The Polo Forest, situated in Vijayanagar taluka of the Sabarkantha district of Gujarat in India, is a world unto itself with ancient temples and a luxurious tent city.
A rendezvous with birds, nature and remains of ancient Jain temples – Polo forest is all this and more. The river Harnav outlines the Polo forest, which is also home to a dam and is the starting point of the Aravalli Range that runs through a large chunk of western India. For those looking for a relaxed getaway close to the capital city of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, or the other popular city, Ahmedabad, with an experience of luxurious camping, the tent city in the Polo forest is a great place to head to.
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An interesting experience in the forest is the drastic change in weather from day to night. Those who are visiting even in winter may find themselves sweating under the bright sun that graces the skies of Gujarat, but as dusk sets in, huddling up by a bonfire seems like a good idea. Within the forest itself, some of the places of visit are the two Jain temples, a temple by the hill with a mysterious tree that is said to provide water through its roots, as well as the Harnav dam. Large territories in and around the Polo Tent City remain protected, and with the destination almost a hidden gem, the pristine character of the forest is quite enchanting. Nature lovers and birdwatchers would find themselves amused at the Polo forest, with over 200 species of birds said to be hosted by the riverside and the Harnav dam.
A visit to the Jain temples of Abhapur, dating back to the 15th century, is an immersive experience to have, with the feeling of travelling back in time. With exquisite architecture and remains of the sculptures of apsaras in the premises of the temple, the heritage of Jain architecture is strongly reflected here. Those looking to understand in depth about the symbolic sculpture and historical legends that have grown around this place must hire a local guide, as some things remain a mystery for even those who are well-versed with knowledge of temple architecture.
Luxurious camping in nature
Polo forest has an enchanting and relaxed atmosphere which makes its surroundings ideal for lazy hikes through the forest. With other activities such as bird watching and cultural programmes available during the Polo Mahotsav, which happens during the beginning of the year, Polo makes for an ideal weekend getaway. Staying at the luxurious Polo Tent City and Resort is an option for those who want to soak in grandeur at an eco-friendly tent accommodation that is decorated beautifully with local items. With vegetarian local delights available for meals, the Tent City offers a chance to sample Gujarati cuisine from this region of the state.
Polo, barely 110 km away from Ahmedabad, is a tranquil spot for unwinding in greenery away from the bustling city. With surreal reflections of trees alongside Harnav, the soft hum of the inhabitants of the forest and nearby historical sites to keep you engaged, Polo showcases a side of Gujarat that is waiting to be explored.
Originally posted with Media India Group