NATUR AL GRANDEUR AND COLOURS OF GUJARAT
one of the most hot selling destinations for a reason. Be it colourful festivals, rich heritage, delectable food and so much more. This place has all the unique and “first'' things. Such as Gujarat has, India’s longest coastline, largest white desert in the world, shore temples, the first national marine park in the country, primeval Buddhist caves, Asiatic lion’s habitat, forts from the Harappa civilization, traditional handicrafts and handlooms from almost 4000 years ago and more to count. That's what makes it demanding and a must visit place on every tourist and travellers bucket list. That is why it has become the prime destination of India. There are numerous things to experience and explore here, which will definitely make you come back again. The annual Rann Utsav is a major crowd puller every single year. It warmly welcomes the travellers across the world. At the same time, UNESCO World Heritage Site Rani Ki Vav has also become a popular tourist attraction and has been ranking in the top list. No trip to Gujarat is complete without visiting Champaner Archaeological Park, Ahmedabad, Dwarka and Junagadh. From the remarkable architecture of Jain temples, the majestic Pavagadh Fort, Laxmi Vilas Palace to the historical Dwarkadhish Temple, Sun Temple and the Old Fort of Surat – the state is home to a plethora of historical reminiscence. This place has one of the most strategic locations and is swarmed by business mens across the country. Its rustic beauty, it’s culture and its people will enchant you.
Make sure you do not miss the hike to the highest peak of Gujarat decked with naga babas, aghoris, and 800-year-old Jain and Hindu temples. Kalo Dungar (1,515m) or the Black Hill is the highest peak in Gujarat. The trek from Drobana to Kalo Dungar will take you through some dry forests with unique rock formations and boulders. Once you reach the summit, visit the 400-year-old Dattatreya Temple. Also catch the magnificent sunset. We are sure, you weren’t aware that yes you can trek in Gujrat too. How versatile the place is! Gujarat is the seventh largest state in terms of land area. It is an amalgamation of various cultures and traditions of India. This state is also highly honoured and respected as it is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi. The Father of the Nation, one and only Mahatma Gandhi was born in the year 1869 in Porbandar which has now become a major tourist spot in the state where people come to visit his Ashram and place of birth. The capital of Gujarat is Gandhinagar and it is one of the most reowned by the famous businessmen. Tourists swarm to this state for its heritage, natural beauty, Ayurveda centres and other vibrant tourist spots which are a blend of modern and traditional style. Also, it’s one of the birdwatchers and wildlife photographers dream place With more than 600 number of bird species and extraordinary sightings. From the European Blue-tailed bee-eater to the Egyptian cutaneous vulture, the variety of migratory birds is astounding. Then there are ibis, spoonbills, shanks, shrikes, and bulbuls and so many more.
Best time to explore and experience Gujarat:
The best time is the month of November to February, in short the winter season. It is considered the most perfect weather to travel sweat and castle free when planning the trip in advance. The temperature drops around 12°C to 25°C. The winter months are much more comfortable for people to enjoy roaming around and explore the city in a local way. As the weather relatively cools down it is time to explore Gujarat’s jewels such as Gir national park, Rann of Kutch, Sabarmati Ashram, Kalo Dungar and many other places. The beach areas might be a little too cold for comfort in the winter months, but the entire state is a lot more pleasant. But, it's not that freezing too, you can lie down and soak up in the sun for hours as a relaxing trip.
March to June, is the summer season. The temperatures soar up to 45 degrees, making the environment hotter and it’s difficult to move too. Humid and sunny, the summers are ideal if you are looking to spend time at the only hill station of the state like Saputara, which has a pleasant climate almost all across the year. If you do not plan on spending a lot of time outside, then places such as Dwarka and Vadodara are also ideal, where you can visit the temples and other attractions during the night as well. In short, try to avoid the summer season as a good time to visit here. And also, if you plan to visit national parks that would be good to as you an easily spot some species who comes out in search for water.
July to September, is monsoon weather. The temperature remains between 25 degrees to 30 degrees. It gets little humid post rain. But yes, after the first shower itself the whole state gets drenched in lush greenery and especially you can witness so many waterfalls. It's not the ideal time but for wildlife lovers its again a good time as in a wildlife sanctuary whilst the animals are out to dry themselves when the sun is out. And if you are an adventure enthusiast, you must head over on some deep hidden trails which goes though the national parks to experience the wilderness.
