Best Places to visit in Gujarat

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best places to visit in gujarat

Gujarat

With distinguished historical and cultural prominence, Gujarat’s diverse tourist interests fit well with one’s quest for wanderlust. Characterized not just by peculiar topographical landscape, Gujarat is strategically located between three major states- Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan on each of its three sides and the Arabian Sea to its west. From a seamless blend of Hindu and Muslim architectural excellence, to the vibrant folklore, Gujarat will titillate your senses and leave you wanting for more. The birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, the state sees an influx of more than 15 million tourists per year, especially in the fast-paced capital city of Ahmedabad.

Best places to visit in Gujarat

Ahmedabad

best places to visit in gujaratWith feet firmly planted between the traditions of the past and the modern-day stereotypes, Ahmedabad is a perfect marriage of industrial development and picturesque greenery. The city that lives from the heart has enchanted many a tourist, so much so that they have permanently embraced the city as their own. Be awed by the historical significance of the Sabarmati Ashram or invoke the divinity within at the various religious houses of worship such as the Hathisingh Jain Temple, Sidi Sayed Mosque, and Akshardham Temple.

Things to see and do : Ahmedabad Heritage Walk, Calico Museum, Sabarmati Ashram, Rani Sipri & Sidi Saiyyad Mosque, Adalaj Vav step well, and a day trip to Modhera & Patan.

When to go : October through February.

Our 2 cents :

  • Calico museum allows only 20 visitors per day. Hence call in advance to make reservations.
  • Go on the Ahmedabad Heritage Walk instead of exploring the old city on your own.

Vadodara (Baroda)

best places to visit in gujaratBest exemplifying the coexistence between natural resources and industrial developments, the city derives its name from the presence of massive numbers of Vad trees. The Kirti Mandir with its grandeur architectures, Laxmi Vilas Palace, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, and Khanderao market are some major attractions that one should explore. Vadodra, which was also the former cultural capital of Gujarat, is well connected by all major modes of transportation.

Things to see and do : Laxmi Vilas Palace, Tambekar Wada, and a day trip to Champaner.

When to go : November through February.

Our 2 cents :

  • The audio guide at Laxmi Vilas Palace is totally worth the money you pay.
  • Champaner-Pavagadh UNESCO site is a must see.

Bhavnagar-Palitana

best places to visit in gujaratIn the backdrop of the clear lapping waters of the Gulf of Khambat, Bhavnagar stands tall amidst its architectural glory. Bhavnagar is also called the Cultural City for having bred many literary laureates. From the vibrant bazaars to the resplendence works of silversmiths, this city has much to offer to anyone seeking a taste of the bygone legacy and the modern era of entrepreneurship and development. The Jain temples and the magnificent sea-side palace are some tourist hubs you should not miss out on.

Things to see and do : Jain marble temples at Palitana, Alang ship wrecking center and Nilambagh Palace.

When to go : November through February.

Our 2 cents :

  • If you are the kind who likes Flea Markets, then do check out Alang. You never know what you might find out there.
  • At Palitana, one can hire porters who will carry you in a Palki all the way to the temple.

Gir National Park

best places to visit in gujaratA trip to Gujarat is incomplete without experiencing the enthralling sense of being close to wilderness. Amidst a blanket of deciduous forest spread over 1412 sq km, Gir National Park is home to some of the big-cat species including lions and leopards. There is a strong presence of reptiles, antelopes, blue bull or nilgai, hyenas, chinkara, and the world’s only four-horned antelopes colloquially known as chousingha. For the ornithologists, the 250 plus species of birds is a good enough reason to visit the sanctuary. The Gir area is the homeland of Maldharis, a tribe that mainly thrives on pasturing livestock, and the most renowned Maldhari group is the Sorathi Rabari.

Things to see and do : Jeep safaris into the park and Crocodile Breeding Farm.

When to go : Mid October through Mid June.

Our 2 cents :

  • Go for both the morning and evening safaris. The forest looks very different at different times of the day.
  • Go on at least 4 safaris to increase the chances of spotting a lion.

Junagadh

best places to visit in gujaratPerhaps the only city in India to harbor two opposite ends of the topographical scale, with the 999- steps high holy Mt. Girnar at one end and the ancient stepwells that go much deeper than the surface height on the other. The distinguished feature of these stepwells, known as Adi-Kadi and Navghan Kuvo, is that it was not built but rather carved manually out of solid rock. While at Junagadh, do visit the Fort at Uperkot to get a feel of the Mauryan architectural genius.

