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Shanku's Water Park - Mehsana

Shanku Water Park - Mehsana

If you think that water parks are the right kind of antidote for boredom then a visit to the first and largest water park in Eurasia which is located at Ahmedabad is a must. Shanku’s Water Park is undoubtedly the most famous among the water parks in Ahmedabad. It came into existence in the year 1993, on the 11th of November, and was designed by White Water Leisure Ltd, a U.K. based company. It is located on the Mehsana highway which is about 60 km from Ahmedabad.

Apart from the fun rides that are generally seen at water parks, Shankus Water Park also boasts of age specific rides. The attractions include towering slides, twisting rides, aqua tubes and rollicking wave pools. Float trips like the lazy river is a common feature. Apart from that, there are exciting tunnels that will let you through 50 meters of curves into the cold pool.

Shankus Water Park also provides sports complex, cottage resorts, hotel, lake shore garden and health clubs. There is a natural health centre for those looking to rejuvenate themselves. So a lazy Sunday can be made worthwhile at one of these centers.

The water park offers special packages and customized program, accompanied by discounted rates. The organizers will ensure you of a successful program, be it a school picnic or a corporate gathering.

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If you are unwilling to take part in water sports and rides, the park offers ample space to relax and unwind. Shankus Water Park also has the distinction of being registered in the Limca book of records as the first water park in India.

So whether you are the adventurous type who loves water sports or the laid back kind, who just loves to relax and unwind a visit to Shankus Water Park is highly recommended.

Reaching there

By Air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is Mehsana.

By Road: It is located 60 km from Ahmedabad and private and hired vehicles and luxury coaches. Opting for Car rentals is advisable.

Staying there

The park has a resort called 'The Retreat' which is a three star hotel.

There are air conditioned twin cottages available. Recent attraction is the air conditioned tents overlooking the green tableland.

Guest houses in Mehsana

Patan

The beautiful city of Patan in Gujarat has a legendary past and is one of the favorite tourist destinations today. It was the capital of Gujarat for 600 years, under the major Rajput clans like the Chavdas (746-942 AD), Solanki (942-1244 AD) and Vaghalas (1244-1304 AD). Under these rulers, the city attained the status of a prosperous trading center. They also built various architectural constructions in the form of civic and religious edifices in the city. But very few of these remain, as the city was destroyed in the year 1289 AD, by Ulugh Khan, a Muslim invader. They plundered the town, destroyed the temples and ruined the entire city.

But, fortunately a few of them remained and are today important tourist spots in Patan. The most significant monuments in Patan are as follows:

The Rani Ki Vav or the Queen’s step well is an excellent example of the profound architecture of Gujarat that flourished during that period. The step well constructed under the supervision of Udaymati, the queen of Bhimdev (1022-63 AD) has exquisite carved side walls, pillars, beams, series of steps and platforms lead to the elaborately carved water well. You would find beautiful chiseled sculptures of maidens and Hindu deities, religious motifs and geometrical patterns in literally everywhere in the surface of the step well. Some one has rightly said, “The Rani Ki Vav is one the finest of the Indian sculptures and architecture.�? A must see for architects and archeologists.

The Sahastralinga Talav- This is an ancient man made tanks believed to have been built during the reign of the king Siddhraj Jaisinh 1093-1143 AD. It is said that the tank had around thousand shrines of Lord Shiva on its edges. Thus, the place must have served both the purpose of a water reservoir as well as a sacred place. It is a fine example of ancient architecture, which has integrated the great sense of water management and sanctity of water in Hindu religion. Though only a few traces of the tank’s glorious past remain today, yet you can imagine the grandeur of this great water tank that was...

The Khan Sarovar, located outside South Gate, is a water tank from Solanki period with stone steps and masonry. Mirza Aziz Kokah (1589 AD) renovated this tank using the stones from ruined structures.

Apart from these, there are at least 100 Jain Temples in Patan: the most important to visit is the Mahavir Swami Derasar in Dhandherwad with exquisitely carved, wooden dome.

The important Hindu temples are Kalika Mata, Sindhwai Mata. Harihareshwar Mahadev and Brahma Kund.

