The amazing topography of Gujarat with hills, forests, beaches, salt desert and a beautiful natural lake makes it ideal for discovering nature in abundance. This land also has a fascinating relation to the history of our country and the religion of its masses. Moreover, Gujarat is a bustling state of entrepreneurs with rich cross cultural influences giving birth to its colourful textile and delectable cuisine. With such amalgamation of natural beauties, culture and heritage, it makes an ideal tourist destination for people of all types be it the pilgrims, weekenders or travellers from all parts of the world.
If you are planning a trip to Gujarat, you will be spoilt for choice of destinations. So, be sure to know your interest as both time and money count.
You can start your Gujarat tour from Ahmedabad, the former capital of the state which is well connected through air, rail and road and has a lot of attractions in and around the city. If history touches a chord with you, then one of the top things to do in Gujarat is take a tour of history.
- Start the tour with Sabarmati Ashram, situated on the bank of river Sabarmati. It was the residence of one of the greatest sons of the soil, Mahatma Gandhi when the Indian freedom struggle was at its peak and the ‘Satyagraha’ movement was rocking the country from one end to other. The calm surroundings are sure to soothe you on a hot sultry day. The museum and archives are rich and informative. There is a guided tour also.
- Move on to enjoy the 15th century Kankaria Lake, earlier known as Hauz e Qutub has interesting anecdotes when we come to know that it used to be the meeting place of Mughal emperor Jehangir and empress Noorjehan. Located in the southern part of the city, it is pleasant spot to be in the evenings.
- A visit to Sarkhej Roza will amaze you with the fusion of hindu and muslim architecture. It is also an emblem of past Sufi culture in our country. There are many other historical sites that reflect the muslim influence like the Mosque of Siddi Bashir popularly known as the “shaking minarets” and Ahmed Shah’s mosque or Jama Masjid. These apart the beautiful Hutheesing Jain Temple and Akshardham temple are proof of Jain footprint.
- The Adalaj Step well is not merely a piece of history or architecture but teaches the modern man about eco-sustenance.
- If you move out of the city in quest of nature, the Nalsarovar Lake will leave you spellbound with its expansive 120 sq.km of pristine blue waters. The best time to visit is during winter when the Siberian migratory birds flock the lake.
Great Rann of Kutch
You can move to the west of Gujarat to visit the Great Rann of Kutch which is the world’s largest salt desert running around 10,000sq.km. Plan a visit at the time of full moon to see the salt desert shining like a silver bed. Do not mis the Rann Utsav in December which celebrates true flavour of colourful Gujarat.
Ruins of Dholavira & Lothal
If you are a complete history buff, a visit to the ruins of Indus valley civilization in far off Dholavira at Kutchh will leave you thirsty for more as the ancient water conservation system and the mud brick fort unravels infront of you.
Lothal, located near Bhavnagar is comparatively easier to reach and merely complements what you may have seen in the extreme location of Dholavira. Nevertheless, it is interesting.
Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
Without a visit to the land of lions, the Gujarat tours will remain incomplete. However, if it were not not for the king of jungle the rare and beautiful birds of Gir are reasons enough not to miss a trip to this jungle.
Gujarat is truly a land of some of the oldest and magnificent temples of belonging to Hindus and Jains. So, amongst other things, touring the temples can be one of the top things to do in Gujarat. Some of these are the Somnath Temple, the Dwarakanath Temple, The Palitana Temples belonging to the Jains each being a marvel it itself.
The post is by Devendra Singh Farswan a traveler & blogger who loves traveling, rafting, mountaineering and making new friends. Currently working with NamasteIndiaTrip.com, a leading travel company that offers various tour packages for India and International.