Places to explore in Gujarat:
Rani Ki Vav, a unesco heritage site. Its a A stepwell in Patan, built by Queen (Rani) of Bhimdev, Udayamanti. Constructed in the 11th century to preserve ground water, Rani ki Vav today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The major highlights of the stepwell are its walls that are decorated with figurative motifs and showcases images of various gods and goddesses from the Hindu pantheon. The best time to visit is October to March and timings are 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Also, as its a historic site, there is a minimal fees of Rs 15 for Indians and Rs 200 for foreigners.
Gir National Park, is open from Mid October onwards till mid June It was established to protect Asiatic lions, who frequent the fenced-off Devalia Safari Park, along with leopards and antelopes. Gir Jungle Trail, outside the fenced area, traverses deciduous forest and is home to wildlife including vultures and pythons. Rich flora that attracts nature lovers from across the country, Jeep Safari is one of the major highlights of this park and extinct wild animals apart from Asiatic Lions. The Gir Jungle Trail operates from 6 am to 12 pm and 3 pm to 6 pm from Monday to Sunday. Whereas, the Devalia Safari Park operates from 8 am to 11 am and 3 pm to 5 pm from Monday to Sunday. The Gir National Park is open from Mid-October to Mid June, and the Devaliya Safari Park is open throughout the year. However, it is closed on Wednesdays.
Great Rann of Kutch, is known as the world's largest salt desert, measuring about 10,000 square kilometers. If you want to avoid the crowds and have a more peaceful experience, go towards the end of the tourist season in March. You can still visit the salt desert in April and May though, on a day trip from Bhuj. And you need to plan your trip in a way because firstly after march it gets really hot. And secondly, there's an absence of basic facilities so be prepared for that. You can take a moonlight camel safari into the desert. Make sure to do that because it will be one of the most enlightening experiences. The Rann of Kutch is a sensitive area as it is new to the Pakistan border so you need a permit. The cost is 100 rupees for an adult, 50 rupees for a child aged six to 12 years, 25 rupees for a motor bike and 50 rupees for a car. You'll need to submit a photocopy of your ID, plus show the original. Usually tourists throng to this place during Rann Utsav. And it is one of the most ideal times too.
Somnath Temple, is an example of fine architecture of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas Shrines of Shiva. This place is believed to be the place where Lord Krishna ended his Lila and thereafter left for heavenly abode, therefore it is also known as Eternal Shrine. Because It was destroyed six times and every time it was rebuilt. The current structure of the temple is built in the Chalukya style of architecture by the master masons of Gujarat, known as Sompuras. And its not necessary that only Hindus can visit here, but now its your time to pack your bags and begin your journey to one of the most the sacred places of India, make sure to include this in your trip. And the visiting hours in mornings are 7:30 am to 11:30 am, in afternoon 12:30 pm to 6:30 pm and in evening its 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm.
Sabarmati Ashram, who doesn’t know this? It is one of the most popular one. Also known as Satyagraha Ashram. Mahatma Gandhi, planned a significant number of freedom movements between 1917 and 1930. This place is perfect for history lovers and those wanting to have a look inside Mahatma Gandhi’s humble life and his immense political power. Sabarmati Ashram is also the top attraction in Ahmedabad. Mahatma Gandhi trained activists to join his movements like Swadeshi movements, non-violent and civil disobedience here. Gandhi’s living quarter along with that of his many allies are also situated in Sabarmati Ashram, and there’s an open-air museum that presents an informative record of his life and teachings. And if you are someone who loves history to the core, it's a must visit place for you. Entry is free here and the visiting hours are 8:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Marine National Park, that too India’s first marine national park and wildlife sanctuary. The park is the only place in India where one can see the coral reefs of different shapes and sizes without diving in the water. So you aren’t a swimmer or diver, no problem. Experience the deep things here in cheap. It is an An archipelago of 42 islands along the northern coast of Jamnagar and the southern coast of Kutch. It is one of the best wildlife destinations in Gujarat. The major attractions here are Pirotan, Narala, Ajad, and Positara. To reach the marine national park, you will have to hire a boat from the Bedi Port or Sikka Port. Also, timings for entry varies here according to the high tides. And the most ideal time to visit is November to March.
