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Best Places To Visit Near Ahmedabad - Weekend Getaways
Ahmedabad, the city of foodies and the serene Sabarmati, the land of Gandhi’s principles and the effervescent culture of Gujarat. From its riverfront to the ashrams, from heritage structures to foodie streets, from museums of textiles to shopping arcades, the city is too much fun to experience. However, for locals, the place of their habitation can quickly get old. And then they start seeking something new, something different, something maybe a little more adventurous?
So for all those waiting to escape the everyday life of Ahmedabad for a short weekend, here’s a list of best places to visit around Ahmedabad.
One of Gujarat’s nicest cities, Vadodara is smaller than Ahmedabad and slower in its pace. Only 113 km away, this city is the legacy of Gujarat’s ruling clan - the Gaikwads. In fact Baroda (as it was called earlier) was a city made by Sayajirao Gaikwad III. You can take a short road trip to this city, visit the temples, Jain shrines and pre-Mughal era structures as well as enjoy the hustle-bustle of downtown where you can shop for amazing block-print fabrics. Visit the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Laxmi Vilas Palace and the Vadodara Museum without fail.
Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary
For all those nature lovers, wildlife fans and bird watchers, the Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary close to Ahmedabad is a nice weekend getaway. Only 66 km away, which makes it an hour’s drive tops, this bird sanctuary is home to a lake and marshes, a plethora of birds along with migratory birds like Brahminy Ducks, White Stork, pelicans and White Tailed Lapwing. You can go boating in the lake, eat lunch at the small island place, stay at one of the resorts nearby and also camp in some areas.
Lothal, a small town about 80 km away from Ahmedabad, was thrown into limelights when some deep excavations revealed the ruins of Indus Valley Civilization from its burrows. Today, many decades later, Lothal is identified with its site museums and a rustic throwback to history that goes farther than even the written word. The architecture of this town is also worth seeing, as is its Saurashtrian hospitality. If you are feeling like some history catch-up and need to lose yourself in the magic of the people, places and lives that came before you then Lothal is your answer for a weekend away.
Gir National Park
The Gir Forest, renowned world over for sightings of the King of the Jungle, the magnificent Lion, is a massive tourist haunt in India. Located 330 km from Ahmedabad, Gir is perfect for a winter weekend escapade with family, to enjoy those afternoon safaris, see more than 250 species of birds, sight animals like leopards, jungle cats, sambar deer, sivets and the Asiatic Lion. Crocodiles abound in marshlands here and blackbucks leap from plain to plain. Some places are also good to go trekking in Gir, but you must preferably go in groups.
The epicentre of India’s milk revolution, Anand associates closely with the celebrated milk brand Amul and its inception. At about 77 km from Ahmedabad, Anand is popularly referred to as the milk capital of India. You can take a small weekend trip and tour the Amul Dairy, check out the Amul Carillon Tower and offer prayers at the Swaminarayan Temple. You will get to sample loads of chocolates, cheeses and flavoured milks outside the Amul Dairy Factory and get an in-depth insight into history at the Museum. Another must-visit is the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial here.
A Rajasthani hill station located 220 km away from Ahmedabad, Mount Abu is all about hilly terrains and palaces, abounding greens and beautiful lakes. You can live your weekend like a royal here, visit the Jain Dilwara Temples, climb up to the Sunset Point, go boating in Nakki Lake and get loads of photos of the postcard-like views that stretch out on all sides of this hill-town.
Another Rajasthani heritage city, closer to Ahmedabad in spite of lying in another state, Udaipur is all about royalty and lakes. What with the City Palace, Lake Palace, Jagmandir, Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichola, Saheliyon ki baari and much more beckoning you to spend an idle winter weekend. Ensure you have at least one meal at the famous Sukhadia Circle food street, to enjoy the many delicious dishes like Kashmiri pulav, pav bhaji, chole-bhature, chow-mien and pastas - each given a drool-worthy twist. Udaipur is only 260 km away from Ahmedabad and hence perfect for a long drive as well as a weekend.
The proverbial feather in Kathiawad’s hat, Rajkot is the gatekeeper of all that delicious food, rich history and hospitality Kathiwad region is famous for. Located in the Saurashtra peninsula of Gujarat, Rajkot lies 240 km away from Ahmedabad and is home to some incredible architecture, ancient temples, reservoirs and beautiful narrow gullies. Visit the Gandhi Museum, Rotary Dolls Museum, Aji Dam, Ranjit Vilas Palace and Khambhalida Caves. The Kathiawadi cuisine is mind-blowing and the people of this region, even strangers, will ensure that they sweet talk you into eating a lot more than you otherwise would.
