Friday, March 25, 2011

Chhota Udepur

Chhota Udepur


Chhota Udepur

Towards the border with Rajasthan, Chhota Udepur shares a history with Devgadh Baria and Rajpipla as one of the three princely states of eastern Gujarat. The small town sits on the edge of a big lake, with a series of temples along the skyline. The Jain temple is an interesting example of the influence of Victorian art on local building styles. Structures from the 1920s such as the Kusum Vilas Palace(also a heritage hotel) and Prem Bhavan are also worth visiting, though they need permission from the local royal family. For information on Kali Niketan, a heritage hotel on the Orsang river, contact Tel: +91 79 26302019.

The essence of the town, however, is that it lies in the heart of a tribal area with rich indigenous history and culture. Every Saturday there is a haat or tribal market. The town is a good base from which to explore the surrounding tribal villages, particularly in the Rathwa communities. The Tribal Museum is also worth a visit, though of course not nearly as important as day-to-day interaction with people alive today.

ST buses from Vadodara are frequent, though also frequently crowded. Another interesting possibility for travel is the narrow-gauge rail which goes every day except Mondays and Fridays, but ask around to make sure it's still functioning when you go.

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