I added Bhavnagar to my itinerary intending to have it as the base to explore Palitana Jain temples, Alang and Shihor. This was part of my solo travel destination. However ended up staying in Bhavnagar for 2 days jut taking things at a slow pace and staying in Palitana for 2 nights just to do the Jain temples. (Will have a separate post on Palitana shortly)
Bhavnagar is basically a city of trade with many large and small scale industries and usually does not warrant as a destination to visit. This is how I spent my 2 days here and now that I am writing about the places I visited, I realise I did travel quite a bit here.
Within the city itself you have the Takhteswar Temple. The temple is located on a hill , so you get a commanding view of Bhavnagar from here. Temple as such has no historical importance though. The Swaminarayana temple in the city was the other place I visited. Surprisingly this temple has much more architectural detail as compared to the Gandhinagar Akshardham, so is worth a visit.
Takhteshwar Temple Bhavnagar SwamiNarayana Temple
Oranted Pillars inside the SwamiNarayana Temple
I was fortunate to befriend a Bhavnagar localite through couchsurfing and he took me around these two temples. As an alternative to my initial interest in visiting Alang he drove me to Nishkalank Mahadev Mandir, around 25kms from the city center in Koliyaak. And thats the thing of having a local person suggest you a place, it could go either ways, could be to your taste or not, luckily for me this turned out to be a small adventure and also a surprising sighting of Flamingos.
The Mahadev temple legend has its root in Mahabhartha. The story goes that the 5 swayambus of Shivalingas were formed to purify the Pandavas (five sons of Pandu) after they had killed all the Kauravas (100 sons of Dhritharastra) in the battle of Kurukshetra. Hence the name Niskalank(purify/purified) Mahadev. There is no temple structure, just a flagpole and a pillar with the 5 shivalingas on a rock. The rock is around 1 kilometer into the seabed from the seashore. On a high tide the rock is completely submerged and all you see is a part of the flagpole and the pillar. Luckily it was low tide on the day I visited and seawater started coming in only around 4pm or so.
Nishkalak Mahadev Mandir ,the flagpole and pillar with the 5 swayambu Lingas
And the best part .. flamingos in droves, just spread across the entire stretch of the sea and near the shivalingas sea gulls in large numbers. You need to walk almost a kilometer in the slush to reach the rock, and then I continued further to get as close to the flamingos as I could, of course the more close you try to get to them they just walk away from you. So after a while I turned back, sat on the rock and just enjoyed the view. It was fun tracking them, a group of them would have their heads down foraging for the algae they relish walking from one end to the other and then either they would turn back and retrace their steps or fly back to the start point.
Temple as seen from the edge of the sea shore
Flamingos in all their glory
Some captures of the sea Gulls
On the way back to Bhavnagar city spotted this lone male Bluehorse called locally as Nilgai walking around the fields. Was told that they do get into the felds in the evenings often sometime in larger groups.
On day 2 I hired a private vehicle driving down for a Safari at Velavadar Blackbuck National Park, Lothal Archoelogical Harapan site, Ayodhyapuram Jain temple and Shihor Gautameshwara temple. More on the Day 2 visit in part 2 of this post.
Getting Here: Bhavnagar is around 170kms south of Ahmedabad and you have a lot of buses plying from Ahmedabad to here. And within the city limits again autorickshaws would be your best bet. For Nishkalank Mahadev mandir checkout for local buses going to Koliyak village and then take and auto to the temple itself, there could be buses going all the way to the temple, I am not too sure on this though.
Also checkout the market area near Gangajalia Talav(pond). Bhavnagar is famous for the fruit Guava, botanical name Psidium guajava. Especially the ones with the red pulp. Heres how they look.