Hey guys,Travel post after ages!!! Few months back, we visited Udvada in Gujarat, a pilgrimage destination for Zoroastrians. This was our first trip without baby. Balaji and I’hd been planning for a small trip for some ‘we time’. We did small trips with Ivaan and we loved it. But I missed exploring a place like we used to before, without worrying about comfort. So, when Ivaan was having good time with his grandparents, we went for a day trip to Udvada in scorching May heat! Best time to go to Udvada is September to February when the weather is pleasant.
Not many people know about Udvada. I came to know about this place long back from a parsi lady whom I met while travelling in a local train in Mumbai. Every time we travelled to Gujarat and Rajasthan, we would see the signboard of Udvada. Since then, I was very curious about how Parsi community lived in Gujarat and how their culture, food, architecture was different.
For Parsis, Udvada is the place where it all began. After leaving Iran, Parsis landed on Indian shores at Diu. From Diu they moved to Sanjan in Gujarat and finally they settled in Udvada. We got to know about the history while speaking to some people at the restaurant during lunch. When the Parsi community landed in India, their leader requested the local hindu ruler to grant them asylum and land. The ruler poured cup of milk in the bowl and extended it to the leader which represented his land which was already prosperous and peaceful. They would get asylum if they could find place for themselves in their land without disrupting anything. Then the Parsi leader requested some sugar and added to the milk which dissolved without spilling. The king was impressed and he gave them the land for fire temple and asylum with the condition that they had to adopt the local language and customs. They gladly did and since then they assimilated seamlessly into the local community.
Iranshah Atash Behram fire temple is the most important fire temple for all Zoroastrians across the world. The interesting part is that, it enshrines the oldest continuously burning fire in the world (fire of victory). Fire temple was established 400 years back but it has 1280 years old fire. As people travelled from Iran, holy fire also travelled with them to India and finally got a permanent place at Udvada.
Udvada is around 180km, about 3 hours drive from Mumbai, makes a perfect day trip destination. You can also reach Udvada by train. But Udvada station is very small and not all trains stop there. So it’s better to get down at Vapi station and take an auto rickshaw. It takes around half an hour from Vapi.
Fire temple restricts entry to Non Zoroastrians. So we decided to go on a food pilgrimage & explore the town. We started our journey at 10AM and started our food pilgrimage with breakfast at parsi restaurant called ‘Hotel Ahura’ on our way even before reaching Udvada. It’s on NH8 on your left side while driving towards Udvada which makes it easier to go while going and not while coming back. While coming back you can go to Parsi dairy farm/ Parsi da Dhaba which is on the other side of highway. We had ‘sali par eedu’ that is omelette over potato straws. I tried it for the first time and I loved it. They’ve got other variations of it like egg over other vegetables. Din’t try but I’m sure it must be good. For dessert, we had sev dahi which was good too. They have a factory outlet where you can buy nankhatais (cookies), khari biscuits, parsi masalas and pickles. We bought a few nankhatais. Jam nankhatais were yummy & signal nankhatais were Instagram worthy. After yummy parsi breakfast, we headed straightaway to Udvada.
When we reached Udvada, it was 1:30 PM & too hot. But since we were baby free, we parked our car and started exploring on foot. I felt it was a different country altogether. Charming old houses, narrow bylanes make this sleepy town beautiful. Those pretty houses had sloping roofs, high ceilings, porches and a well in the courtyard. Most of the houses were closed as most of them live in Mumbai and come to Udvada in the month of May or during Parsi festivals.
First, we went to the Iranshah fire temple. Since we were not allowed inside, we clicked some pictures of the gate. The gate itself is so beautiful! I wish some day they allow non parsis to visit this beautiful temple.
There were some stalls opposite temple, selling bhakra & some other cookies, pickles etc. Bhakra is a parsi version of donut.
After the temple, it was time for lunch. Udvada is a Parsi food heaven. Globe restaurant is the oldest. Then there is Ashishwang & Café Farohar. There are few Dharamshalas but mostly they’re only for Parsis. We decided to go to Café Farohar. On our way to lunch, we found the most Instagram worthy wall in Udvada. Lovely colourful wall with fun pictures of Parsi people. It says ‘Jamva chaloji’ (let’s go for lunch). After a few pictures for Instagram, we headed to Café Farohar . It’s an outdoor cafe with colourful chairs. I think looking at those colourful chairs in the pictures, I decided to go there!!! Food at most of the restaurants in Udvada is good. Boi fish is the local speciality. We tried Russian pattice, patra ni machhi, Dhansak, Raspberry jelly, Icecream and Raspberry soda. But the highlight was their dessert! ‘sizzling malido’ inspired by sizzling brownie. Malido is parsi sweet made of semolina (like shira or sujji). I’m not a semolina fan. But it’s something creative. So worth trying! Not to forget, guys selling very famous hand churned sancha icecream of Udvada, come every 15-20 minutes during lunch and dinner time to the restaurants. This ice cream is sold in auto rickshaws in Udvada . Don’t forget to have that icecream. Nothing fancy but simply yumm! I had heard, mango flavour is very good and we were very lucky that we visited Udvada in mango season. We had it thrice 😋
Then, we went to the Irani bakery, bought some mava cakes, cashew macaroons & coconut cookies & headed to the beach. Beach is rocky & there was some construction going on. But we loved spending couple of minutes sitting on the rocks enjoying breeze after all that walking around. After some beach time, we started our journey back.
Half day is good enough to explore Udvada. But if you wish to stay, you can stay at Globe Hotel, Ashishwang hotel, Bawa inn, Iranshah apartments or Parsis can stay in Dharamshalas.
Cashew macaroons at Irani bakery
On the way back home, we went to the famous Parsi da Dhaba/Parsi dairy farm. It’s a lovely place for yummy Parsi food on NH8. We had bun maska and the yummiest veg cutlets. And ended the parsi food trail with doodh na puff. Bought some milk drops too. Don’t forget to buy them whenever you visit parsi dairy farm! I’m craving milk drops now as I’m writing!
Such a fun day it was! We were back home to our baby at 7 in evening. Udvada is a great destination for a day trip and a must if you’re a foodie!!!
OOTD: Since it was hot summer month, I wore easy breezy monochrome cotton dress with cutouts from @ethnicity. Paired it with black @Aldo sneakers and zebra printed bag which is a gift from Kenya. Accessorized it with only red specs to add pop of colour to monochrome outfit. Yes, I decided to add red pop of colour coz I wanted to match it with the car. In any roadtrip, picture with a car is a must for me and so sometimes I try to coordinate my outfit with the car 😜. Those red frames are from flea market in Amsterdam.