Located in the western part of India, the state of Gujarat, is a land rich in culture and heritage. Every guest is God to the people of this colourful state. The people are warm and hospitable, and their ever present smiles, are sure to brighten up your days in Gujarat.
Birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, Gujarat is deeply significant in the history of India. With varied topography, and centuries of history, Gujarat offers a vast range of destinations for any traveller. Hill resorts, wildlife sanctuaries, art, architecture, and history – Gujarat is blessed with them all.
Gujarat is also one of the booming centres of trade and commerce. One the one hand, you can witness the rapid technological progress in the cities such as Ahmedbad, and, on the other hand, time seems to stand still, at the vibrant tribal villages of Kutch. The only habitat of the Asiatic lions, and the wild ass, Gujarat is a delight for wildlife enthusiasts. Behold the splendid temple architecture at Somnath, Girnar Hills, and Palitana. Once you have spent a few days in Gujrat, you will never want to go back.
TOP TEN DESTINATIONS TO EXPLORE IN GUJARAT
Gujarat has so much to explore, that it is indeed difficult to select only a few. However, if you are planning a trip to Gujarat, here are the top ten destinations you must consider, for your visit.
One of the most bustling cities in the state, Ahmedabad is a remarkable city, replete with history and culture. The old and the new, blend seamlessly to create an experience you will never forget. From splendid mosques, built ceenturies ago, to contemporary designs, Ahmedabad is a treat for the senses.
Don’t forget to try the delectable array of street food, or experience some fine dining at one of the top quality restuarants here. Take a trip to the Sabarmati Ashram, the former headquarters of Mahatma Gandhi. The peaceful atmosphere here, is a striking change from the hustle and bustle of the main city.
Rebuilt from scratch, following the devastating earthquake of 2001, Bhuj is one of the most important towns of the Kutch area of Gujarat. The capital of the erstwhile Jadeja Rajputs, Bhuj is an ideal gateway for travellers, looking to explore the near by Kutch villages.
The Aina Mahal, is an elaborately decorated palace, with exquisite mirrored interiors. One of the top sights to see in Bhuj, the Aina Mahal is a fascinating study in opulence and grandeur. You can also visit the Kutch Museum, to view the artefacts from the region. Other attractions include the Prag Mahal, Sharad Baug Palace, Rani Mahal, and Folk Art Museum.
3) Rann of Kutch
The Rann of Kutch, is home to one of the most spectacular sights, that you can witness. Vast expanses of pristine white desert, illuminated by the moonlight, is a spectacle you will never forget. Distinctive folk dances, textiles, traditional ornaments, and a warm and gracious people, make Kutch a destination for a lifetime.
The Rann Utsav, or the Festival of Rann, is a celebration of life in the region. If you are planning to visit, then make sure to come during this time. The whole region is a riot of colours, and music, that you are sure to remember forever.
The fourth largest city in the state of Gujarat, Rajkot is a buslting metropolis teeming with activity. The old city is charming, and full of culture and heritage. Explore the markets with their vibrant shops, are a melting point for people from all walks of life. The spicy aroma of freshly prepared savoury snacks, will make your mouth water for a taste.
When you are in Rajkot, make sure to witness the process of weaving the Patola fabric. It is a long and arduous process, that involves dyeing each and every thread, and then weaving it into intricate patterns. You can also visit the Watson Museum, with its artefacrs from colonial times.
38 kms from the city of Rajkot, lies the quaint old town of Gondal. Once the stronghold of the Jadeja Rajputs, Gondal, today, houses the beautiful Naulakha Palace Museum. Located inside the two centuries old royal palace, the museum houses artefacts used and collected by the royal family.
Also visit the Swaminarayn temple, the vintage and classic car collection of the erstwhile Maharajas, or simply walk around the town taking in the sights and sounds of the town. The narrow, winding lanes, and shops selling bales of bright and colourful fabrics, are full of life.
This is the place where mythology and reality blend together. Dwarka, believed to be the place where Lord Krishna’s mythical kingdom flourished, stands today, as a sunken city, surrounded by the Arabian Sea. The Dwarkadheesh temple form the main attraction of the destination, for both domestic and foreign tourists.
One of the most important pilgrimage sites for Indians, Dwarka is also a picturesque destination to explore. Tranquil beaches, historical sights, and beautiful temple architecture, makes Dwarka a worthwhile addition to your Gujarat itinerary.
7) Sasan Gir
The state of Gujarat is synonymous with the mighty Asiatic Lions. And why should it not be? It is, after all, the only remaining natural habitat for them. A trip to the Gir National Park, can bring you face to face with the king of beasts. The dense forests of Gir, are also home to other exotic species of animals.
Sasan Gir, is also a birder’s paradise, with the chance of spotting myriad exotic species. The hilly and thickly forested national park is situated midway between Junagadh and Veraval, and is best visited between the months of December to April.
The quaint temple town of Somnath, is best known for the splendid temple, perched above the beach. The temple is an important pilgrimage center for Hindus, and the festival of Kartik Purnima is celebrated with great paegentry. The unique architecture of the temple, along with the charms of the surronding old town, makes Somnath an interesting destination for travellers.
The throng of devotees, sightseers, and vendors selling their colorful wares, makes for quite a remarkable sight for any traveller. The wistful temple, surrounded by lush gradens, is full of legends and myths.
9) Lothal and Dholavira
Step into ancient times, when you visit the ancient ruins of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Once an important port in the ancient trading route, Lothal, today is a wonder to travellers. The ancient city of Dholavira, stretches over 100 hectares, is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in India.
Steeped in history, the sites of Lothal and Dholavira, are a must visit for history buffs. The perfectly preserved sites, are a treat to every traveller.
Located a few hours’ drive from Ahmedabad, Patan is home to one of the most intricately carved step-wells in India. The Rani-ki-Vav, step-wells is a site you will remember forever. You can continue onto Modhera, which houses an exquisite Sun temple.
The sleepy little town of Patan, is famed for the Patola sarees, woven in the Ikkat technique. The faded wooden houses lining the narrow streets, and stunning Jain temples are additional attractions for the tourists to this destination.
Getting to Gujarat
Gujarat is well connected to the major cities in India by rail, road, and air. Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Porbandar, Bhuj, Vadodara, and Jamnagar, are well connected by international and domestic flights.
The main cities of Gujarat are very well connected by rail routes, with the major cities in India. There are options for broad gauge, meter gauge, and narrow gauge rail routes.
Gujarat has an excellent system of interstate roads and national highways. The scenic drives from one destination to the other, are adventures in themselves. Roads are superbly maintained and drives are pleasant.
A destination worth exploring
Often overlooked by travellers coming to India, Gujarat is an amazing cornucopia of colours, culture, and heritage. The remarkable architecture, delicious cuisine, and splendid natural reserves makes Gujarat an explorer’s paradise. From the ancient, to the modern, the state is a perfect blend of the different waves of civilisation.
Once you have witnessed the splendours of Gujarat, you will never be the same again.