Situated in the western part of India, the 'Jewel of the west' is rich with culture & tradition and is growing at a fast pace. Home to the now Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, Gujarat also has plenty of tourist attractions that will make up for a perfect getaway. From religious trips to historical tours to wildlife escapades, Gujarat has something to offer to everyone. If you are on a lookout for the best places to visit in Gujarat, then check out these top 10 places that you should definitely visit while in Gujarat to get the best of the state. Gifted with a pleasant weather during the end of the year, Gujarat can be best experienced during the winters.
1. Rann of Kutch - A Splendid destination in Gujarat
A trip to Gujarat is incomplete without the magnificent Rann of Kutch. The salt desert of the Great Rann of Kutch stretches till eternity and is the largest salt desert in the world. Described as India's 'Wild west', the salt marshes of Rann of Kutch are inhabited by the Kutchi people who earn their bread by performing arts that adds to the subtle ambiance of the place.
For the most part of the year, Rann of Kutch is filled with white salt except during the monsoons, as the land becomes soggy and slippery with water. So it is better to avoid Rann of Kutch during the monsoons. But be here during the month of December as the deserted land is filled with a cultural extravaganza. Witness the change in color of the sky as it changes to crimson-orange when the sun rises or sets and during the nights, it glows with the shimmering light from the moon and the best way to catch that is to go on a camel safari.
2. Ahmedabad - Bustling city of Gujarat
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A trip to Gujarat would be incomplete without visiting the bustling metropolitan city of Ahmedabad. Being the administrative capital and the hub of Gujarat, Ahmedabad has a rich historic past that is filled with remarkable monuments, excellent buildings, and temples. Explore the famous Sabarmati Ashram that was once a home to Mahatma Gandhi, visit the elegantly built Hutheesing Jain Temple, click photographs of the monument of Bhadra fort, and hang out in the brightly lit Kankaria Lake Front which keeps you engaged with a plenty of leisure activities like desert safari, rock climbing, boating, and balloon safari.
Ahmedabad is also known for its festivities that are a joyous affair. There are umpteen things to do in Ahmedabad
during the festive season. Celebrate the forthcoming of the harvest season with the festival of Makar Sankranti, made extra special by the International Kite Festival and the colorful festival of Navratri. And top it with some shopping in the night markets.
3. Vadodara - Cultural capital of Gujarat
Vadodara, also known as Baroda is the third largest city in Gujarat and is also considered as its cultural capital. A history that traces back to over 2000 years, Vadodara was once ruled by the Mughals who have left a lasting impression on the city, making it culturally exuberant. Over the years, Vadodara has flourished in a modernized way thus beaming with a mix of past and the present, making it one of the popular places to visit in Gujarat.
Some of the must-visit attractions that dot Vadodara are Laxmi Vilas Palace - an architecturally beautiful palace with stunning interiors that is 4 times bigger than the Buckingham Palace , Sayaji Baug - an attractive and one of the finest gardens in India that looks charming with over 98 different species of flora , and the EME temple - a uniquely designed Shiva temple run by the Indian Army Authorities.
4. Surat - Silk city of India
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The second largest city in Gujarat, Surat is rated as one of the best places to live and with its own attractions to catch from, the city is also one of the best places to visit in Gujarat. Popularly recognized as the 'Silk city of India', Surat is the best place to go nuts on shopping. Taste the local delicacies of Locho, Undhyu, Ponk, and Ghaari to revive yourselves from the shopping exhaustion. And shop again!
The main draws of Surat include Dumas beach, Jagdishchandra Bose Aquarium, Science Centre museum, ISKCON temple, and the Dutch garden. Done with exploring the attractions, stay longer to be a part of the festival of Chandani Padvo that gives you a chance to munch on unlimited Ghaaris. There is no surprise if you find the people of Surat celebrating the festivals of other origins too as the city is culturally diverse and they also have their own version of Pani puri, hmm time to go then!
5. Bhuj - Historic city of Gujarat
The city of Bhuj in the state of Gujarat acts as a passage to the prehistoric times of our country with historic evidences rooting back to over 4000 years including the remnants of the Indus Valley Civilization, the period of Alexander the great, remains from the historic battle of Mahabharata, and artifacts from the tombs and palaces of the then regional kings. Bhuj is totally a place that is a culmination of culture and rich heritage, making it the ideal spot for historic buffs to visit.
