Gujarat is a state in the western part of India known locally as Jewel of the Western part of India. It has an area of 196,204 km2 (75,755 sq mi) with a coastline of 1,600 km (990 mi), most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula, and a population in excess of 60 million. The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the north, Maharashtra to the south, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea as well as the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west. Its capital city is Gandhinagar, while its largest city is Ahmedabad. Gujarat is home to the Gujarati-speaking people of India.
The state encompasses major sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, such as Lothal and Dholavira. Lothal is believed to be one of the world's first seaports. Gujarat's coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch and Khambhat, served as ports and trading centres in the Maurya and Gupta empires, and during the succession of royal Saka dynasties from the Western Satraps era, whose geographic territories included Saurashtra and Malwa: modern Gujarat, South Sindh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh states.
Gujarat was known to the Ancient Greeks, the various Persian Empires, the Roman Republic, and was familiar in other Western centers of civilization through the end of the European Middle Ages. The oldest written record of Gujarat's 2,000 year maritime history is documented in a Greek book titled 'The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea: Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century
|Languages||:||Gujarathi, Marathi, Hindi, English.|
|When to Visit||:||Oct- March
|Climate||:||Summer- 41c to 27c
Winterr- 29c to 14c
Monsoon: June to Sep
No visit to Gujarat is complete without spending some time in the bustling metropolis that is modern day Ahmedabad. With many historical sites including the Sabarmati Ashram and the Hathisingh Jain Temple, Ahmedabad also has some lovely lakes to relax by and of course the best shopping in the state.
Considered to be a cultural hub in Gujarat, Bhavnagar is famous for its silversmiths and poetry in arts circles, but it is the architecture that really leaves an impression here. Head up the hill towards the Takhteshwar Temple for views across the city and to the Gulf of Cambay, and visit the stunning sea-side palace.
Perhaps the phrase “steeped in history” was coined to refer exactly to Bhuj. With connection to a range of civilization beginning from prehistoric times, Mahabharata, Indus Valley and the times of Alexander the Great to the regional sultans, British and then modern India, Bhuj with over 4000 years of inhabitation is a cultural potpourri and one of the best places to visit in Gujarat for cultural immersion. The major draw in Bhuj is the Aina Mahal (Mirror Palace), Parag Mahal, Kutch Museum with rare artifacts, ramakunf Stepwell and Hamirsar Lake. But Bhuj is more than just sightseeing, it’s the cultural interactions be it traditional handmade textiles and crafts, enameled jewelries and cultural excursions to surrounding villages which draws bulk of the international tourists. One such cultural side trip is Bhujodi. Located 7 kilometers away from Bhuj, Bhujodi is a village of weavers. Yet another village trip is Ajrakhpur, located 15 kilometers from the city, a village of block printers. These trips give you the opportunity to meet artisans, see demonstrations, and buy handicrafts.
One of the ancient cities of India, Dwarka was once the home of Lord Krishna. The Dwarakadhish Temple is a popular pilgrimage site, but also remember to visit the Rukmini Devi Temple and Bet Dwarka Temple to get a complete feel for this magical city.
Gandhinagar was built as the capital of Gujarat, and is also home to wonderful temples. Don’t miss Akshardham, built out of 6,000 tonnes of pink sandstone and the seven foot tall statue of Lord Swaminarayan; also visit the saffron idol at the Hanuman Temple.
As the only home of the Asiatic lion, you really don’t need any other reason to visit Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. The king of the jungle reigns supreme here, but there are plenty of other reasons to visit Gir, hyenas, leopards and over 250 species of birds just to name a few.
With ruins that date back to the ancient Indus Valley civilisation, you can step back into history here. Lothal was once a trading hub that was connected to the Sindh region, and Dholavira is an ancient city that has now been excavated and is believed to be over 100 hectares.
The beachside town of Mandvi has long been a favourite holiday destination with its sandy beach and sparkling sea, it is a great place to go boating or even jet-ski. There is also the Maharaja’s Palace that has the best view in town.
Both these towns can be easily visited from Ahmedabad within a few hours. Patan is famous for its patola sarees and one of the most exquisite step wells in India, the Rani-ki-Vav. Further south in the tiny town of Modhera is one of Gujarat’s best kept secrets, a Sun Temple that rivals the more famous Konark Temple in Odisha.
