The Great Rann of Kutch, a large area of salt marshland, is located in the District of Kutch, in the western state of India, Gujarat. The vast expanse is situated in the Thar Desert and is formed of salt marshes which create a mesmerising view that attracts travellers from all over the world. Sunsets at the Great Rann of Kutch are a treat to the eyes after exploring the region. Watching the moon on a full moon night in the captivating surroundings of the Great Rann of Kutch will make you feel like you are on a different planet altogether.
Gir National Park is the only remaining home for the Asiatic Lions that are almost a definition to this park in Gujarat, which has a lot more to offer. Gir provides you with the unique experience of visiting a place which almost singularly plays a crucial and defining role in the preservation and sustaining of a certain species. The preservation of these lions was initiated by the Nawab of Junagadh when these were just about to enter the phase of extinction due to hunting. Be sure to include visiting here in your bucket list of things to do in Gujarat.
Best Time: July to March
Located in the Kalupur area of Ahmedabad, Shri Swaminarayan Temple is a shrine dedicated to Narayan Dev. This splendid temple was built in the year 1822 on the instructions of Swaminarayan, who was the founder of the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism. Embellished with kaleidoscopic colours and intricate carvings, this temple is a marvellous example of the architecture of the nineteenth century. Inside the sanctum, the deities are decorated with ostentatious ornamentations and beautiful fabrics. The temple attracts a million people on the day after Diwali for darshan.
Once the residence of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba, Sabarmati Ashram is undoubtedly the biggest tourist attraction situated in the suburb of Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Located on the tranquil and serene stretch of Sabarmati River, it was also referred to as the 'Gandhi Ashram', 'Mahatma Gandhi Ashram' and most importantly, 'Satyagraha Ashram' as Gandhi began the famous 'Dandi March' from here. In gratitude of the substantial impact Dandi march had on the Indian independence movement, the Indian government has recognized the Ashram as a national monument. Visiting here is one of the topmost things to do in Gujarat.
The second largest lake of Ahmedabad, formerly known as Hauz-e-Qutub, Kankaria Lake was built in the 15th century and was later revamped in 2008. From balloon safari and zoo to toy trains and amusement park, Kankaria Lake has it all. You can also just rejuvenate in the garden as life in Ahmedabad city unfolds around you. The ecstatic ambience with high-spirited people is a cherry on the cake. It is perfect for evening strolls with multi coloured lights glowing all around its periphery.
Rani Ka Vav or 'Queen's Stepwell' is a unique step well located in the small town of Gujarat called Patan. Located on the banks of River Saraswati, it is not only a distinctive form of water resource and storage system but also represents a unique craftsmanship. Believed to be the grandest step well in the state of Gujarat, Rani ka Vav was constructed during 1063 to 1068 AD by the widowed Queen Udaymati. Recently listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 22nd June 2014, this subterranean step well epitomises the peak of Maru-Gujarat architectural style.
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If you are a history buff and ever so curious to peek into the lives of the older generations, you really need to visit Lothal because this is a place that ties the past and present together. It is a popular Indus Valley Site and a 4500 years old city discovered in 1954. Even though the place is not as thriving as it once used to be, the magic of the ruins are enough to tell you the colourful tales about the lives of the people who were inhabitants of this place. This place is full of surprises and holds a great deal of historical significance. Visiting here is one of the top things to do in Gujarat.
The Ropeway Cable offers a panoramic view of the entire city from an altitude of about 30 feet. The cable cars are well suited for the physically challenged as well as the elderly. They start from the Sunset Point, and carry tourists up to the Governor's Hill and Sunrise Point. Trying out this activity is one of the topmost things to do in Gujarat.
Sabarmati Riverfront is a waterfront developed on the banks of river Sabarmati in Ahmedabad. Started with an objective for sustainable development and environmental improvement, the pace has now become a major tourist attraction owing to its lush green promenades, beautiful parks and plazas and an all-around soothing ambience.
Well known for its historical significance, Dandi in Surat is a beautiful beach destination. The scenic beauty combined with its rich history make it a favourite among all tourists visiting this place. This beach is the perfect amalgamation of untouched beauty and bubbling tourism. The Seashore is a beautiful sight to behold, and the silky sand just adds another dimension to its beauty. The serene and pristine beauty of Dandi is only second to its long and illustrious history. The sand in this beach is as far as the eyes can see and stands at a beautiful contrast against the sapphire sky.