For those of you who are interested in Jainism and Indology, your must visit site on your travel to Patan is the Hemachandracharya Gyan Mandir. It contains thousands of rare ancient manuscripts in Sanskrit and Prakrit. Hemachandracharya was a great scholar and grammarian- the first one to formulate the grammar of the Gujarati language.

Apart from this, the ruins of the ancient city are still visible, making it a good archaeological site.

Patan is the only center of unique weaving craft of ‘Patola’ since the time of King Kumarpal (1143-73 AD). Even today, this age old traditional weaving craft is practiced by a few families. The Patola sarees are fine examples of the traditional art. Each saree is truly a masterpiece and takes approximately 4 to 6 months to be completed.

The urban structure of the town is made of several neighborhoods called ‘Pols’, ‘Pols’ are densely populated and are like a maze with carved wooden facades in traditional Gujarati architectural style.

Reaching there

By Air: The nearest airport to Patan is in Ahmedabad (125 km).

By Rail: Patan is linked to the rest of the country through a good rail network.

By Road: Patan is linked to the rest of the country through a good road network. There is even a good network of National and State Highways connecting the city.

Palanpur

If you are interested in visiting historical places that evokes in your mind, the days of royalty in India, then you must surely visit Palanpur. Located about 135 km from Ahmedabad, it was the district headquarter and the capital of the former princely State of Palanpur. Adding to the majesty of the place is its location, which plays a vital role in making it an attractive tourist destination. Palanpur is gently nestled between hillocks in the close vicinity of the Aravali Mountains. And to top it all the place is replete with legends of the past. It is said that the name Palanpur has been derived from the Palansi Chauhans who inhabited the city in the 14th century. During their rule, the place was known by the name Prahaladpur. Another legend says, that Palanpur was first established by a certain Prahladan, belonging to the Paramara clan of Rajputs. Historical records say that Palanpur was once a heavily fortified town with seven gates providing the only means of thoroughfare. The Chauhans were replaced by Muslim rulers who ruled until independence.

Today, Palanpur is a religious destination for the Jains with its presence of as many as 14 temples. It is also the ancestral birthplace of the majority of India’s diamond trading families. The city has turned into a bustling commercial centre, and has infact, become over populous due to mercantile growth

Visiting places in Palanpur

Though Palanpur is today a quaint little town, yet there are traces of royal architectures in the ruins that are still found there and are worth a see:

Keerti Stumbh or Victory Tower: Built in the 1930s, the 22 m high Tower of Fame was built by a wealthy Jain merchant in the 12th century A.D. He dedicated the temple to Adinathji, the first of the Tirthankaras. You would love visiting the tower decorated with Jain Pantheons, even if you are a non-Jain.

Balaram Palace: Located at a distance of 14 km from Palanpur, the Balaram Palace was built by HH Nawab Saheb Sir Taley Muhammad Khan. It was originally built as a hunting lodge, holiday palace and riverside retreat. Legend has it that the ruler’s Australian queen inspired him to build the majestic palace. The Nawab Saheb used this place to entertain important guests like the Maharajah of Kashmir and British dignitaries. You would love the palace built in neo-Classical Baroque style, with arcades and classical columns.

The palace has been recently converted into a resort and heritage hotel. The huge gardens, their contours clearly defined, have been beautifully manicured to blend exotic plants, bridges and ramps for easy access into the original Nawabi design. The entrance pathway is lit by lampposts resembling parabadis, the traditional bird feeding posts of Gujarat. Other elements that have been changed after declaring it a heritage hotel are the addition of glass coverings to protect the interiors from dust. The interior designs with modern handcrafted furniture pieces are sure to astound you.

The forests in the vicinity that once provided the family and their guests with game are now a sanctuary for bear, panther and other wildlife.

