This has been in my radar since pretty early into my PGP1 at IIMA. As my initial waterfalls search indicated, I realised Gujarat is a dry state on more than one count. But I persisted to end up at the Zanzari falls page. I didn’t need second invitations!
But I had to wait an additional week to invite my friend, Adit, who had been recovering from ACL tear. It’s unfortunate that he missed out on a place I’m sure he would’ve loved (His sighs and occasional fits of anger confirmed it, on taunting him with the pictures from the trip 😛 ).
Spate of assignments, quizzes, end-term prep (Wait..what’s that?? Well…for Balaji atleast) were some of the deterrents to our plan. I was having none of it, literally. Just a couple of weeks back, some of us had been to the Devil’s circuit. So, we were prepared physically and mentally now. Oops…that was random CP. My mind to me now “Mt. Everest build up kudukriye da?”.
Okay, so we started with the potential candidates. I reviewed their track record and bio-data to arrive at a shortlist. Bio-data is useful in some cases to rule out the older uncles like…Okay, Shaahid, I’m not getting there 😛 . So, I called them up to really understand why they would like to be a part of the trip. Different answers came up. One was the waterfall, obviously. But I realized there were some other interested in driving our Zoomcar, Scorpio. Bleddy boys…I got to drive only the first 20 kms of the journey. It didn’t help that I had given an impression of myself as someone who hasn’t driven in 4th gear! Everything’s to be blamed on my talk of safety on road. “Dei boys, didn’t I drive comfortably at 80+? Othukreengla?”
So, I booked a Zoomcar and we were to collect it at 5 AM. Srikanth and I left on his bike to the pickup point. We waited there for close to 50 minutes, having repeated conversations with Zoomcar personnel there and on phone to the customer care. We learnt that the Scorpio that was booked had met with an accident and hence we were given another one. Srikanth asked me if that’s a concern, and I LOLled casually “Even RG God Sachin Ganeshan can’t stop us from going for the trip”. As we waited there sleepily and angrily at the same time, I said “There’s our next ISB case! Car tracking gone wrong, with the application showing it’s in our place while it’s actually somewhere else.” Srikanth assured me of Zoomcar’s service being a regular member.
Having taken videos and photos of the car and done some basic checks, I jumped onto the driver seat. This is the first time I’m driving since 6 months. First time I’m driving a SUV. First time in Ahmedabad (Ah…enough). I was surprised with how well it went. Powerful vehicle that!
We planned to leave IIM by 6 AM for the 80 km journey (one-way). Here we were just entering the campus with the Zoomcar at 6 AM. But it worked out well, as the other people were all ready by then. Looked like they didn’t need any additional motivation other than getting out of campus!
Some people didn’t want to get inside the car once I took the driver’s seat. “Dei over da! Next time I’m going to put 7.5 on the road :P”. Balaji, the appointed direction provider, in the front, hanging on to his dear life. Shaahid, Srikanth and Pranav in the middle row. Prithvi at the back, with the snacks. We quickly got onto the highway. Shaahid was already plotting to get me off the driver’s seat. Every time he spots an eatery, he’ll say “Dei Let’s stop here and have breakfast”. I avoided 3 or 4 of them, saying “Just miss..” But I was forced to stop Srikanth, as usual, was at the forefront, enjoying the food – bread omlette, pakkoda with chutney, kutchi (stick) snacks.
Unexpectedly, Pranav took over the Scorpio. I’ve been through 2 years of annoying JEE coaching, but the very thought of “Prithvi” rating my driving 6/10, aaand Pranav’s as 6.5/10 made me think “Why did I call this chotu vaandu? What has my life come to?”.
The journey now moved onto a State Highway without the divider, hence driving was left to the car-expert Shaahid. By now, Prithvi had come to the middle row, citing troubles with the sideways sitting at the back. He had full control over snacks before! But, yeah, Pranav, Balaji and Prithvi had come directly from a Mafia night-out, so they were understandably tired. Four of us now in the middle row! The rest of the journey had just 1 break, and that was on my insistence to capture some beautiful birds in the morn.