Saputara , the precious hill station of Gujarat. Thats right, Gujarat is not all about forts, palaces, temples and jungles. The only hill station in Gujarat, Saputara is nestled in the Sahyadri hills amidst the dang forest and offers people a great summer holiday option in the state. The main attractions of Saputara are Honey bees Center, Rose Garden, Lake Garden, Step Garden, Gira Waterfalls, Mahal Forest, Gandhi Shikhar and Sunrise Point. You can capture a bunch of pictures for your feed for sure. Satpura National park remains accessible for tourists from 1st of October to 30th of June and remains closed during the monsoon period. The park has so much to offer and therefore is suitable to visit in all the seasons. Make sure to indulge yourself in some adventure actives too such as Jungle Safari, elephant safari, boat surfing and canoeing.
Dholavira, this place has a complete historic, rustic and vintage charm. Dholavira is an ancient town that contains the fascinating and historic ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization. Locally called Kotada timba, the site is the second largest Harappan site in India and fifth largest in Indian subcontinent. It is one of the most famous among all the historians for history lovers. You can witness the world's best water conservation system, first sign boards, and ancient Indus scripts. And the best time to visit is October to December & January to March.
Ahmedabad, was declared to be India's first UNESCO World Heritage City in 2017. This city is full of winding lanes, carved wooden homes and ancient historic charms. It has some of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and Hindu Muslim art in India. And let us give you all a pro tip to specifically plan your trip on January 14th, makar sankranti day and experience Uttarayan and the International Kite Festival in Ahmedabad. Another best time to visit is during Navratri. The markets are full of elaborately worked, traditional garbs with befitting shoes and jewellery. Just strolling through these markets is a treat to the eye. Make sure to buy some affordable and cheap Navratri ghagras and set yourself into the festive mood.
Statue of Unity, Kevadia. It is the world's tallest statue, dedicated to Indian independence activist Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1875–1950), was completed in 2018. At 182 meters tall, it's twice the size of the Statue of Liberty. It is dedicated to the first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of independent India, and is highly regarded for his leadership in bringing the 562 princely states of India together. The area around the statue has been developed as a comprehensive tourist destination. Its a perfect place to relax and spend quality time with your family. Also apart from that you can witness sound and laser show, butterfly garden, cactus garden, Ayurvedic wellness center, eco-friendly and medicinal plant nursery, handicraft stores, valley of flowers, forest with native trees, children's park with train and mirror maze, safari park.
Champaner Archeological park, it is known for historical, architectural and archeological treasures from both Muslim and Hindu traditions, dating back to between the 8th and 14th centuries. It is the UNESCO World Heritage Site. These include a hill fortress, palaces, places of worship (Jama Masjid is one of the most spectacular mosques in Gujarat), residential areas, reservoirs and step wells. If you look around there is so much more to explore, always. This city needs disappointments and there are so. Much to explore so make sure you plan your itinerary in advance and also with smartness to cover the maximum.
Sidhpur, is knowns for some fascinating architecture and colorful century-old mansions belonging to the affluent Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. Many of the houses are empty as their owners have moved abroad. Sidhpur sits alongside the holy Saraswati River and is also a Hindu pilgrim destination. It is surrounded with temples and water bodies. This fortified city has lot to offer from temples, to small hills for adventure and undoubtedly history. Make sure that you visit and learn some historical facts when in Sidhpur, get some instagrammable photos, and make street reels showcasing the city around.
Local food you must try in Gujarat: Gujarati cuisine is a must try. And also one of the the oldest culinary treasures of India and is primarily vegetarian. Os its a treat for vegetarian people. All of its vegetarian dishes have unique taste, different kinds of pickles, chutneys and foods that are always high on nutritional value. The most famous Gujarati Kadhi., Dhokla and Fafda. Gujarat's coastal climate is mostly hot and dry which is why the use of sugar, tomatoes and lemon is quite common as these foods keep the body hydrated. Here are few of the local dishes, you must try:
Khandvi, is a popular Gujarati snack. This rolled, bright snack is tempered with coconut, mustard seeds and curry leaves and is a delight to serve with tea.
Gujarati Samosa, it's very different as compared to normal ones. chunky filling of peas sauteed with sugar and lime juice. A spicy, tangy snack that is hugely popular in not just Gujarat but all across the country and even beyond borders. This is usually sorted out with tea.
Undhiyu, Gujarati vegetable curry is wholesome and very healthy. Made with a combination of winter veggies like brinjals, surti papdi, potatoes, coconut, bananas and methi, this dish is traditionally served in earthen pots. You must try this authentic mix vegetable.
Gujarati Kadhi, does it even need an introduction? It’s the most basic staple found in every household. Gujarati kadhi is an aromatic curry with sweet undertones. This cooling curry is great to escape the heat. It's a perfect summer dish and well eaten with rice.
