A holiday for most of us is a getaway from the busy lives that we live attending business meetings or worrying about missing deadlines. A perfect weekend would be the one which lets us enjoy our time to the fullest. But to get this type of a weekend break, we need a perfect place that is away from the hustle- bustle of the city life, which is peaceful and where we can relax in the true sense of the word. If you happen to be in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Gandhinagar or somewhere close then I have found a perfect weekend getaway for you that will help you discover yourself and a lot more! And the name of this place is; "Polo Forest"
I happened to visit the Polo Forest recently and was surprised with my experience there. Although I had visited this spot 3 years ago, but the experience this time was much better than the earlier one. What surprised me was the way this place had evolved in a short duration of 3 years. It has now turned in to a perfect holiday retreat and an amazing experience is guaranteed here especially if you visit with family or friends. The fun multiplied since out trip was an overnight one as there are few places to stay and offers good services as well. We spent most of the time sitting idle, either at the dam site or on the harnav river side, walking in the forests and exploring the nearby spots.
Polo Forest is the best weekend gateway between the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. It is located at a distance of about 150 km from Ahmedabad near Abhapur village of Vijaynagar taluka and has been developed as an eco-tourist spot. The beautiful place is blessed with natural resources including forests, temples, local life, birds, mountain ranges, wildlife and a river harnessed by a dam. There are a lot of historical places like jain temples, shiv temples etc nearby which make it a perfect family picnic spot.
As it is surrounded by mountains and forest, this place starts getting pleasant from monsoon season and is lush green between the months of September and December especially if you want to trek here. But the rich wildlife here can be experienced at any time of the year. I would prefer planning after monsoon season to winter and will recommend avoiding in summer.
Polo forest is located at a distance of 150 km from Ahmedabad, 70 km from Himmatnagar in Gujarat and 120 km from Udaipur, Rajasthan. The route from Ahmedabad to Polo forest is nicely maintained and you would hardly take 3 hours to reach there by road especially if you have a private vehicle.
Ahmedabad – Gandhinagar – Himmatnagar – Idar – Turn right from Vijaynagar cross road (take Vijaynagar road) – Abhapur – Polo Forest
Checkout this Google map depict our route from last visit to Polo forest
My first trip to polo forest was organized by the Photography Club Ahmedabad and it was a single day trip. We stayed at Vijay vilas owned by successor of Maharaja Vijay Wardhan Singh of Vijaynagar. As far as I know, the place is still operated and improved a lot in last couple of years. If you are economical place to stay at Polo forest, I strongly recommend Polo Camp Site.
This time, we stayed at Polo Camp Site which is an amazing place located in heart of Polo forest. This site is owned and operated by the Gujarat State Forest Department and need prior booking through district forest department office Himmatnagar. Polo camp site offers both AC / Non AC accommodations which are available on twin sharing basis. This place also serves delicious vegetarian food but you would need to request for it in advance. Although the amenities in the rooms are basic but the forest site here is worth experiencing especially during night. If you want luxury accommodation in Polo forest, then there is none and I would suggest you plan a day trip in such a case.
As tourism activities are increasing to Polo forest and there are few other hotels are operating day by day. I will keep updating this article with useful information about places to stay in Polo Forest.
Recently Gujarat government has announced Polo utsav and developed a special tent city for the tourists. You can book tents and enjoy the pre-planned activities at polo tent city.
This place is rich in beautiful flora and fauna and has an amazing dam site at the Harnav River. You can explore the dam site which is nicely developed and maintained in Polo forest area. There is also a Shiv temple at Sharneshwar, a Jain temple, a Surya Mandir and Lakhena temple nearby which I visited during my two trips there. All these places are located close to each other and can be easily covered in a day’s duration.
This place is heaven for the nature lovers and those who like to click pictures would leave from here with both hands full.
Apart from sightseeing, you can also enjoy trekking especially on the jungle trails that fall alongside the beautiful rivulets and lakes. You can climb mountains those are as high as 800 meters. Here I strongly recommend hiring a local guide if you are planning to go for trekking in Polo forest. You can also indulge in bird watching activities around and in the forest, can also indulge in photography or explore the ruins that are as old as 1500 years. The spot also offers herbal outings and you can also relax by swimming in the river.
This is a beautiful spot for riverside camping but you would have to plan an overnight trip for that. Do indulge in camp firing here and it would be a good idea to stay awake during the night and gaze at the stars. For trekking and night stay, you must require proper instruments and local guidance as this place does not have any reserve area or moderation. I would recommend getting proper guidance from local and then plan any adventure activities in forest area.
If you are visiting during monsoon, do bring an umbrella or a rain coat along with your trekking shoes. If you are coming here for a short duration, then get your own meal since you need to order food here. Snacks and water bottles though are easily available at the local shops. There are no big restaurants here and only limited food options are available in Polo forest area.
If you are staying overnight then get a torch, mosquito repellent and candles here. I don’t have more information about tent stay and would not recommend one if you are travelling with family. Better you book your stay in advance for a safer side.
If you are planning for a day trip from Ahmedabad, leave early around 5AM and leave from Polo forest before evening.
Note: I am receiving many queries about polo forest entry fees and would like to share that, there is no entry fees to visit polo forest. You also not require any prior permission. It is open for all and anyone can visit polo forest with their private or public transport.
Personally I am a nature lover and enjoy visiting natural spots. Clicking nature is the best definition of relaxing for me hence this place turned out to be a great personal experience. If you too are looking for such a place, then you will definitely enjoy your trip to Polo forest, the haven of natural beauty.