An unbeaten tourist destination for the lovers of art, culture, history and wildlife, Gujarat is a charmer in real sense. The state presents a mingling of diverse vistas where on one hand you can see chaotic city life brimming with fervour, on the other you will be floored by its majestic natural beauty oozing serenity in the air. Gujarat is home to amazing traditional artisans residing in tribal villages and showcasing their skills in weaving, embroidering, printing, etc. The state’s lifelines like Gandhinagar, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Patan, Pavagadh are known for their own unique charms, bringing travellers to Gujarat all year long.
Though Gujarat stays blanketed with extensive modernization, the state still holds its cultural roots close to its heart. The locals strongly believe in practicing their cultures and traditions. Gujarat also houses rich art and architecture mirroring in the day to day lifestyle. The locals of Gujarat are known as Gujaratis renowned for their colourful dresses, unmatched simplicity and warm hospitality. ‘Gujarati’ is the most common language spoken by the locals. So, don’t forget to greet the locals with a ‘Namaste’ (hello) and ‘Kem cho’ (how are you?) to win their hearts for life.
Gujarat houses a number of attractions narrating some ancient tales worth listening. Visit Rani ki Vav, a UNESCO's World Heritage Site. This step well dates back to the 11th century during the Solanki dynasty. The step well features stairs stepping down to seven levels, and panels exhibiting 500 main sculptures and 1,000 with minor work. Gandhi's Ashram is another famous historical lure here that lets you experience Gandhi's way of life. For the lovers of architecture, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a sure to lure treat. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts abundance of historical, architectural and archaeological treasures displaying both Hindu and Muslim traditions. Another wonder of architectural brilliance is the famous Laxmi Vilas Palace built on massive 700 acre of land. The palace boasts striking interiors and magnificent furnishings preserved beautifully till date.
Gujarat sprinkles spirituality in the air to let mankind experience the powers of divinity. No traveller visiting Gujarat ever misses a chance to visit Dwarka, one of the four most sacred Char Dham Hindu pilgrimage sites. The best time to visit this temple is during the Krishna Janmashtami festival. Sun Temple is another famous temple in Gujarat raised in the 11th century by Solanki dynasty rulers. The temple is dedicated to Surya the ‘Sun God’ and features a carved stepped tank, an assembly hall, and a main shrine. Apart from this, travellers must also add Somnath temple to their travel itinerary known for being one of the 12 jyotirlinga (shrines of Lord Shiva) in India. The temple entices pilgrims with its beautiful sandstone architecture and astonishing history.
Gujarat is a haven for the lovers of wildlife longing to capture the wild in natural habitat. Visit the Gir National Park, only home to the Asiatic lion in the world. This is the largest dry deciduous forest sprawling over an area of 1412 sq km. The park also houses over 300 types of birds, offering best sites to capture. In addition, one can also plan a tour to the Marine National Park, an isolated retreat to unwind. This national park consists of 42 islands, housing diverse marine and bird life. Bird lovers can also visit the Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary. Over 300 types of migratory birds dwell in this 605-hectare sanctuary which features three watch towers offering perfect views of birds chirping in their nests.
Those willing to see the most dramatic landscapes engraved by the almighty with the waters of simplicity and serenity must visit the Great Rann of Kutch. Measuring over 16000 sq. kms, this is largest salt desert in the world. The best time to visit this gorgeous destination is the full moon day when the beauty of this region becomes heavenly. Saputara is another escape for serenity lovers. Located elegantly on the flourishing plateau on top of the Sahyadri range, this hill station lets you unwind around a large lake, a boat club, a tribal museum, a cable car and an artist village. Beach enthusiasts can spend a day at the Porbandar Beach which acts as a great spot for family vacationers and stays busy welcoming travellers from far and wide.