As we were nearing the destination, I was unsure where the 3.5 km walk by the river to the falls was. I had a look at the people sleeping inside the car and asked Shaahid to take the interior road, instead of parking the car on the main road and hiking. We were glad to finally see a board with the name on it, proceeded further to a parking lot! What was I thinking about it being unexploited! And lo, my first sight was at peacocks! There were plenty on the way as well. But this is when I had a proper shot.
Time’s 10 AM. Out came the sunglasses. We packed our bags and off we go. There’s a clear trail upto the bank of the river. Thereon, it is about walking alongside it. Realised this was that 3.5 km trail! DSLR clicking starts!
We find a camel, and I read somewhere that they are also a mode to get to the falls. Prithvi posing with the camel was funny…er…hilarious. No disrespect to the camel.
I was at complete peace with the kind of birding opportunities the place gave me. The other five had to occasionally deal with me giving some bird gyans :D.
The stream actually didn’t look like one. More like a lake, as we couldn’t spot any current whatsoever. At one point, we had a bit of an uphill climb to do. And that’s all about the difficulty of this hike! Shaahid and I walked faster as the falls was approaching in curiosity. And he looked shocked to find a two-step 6 foot jump.
I was a bit puzzled as I had already seen the falls on the net. So, I kept walking downstream to find a reasonably good waterfall! Some pics followed.
Moved to the other side to have another angle. As the others left upstream for getting into the waters, as that’s where it’s safe, two white-browed wagtails caught my attention 😀
Later joined them for some pure joy in the pure waters of Zanzari.
Frisbee came out for some Water-frisbee. I found Frisbee could be thrown as horribly only that day as Prithvi, Pranav and Balaji showed. Then, I moved to that 6 foot falls stretch and enjoyed being dragged along by the currents. And, frequently, I would go on to reach our bags for snacks. Muffins and plum cakes tasted brilliant 😀 Prithvi and Srikanth were done with water by now. We four go about exploring the downstream and find a beautiful little cascade. The waters were significantly deeper and hence cooler too. Pranav being a better swimmer among us ventured to the falls, exploring the waters to also give an indication of where it’s deep and where it’s not. I found a way to get under it thus, sat there for a blissful 5 minutes. And, a special mention to the fishes near the falls for the amazing ticklo-therapy _/\_. Looking at their sizes, I always had the fear of what if they suddenly started biting, turning into Piranhas xD
Unfortunately, it all had to come to an end. I was the last one to get out of water, change clothes. I kept thinking “Why do these guys want to leave so early?” Some more selfies and DSLR portraits followed. Bid adieu to Zanzari.
The walk back to the car was pretty uneventful. I would stop sometimes to check if I’ve got a clear picture of the terrain and the stream registered in my mind. That’s me! 😀
Everyone was very hungry by now. Srikanth took over the steering wheels and it’s going to be him for the return journey. Shaahid’s JBL speaker was booming with fast beat songs. Balaji was now really scared. I was unable to sleep properly but managed half an hour. And when I was up, I was only following the India vs England 4th test at Mumbai. Phew! What a cricket pitch to play on! What an innings by King Kohli! As talks of a place to have lunch crept up, all my concern was whether there would be TV to watch cricket. At one point, as we neared IIMA, I told I would be happy to skip lunch for the match. That desperate I was! Later, we had food at Subway near IIMA, and I followed the closing overs of the day. And the trip came to a close with me and Srikanth going on to return the car.
Zanzari done. Next up Kutch, Dediapada? 😀
P.S: Zanzari waterfall is about 80 kms from Ahmedabad.
Road condition : NH stretch was perfect. SH was good overall, but had some bad portions.
Food : There were 4-5 villagers selling snacks at the waterfalls. Otherwise, you wouldn’t find any food nearby.
Please ensure the waterfalls stays as pure and clean as it is now 🙂