Ambaji – A pilgrimage that I normally attempt once a year for the past couple of decades and maybe an additional visit before taking up an assignment.
Over the years travelling first from Baroda, Ahmedabad then Bombay by car the timing which earlier used to be one way Baroda – Ambaji 9 hours / Ahmedabad – Ambaji 6 hours fell drastically over the past half dozen years to 3.5-4 from Ahmedabad and another 1 from Baroda; hence our last visit in 2011 we left from Baroda at 8.30 am picked up a friend, reached Ambaji, had a peaceful Darshan, dropped the friend back and were in Baroda having a snooze by 5 pm (this may also be due to my fantastic driving skills 😉 though my family refuses to agree)
The highways begun by Vyajpyaee government and continued are just fantastic – 6 lanes most of the way, well maintained and a pleasure to drive.
The second Darshan opens at 12 noon for Aarti and then darshan from 1 pm to 4 pm; keeping this in mind, I told the driver that we would leave Ahmedabad by 9.30 am. However, he came up with ‘Saheb, there have been rains, roads are not too good and we need to budget at least 4-4.5 hours to reach there, so we have to leave by 8.30 am’
Having come after two years, decided to take his advice and left at 8.45 am. Reached Ambaji in exactly 3 hours, leading to a wait for nearly 2 hours for Darshan.
Lesson learnt – Across Gujarat the highways are consistent and a superb pleasure to drive on. It left me with a yearning to take an SUV from Bombay and reach Ambaji the same day.
Hopefully, next year… till then Jai Ambe.