Known For : Girnar Jain Temples Girnar Parikrama
Keeping up the delicate balance between the fine golden-brown sand of Gujarat’s richest desert on one hand, and the lush green of the Gir Forest on the other - Girnar - a group of mountains in the Junagadh district of Gujarat are a haven for thrill seekers and religious devotees alike due to their ability to be both - a hub for religious activity and also a retreat for trekkers, because of the hills that lead up to splendid views for splendid views.
Best Time: July to March
Vadla is an up and coming haven for migratory birds making their way to the marshy wetlands of Gujarat, just a short drive away from Ahmedabad. Vadla still remains relatively unknown and undiscovered in comparison to the Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary and is a hidden gem only known to the locals. Because of the scanty tourist populace and minimal interference in the natural habitat of the birds, Vadla provides you with a direct unperturbed access and exceptional views of the birds who are very sensitive to human presence. Be sure to include visiting here in your top list of things to do in Gujarat.
It is one of the largest remarkable excavations of the Indus Valley Civilization which was one of the most developed civilization roughly 4500 years ago. Witness the history yourself! A visit to the site tells the story of the 7 stages of the civilization and it is considered to be one of the grandest cities of its time. It is one of the 5 largest Harappan sites and the most prominent archaeological sites in India belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization.
Known For : AMUL Diary & Chocolate Factory AMUL Co-operative Museum Flo Art gallery
The epicenter of the white revolution in the country back in the 60s, Anand is a place known for its semi-rural set up and the Swami Narayan Mandir which is the crown jewel of the city. An emerging city, Anand still has traces of its rural past which can be seen when one is traveling to this wonderful city. While traveling to Anand, one can also go through the history and the factories of one of the biggest dairy companies in the world - AMUL. The Swami Narayan Mandir in the heart of the city is its main attraction with devotees and lovers of architecture coming from all parts of the state to experience its enchanting beauty.
Best Time: October to March
White Desert is a vast area of pristine white salt desert often explored for its natural beauty and ecological importance. It is also called the worldês largest salt desert which stretches from the mouth of River Indus to the Gulf of Kutch. The contrasting landscape of the White Desert is one of a kind in India and draws tourists in large numbers.
Less than 100 km away from Bhuj, this sanctuary is spread over an area of about 7505.22 sq. km. in the Kutch District of Gujarat. This wildlife sanctuary is considered as one of the largest seasonal saline wetland areas. It has a water depth that ranges between 0.5 to 1.5 m and preserves various species of flamingo birds. Also sight other species such as the greater flamingo, Indian porcupine, spiny tailed lizard, black-necked storks, wild ass and Indian cormorant. Visiting here is one of the top things to do in Gujarat.
A city of rich culture and heritage, Ahmedabad at its heart remains a potpourri of all things, one can imagine! It boasts of magnificent temples, grand mosques, royal havelis with intricate carvings and umpteen sites associated with the Father of the Nation - Mahatma Gandhi. Trudging through the narrow pols of Ahmedabad, one realizes that the city is a beautiful amalgamation of old and new, replete with beauty, culture, history and fine food. There is a strange narrative found within the historical monuments and the age-old buildings of Ahmedabad. But do not tick off Ahmedabad from your travel bucket list without visiting the following historical sites.
Located around 30 km from the main town of Dwarka Beyt Dwarka is a small island and was the main port in the region before the development of Okha. While the island is enclosed by a few temples, white sand beach and coral reefs, the beach is also popular among tourists for its marine life, sea excursions, camping and picnics. You can also enjoy water sports to make your trip a bit adventurous.
One of the most famous gardens of Ahmedabad the Law Garden becomes a favorite place for shopaholics with vendors and shopkeepers bustling on the scene. You can buy exclusive wall hangings, bandhej sarees, chaniyas (long colourful skirts), antique jewelry and more at reasonable price if you use your bargaining skills a bit. Shopping for bandhej sarees is one of the top touristy things to do in Gujarat.
Also known locally as the Lala Prajan Sanctuary, its primary aim is to conserve the Great Indian Bustard. Among many other different varieties of wildlife that can be found within the reserve, there are three different kinds of Bustards themselves in the sanctuary. The sanctuary covers an area of just over 2 sq. km, but still houses some of the excellent species including harriers, common cranes, black partridges, sand grouses, Black and Grey Francolin, Spotted and Indian Sandgrouse, quails, larks, shrikes, coursers, plover, Imperial Eagle, flamingos, herons, egrets, sandpipers, etc.
The Mandvi beach is one of the most serene beaches on the Northwestern shore. Its the perfect destination to come and relax with family and friends during winter mornings. Boasting of lengthy coastlines and golden sandy shores, the place is ideal to relax, rewind and reflect. Visiting here is one of the topmost things to do in Gujarat.