Champaner-Pavagadh is a small archaeological park that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For history lovers and architecture buffs, this is the best place to drive off to from Ahmedabad. Since it is only 145 km away, you can easily make a day trip of it. Explore the excavated sites, tour old forts and palaces, scourge the prehistoric sites and heritage structures like temples, ruins and houses, as well as pay your respects at the Mataji temple in the foothills of Pavagadh. The Pavagadh Hill is also a wonder, believed to be India’s oldest rock formation.
A town in the Mehsana district, Modhera is renowned for the Sun Temple here. A marvel of architectural brilliance, the Modhera Sun Temple is the top tourist attraction in the area. Aside from this, you can also visit the Modheshwari Mata Mandir and the Surya Kund Stepwell. Go sit by River Pushpavati, enjoy the openness of Hawa Mehal and bask in the mix of history and manmade brilliance. Visit this place during the Modhera Dance Festival and you will also get new insight into its culture and traditions.
Patan, once the ancient capital of Gujarat, and the original producer of Patola sarees, is a beautiful weekend destination for those who are fond of history as well as enjoy some shopping (re: ladies). With its old-world charm intact and the dazzling UNESCO World Heritage Sites to complement, you cannot get bored here. Visit Rani ki Vav, an ornate step well. Go to the Kali Temple, check out the Khan Sarovar and Sahastra Ling Lake while picking up some ethnic Patolas in rich, dark colours and intricate silk weaves.
Located 170 km away from Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar makes for beautiful coastal paradise on the Saurashtra coast of Gujarat. Visit the temples here, like the Swaminarayan Temple, Shri Takhteshwar Temple, Jain temples and more. The Blackbuck National Park is a good place to chill, while Gandhi Smriti retells of Gandhi’s life. Make a picnic evening by the banks of Bortalav Lake and enjoy the special delicacy of Bhavnagar - gathiya. A savoury snack that comes in many forms, from bhavnagri to papdi, fafda to tikkha.
The town of Vijaynagar is known for the Polo Forests. It is also known as the Polo City, the name a throwback to its Marwari roots, where Pol means gate. Since Vijaynagar is located on the Gujarat-Rajasthan border, it is a mix of both cultures. The Polo Forest is home to some rich flora and fauna, wildlife, lush waterfalls and some ancient monuments. The resorts and parks beckon you into the wild, with adventure awaiting you at every turn. Trekking, picnicking, photography and much more can be enjoyed at the Polo Forest. Vijaynagar is only about 150 km from Ahmedabad.
Little Rann of Kutch
Home to the endangered species of Indian Wild Ass or Ghudkhar, the Little Rann of Kutch, a small salt marsh that is part of the greater Kutch Rann. Jackals, stripped hyenas, desert foxes and black bucks can also be spotted in this region. Located 167 km from Ahmedabad, the Little Rann of Kutch hosts the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary, along with other places of interest like the barren cracked land, parched for even a drop of water, like the Vachra Dada Temple, or the salt sediments of Zinzuwada.
Zarwani Eco Campsite
Located on the Narmada dam site, Zarwani Eco Campsite is around 200 km from the city of Ahmedabad and amazing for a forest holiday. The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary nearby and the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel over the Sardar Sarovar dam are star attractions around. Go for adventure camps, sunset from viewpoints, stay at jungle resorts and breathe in the clear clean air away from pollution.
A temple town around 300 km from Ahmedabad, Nathdwara is the epicentre of Krishna devotees and Vaishnavs all over the world. The deities Lord Shrinathji (adolescent Krishna) and Navneetpriyaji (baby Krishna) reside in the grand 200 year old temple here. The town and its Mewadi culture have been built around this temple, with endless shopping, eating and sightseeing opportunities. You can go for darshan to the temple, eat kand, bhajiya, sabudana vada, fries and more heavenly fried fare at Chowpaty, drink amazing tea, shop for leheriyas, mothra and other local ethnic apparel, visit Lal Baug to enjoy the gardens built by the erstwhile Tilakayat Maharaj of Nathdwara and explore the museum that tells of Shrinathji as well as the founder of Pushti Marg Shri Vallabhacharyaji and his direct descendent who is the pontiff of the temple. The best time to visit Nathdwara is during Diwali, Holi, Janmashtami and Snan Yatra.