Diu to Vadodara: A long journey of cocktail emotions and Alang’s hangover
National Highway 8E
In the morning I took a brisk walk till the Diu Museum which was closed and then we boarded a bus to Bhavnagar to continue our journey to east. We planned to reach Vododara on the same day which was indeed a tight plan considering the thin and slow public transport. On the top of that we were getting down at Alang as well.
Village near Trapaj Gujarat
Alcohol is banned in Gujarat and Diu is the nearest city where all the drunkards land. There is tight security on the border which checks your luggage in the suspicion of carrying wine. Being the travelers, we were the usual suspects thus been checked couple of times. My eccentric appearance might have caused these repetitive checks. Anyway, touched down to Una and merged to national highway 8E which is one of those bumpy roads you rarely come across in Gujarat.
Temple at Talaja
On the way to Trapaj, we stopped at Talaja which is small town on the river side and blessed with a whitewashed temple of the hillock. Trapaj is the gateway to Alang Ship recycling yard…. Due to poor road condition, Diu to Trapaj (160 km, 96 INR) took around 6 hours. Trapaj to Alang is just 10 km and shared autos (10 INR, 30 minutes) regularly ply between. While taking the route towards the shore, we passed through innumerous shops selling stuff which was extracted from dismantled ships. These junk shops are the downside industry from Alang recycling yard. One can buy almost anything ranging from kitchen utensils, 20-seated sofa, refrigerators, carpets, crockery, soda makers, furniture, toothpicks, TV sets to heavy machinery and machine parts. Some of these items are of really high quality and If you are good at bargaining then you can buy those in negligible price.
* Private Auto from Trapaj to Alang will charge 100 INR
Ship breaking yard of Alang
This is Alang on India's bay of Khambhat, a place where Ship comes to die and Men die with them. Alang is the biggest ship graveyard in the world. On the way to Alang Ship breaking yard, there are thousands of shops selling junks pulled off from the ships. It's a fascinating site to visit and sobering at times. Photography is strictly prohibited in and around the yards. 14 km of coastline around Alang is allocated to these recycling yards and entry is restricted. The best way to photograph these dismantling ships is to go 3 km left towards the mouth of the river. I will recommend you to be very careful while taking these shots. Unnecessary trouble can be easily invited.
Dismantled Ship at Alang yard
Sometimes destination becomes a visitor and everything moves except the travelers. All the notions of wanderlust start propagating upside down. That’s when you completely renounce yourself to a destination and try to absorb its enigma. I never thought I will come to Alang but it was destined and here I was in utter cluelessness surrounded by bitter craziness. It is now, staring at all this infernal beauty, that i started to wonder about ships and their souls. Did these ships have a life-span, and if so, Is this where they died with no dignified burial?
Along the coastline of Alang
This is where poor from all over the country comes to work for low wages in life-threatening workplace. This is where inequality flourishes taking advantage of human needs and that’s why developed countries send their hazardous waste to developing countries… needy wishfully accept whatever come along…. that’s Karma….
Furniture pulled off the ships
bit saddened, bit deluded, bit helpless, bit wistful, I turned to a silent spectator and observed these little feelings. Finally on our way to nowhere…on a meaningless quest….to somewhere unknown…unfamiliar…
Junk Shop near Alang Shipyard
We returned back to Trapaj and caught the bus to Bhavnagar (44 km, 24 INR, 90 minutes) . Bus connectivity is thin between Bhavnagar to Vadodara and seats are generally booked in advance. Luckily we were allowed to board a bus which was going to Surat but seats were not allotted so it was another journey standing. Route runs closer to the gulf of Khambhat and primarily uninhabited. I wish I would have taken this route in the day time and cherished the bright side of landscape. Nevertheless I reconciled with the dark side and relished every bit of it. We reached Vadodara in mid night and finding an accommodation was the immediate challenge. During late hours, you can only find accommodation around railway station (that’s the basic rule of independent traveling).
* Bhavnagar to Vadodara: State transport busses but not very frequent. 200 Km, 141 INR, 6 hours.
Kitchen utensils and carpets
We tried in all the hotels opposite to railway station but all of those were closed. Finally gave up and asked an auto guy to take us to a cheap hotel/lodge. Hiring an auto for finding hotel is the last thing an independent traveler would pick that too in late hours but there was no other option. Luckily he was a nice guy and helped us reached to a lane full of hotels. We lodged into a cheap room (350 INR) and slumbered immediately after that….Night…sound of distant trains… another night in Gujarat…. One more night added to my age… and to this page…
Trailing Gujarat Series: In Chronological Order