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Tourist Places To Visit In Gujarat
Gujarat, also known as the ‘Jewel of the West’, is an Indian state located in the extreme western part of India. It was once a part of the biggest civilization of Asia called the Harappan (Indus) civilization. Being one of the most developed states, tourism in Gujarat got a major push after the initiation of different tourism programs organized by the government in which the Mega Star, Shri Amitabh Bachhan was the ambassador. It’s a popular tourist destination for many reasons, the foremost being Gujarat's rich culture, the temples, a wide range of natural terrain, beaches, stepped wells, wildlife, and of course the majestic Asiatic lions. Below we present a list of best places to visit in Gujarat.
The capital city of Gujarat, Gandhinagar is named after the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. The captivating city is just 25 km away from the financial capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad. Gandhinagar boasts of being the greenest city in Asia and after Chandigarh, the most well-planned city in India. It is also one of the cleanest cities in India with an array of things to do in the city. The Akshardham Temple is the most famous spot in Gandhinagar which is visited by thousands on a daily basis. Besides this, Sarita Udyan, the 3D and hi-tech Dandi Kutir (Salt Mount) Museum, Punit Van, Sant Sarovar Dam, Swarnim Srushti Water Park, Indroda Nature & Fossil Park (Jurassic Park of India), Vithalbhai Patel Bhavan, and Blackbuck National Park are some of the best spots in the city for visitors.
Ahmedabad or Amdavad (as locals prefer calling this city as) is India's first UNESCO World Heritage City. Situated on the banks of the River Sabarmati, Ahmedabad is the commercial capital of Gujarat and regarded as one of the fastest-growing cities in India. It’s 500 km away from Mumbai with over 70 direct trains leading to this city. Ahmedabad Junction is one of India’s busiest railway stations. It’s connected directly with Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, and other prominent cities in India. It is also one of India’s top tourist destinations with over 50 places of interests for travelers. Historic monuments, sublime architecture, astonishing museums, and well-planned gorgeous lakes make Ahmedabad famous. Sabarmati Ashram, Kankarai Lake, Jama Masjid, Akshardham Temple, Adalaj Stepwell, Huthee Singh Jain Temple, ISKCON Temple, Vintage Car Museum, Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Swaminarayan Mandir, and Sardar Patel National Memorial are some of the best places to visit in Ahmedabad.
Vadodara, previously known as Baroda, is yet another important city in Gujarat. It is the second most important place in Gujarat, after Ahmedabad, from a tourism point of view. Filled with colors and exuberance, Vadodara is the best place for lovers of art, tradition, culture and family life. At a distance of 400 km from Mumbai, Vadodara is a place you should look forward to visiting at least once in your lifetime. There are numerous things that you can do here. You can admire the structural brilliance of Laxmi Villas and Makarpura Palaces, Explore the hidden gems of Baroda including Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, EME Temple, Vadodara Museum and Picture Gallery, Sayaji Gardens, Nandalaya Haveli, and Maharaja Fatesingh Museum.
Junagadh is yet another prominent tourist destination in Gujarat. At a distance of 850 km from Mumbai, Junagadh has everything in store to mesmerize you. It is well known for its history, amazing architecture, religious places, and sublime beaches which you can explore to get the most out of your visit. The best part of visiting Junagadh is Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary or the Gir National Park. This huge national park is the only home to the endangered species of big cats, Asiatic Lions. There is no better sight than watching this deadly predator straight into the eye when you go for Safari here. Apart from this, trekking at Girnar Hills, admiring the Mahabat Maqbara, the historic Uperkot Fort, Jami Masjid, Moti Baug, and Damodar Kund will simply make you spellbound.
The beautiful city of Kutchh is a remarkably famous tourist spot in Gujarat. What makes Kutch world famous? The Great Rann of Kutch. It is during the Rann Mahotsav, millions of people visit Kutch to experience the elegance, colors, tradition, and cultural essence of typical Gujarat. Kutch is the largest district of Gujarat spanning over 45,000 sq. km. Beside the Rann of Kutchh, you can visit the Aaina Mahal which is an 18th-century palace, built on the lines of Italian gothic art. Secondly, Kalo Dungar is the perfect place for hiking to get amazing views of the Rann of Kutch, along with the India-Pakistan border stretching in the distance. Wild Ass Sanctuary, Dholavira, and Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach are some of other famous tourist spots in Kutchh.