This uniquely named sanctuary, located in Little Rann of Kutch, is India's biggest wildlife sanctuary spreading over a massive 4954 square kilometer. It is home to a wide variety of carnivores, mammals, birds. The sanctury is best known for the endangered species of the Indian wild ass like Khur as well as the Asiatic wild ass species, Oranger. Other kinds of mammals, reptiles, amphibians are also found in this area.
Along with the world-famous Somnath Temple, the Somnath Beach also forms an important part of the itinerary of a tourist visiting Gujarat. It is famous for its beautifully sparkling waves and long stretches of gray sands. Travelers can unwind here after a long day of sightseeing, although, swimming is not recommended. One can also find many joggers running along a path in early mornings and evenings. Sunsets are particularly beautiful and add a romantic touch to the end of a great day.
This 1 kilometer square area is visited annually by migratory birds. Flamingos, Grebes, Pelicans, Ducks and geese, Avocets, Coots, Cormorants, Herons, Egrets, Bittern, Storks, Ibis, Spoonbill, Cranes, Whistling Teals, Gulls, Terns, Jacanas, Ruff, Red shanks, Indian roller and many other varieties of winged, fluffy creatures pay a visit during the winters.
Also known as Mausoleum of Bahaduddnbhai Hasainbhai, this place is a mausoleum and its unique architecture makes it one of the most important attractions of Junagarh. It houses the tombs of Mohabbat khanji in the Mohabbat Maqabra and tomb of Bahaduddin Hasainbhai in the Bahaduddinhassainbhai Maqabra and it was built in the late 19th century. This monument is a unique example of Indo-Islamic and Gothic architecture with finely designed arches, elaborate stone carvings on the walls and windows, silver-decorated portals, the winding staircases encircling its four tall minarters, the old step-well in the grounds and its onion shaped dome.
These are two step wells inside the Uperkot Fort. Usually wells are dug into the ground through layers of soli, stones, etc. and the construction is like that done above the ground. But the USP of these stepwells is the fact that unlike most wells, this well isn't dug. It is carved out of the stone in the ground. Technically the entire structure is carved out of a single stone!
King Ashoka is one of the most revered figures in Indian history. After a lifetime of war and violent pursuits, he renounced his throne and took up the virtues of Buddhism in spirit. Mindfulness, meditation, kindness, and gratitude became his new mantra, along with the renunciation of greed and animal sacrifice. To spread this message of peace, he inscribed edicts across the region, from the coasts of India to Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. One such edict is at the foot of Girnar Hill in Junagadh, Gujarat.
These aren't exactly caves but rooms carved out of stones and were used as monk's headquarters. The oldest, the Khapara Kodia caves belong to 3rd-4th century AD and are plainest of all cave groups. They were carved into living rock during the reign ofï_Emperor Ashoka and are considered the earliest monastic settlement in the area. Another set of caves, Baba Pyara caves lie close to the Modhimath, which has four caves in its northern group.
Laxmi Vilas Palace is one of the most majestic structures in India and was the private residence of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. Known to be the largest private dwelling of the size equivalent to four times of the Buckingham Palace, this magnificent palace is a must visit when in Vadodara. Sprawling across an area of about 700 acres, it is still home to the royal family of Vadodara, the Gaekwads. The lush gardens of the palace add to the beauty of the entire experience of being here. Visiting here is one of the topmost things to do in Gujarat.
Set behind the Sabarmati river and popular for its Bandhani Sarees, the Craftsman Village in Gandhinagar is visited by hundreds of tourists and shoppers every day. Sarees and dresses are hand printed and decorated with wooden printing blocks in vivacious colours. The cloths available here are carefully worked on by skilled craftsman and are quite economical too.
Just a few kilometers away from Satpura lake near Nasik road lies a beautiful village which exhibits spectacular artifacts of Bamboo, clothes and many other things. The main tribals of the village Bhil, Kunbi and warli are well known for their benevolence. Apart from buying their beautiful art works, you can also get into workshops to create something different and get to know the artist in you and their culture even better.
Just next to Malegaon there is a spot which is known as a spot to cherish the beauty of Sunrise and is known as the Sunrise point or Valley view point. You can enjoy the lush greenery around the spot and the cool breeze which retreats your soul and relaxes it. Similarly on the western side, we have Sunset point which gives a great view of Dang forest, filled with enormous greenery and a magnificent view as the Yellow colored sun imperceptibly strewing redness on the skyline.
