Saputara in Gujarat: Simply charming
Vinod Anand | 09 Feb 2012

Gujarat's planned and only hill station has oodies of charm provided by densely wooded valleys, rolling hills and the man-made Saputara Lake. It is a creation in the Artists village.

PERCHED ON a plateau in the Dang forest area of the Sayadhri Range, the picture postcard town of Saputara in Gujarat is at an altitude ranging from 875 to 1,000 meters. Although Saputara is said to be cool throughout the year, but in mid-October it is warm. Situated on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border it is 80 km from Nashik, the nearest city in Maharashtra, and 172 km from Gujarat?s centre of its diamond industry Surat.Saputara means the 'abode of serpents'.

There is a statue of a snake on the banks of the Sarpagana River which is worshipped by the Adivasis during Holi and other religious festivals. According to legend, Lord Rama spent 11 years of his exile in Saputara. One can drive from Pune through Nashik and on to Saputara. The nine-hour drive is tiring, hot the monsoons are just over and the scenery is stunning, with the bright orange cosmos that bloom has profusion during the rainy season interspersing and adding cheer to the many shades of refreshing green.

The hotel is on the banks of the Saputara Lake, located in sylvan surroundings of the Saputara Valley perfect weekend get-away One can expect to see a lot of water birds,.Saputara?s many gardens are relaxing and serene. Amidst a wealth of lovely flowers and trees, you can observe nature at its best. Colourful butterflies, dragon flies, bees and beetles flit around or a lizard sits lazily sunning itself:The unique Step Garden is tastefully laid out - as its name suggests - on a series of steps. Some of the flowers are unusual. It overlooks the valley, so the view from here is great. It also boasts of a log hut on its premises. Visitors can stay in the wooden huts, run by the forest department, with prior bookings. The log huts are situated in pristine locales with surrounding gardens and fantastic views.

The Lake Garden, also as the name suggests, overlooks the lake. It is a massive park with sprawling lawns, flowerbeds and a variety of rare trees. One can take the walk-way at the hack of the garden, which leads to an uncultivated portion within the park. This is a marsh attracting egrets and a variety of insects. The grass is uncut and wild flowers bloom. It presents a perfect opportunity to take photographs. The Rose Garden has a spectacular array of a variety of roses in myriad sizes and hues. Besides roses, many other flowers too add to its enchantment.The Boat Club on the lake is the heartbeat of the town. Most activities take place in its vicinity. Row boats anti paddle boats in the shape of swans can he hired for a reasonable fee.

A sail around the lake's tranquil water surrounded by hills and forests is enjoyable the atmosphere here is festive. There are number of entertaining rides for the children, a restaurant that serves all types of cuisine, stalls selling ice cream, local foods and gift items. A stroll along the Millennium Garden bordering the lake is pleasant. At night the lake glimmers with the reflection of multi-coloured neon signs of hotels which overlook it, under a brilliant starry sky, as there is no pollution, lending an ethereal ambience to the location.The Gajabbishek Jan Temple, still und construction, is worth visiting for its exquisite carvings and the stunning view that can be seen from behind the temple. From here a steep track of 1.5 kim runs up to Sunrise Point and Echo Point. Since it is past the time for sunrise, wed not walk up, hut for those who do, a fascinating view of Malegaon is in store. Like Panchgani, Saputara too has its table land, Governor's Hill to which we go to view the sunset. We do not see the setting sun as it is shrouded by dark cloud.