Next on our list is the historic city of Bhuj. At a distance of 850 km from Mumbai, Bhuj is the ideal launchpad for the craft and archeology lovers. Here, you get to explore the famous Aina Mahal, Prag Mahal, Hamirsar Lake, in addition to the Bhujodi Village. Bhuj is one of the most captivating cities in Gujarat with dozens of things to surprise you. Trekking at Bhuji Hills is probably the best thing that you can do here to experience adventure. Bhujia fort at top of the hills is a stunning historic structure that offers a sublime view of the city from the top. BAPS Swami Narayan Temple and Vijay Vilas Palace are beautifully designed architecture which will simply leave you speechless.
Porbandar is a remarkably popular tourist destination in Gujarat. The city is more popular for being the birthplace of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. This is an ideal place for those who love history, ancient architecture, craftsmanship, shopping, and eating. This place is filled with numerous temples that are equally well complemented by serene beaches and stunning architecture. Amongst the most popular ones, Ghumli is the perfect place to spend time with ancient architecture. Despite centuries, these structures have managed to stand tall against all odds. The smallest bird sanctuary in Gujarat houses over 150 different species of birds. Huzoor Palace, Madhavpur Beach are other spots that are popular amongst tourists.
You must have heard Gujaratis saying “Java Dhyo Ne (let it go)”. This is one of the most used phrases that originated in Jamnagar. This is the beauty of the city and talks a lot about its culture. Jamnagar is the “Jewel of the Kathiyawad”. It’s popularly known as the oil city in Gujarat. It is yet another finest tourist destination located in the western parts of the state. What makes Jamnagar so popular amongst tourists? Well, sublime architecture, colorful markets, broad roads, amazing gardens, wide squares, and absolutely delectable food items is what Jamnagar famous for. Lakhota Palace, Bhujio Kotho, Khajadiya Bird Sanctuary, Narara Marine National Park, Bal Hanuman Mandir, Balachadhi Beach, and Pratap Vilas Palace are some of the well-known spots in Jamnagar.
The city of Rajkot is one of the most colorful cities in Gujarat that offers a wide array of attractions for tourists. It is also one of the fastly emerging cities in India. With modern architecture, zoological parks, wildlife sanctuaries, museums, and ancient caves are the talk of the town. The Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary in the Khajadiya village is the best place in Rajkot for sighting wild animals and rare species. Gandhi no Delo, Rotary Midtown Doll Museum, Watson Museum, Pradyuman Zoological Park, Lal Pari Lake, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Jagat Mandir, and Prem Mandir are something that you cannot miss during your visit to Rajkot.
Other Tourist Destinations
The above-mentioned cities are the primary tourist destinations in Gujarat. To add the list, Patan, Palitana, Somnath, Surat, Bhavnagar, and Dwarka also attract millions of people every year. Some of them (Palitana, Somnath) are very popular as devotional places where people visit these only to seek blessings from the Gods and admire their religious importance. So if you are one of those who believe strongly in religion, do visit these amazing places for unique cultural and religious experience.
The land of Shri Krishna’s empire, Dwarka was once an island. During the time of Lord Shri Krishna, some 5000 years ago, its is believed that he fled Mathura with his people, and made this inhabitable land home. In the middle of the Arabian Sea, Lord Krishna settled a beautiful city, that many believe was made of gold. Then when he left this earth, by some stroke of misfortune, his children and clansmen, in drunken rage, fought and drowned all that was worthy. Today, Dwarka is a city that worships Lord Krishna as Dwarkadhish — the king of Dwarka. And underwater excavations do recover artefacts, pots, pillars and such that really are made of gold. With its temples, rocky coastal lines, beaches and markets, Dwarka is a beautiful tourist spot in North Gujarat.
This was once upon a time a Portuguese colony. Now it holds a throwback aura of those people, their culture and history, and serves as a major tourist spot between the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Home to beaches, wildlife sanctuaries and now many a resorts and bungalows, Silvassa is perfect for a relaxing weekend. You can visit the many Roman Catholic churches in its little hamlets, or enjoy the unique architecture that is a heritage of the Portuguese. Visit Lion Safari Wildlife Park, anganga Lake, Island Garden etc and enjoy a tryst with nature.