Being an incredibly beautiful, picturesque and colorful city, Bhuj offers a great variety of market stuff. It consists of an excellent community of craftsmen. The items on display in bazaars include embroidered quilts, grain containers, wall hangings, glass bead work, vegetable color dye printing, beautiful shelves, embroidered garments, cupboards, leather articles, handicrafts, textiles, tie and dye,'Rogan' art, woolen shawls and the list goes on.
Spread across an area of 3,847 square kilometers, are currently legally protected under the status as a Protected or Reserve Forest in India. It has been identified as one of the last remaining habitants of Cheetah in India by Wildlife Institute Of India. The grasslands are home to mammals such as the Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), Chinkara (Gazella bennettii), Blackbuck (Antelope cervicapra), Wild boar (Sus scrofa), Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes), Caracal (Caracal caracal), Asiatic Wildcat (Felis silvestris ornata) and Desert Fox (Vulpes vulpes pusilla) etc.
Overlooking the beautiful town, Bhujia Hill is a prominent natural formation considered to be of immense religious and historical importance. It is often associated with the legendary victory of Bhujanga against Bheria Kumar. It also served as a perfect location for Bhujia Fort that adds to the aesthetic appeal of the splendid Hill and defended the Jadeja Chiefs. Trekking is a popular activity here.
Kutch Fossil Park has been an attraction not just for the palaeontologists or researchers, but also for enthusiasts who want to enrich their knowledge about the evolution of life. The park was established by Mohan Singh Sodha with the help of his well wishers and has a splendid collection of fossils displayed in an organised manner.
There are as many as 100 and more temples in Patan dedicated to various gods including a number of Jain temples. The most famous of these is Mahavir Swami Derasar in Dhnadherwad. This temple is known for its beautifully engraved wooden dome. Among the other temples, the famous ones are Kalika Mata, Sidhwai Mata, Brahmakund. Hemachandra Gyan mandir stores many ancient manuscripts in Sanskrit and Prakrit, Hemachandra was a great scholar and is said to be the key man in formulating grammar for Guajarati.
The Naida caves are located on the periphery of the Diu fort. These caves have a big network of tunnels with square hewn steps. Popular among the history buffs, archaeologists, photographers and tourists alike, the cave is one of the top tourist spot in Diu and you should definitely include visiting here in your bucket list of top things to do in Diu.
Fort Diu, located on the Western coast of Indian was built by Portuguese during their colonial rule and is now under the administration of Indian government. The fort- cum - castle, is known as 'Praça de Diu' in Portuguese, is situated on the southern tip of Gujarat and is at the mouth of the Gulf of Khambhat. The Fort of Diu is a colossal structure that occupies a prominent place on the tourist's list. The enchanting fort commands a magnificent view of the sea, and a jetty constructed on the northwestern coast is still under use and was once used to trade with Cambay, Broach and Surat in Gujarat.
Kabirvad is a small island in the Bharuch district of Gujarat rumoured to be Saint Kabir’s residence several hundred years ago. Located along the banks of the river Narmada, the island promises you a calm and serene abode underneath the humongous canopy of Banyan trees that Kabirvad is most prominent for. What started as a single Banyan tree in Kabirvad has emanated into over 3000 trunks currently, with the mother tree believed to be over 600 years old, interestingly the tree populous has grown manifold to such an extent that it is impossible to distinguish the mother tree from the other trees at present.
The state of Gujarat dons a variety of kites on the eve of Uttarayan, the festival that marks the transition of winter into summer according to the Indian calendar. It also marks the beginning of the Harvest season. Uttarayan is such a massive celebration that these two days have been declared as public holidays. The International Kite Festival is among the most prominent festivals that are celebrated in this State. Ahmedabad, where the main event takes place, becomes an abode for visitors from all over the world.
Marine National Park in the Gulf of Kutch is the first marine conservatory built in India. Crediting to its diverse range of flora and fauna, it accounts for a magnanimous natural site for India's natural resource and beauty. The park is distributed in 42 scattered islands in an archipelago. The park also houses many endangered aquatic animals granting them protection from poachers.
Dwarkadhish Temple also known as the Jagat Mandir, is a Chalukya styled architecture, dedicated to Lord Krishna. The town of Dwarka has its history dated back to the Kingdom of Dwaraka in Mahabharata. The five storied main shrine is grand and marvelous in itself constructed of limestone and sand. The 2200-year-old architecture, is believed to be built by Vajranabha, who constructed it over the land reclaimed from the sea by Lord Krishna.