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Best Places To Visit Near Vadodara - Weekend Getaways
Vadodara, the city of the Gaikwads, is one of Gujarat’s most important cities. Third largest in the state and full of Gujarati culture, Vadodara is in itself a great tourist attraction. But what about the locals who have seen too much of their city? Well, Vadodara is blessed with a geographic location that keeps it in the centre of many hill stations, cultural symbols and small towns that make for good exploration. Here’s a list of some of the best weekend getaways from Vadodara.
Dakor is known for its delicious gota bhajiyas (a specially concocted fritter dish). Well, among the more spiritually inclined, Dakor is also known for the grand Ranchhodraiji temple that is erected in honour of Shri Krishna. Its architecture is memorable, and admired by every soul that comes here. With a 300 year old history, this is the centre of attraction around here along with the Hanuman mandir, Pariej Lake, Natha Vav, and Gomti Lake fishing activities. Dakor is around 62 km from Vadodara.
Pavagadh holds a special place in Gujarat’s tryst with Garba. The Mataji temple in Pavagadh is revered for its divinity when it comes to blessing women and fertility. Located near Champaner, Pavagadh is around 53 km away from Vadodara and is blessed with a few good places to visit. The Mahakali Temple for one, the Pavagadh Fort for another. There are a few other Jain and Hindu shrines dating back to 13th Century, along with Sadanshah Pir Dargah. Visit for a short spiritual weekend.
Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary
81 km from Vadodara, Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary is a hidden gem of a weekend getaway. Not many know about this protected wildlife sanctuary and even among those who do, not many venture here. The place is a serene balm to burnished senses, with two reservoirs named Tagol and Kada attracting most eyeballs. With hills and lush flora, fauna hiding in bamboo and teak thickets and animals like jackals, hyenas, wolves and pythons roaming freely, this is a stupendous winter getaway.
You would have heard the name of this village in reference to India’s white revolution or, the grand brand of Amul. Well, Anand, 43 km from Vadodara, is much more than the humongous Amul factory. Here, you will of course come across various dealers of Amul chocolates and cheeses, milk and yogurts, go on tours of the factory where milk flows like river; but there are also temples like Shree Rokadia Hanumaji Temple and Swami Narayan Temple. The Veer Vithalbhai Patel and Sardar Patel Memorial are also major attractions here.
The erstwhile capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad is also called the Manchester of India. With its beautiful Sabarmati riverfront and Gandhi ashram, cafes with humble seating and cotton industries that sell the cheapest apparels, Ahmedabad is on most Vadodara locals’ list at least once a year. If not for shopping and sightseeing then for food. The Khau galli streets in Ahmedabad have no rival in this whole world. From Punjabi to Mughlai, Chinese to Italian. Veg or non-veg, main course or desert… you find it all on small street carts. Visit Ahmedabad for a weekend of food, shopping and relaxation by Sabarmati.
Kheda was once known as Hidimba Van, after the wife of Bheem from Mahabharat. This is believed to be the place where Bheem married the demon princess. With Kheda’s modern history tracing it to the Babi Dynasty and later the Marathas, you will find its temples and ruins in their patent style. Visit the Khedia Hanuman Temple, Shree Nilkanth Mahadev temple, Shree Mahalaxmi Temple and Ramji Mandir. The little town of Kheda is almost 70 km from Vadodara.
The current capital of Gujarat, Gandhinagar is not too far from Ahmedabad. Hence it is at a distance of 2-2.5 hours from Vadodara. Some amazing tourist attractions to check out here include the Adalaj stepwell, Indroda Nature Park, Sarita Udyaan, BAPS Akshardham temple and Bhagwan trimandir. The autumn and winter seasons are great for a weekend getaway to Gandhinagar, especially to places like Dandi Kutir, Punit Van and Akshardham.
Bhavnagar has been an important business and trade centre of Gujarat since time immemorial. Known for its ample cotton production and silverware trade, Bhavnagar is today also known for its port functions. Located 197 km from Vadodara, Bhavnagar is amazing for a long weekend of forts, temples, amazing food and local cultural stories. From Nilambaugh Palace to Khodiyar Temple, Palitana Jain Temples to the island of Piram bet, Bhavnagar shows you a heady mix of fun. The popular bhavnagri gathiya, sev, pav gathiya, bhungla bataka and jalebi make an everyday staple for most locals eating street side.
The diamond hub and the land of cold coco, Surat is around 3 hours (150 km) away from Vadodara by road. Popular for its textile trade and hence wholesale apparel and ethnic wear shopping, Surat is also famous for zari work. When here, do visit the beautiful Dumas Beach with its shacks and restaurants, go to the Surat Castle, Dutch Garden and also enjoy a day out at Amaazia Waterpark with family.
Tithal is actually a beach in the town of Valsad, almost on the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Kissing the Arabian Sea, Tithal area is popular for its black sand beach stretch that makes for a unique beach weekend away from the city pollution of Vadodara. Tithal also offers some sightseeing and pilgrimage spots like the Swami Narayan temple, Shantidham Temple and Sai Baba Temple. Tithal is more than 3 hours away from Vadodara, at a distance of 224 km. But if you are looking forward to lazing on some black sands, then pack your bags and set off!