Shopping in Gujarat is a not to be missed experience. The street markets here are known for selling Patola silk saris, Bandhnis and traditional gagra-cholis, handmade wall hangings, embroidered quilts, cradle clothes, lacquer furniture and a lot more. Some of the best shopping destinations to please the shopaholic inside you are VR Surat in Surat, Law Garden Night Market and Ahmedabad Haat in Ahmedabad, Kalabar Art Gallery in Vadodara and Bangdi Bazaar in Rajkot.
Gujarat is often termed as the Land of festivals and fairs. The state celebrates more than its fair share of festivals, each echoing its rich cultures and deep rooted traditions.International Kite Festival is perhaps the most popular festival of Gujarat celebrated annually on 14th January. The festival marks the end of winter. The festivities of this kite festival turn the skies of Gujarat in a canvas painted with multihued colours. Modhera Dance Festival is another popular festival of Gujarat celebrated at the Sun Temple in the month of January. The festival reflects the Indian classical dance forms and is a great treat for the eyes. Those seeking real Gujarati fervour must partake in the Kutch Mahotsava organized annually during February and March. The festival takes the participants on a six day tour to Kutch where they meet jovial locals, explore historic towns and unveil extraordinary handicrafts.
Apart from this, Bhavnath Mahadev Fair is another treat for travellers visiting Gujarat in the month of February. This five day fair is celebrated at the Bhavnath Mahadev Temple in Junagadh. The fair voices the dedication of Gujaratis towards religion and exhibits their religious beliefs in a beautiful manner. Rann Utsavis is another great celebration held in Gujarat. The festival presents great opportunities to witness the varied cultural ethos, local customs and numerous exciting activities including Camel Safaris, Bird Watching, Horse Riding, Para-motoring, etc.
Gujarati food is one of the most famous Indian cuisines. The flavours added in the recipes made by locals of Gujarat include a striking amalgamation of sweet, sour and spice. Homemade Khichdi (rice and lentil) is the staple food of Gujarat served with chaas (buttermilk) and pickles. Undhiyu (a mixed vegetable casserole) is also highly popular among the locals cooked upside down underground in earthen pots. Those longing for some tea time snacks can grab a bite of Gujarati snacks like Chakli (crispy rice flour snacks), Fafda (gram flour mixed with spices), Khakhra (crispy chapattis) and Dhokla (fermented batter derived from rice and split chickpeas). A visit to Gujarat can never offer enough gratification until one savours the taste of the sweets served here including Handvo (cake made of dal, rice and bottle gourd), Kansar (made with cracked wheat and jiggery) and Adadiya (made of dry sugar powder).
The best time to visit Gujarat is the winter season (November to February) when the states enjoys pleasant climate with cool breeze. During these months, travellers can partake in various outdoor activities without experiencing the pangs of heat. Summers (April to May) in Gujarat are often dry, humid and sunny, making it difficult for the travellers to step out. Many travellers flock here during Monsoon season (June \ September) to experience the lush greenery sprawling here in abundance in destinations like Ahmadabad, Surat, Vadodra, Jamnagar, Saputara, Dwarka and Rajkot.
Gujarat houses the largest number of domestic airports than any other state in the country. The Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport in Ahmedabad is the international airport of the state welcoming flights from all over the world. Apart from this, travellers can also take daily domestic flights from Surat, Bhagvanagar, Junagarh, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhuj and many other destinations in Gujarat.
Those travelling by train can land at the Vadodara Railway Station, lying on the Mumbai - Delhi Mainline. Other important railway stations of Gujarat include Surat Railway Station, Ahmedabad Railway Station and Rajkot Railway Station.
The state is also known for the best roadways in the Western India. Gujarat is well connected to all states of India by road. In addition to this, the state also houses one of the biggest ports in the Western India, the Kandla Port, serving as the major international shipping terminal.
One may find flights, trains, buses and car rents to travel around in Gujarat with ease. Airports like Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Bhuj, Jamnagar, Rajkot, Kandla, Bhavnagar and Junagadh provide daily domestic flights, connecting all the cities here.
Roadway buses and trains are also available in abundance to reach different parts of the state with ease. For inter city travel, rickshaws, bus service and taxis are the perfect picks.
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