1. AnandThe Village Hangout
Distance from Vadodara: 45 kilometres
Known as the Milk Capital of India, the centre of the white revolution in the 1960s, Anand, is a popular destination and frequented by tourists for its semi-rural setup. The traces of its rural past gravitate people to Anand. Anand has the famous Amul Dairy and the and the Swami Narayan Mandir which are the centre of attraction here. The serene, rustic life of the city has a unique charm. You can explore the historical monuments like Jama Masjid and Bharuch Fort. The Amul Chocolate factory and the Amul co-operative museum are also some fun places to explore. Other places in Anand include the Fio Art Gallery for handicrafts like murals, pots, sculptures, etc., the remains of the Khapra Zaveri Palace, the Air Manzil and, the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Veer Vithalbhai Patel Memorial. The weather is pleasant throughout the year making it a perfect weekend getaway.
Things to do: Wander the Bharuch Fort, Checkout the Amul Dairy, Fio Art Gallary, Click some great pictures and relax under the shade of a tree in open green fields.
2. PavagadhTemple Streak
Distance from Vadodara: 54 kilometres
The beautiful hill station of Pavagadh is a famous pilgrimage centre with rich cultural heritage. These mesmerising hills have several scenic trails and are an ideal destination for people who are fond of trekking. Apart from some majestic waterfalls that you can find here during monsoons, the Pavagadh hills also house the Rangpur Ashram which is run by Mr Hari Parikh for the upliftment of the local tribes. The Jain temples at Pavagadh draw many tourists and pilgrims. The Kalikamata Temple is also a famous religious attraction since it is one of the fifty-one Shakti Peeths. The temple can be reached either by a ropeway ride or by climbing the 250 steps. Other tourist attractions include the Teliya Talav, the Dudhia Talav, the Virasat Van, and the remains of Raval Palace.
Things to do: Visit the Rangpur Ashram, Jain Temples, Kalikamatha temple. Trek to some waterfalls around in Monsoon.
3. ChampanerThe Heritage of Panchmahal
Distance from Vadodara: 48.8 kilometres
The ancient city of Champaner, located at the foothills of Pavagadh, is famous for the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park which is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The park is made with a historical and mythological splendour which can be seen in the exciting blend of Islamic and Hindu styles and designs. Replete with bazaars, town squares, mosques, water structures, and gardens, Champaner shows the legacy of the colonial and Mughal rule. You can find here hubs of beautiful silk, dyed textiles, and swords. Other tourist attractions include the majestic Jami Masjid, the mausoleum of the holy saint Syed Khundmir, the Champaner Fort, the Citadel Of Mahmud Beghada, Hissar I Khas, the Lila Gumbaj Ki Masjid, the Kevada Mosque, and the Nagina Masjid. Champaner is an exciting place for a one-day getaway from Vadodara.
Things to do: Visit the Archaeological Park, Shop in the bazaars of Champaner, Explore the Champaner Fort and the numerous Masjids in the surroundings.
4. KabirvadThe Island of a Banyan Tree
Distance from Vadodara: 79.4 kilometres
A peaceful island located on the river Narmada, Kabirvad is an ideal place for lovers of nature. The place is named after the famous mystic-poet Kabir who lived in the 15th century and is a prominent religious and tourist destination. It can be reached by a boat from the Shuklatirth Shiva temple. The place has an ancient banyan tree which occupies an area of almost 3 kilometres. The solitude and serenity offered by the canopy of the tree attract many travellers. Kabirvad also has a temple dedicated to Kabir which brings many worshippers. The beautiful greenery and pristine waters of Narmada make it an ideal place for picnics.
Things to do: Get a boat ride to the Island, Play some games with Friends and family, Relax under the shade of the Banyan Tree, Visit the temple of Kabir.
Distance from Vadodara: 78.3 kilometres
One of the most jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring cascades of India, the Hathni Waterfalls is a picturesque destination. The 100 metres tall waterfall is surrounded by lush green hills and abundant flora and fauna. The musical cascade with its gurgling water, misty breeze and scenic beauty is a must see for everyone. The best time to witness the waterfall in its full glory is the monsoon season. You can relax here and camp in the laps of nature away from the cacophony of the city. The waterfall was christened by the local tribes who named it after the small rock at the base of the fall which resembles a baby elephant. The tribes also organise fair during the winter season for the Hathni Mata.
6. Jambughoda Wildlife SanctuaryThe Jungle Journey
Distance from Vadodara: 74.9 kilometres
The renowned Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary in the Panchmahal district sprawls across an area of 130 square kilometres. Establishes in 1990, the wildlife sanctuary is fed by the rivers Targol and Kada which facilitate the rich diversity of the sanctuary as well as add to the beauty of it. The lush green carpets are shaded by trees like Bili, Sag, Shisham, Dhav, Bamboo, Dudhalo teak, Mahuda, Sadad, Khair, and Timaru. The vegetation ranges from deciduous trees and medicinal herbs to water-borne plants and dry scrubs. The diverse fauna includes rodents, reptiles, predators and other animals like wolf, hyena, leopard, wild boar, sloth bear, Indian civet, blue bull, Indian civet, mongoose, jungle cat, barking deer, four horned antelope, python, cobra, crocodile, porcupine, jungle fowl and mongoose. A trip to the sanctuary is not only educational but also a refreshing experience away from the concrete jungles. Accommodation and food are readily available around the sanctuary if you plan to spend more time. November to March is the best time to visit the place.
Things to do: Treks and Safaris, Walk in the forest, Camp with family.
7. Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife SanctuaryCloser to Wilderness
Distance from Vadodara: 109 kilometres
Another famous wildlife sanctuary, the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary encompasses an area of 607 square kilometres. The sanctuary shares its borders with the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The forests of the sanctuary are rich in diversity with riverine forest, dry deciduous forest, few pockets of moist teak forest, agricultural fields and two water reservoirs. The fauna at the sanctuary has an unparalleled diversity. Initially, the sanctuary was established for the protection of sloth bears but now it houses the Indian softshell turtle, Indian flap shell turtle, Bengal monitor, Indian rock python, red sand boa, rock agama, Brooke's house gecko, Yellow-bellied house gecko, Asian common toad, marbled toad, ornate narrow-mouthed frogIndian bullfrog, cricket frog and Indian burrowing frog. There are mammals like a leopard, chousingha, barking deer, pangolin, chital, large Indian civet, and feral dogs. You can even find extinct mammal species like Indian giant squirrel, tiger and gaur. For bird watchers, this place is a treat since you can spot birds like the Alexandrine parakeet, red jungle fowl, crested serpent eagle, shikra, and grey hornbill. This sanctuary is one of the best places to invest your 24 hours in.
Things to do: Walk in the forest, Camp in the Forest, Jungle Safari, Bird Watching, Wildlife Photography.
Do not waste another weekend at your usual napping and binge-watching. Explore these beautiful places in your vicinity.