Zorawar Palace: This Palace is another symbol of erstwhile princely rule in Palanpur. It spans a huge area and is a synthesis of different styles tapering Bengali style umbrella domes, Indo-Saracenic domes, turrets, Rajput style jarokha balconies and fretwork jali screens. A highlight of the palace is the banqueting hall, now a district court, with beautiful ceiling frescos between intricate moldings, giving a three-dimensional effect, gold and silver paintwork, ornate doors and a fabulous fireplace. A massive staircase, carved in sandalwood, leads up to chambers that are now used by the judge and the magistrates. Intricate marble statues stand in the forecourt of a part of the palace, now a police station. The only section retained by the family is Shahibagh, an old guesthouse, now the residence, with the Nawab’s collection of antique furniture, crystal, paintings, hunting trophies and artifacts.

Jain Temples: Palanpur is famous for its association to Jainism. The great Jain saint Jagadguru Shri Hirsurishwarji was born in this city. His house is located just opposite to Mota Dehrasar. Even the famous Jain saint Acharya Shri Somsundarsurishwarji was born in this city, which was the main inspiration behind world famous Jain Temple of Ranakpur, which is known for its artistry. There are many other Jain temples here. Among these are The Pallaviya Parshwanath Temple (Mota Dehrasar) was built by King Prahaladan (Founder of Palanpur city). This place comes under 108 Parshwanth Temples, which gets special attention from the devotees of Jainism. This temple recently witnessed the recovery of some idols, which added to its fame.

Dargahs: Palanpur also has two famous dargahs dedicated to poets called Anwar Kazi and Saint Mursheed respectively. These monuments bear testimony to the era of Muslim rule in Palnpur.

Mithi Vav: This is an ancient and well-preserved step well in Palnapur with seven galleries on the walls on either side. It is an architectural marvel and is unique to this town.

Balaram Mahadev: This temple is located at a distance of 20kms from Palanpur in the Banaskantha district. It has a huge number of Hindu devotees coming here everyday to offer their reverence to Lord Shiva, the principle deity.

Visiting nearby places

There are a few places for excursions from Palanpur, which are worth a visit if you have enough time in your hands:

Jessore Sloth-Bear Sanctuary: The sloth bear, which is largely found in Gujarat is normally seen in the jungles of Baria, Godhra and Rajpipla. It can be sighted on rare occasions at Dangs and Banaskantha districts and specifically in the Jessore Wildlife Sanctuary. The state of Gujarat has two Sanctuaries that are specifically maintained to protect this animal namely Ratanmahal Sloth Bear Sanctuary and Jessore Sanctuary.

Though the bear is an omnivore and large in physical appearance it hardly attacks and is among the least ferocious mammals. They use nails to climb up a tree or pluck fruits and flowers. The same nails and highly sensitive olfactory lobes come handy in extracting honey from the hive.

The bear is not a very daylight-loving animal, which is why one can hardly spot them during broad daylight. They come out at dusk to hunt for food and this is the right time to spot a sloth bear.

The Jessore Sanctuary is situated in the Banaskantha District, about 45 km from Palampur. It is situated 40 km from Ambaji. The sanctuary is a safe haven to one of the peculiar bear species the Sloth Bear. The Jessore Sanctuary was declared a wild life sanctuary in the year 1978 A.D. Since the region confined within the sanctuary includes a rugged terrain it is home to a wide array of endangered species. The other species that remain protected here include leopards, sambar (deer), Nilgai (blue bull), wild boar, porcupine and a variety of birds.

It is located on the boundary between Rajasthan and Gujarat and helps in sustenance of the Green Cover. The sloth bear generally prefer to live in a community and the Jessore Sloth Bear Wildlife Sanctuary is home to this species. A visit to the sanctuary is a must as one could spot Leopards and other animals apart with sloth bear.

Reaching there

By Air: Nearest airport is in Ahmedabad, which is 135 kms away.

By Rail: There are a number of trains linked with Ahmedabad, Mehsana, and Delhi to Palanpur.

By Road: State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect various centers of Gujarat.

Staying there

While in Palanpur you may stay in the following places depending on your choice and budget:

Balaram Palace Palanpur
Village Chitrasani
Off Ahmedabad - Mount
Abu National Highway-14
Gujarat - 385001

Green Woods Hotel
Disa Highway
Chadotar Village
Palanpur, Banaskantha Dist.