Things to see and do : Junagadh Palace, Mahabat ka Maqbara, Jumma Masjid, Upperkot, Girnar Jain Temples and Ashoka Edicts.

When to go : October through February.

Our 2 cents :

  • If the entrance to Mohabat Maqbara is locked, just check with the school next door. They have a key.
  • Have a thali for lunch at one of the local restaurants.

Somnath

best places to visit in gujaratBest known as a town of temples, and regularly flocked by devotees from all over the world, the Somnath temple makes for one of the 12 main Shiva temples conglomerate. Adorned with golden jewelry, Somnath along with the Kamnath Mahadev temple is the main reason why this part of Gujarat sees a surge of tourists all year round. Another major tourist attraction is the Somnath beach. To invoke the divinity within, by the lapping waters, take a stroll along Somnath beach, which is open to tourists to only trot around since swimming is not allowed.

Things to see and do : Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple and the Sound & Light show.

When to go : November through February.

Our 2 cents :

  • Somnath can easily be covered as a day trip from Sasan Gir.
  • There are not a lot of good restaurant options. Hence make sure that you carry some food with you.

Dwarka

best places to visit in gujaratThe dwelling place of Lord Krishna, Dwarka is one of the most prominent cities in India with a mythological influence, and is a part of Chaar Dhaam, a holy pilgrimage journey for Hindus. The city is particularly known for the Dwarkadheesh temple and each year on Janmashtami, Lord Krishna’s birth date, thousands of Krishna bhakth visit this temple where it is believed that Krishna’s devoted follower Mirabai had merged with his idol. Apart from the temple, there are typical bazaars where one can shop, and eat delicious local cuisine at the street side eateries.

Things to see and do : Trilokasundara (Dwarkadheesh) Temple and the Temple Route.

When to go : November through February.

Our 2 cents :

  • If you have time take a ferry ride to the Dwarkadheesh Mukhya Mandir.
  • Toran Tourist Bungalow serves very good Gujarati food.

Bhuj

best places to visit in gujaratBhuj exemplifies the historical tales that Indians have grown up listening to. With a rich historical significance and stories of its many kings and queens, Bhuj is one of the most well-connected areas in Kutch through advanced infrastructure. The city is home to the first Sampradey Temple, The Swami Narayan Sampradey Temple. For those delighted by the wilderness, do not forget to pay a visit to various wildlife sanctuaries located in and around the city of Bhuj. The Prag Mahal again is a good example of the brilliant architectural style of the bygone years.

Things to see and do : Darbargadh Palace Complex and Kutch Museum.

When to go : November through February.

Our 2 cents :

  • A day trip to the local handicraft villages is highly recommended.
  • The Shrujan store in Bhujodi is a nice place to pickup souvenirs and gifts.

Kutch

best places to visit in gujaratAs the largest district in India, Kutch spans an impressive area of 45,000 sq km. Situated on the north western part of the state, Kutch is one of the few areas in India that has maintained its rich ecological heritage and wildlife presence. This is the reason why there are a number of sanctuaries and wildlife sites that are frequented by wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world. Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, Banni Grasslands, Kutch Bustard Sanctuary, and Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary are a few that draws in a good populace of tourists. If you happen to visit during the months of December to January, you will be able to witness The Kutch Mahotsav, a local festival marked by vibrant folk dances and events. The natives also put up various authentic items bearing a touch of Kutch’s culture prominence at the festival for sale.

Things to see and do : Explore the local handicraft villages.

When to go : November through February.

Our 2 cents :

  • If you are into embroidery, then a visit to Bhujodi is highly recommended.
  • Visit Nirona village for the handcrafted copper bells.

Little Rann of Kutch

best places to visit in gujarat A salt wetland, Little Rann of Kutch is in the talks of being nominated as a biosphere reserve. The area is exceptionally rich in biodiversity with shrimp farming being an important means of earning livelihood. Little Rann of Kutch can be traversed through Bhuj, and a strong presence of wildlife sanctuaries and abundance of rare and exotic animals ensure that the area sees a healthy influx of tourists.

Things to see and do : Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, Birdwatching at Banjana Creek, the salt pans and the yearly Rann Utsav.

When to go : November through February.

Our 2 cents :

  • There are very limited accommodation options. Hence prebook your stay.
  • The locals are a friendly bunch. Take the time to talk to them to understand more about their way of living in this unique ecosystem.
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