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    Gujarat-At a Glance

    Gujarat

    Gujarat travel information guide

    Gujarat: The land of Mahatma Gandhi

    A tour to Gujarat will bring you to this land of Gandhi filled with ancient monuments and sacred temples. Flanked by the vast stretches of desert in the North to the Arabian Sea in the west, Madhya Pradesh in the east, and Maharashtra and the Union territories of Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli in the south, Gujarat is one of India’s culturally diverse and historically rich states. In addition to having the longest coastline and largest salt desert (the Great Rann of Kutch) in the country, Gujarat is blessed with wonderfully picturesque destinations. Historically Gujarat has been found to have links with the ancient civilization of Indus Valley & Harappa.From Yadav Clan led by Lord Krishna to Mauryan, and then Solanki rulers to being ruled by Sultanate of Delhi , later on with Mughals and Britishers, Gujarat has a vast and ancient history. Apart from that, it has the distinction of the most ancient trading centers of India via sea. All these have helped Gujarat in becoming a melting pot of a vast variety of religions, culture, people, places, and history. These various ritual practices, cuisines, style of dresses, fairs and festivals today have made the state of Gujarat a colorful celebration. Gujarat has always been a major center for the Jains & Hinduism and some of its most interesting locations are the Jain Temple centers at Palitana and Girnar Hills as well as Hindu pilgrimage sites of Somnath & Dwarka. Besides these, the state’s major attractions include the only habitat of the Asiatic Lions in India (Gir Forests), a desert ride at the Rann for Wild Ass Sanctuary and the beautiful Indo-Saracenic Architecture of Ahmedabad. The colorful tribal villages of Kutch & diversity of handicrafts make a visit to Gujarat unforgettable. The place of Gujarat is also famous for its fairs and festivals with the Navratri celebration and Rann festival taking the lead.Gujarat is the home state of Mahatma Gandhi and thus holds a special place in Indian Freedom Struggle. One can relive the struggle for freedom by visiting the Sabarmati ashram. Ashram founded by Mahatma was also the starting point of his famous Dandi Yatra. One can make several different travel itineraries in Gujarat according to his wish to discover.

    How to reach Gujarat:

    Gujarat is not only one of the major tourism destinations in India but is also one of the most industrialized states in the country. All these factors have helped Gujarat with an excellent connectivity not only through surface air or train but even through sea also. Ahmedabad is considered best entry point to start a tour of Gujarat. It is very well connected with not only all the domestic destinations but with international one through Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport.

    By Air: With seventeen numbers and growing, Gujarat has the most number of domestic airports. The daily and weekly operating flights in and out of Gujarat are easily accessible in almost all the domestic airports like Surat, Bhavnagar, Junagarh, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhuj etc. Most of the domestic airlines operate out of Ahmedabad connecting it to rest of the country. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport at Ahmedabad receives International flights from various destinations around the globe. From Ahmedabad, it is an easy matter to get on to a Gujarat State Transport Corporation bus or taxis to any other city or village of Gujarat.

    By Road: Gujarat is known for its excellent road networks in the Western India. With National Highways, State Highways and other roads crisscrossing the state it is a breeze reaching even the remotest villages. Gujarat can be approached from any direction by road from all the neighboring states of North India,
    Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh etc. For traveling through state transport corporations to hiring taxis and the various private bus operators, option are plenty in term of reaching or traveling through Gujarat.

    By Train: Gujarat falls below the Western Railway Zone of the Indian Railways. All the parts of the state as well as outside are very well linked through the railways. Main railway stations are railway station of Ahmedabad, Surat railway station and Rajkot railway station and Vadodara. However, the busiest railway station of them all is the Vadodara Railway Station as it lies on the Mumbai – Delhi mainline.

    By Sea: Very few might think of approaching Gujarat through sea route but with about 1600 km of sea coast it can be an option worth exploring. One of the biggest port in the Western India is the Kandla Port in Gujarat that serves as the major international shipping terminal. Port of Navlakhi, Port of Pipavav at Veraval, Port of Porbandar and the privately owned Mundra Port are some other options.