One of Gujarat’s most coveted religious places, Gir Somnath is located in Junagadh. With the cool breeze from the Arabian sea wafting in and the ancient heritage of stones that date back to Rig Veda, Gir Somnath is all about religion meditating in the lap of nature. Visit the Somnath Temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlinga in India. It was built during the Yadav rule, and has been mentioned in Mahabharata. The Chalukya style architecture of Somnath is worth admiring, as are the inscriptions on its pillars. Visit Gir National Park, Prabhas Patan (where Lord Krishna left his mortal body), Chorwad beach and Junagadh gate.
Mandvi, renowned for its Mandvi Beach, is located in the Kutch region. The quaintness of this city adds to its tourist charm. It is rimmed in by fort walls on all sides, and hence gives you that ancient aura. Erstwhile called Mandavya, this town has been mentioned in some of the oldest written scriptures of the country. The magnificent fortress, the beaches, the water sports, the lakes and palaces make Mandvi worth visiting.
Gir National Park
How can you visit Gujarat and not take a pitstop at Gir National Park?
It is home to the elusive Asiatic Lion, and known for its beautiful ridges, plateaus, tropical grassland kind of landscape and 7 brilliant rivers. Here is the only place in the world, except Africa, where you can see the Lion. Many efforts are also underway to prevent it from getting extinct. Other animals you can see here include mugger crocodiles, hyenas, pythons, chinkaras, Malabar whistling thrush, tawny eagle, nilgai etc. Trees like Kalam, Charal and Flame of Forest also await you.
Girnar is a busy tourist attraction in Junagadh. Its tourism is hyped by the many mausoleums, forts, natural reserves, beaches and amusement parks that dot the town. The history of Girnar dates back to a thousand and more years, when Junagadh was called Yonagadh by the Greeks. You can hike in the Girnar Hills, enjoy its exotic flora and fauna, tour the Uperkot fort, explore Mohabbat Maqbara and chill on the Sarkhseshwar beach.
The diamond city of India, Surat lies in South Gujarat. It is renowned for its undhiyu, a special rustic mix vegetable dish that is only cooked in winters. It used to be one of the most polluted, dirtiest cities in India some decades ago, but then things turned, and now it is prided as one of the cleanest. You can visit the Dumas Beach for a little walk, lunch at one of its many seaside shacks and then shop your heart out in the markets. Surat markets specifically are famous for their textiles, fabrics, sarees and ethnic wear. Navratri and Uttarayan (kite flying) are two of the most coveted festivals here.
Rann of Kutch
The Rann, as it is famous called, is a white desert in Kutch that has evolved into a cultural fest. It is the largest salt desert in the world. Every autumn, as winter is about to set in, the Rann of Kutch opens its plains for tourists to come and enjoy camping, adventure and cultural activities. From camel rides to ATVs, music and folk dance to bonfires and tents, Rann of Kutch becomes a superb getaway for local, domestic as well as international tourists. Full moon nights are highly coveted here, as are new year parties. The Rann Utsav held in this region between November and February is the best time to visit.
A very interesting place in Gujarat, Lothal is a city on the riverside that has seen a great many excavations and archeological sites. It used to be a part of the Indus Valley Civilisation, in fact, it was one of the major cities of the civilisation. Lothal dates way back to 2450 BCE. The Harappan excavations here are worth seeing as they have revealed a whole lot of artefacts from that era — from wells to perfectly layered brick walls, drainage and sewage systems to houses with burial grounds. The dock of Lothal was an important go-between in that time, serving as a connection between Mesopotamia and India.
A Union Territory, but still culturally related to Gujarat, Diu is perched on the Veraval Port. It is a little island, an erstwhile Portuguese colony that gives it its Goa-like innate charm. With the beaches, churches, resorts and fishing villages, Diu is great for a little beach holiday. Unlike Gujarat, which is a dry state, Diu allows alcohol consumption. Hence locals of Gujarat flock here every now and then to indulge. Visit Vanakbara for its charming fishing boats, fishermen and quaint charm. The Sea Shell Museum nearby is also great to roam around, as is the Diu Fort.