Dhokla, is one of the most loved Gujarati snacks across the country and is made in multiple ways. This dhokla recipe is a quick and easy one that is delicious as well as healthy! A recipe that is steamed and made in just 30 minutes, using besan with a colorful, chili tempering. Not only in Gujarat but it is loved nation wide and eaten as a special delicacy with some chutney.
Bardoli ki Khichdi, rice preparation along with dal, spices, peas, potatoes and raw mangoes. This is a Gujarati delight and you must try your hands on it. The aromatic flour of raw mango will put you in awe.
Methi ka Thepla, Popularly made in Gujarat, this fine and flavorful Indian bread is made from whole wheat flour kneaded with methi, chillies, herbs, yogurt and a dash of sugar. It is popularly eaten in lunch.
Dal Dhokli, is a comfort food also known as varan phal or chakolya. While it is popular in the Marwar region of Rajasthan, it is a staple in all of Gujarat. Spiced whole wheat dumplings simmered in a lively curry made with tuvar dal, garlic, peanuts, kokum and turmeric.
Handvo, might have heard for the first time? tea-cake that is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. A healthy mix of bottle gourd (lauki) along with an aromatic mix of buttermilk, flour, coriander, chillies, lentils and rice. This is an easy and quick recipe made in just around 30 minutes, so you can serve this along with a chutney of your choice. Its a healthy snack which you can binge on without stopping.
fafda, it is one of the most loved Gujarati dish. It is prepared with besan and this is best served with a chutney of your choice and fried green chillies garnished over it. It is stuffed with spices like ajwain, haldi and salt, fafda is a quick and easy snack that you can also savour during the monsoon as well. And a perfect snack for winters too with a cup of hot tea.
Patra, A popular, healthy snack recipe which is a great combination of flavour and good health. Colocasia leaves are the best source of the nutrients like Iron. It is delectable especially when smooth paste of besan with spicy, sweet and sour flavours is applied over the leaves, rolled and steamed.
Shrikhand, This is one Indian dessert that you just can't afford to miss. Shrikhand is a delicacy from both Gujarat and Maharashtra, which is also known as 'Matho' and is often offered as prasad in temples during pujas and many other festive occasions.
How to reach Gujarat:
By airways : Gujarat is home to 17 airports. Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport is located in Ahmedabad and provides good connectivity with major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. This airport is located 9 kilometres from Ahmedabad. Many other parts of the state such as Bhuj, Vadodara, Surat, Bhagvanagar, Junagarh and Rajkot are accessible since daily and weekly operating flights fly in and out of Gujarat regularly. Around 14 airlines fly to and from the airport such as Jet Airways, Indigo, Emirates, Spice Jet, Singapore Airlines and Air India.
The fastest way to reach Gujarat is to take a flight from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Airport in Mumbai to any of the states in Gujarat such as Porbandar, Surat, Ahmedabad and Vadodara. Take the flight to Surat and you will be there in approximately 55 minutes. Note that while Terminal 1 at Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport operates domestic flights, Terminal 2 operates international flights. This airport is equipped with high-class facilities and amenities that will take care of all your needs while you are on the go. There are quite a few places to keep yourselves entertained as you wait for your flight. Be it shopping or eating, the airport has it all. Upon arrival, you can avail of the cab, taxi and bus services lined up outside the airport. You can also get on the direct Metro rail link that connects the airport to the Ahmedabad city centre.
By railways: Major cities are connected to Gujarat and some of its towns by rail. Trains to Gujarat make their way to and from major place such as Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. Some of the busiest railway stations are in Surat, Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Vadodara. Some of the other major railway stations in Gujarat are Porbandar, Surat, Gandhidham, Vadodara, Veraval, Rajkot and Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad’s Railway Station connects you to different parts of Gujarat and major cities across the country. Vadodara railway station is also a part of the Delhi-Mumbai railway line. Ahmedabad connects you to places such as Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ajmer and Jaisalmer by rail.
By roadways: it is very well connected through accessible national and state highways. . You have access to local buses and comfortable Volvos to travel to and from Gujarat. If you are fond of road trips, these two-lane and four-lane highways are a blessing to drive on. If you are travelling from Mumbai, it is a rather comfortable sixteen-hour-drive to Gujarat. You can also hire a car or a taxi or perhaps hop on to any of the local or private buses to reach Gujarat.