    Best time to visit Gujarat:

    Gujarat is suitable to be visited throughout the year. However, the state is so vast and distinct, that the climatic conditions also differ distinctively. But it wouldn’t be wise to choose the summer season to experience Gujarat. Summers in Gujarat are warm & humid. With average mercury touching around 42°C it is not the best time to explore this colorful state in all its glory. During monsoon season, the natural beauty and lush greenery sprouts entirely but regular rains and storms make visiting Gujarat difficult. The ideal time to take a tour of Gujarat is the winter season commencing from October and extending until March. Winters in Gujarat are amazing, though chilly. Be it the wildlife in Gir National P ark, visits to archeological sites like Champaner Pavagarh Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site or simply sightseeing tours and cultural excursions in cities and beyond; winter is when tourism in Gujarat is in full swing. It is also the time for famous Rann Utsav at the Rann of Kutch. The temperature in winters ranges from 12°C to 27°C.

    Best places to visit in Gujarat:

    • Patan: Located on the banks of river Saraswati, Patan is an old and ancient town in Gujarat.This ancient capital of Gujarat today is famous world over for its Patola sarees. Apart from this, Patan is a very important center of Jainism. Main attraction & excursions of Patan are, Jain temples, Patola Saree making units, Rani ki Vav & Sahasralinga Talav etc.

    • Vadodara: This third largest city of Gujarat is also known as the cultural capital. Situated on the banks of River Vishwamitri Vadodara is a historical & ancient town.It was also the capital of the princely state of Baroda ruled by the Gaekwads. Main tourist attractions & excursions are, Ankottaka, Vadodara Museum, Dabhoi, Kadia Dungar Caves, Various palaces, Vadhvana Wetland and Eco Campsite, The historic town of Champaner – Pavagadh etc.

    • Surat: A visit to Surat is a lesson in the history of India’s past glory. Situated on the bank of river Tapti and very near to the sea, Surat was an important trading point under the Mughals. This historical town with glorious history and culture is also a thriving trading hub famous for its textiles and diamonds. Main attractions & excursions are Bardoli, European Tombs, Dumas beach, Chintamani Jain Temple, Nargol, Mughal Sarai, Navsari, Textile market, Parsi Agiari, Surat Castle, Dutch garden etc.

    • Rajkot: Founded in 16th century AD by the Jadeja Rajputs, Rajkot is fondly known as ‘Rangilo Rajkot’ (translation Colorful Rajkot). Home to some striking gardens, ashrams, lakes, and temples, Rajkot is also famous for its handicraft items, jewelry market and special tie and dye (Bandhani), silk embroidery and appliqué work. It is also the place where Mahatma Gandhi spent his formative years. Main attractions & excursions are Kaba Gandhi No Delo, Watson Museum, Rashitryashala, Lang library, Bajana, Rampara wildlife sanctuary, Bangdi bazaar, Jetpur, Khambhalida caves etc.

    • Porbandar: Porbandar is an ancient port city of Gujarat. It is also famous for being the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi. Main attractions and excursions are The Huzoor Palace, Kirti Mandir, Bird sanctuary of Porbandar, Barda Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Darbargadh Palace etc.

    • Jamnagar: Jamnagar also known as the Jewel of Kathiawar region is one of the oldest cities in Gujarat. It was earlier the capital of the princely state of Nawanagar. Jamnagar is a beautiful city which offers a number of interesting locations. Main attractions and excursions are Bhidbhanjann temple, Jain Temples Jamnagar, Balachari Beach, Ratan Bai Masjid, Khijda temple, Khijadiya Birds Sanctuary, Gaga Wild Life Sanctuary, Marine National Park, Lakhota Palace & Museum, Willingdon Crescent etc.

    • Palitana: Palitana is a major pilgrimage center of Jains all over the world. It is believed that first of the Jain Tirthankaras, meditated on the Shatrunjaya hill, where the Palitana temples were later erected. The construction of temples of Palitana spanned over a period of 900 years. Main attractions are Shatrunjaya Hill, Angar Pir shrine, Kala Bhandar etc.

