their thin size. It is good! Dal is simple in taste and sweet, which goes without saying. Two years ago, when I visited Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat, I got so used to..
..eating sweet dal that on going back, I found the dal cooked at home... ...to be strange in taste. My overall impression of the food here is that it is simple in taste. It is nice! Very good preparation! I am going to eat this Sev-Tamatar dish with Bhakhri. This flatbread is comparatively harder, like this. This Bhakhri has been made with whole wheat flour Amazing! While on this tour, the dish that I've liked the most everywhere... ...is this Gujarati Kadhi. I've really become a fan of its taste. I've started enjoying it. I've finished the food.
As I was about to eat the Shrikhand, here came the khichdi. Please give me a little khichdi, lesser than this. Wow! Hmmm! This khichdi is really special! One thing I've come to realise is that in order to properly enjoy the khichdi... ...you must eat it with the kadhi. So, please give me some more kadhi. Yes, that is enough! Thanks! Out of everything that we've eaten, khichdi tastes best with this kadhi. That is what I've realised after eating here.
Too good! While travelling in the past few days, I saw that Shrikhand is served at every restaurant. Hmmm! Too good! Some people put fruits or dried fruits into Shrikhand, to make it more flavorful... ..and here, they've added the sweet flavor of Elaichi (green cardamom). Served cold! It is very good. It was a good experience to come here for dinner. Tasty and homely food! After finishing this Shrikhand, and paying the bill, I will join you back in a while.
I was walking towards the Railway Station from the Geeta Lodge when... ...I came across this Janta Lodge, which also serves a Gujarati Thali... ...I can see from the outside. Let us find out more from them and then I will say bye-bye to you. In the restaurant, we found out that the price of their Gujarati Thali is Rs. 100. Since we were walking by, we came in to explore more.
Railway Station is hardly 50 m from here. I also saw a photograph showing that this restaurant was 50 years old. I will join you in another 5-10 minutes to share some additional information about Junagadh. I am standing at a quiet place, near by to the place where we had dinner.
Before saying bye, I want to tell you something about Junagadh's history. On August 15, 1947, when India became independent... ...it was a collection of princely states, ruled by different kings. During that time, the princely states were still indecisive about... ...whether to go with India, Pakistan or stay independent. One of those states was Junagadh.
The erstwhile ruler of Junagadh decided to join Pakistan, instead of India. Though it may sound weird to hear that today but, it is a fact that the Nawab... ..chose to become a part of Pakistan. Despite the absence of geographical proximity and the people of Junagadh wanting to stay with India... ...the Nawab wanted to join hands with Pakistan. To resolve this matter, a local army was raised by the name "Aarzi Hukumat",... and it was led by the then Home Minister, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. He visited Junagadh, held parleys with the public as well as the Nawab.
The Nawab was adamant to go with Pakistan but... ...Patel left the final decision upto the public of Junagadh. Nawab was left alone in his decision to go with Pakistan while the public sided with India. So, the Indian Army was called in and Junagadh became a part of India. The date on which Junagadh officially became a part of the sovereign nation India was November 9.
So, in a way, though India became independent on August 15, 1947,... ..Junagadh's independence came 2 months later, on 9th November. So, that is the story of this city's independence. It is equally important to know what happened to the Nawab. The Nawab shifted to Pakistan with his family and his further generations... ..are still living there as per our information. So, I felt that I must share this nugget of history with you before saying bye! Now it is time to say goodbye! As for our further plan, I am thinking of a couple of options for the tour.
The coming part of our journey is going to be a little longer. Tonight I am going to give it a final shape but on top of it, I can tell you that... ...we will visit Sasan Gir, Somnath Ji and as for the Madhavpur sea beach,... ... a number of people have told me that the scenic views from that beach are mesmerising. Passing through the coastal region of Saurashtra, we will reach Dwarka city. This is our plan for now and we also plan to end our journey in Rajkot...
...which we have already visited but our return flight is booked from there. Okay then, I would say bye to you! I hope that you liked today's episode. Bye-bye! Thanks for your time! As I told you already, we need to travel 12 km to reach the Devaliya Park. We have with us our guide, Naseem ji and your name is Ravi? Yes! Ravi ji! Let's go! Right now, we can see 3 lions at a distance of 50 m.
See, they are taking rest there.