Explore the magnificent palaces of Prag Mahal, Aaina Mahal, Sharad Baug, and Rani Mahal. Examine the rare artifacts and the 2000-year-old Kshatrapa inscriptions in the Museum of Kutch. Take a short trip to the ecological nature park of Khavda and get to the heart of the culture by getting a hand at the traditional handmade textiles, crafts, and jewelry.
6. Dwarkadhish Temple - Holiest temple of Gujarat
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Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the Dwarkadhish temple in Dwarka is one of the finest pilgrimage sites for the Hindus and as the legend has it, the temple was built by the grandson of Lord Krishna. Considered as the holiest of the Hindu temples, the Dwarkadhish temple is a part of Char Dham Yatra and welcomes its visitors with a fluttering flag at the top of the tower.
Intricately designed by the best, the Dwarkadhish temple is a five-storeyed shrine and the exquisite carvings on the exterior adds to the astonishing view of the temple. During the birthday of Lord Krishna- Janmashtami, the temple is decorated spectacularly and is packed with visitors from all around the world. Set up near the shores of the Arabain sea, the Dwarkadhish temple offers an uncompromising view at the confluence of the Gommati River with the sea. Get cleansed, physically and spiritually at Dwarkadhish. The temple is open daily from 6am-1pm and 5pm-9.30pm.
7. Somnath Temple - The Pride of Gujarat
Home to one of the most adorned Shiva temples, Somnath temple is the first and most sacred of the '12 Jyotirlingas' of Lord Shiva, attracting millions of spiritual enthusiasts every year. A famous pilgrim center, Somnath temple is also known as the 'the Shrine Eternal' and is a major tourist attraction on a national and international level as well. This legendary temple has been destroyed numerous times by the invaders but thanks to the restoration efforts, the temple still stands tall brimming with history.
Lying on the shores of the Arabian sea, Somnath temple is the best place to watch the sunset over the bay and when you are tired exploring the splendid temple of Somnath, stretch your legs and just relax on the beach shores. Try visiting Somnath temple during the festival of Shivratri, as it is one of the grand celebrations happening inside the premises of the temple. Ditch out your electronic gadgets and invoke the inner you as you enjoy a peaceful trip inside the temple. The temple is open daily from 6am-9pm.
8. Rani Ki Vav - A UNESCO heritage Stepwell
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Dating back to the 11th century AD, Rani Ki Vav was built by Queen Udayamati in memory of King Bhimdev I. With over 500 main carvings and 1000 slightly minor ones on the elaborate steps, Rani Ki Vav is without a doubt, the best stepwell in India
. Built as an inverted temple, Rani Ki Vav is unique and marvelous thus making it easy into the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. Surprisingly though the stepwell of Rani Ki Vav remained unknown to the outside world until the 1980's as it was flooded by the water and silt from Saraswati River.
With an aesthetic appeal to it, Rani Ki Vav is not just one of the functional step wells in India but rather an eye-catchy monument. Take a tour to this ancient gem which was only recently discovered by the Archaeological Survey of India during an excavation. It is a must visit for architecture lovers and history buffs alike.
9. Gir National Park - A Jungle trail of Gujarat
If you are planning a weekend getaway in Gujarat then Gir National Park will fit you perfectly. Explore the wild side of Gujarat by visiting the famous Gir National Park which is one of the very few national parks outside Africa where the Lions roam around with freedom and the only existing home of Asiatic Lions. Spread around a massive 1,412 square kilometers, Gir National Park is surrounded by a rich flora and fauna, & bustles with wildlife lovers and tourists who come in great numbers to visit the park.
Gir National Park is not Lion's only park! With a forested hilly terrain that is an ideal ground for wildlife to breed, the park is inhabited by plenty of other species that include hyenas, antelopes, jackals, wild boars, spotted deer, leopards, porcupines and over 250 varieties of birds. If you want to experience the jungle safari, start early; It is less crowded then. .
10. Saputara - The Hill resort of Gujarat
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Perched at a height of over 1000 meters above the sea level, Saputara is the only hill station in Gujarat and it makes up for it with its mesmerizing natural beauty. Nestled on a plateau in the Dang forest area, Saputara is like no other destination in Gujarat that comes with picturesque landscapes and enthralling viewpoints, making it one of the best places to visit in south Gujarat.
The place is slowly being commercialized with the introduction of hotels, gardens, museums, and other attractions. But Saputara has still got the old-world charm to it, making it one of a kind. Experience this pleasant, sleepy town of Saputara to refresh yourselves from the mundane routine of life.
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