    • Modhera: Situated on the banks of river Pushpavati Modhera village is famous for its Sun Temple. Apart from the Sun Temple Modhera is also famous for its three days Modhera Dance Festival held in the month of January every month. Key attractions are Sun Temple, Modhera Dance Festival.

    • Junagadh: The town of Junagadh takes its name from the fort that enclosed this medieval town. Few places offer the sheer diversity in terms of travel options as Junagadh does. It is a treasure chest, filled with ancient forts, monuments and is also a famous pilgrimage center. Gir national park the last home of Asiatic lions is a popular excursion from Junagadh. Main attractions and excursions are Uperkot Fort, Adi-Kadi Vav and Navghan Kuwo, Jama Masjid, Buddhist caves, Ashoka edicts, Mount Girnar, Darbar Hall Museum, Sakkarbaug Zoo & Museum, Gir National Park etc.

    • Somnath: This place represents as well as preserves the mythological and religious heritage of India. The Somnath temple is one of the twelve most sacred shrines (Jyotirlingas) dedicated to Lord Shiva. The principal temple of Somnath is believed to have been built in gold by the moon god Soma, in silver by the sun god Ravi, in wood by Krishna and in stone by the Solanki Rajputs in the 11th century. The present temple, built in 1951, is the seventh reconstruction on the original site. Tales of its riches attracted a series of invasions. The Somnath temple was rebuilt and destroyed eight times but each time the temple was invaded; it was restored to its original glory by devout Hindu worshipers. Main attractions and excursions are Somnath temple, Prabas Pata Museum, Bhalka Tirth & Sun Temple, Junagadh gate, Somnath Beach, Veraval & Sana Caves etc.

    • Dwarka: Dwarka sits at the opening of the Gomati River on the Arabian Sea and is renowned for the Dwarkadheesh temple, among other notable historical and religious sites. Dwarka is one of the most important holy places of the Hindus. The city of Dwarka is the abode of Lord Krishna. Highly revered in Hindu mythology, the sacred city boasts of numerous sacred shrines which are scattered all over the city. Main attractions and excursions are Dwarkadheesh Temple, Bet Dwarka, Okha, Gomati Ghat Temples, The Nageshwar Jyotirlingas Temple, Rukmani temple etc.

    • Kutch: A land of color, culture and spectacular topography, Kutch with its rustic beauty is nothing less than a travel paradise. A large part of this district is known as Rann of Kutch which is a shallow wetland. Rann of Kutch comprises of Greater Rann of Kutch and the Little Rann of Kutch. The Kutch area is the home of the last remaining population of Khur (Asiatic wild ass) in India. History of Kutch dates back to Indus valley civilization. Harappan artifacts have been excavated from Khadir, an island of Kutch. As one of the most famous destinations of India, Kutch is also famous for its Rann Utsav a three-month festival showcasing various facets of life in the region. Main attractions and excursions are Banni Grasslands Kutch, Mata no Madh, Lakhpat fort, The great Rann Of Kutch & Rann Utsav, Little Rann Wild Ass Sanctuary, Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary, Kutch Bustard Sanctuary etc.

    • Mandvi: Mandvi is one of the most historic port towns of ancient Gujarat. It is said that during its heydays Mandvi had a fleet of 400 ships that sailed as far as England and returned. Today the tradition of shipbuilding is still carried on by hands on the banks of the Rukmavati River. Today Mandvi may not be an important port but is a popular destination for tourists in Gujarat. Main attractions and excursions are Vijay Vilas Palace, Shipbuilding Yard, Mandvi Beach, Mundra, Koday, Bhadreshwar.