Popularly known as Chowpati, Porbandar beach is one of the most frequented beaches in India which is located in Porbandar. Children would enjoy the skating rink here. Near the beautiful beach, Huzur Palace is situated, which is yet another tourist attraction. Gujarat’s most important port is situated here and the beach aids in the commercial development of the state. Commercial purposes apart, it is a great place to relax and rejuvenate the tired spirits.
One of the rare monuments erected by a queen for her beloved king, Rani Ka Vav is a spectacular step well in very well preserved condition. It was commissioned by Rani Udayamati in memory of her deceased husband King Bhimdev I in the year 1063. Soon after completion, the step well got flooded by water and silt from the nearby Saraswati River. It was only in 1980s that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) excavated this Vav and desilting was undertaken. The structure that was uncovered was a majestic specimen of carved sculptures, niches and compartmented pavilions with pillars. Rani ka Vav is one of the largest and finest and unique step wells and is currently in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. This subterranean step well leads down through stepped corridors which are marked by pillared pavilions. The central motif of the intricately carved sculptures is the Dasavataras, or the 10 incarnations of Hindu god Vishnu. The avatars are accompanied by sadhus, brahmins, and apsaras. The sculpture of apsaras painting their lips and adorning themselves in different style represents the ‘solah shringar' or the 16 ways to make up to look more attractive. In total there are four hundred niches on the walls displaying carvings in this vav.
There’s a saying that goes in Gujarat. “Kutch Nahin dekha to kuchh nahin dekha” which translates to “you haven’t seen anything if you haven’t seen Kutch.” Kutch is the deserving top desination to visit in Gujarat especially when the Rann Mahotsav is in full swing. Wedged between the Arabian Sea and the boundless Thar Desert, Rann of Kutch is mesmerizing symphony of salt and sand. This white symphony reaches its crescendo on a full moon night. What makes Kutch even more surreal is that during the monsoon, it gets submerged in the water. For the remaining eight months of the year, it's a gigantic stretch of white salt lending it the look of white desert. During full moon nights cultural programs celebrating Gujarat’s rich culture and traditions are usually held at Dhordo. A moon light camel safari is the Rann of a Kutch is one of the must to do things. When winter arrives, the Great Flamingoes arrive at the Great Rann of Kutch all the way from Siberia for breeding lending the white desert a pinkish hue. Many other migratory bird species such as the Busturds, Blue Tailed Bee Eater, Ceraneous Vulture and Demoiselle Cranes also arrive here in large number. Yet another thing to do in Kutch is to visit the Wild Ass Sanctuary. Located in Little Rann of Kutch, Wild Ass Sanctuary in Gujarat is the only place in the world where the endangered Indian Wild Ass could be found. For History buffs Dholvira is yet another must visit archaeological site in Gujarat. It is considered to be one of the modern cities dating back to the period of Indus Valley Civilization. It is situated near Bhachau Taluka of Kutch. Important Travel Tips: Rann of Kutch is located close to the Indo - Pak border therefore all tourists require prior written permission from the DSP’s office in Bhuj before traveling there. On Saturdays and Sundays DSP office is closed so plan accordingly. Rann Mahotsav is a 3 Days annual affair held in the Rann of Kutch Courtesy by Gujarat Tourism To experience the Kutch at its most colorful and vibrant, Rann Mahotsav is the time to visit this destination in Gujarat. It is a cornucopia of music, dance and myriad colors & culture of the state. A three day annual razzmatazz, the white desert comes alive with music, dance, live tents, camel safari, arts & crafts on display and cultural performances during the Rann Utsav.
Somnath is the first and most sacred of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. According to the legend the Hindu moon god known as Soma built a temple entirely of gold to pay reverence to the lord’s glory and compassion and the temple came to be known as the Somnath Temple. As per the legends the same temple was reconstructed by Ravana in Silver, Krishna in wood, and by King Bhimdev from stone. Lying on the shores of the Arabian Sea, this temple has been destroyed then reconstructed on number of occasion and finally after India got Independence.Each year millions of devotees seek the blessing of Lord Shiva at Somnath, rated one of the top temples in India when it comes to religious significance.