21-Nov-2003 -- From my child hood I was very much fascinated towards geography and going through the Atlas. So when I think or hear of any place I could imagine where and which direction it is situated. In fact until now my favorite books are the Atlas, Dictionary and Encyclopedia.
I happened to hear about the Confluence Degree Project through BBC news. I learnt that there is a confluence point somewhat near the place Bhavnagar where I am currently working and more over no CP's have been visited so far in the whole state of Gujarat. From that time onwards I was planning and discussing about this with my colleagues and friends and was waiting for a company. On the previous day of my visit my colleague Manish Kanabar from Mumbai called me and informed that he will be visiting Bhavnagar for official purpose and told that he can spare his free time to visit the CP. Then I prepared my small gear of GPS, Digicam, Tripod, Binocular, Compass, Road Atlas, Maps, Pen and a Notepad and waited for the next day.
On 21st November 2003 I hired a car and while waiting for Manish I tried explaining to the driver using the GPS and maps that where exactly I had to go. After having our lunch at one of the famous Tulsi Restaurant nearby, me (Sriram Kris Sharma), my friend Manish Kanabar and the driver Pandya started exactly at 3.00 pm and after going through the main road for 6 km we took a right turn at Nari chowk(cross roads). This State Highway SH31 goes via Pimpri and Pedra and connects to National Highway 8A at Bagodhara, which leads to the former capital and important city of Ahmedabad. As this place is near sea level and without hills or mountains nearby and with very less vegetation in the vicinity one could see the plain land up to the horizon.
On the way we saw a huge hoarding of Nirma Chemical Complex, which is situated at Kalatalav, 14 km from here. Then after that on both the sides we could see large heaps of salt where it is gathered and sent to factories for further purification. We were following the GPS and proceeding further and after nearly 26 km we crossed the 72 N and at this point it was showing the CP is situated 10 km west from here. We were looking for any off track roads. Right after 1.7 km we found a unpaved road goes onto the left side. We took a turn here and after 3.5 km we reached a village called Bhadbeed.
After enquiring with the villagers we went through a dirt track, which took us nearly 2 km. After that we could not see any way to the CP and according to GPS we had to travel more 5.6 km. From here we could only see the barren land with thorny bushes spread over. As we couldn't proceed further I really gave up and got a bit disappointed. But my friend coaxed me and more over our driver, Pandya took a bold decision to take the car up to the maximum extent we could go. We started from there and were carefully proceeding by avoiding small pits and bushes. It was really frustrating as the soil was very loose and it created a thick cloud of dust behind us. After circling the CP nearly two times we could reach upto 100 mts from the CP.
As we got down we were welcomed by a small herd of Black bucks. It was very nice seeing these creatures that are suddenly disturbed by the strangers. I took photos from distance and proceeded to CP. As we reached the CP I was very happy and satisfied that I could reach my first confluence point. I was really wondering about our driver's bold decision without which we would have never reached this confluence. I took the mandatory photographs and some others. As the sunset was approaching I found it little bit difficult to take the photo of western direction.
This CP lies on a very dry land with big cracks and shrubbery found here and there. The important thing is that it lies very near Velavadar Black Buck National Park. This park spreads over a span of 35 square km. The Black bucks are the fastest long-distance runner of any animal (90 km or 58 miles per hour). These fastest of the Indian antelopes move-off in a series amazing leaps and bounds when threatened, and then break into a lighting run. The resultant picture is that of a graceful and experienced dancer whose form and grace can cast a spell on the beholder. The males are black and white and have ringed horns that have a spiral twist of three to four turns and are up to 70 cm long. The body's upper parts are black and the under parts and a ring around the eyes are white, and the females have no horns and are fawn and brown in color. This exclusive Indian animal is, perhaps, the most graceful and beautiful of it's kind. The park has more than 1000 Black Bucks that can be viewed on the open grassland from very close range, though they are very shy in the presence of humans. Other animals like Nilgais, Wild boars, Wolves, Jackals and variety of birds including large number of Harriers and Lesser Floricans are also found in the park.
When we came back to our car again onto the other side we found a herd of Black bucks. When I tried going near for taking a closer shot they slowly started going away from me and the amazing sight was one by one started hopping up to 1 to 2 m high and moved faster in a row. It seemed to me as if it were performing a synchronized dancing. It was indeed a very nice experience along with the confluence hunting.
As it was getting more and more darker we had to scoot the place. On the way we sighted two Harriers (bird)and one Nilgai (deer). Though I photographed those, but with little light it got under exposed. The non-availability of any specific designated route, made us wander here and there and at last we could see at some distance vehicles plying and some how managed to get into the major road. With mere luck we reached safely to this road without the tyres getting punctured or some other kind of breakdown. After some ten minutes drive we stopped at a Gasoline station and at one near by stall we relaxed by having a cup of tea and with some snacks. While we were there our driver asked us if any construction is going to be started in the confluence area. And I had to say that we had gone there for a site survey (..how to explain him about the latitudes, longitudes and the importance of CP?). Then we reached Bhavnagar at around 7.45 pm and Manish left for Ahmedabad and I stayed back.
A small coincidence in this confluence is that this CP was 21 km aerially from where I live and it was the 21st confluence visit in India and it was visited on 21 November 2003 at exactly 5:21 pm and of course in this 21st century. Now one more hobby of Confluence Hunting has been added to my list of others, which include Astronomy, Photography and Geocaching.