    • Bhuj: It is a city with a profound historical background, a treasure trove of heritage and culture. From Indus Valley Civilization and Alexander the Great’s reign to the Jadeja Rajputs, the Gujarat Sultanate and the British rule, Bhuj has witnessed all phases of history. The city is named after the hill Bhujiyo Dungar which is situated at the eastern side of the city. Main attractions & excursions are, Kutch Museum, Kera, Prag Mahal, Aina Mahal Palace, Bhujodi, Khavda, the Black Hills Bhuj, Kutch desert wildlife Sanctuary Bhuj, Hamirsar Lake etc.

    • Rann of Kutch: The Rann of Kutch is one of the many places one must visit at least once in a lifetime. One of the largest salt deserts in the world, The Great Rann of Kutch is a white land spread across 7,505 sq km. It is the resting place of many migratory birds during diverse climatic conditions. Rann is also home to endangered Indian wild ass. The Government of Gujarat hosts an annual 3-month long festival called the Rann Utsav in December, January and March (Festival of the Rann), where tourists can see the various sights of the Rann as well as get a taste of the local culture, cuisine, and hospitality. Specially built local houses are also used to house tourists. Many adventure clubs and travel clubs organize expeditions during this season.

    • Lothal: Lothal is a famous archeological site which links the place to ancient Harappan civilization. Dating back to be around 5000 years, It was excavated by archeologists in 1955. It has some of the most substantial remains of the Harappan culture in India. Main attractions of Lothal are the ruins of the ancient city (Dockyard, The City, Archeological Museum), Utelia Museum etc.

    • Ahmedabad: Having a rich history with it being ruled from Solanki’s to Sultan Ahmed to Mughals and Britishers, Ahmedabad is a historical and cultural delight for the travelers. The city also has a pride of place in Indian freedom struggle by being associated with Mahatma Gandhi. The city is witness to the commencement of Dandi march by Gandhiji. Famous for its textile industry the city is also known as ‘Manchester of India ‘. Main attractions and excursions in and around Ahmedabad are, Gandhi Ashram (Sabarmati Ashram), Sidi Bashir Mosque or Shaking minarets, Hathee Singh Jain Temple, Sidi Saiyad Mosque, Calico Museum of Textiles, Jama Masjid, Swaminarayan Temple, Automobile(Auto world) Museum, Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Mahudi Tirth etc.

    • Gandhinagar: Named after the father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi Gandhinagar is the new capital city of Gujarat. Based on the banks of Sabarmati River Gandhinagar is an architecturally well-planned city. Gandhinagar was planned and built under the guidance of two Indian architects, H.K. Mewada and Prakash M Apte. Main attractions are Akshardham Temple, Capital complex, Adalaj Stepwell, Sarita Udyan, Indroda Dinosaur and Fossil Park, Dandi Kutir Museum etc.

    • Gir national park & sanctuary: Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary or Sasan Gir as it is also called is famous around the world for being the only abode of Asiatic Lion. Gir national park is famous for being not only the last refuge of the Asiatic lions but is renowned world over as a successful conservation project. It was not long ago that the majestic Asiatic lion was on the verge of extinction. With dwindling habitat and hunting as a coveted trophy during the British era, the number has gone down to an alarming level. In the year 1899, the famine decreased the lion population so badly that Lord Curzon canceled his shoot in Gir where he had been invited by the Nawab for a ‘Shikaar’. Lord Curzon persuaded the Nawab of Junagadh to protect the remaining lions. Nawab Sir Muhammad Rasul Khanji Babi declared Gir as a “protected” area in 1900. In 1965, the India Government declared this place as a National Park. Main attraction of the park is Asiatic Lion but park is also home to a diverse species of wildlife like, Jungle cats, Indian Leopards, sambar deer, chital spotted deer, Nilgai antelope, Chowsingha Four-horned Antelope, Chinkara gazelle, wild boar, Sloth bears, Striped Hyenas, Indian Cobras, Golden Jackals, Indian Palm Civets, Indian Mongoose and cats like the Desert cats and Rusty-spotted cats. Rare reptiles like the Monitor Lizards, Marsh Crocodiles, and Indian Star Tortoise are also to be seen.

     

     

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