The State of Gujarat in India is full of many site seeing places and the holy places of pilgrimage. Some of these places are situated in the thick and dense forests and give the fun and enjoyment of staying amongst the wildlife. We were able to visit one such place during our recent visit to India in January 2009. This unique place is known as Tulsi Shyam, which is situated in the Gir forests near the city of Junagadh in Gujarat State.
We reached Tulsi Shyam by a hired car from the city of Junagadh. Tulsi Shyam is situated at around 65 miles from the city of Junagadh and around 25 miles from the Sasan Gir. The road to Tulsi Shyam is generally good but there are some narrow and weak bridges on the way. You must be careful while driving through such bridges and must reduce speed. We started from Junagadh at 7 am in the morning and could reach Tulsi Shyam at around 11 am in the morning. Tulsi Shyam is a lovely place for the outing, away from all the tensions and hassles of the large city. There is an ancient Rukshmanidevi temple here at Tulsi Shyam. This temple is said to be seven hundred years old. You need to climb around 100 steep steps to reach up to this temple of Rukshmanidevi. Rukshmani was the chief wife of Lord Krishna. The statue of Rukshmani is made of black marble and is around 2 feet tall. The small statue of Lord Krishna is also kept near the main statue of Rukshmanidevi. The temple offers very peaceful environment and the tourists love to sit here quietly for some time. There are three hot water springs at Tulsi Shyam. The first spring is having warm water. The second one is having slightly hot water. But the third one is having the boiling water. The steam can be seen coming out of the water from this third spring. The visitors take bath in these water springs to get rid of their skin diseases. However, one must be careful while taking a bath in the spring having boiling water as they may get the skin burns. There is a Bhimchas Dhara near the temple. It is said that Bhim, one of Pandava brothers, had put this Chas in the land in the Gir forest while moving through the forest with all his brothers and wife Draupadi. There is also a temple of Kuntima here at Tulsi Shyam, who was the mother of Pandava brothers. This temple was built by the Pandavas during the Mahabharata times. The small temples of Lord Hanuman and Lord Shiva are also worth visiting here at Tulsi Shyam. The location of Tulsi Shyam is such that the tourists would be able to enjoy the wild life of the Gir forest.
There is a large holiday home available at Tulsi Shyam for the tourists to stay. The reasonably clean double rooms are available for the tourists at the rates of around Rs.300 ($6) per day. There is also a canteen attached to this holiday home. The standard Gujarati meals, prepared in Kathiawadi style, are served here to the tourists at the rate of Rs.50 ($1) per head. The morning snacks and the afternoon tea and some light snacks are also served at this canteen. The holiday home is managed by the State Government of Gujarat. The tourists can certainly stay here for around two to three days to enjoy the wild life of the Gir forest. If you are lucky, you may be able to view lions also during your stay here at Tulsi Shyam during late night hours. There are Baudh caves also near the main temple of Rukshmanidevi. There are 60 caves in all and the most beautiful statues of Lord Buddha are installed in these caves. You will need to walk for around thirty minutes in the thick forest to reach to these caves. You must preferably visit Tulsi Shyam during the winter months of November to March as the summer months are extremely hot here. And there may be shortage of drinking water during summer months.
We stayed at Tulsi Shyam for three days and enjoyed every minute of our stay in the wild and thick Gir forest. I would strongly suggest all my AC friends and readers to visit this unique place and stay there at least for two days to enjoy the wild life of Gir forests.