Gujarat, situated on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent is also called “the jewel of the West”. It is one of the most prosperous and industrial states of the country portraying a mind-boggling mélange of age-old traditions and modern ambience. Gujjars, a native tribe of Gujarat settled in Gujarat around the 5th century and the state came to be named after the tribe. The top archaeological excavation sites such as Lothal, Dholavira, Rangpur, are in the Indus Valley Civilization period. As per historical records, the state was under the rule of many dynasties and empires before the Britishers arrived. Mauryas, Khiljis, Marathas all had their empires spreading across Gujarat. The Gujaratis very well mirror the state’s vivacious cultural. People wear colourful clothes and women prefer to adorn themselves with multiple ornaments. Most people speak Gujarati here though Hindi, Urdu, Sindhi and English are also spoken.
The summers in Gujarat are too hot, monsoons sultry and winters cool and pleasant. Some regions of the state such as Kutch are remarkably arid and harsh. The ideal time for exploring the state is between months October and March. The state has many important cities each one being important in its own way.
The city of Ahmedabad along River Sabarmati is counted among Gujarat’s large cities. Ahmedabad had been the capital of Gujarat from 1960 to 1970 but later the capital was shifted to Gandhinagar city. In 1411 the city came into being under the initiative of Sultan Ahmad Shah. It is for this reason that sometimes it is also called the city of Ahmed Shah.
The city is reputed as Gujarat’s business hub and has many renowned companies and firms. Tourists make a beeline to Ahmedabad due to the many tourist attractions that the city has.
Some of Ahmedabad popular tourist destinations are:
- Bhadra fort: Bhadra fort is one of the most important monuments of Ahmadabad. The fort was constructed around 1411 AD during the Maratha rule. This opulent, royal monument is indeed a must-visit place while you are in Ahmadabad.
- Dada Hari Vav: Built during the reign of Mahmud Begarha in the year 1501, Dada Hari Wav has been an example of beautiful architectural design neatly executed. It is located right behind Dada Hari’s grave. The Vav in Ahmedabad is one of the most complex structures of the city. The basic purpose of establishing this well was to provide passengers with space for cooling water and relaxation.
- Swing Minaret: Ahmedabad is well known for its waving minarets. The Jhulta Minar/Swing minaret is a beautiful instance of marvellous craftsmanship. Another is the Jhulta Minar. It is actually a part of the Mosque Siddi Bashir. The mosque is constructed in such a way that, if you put a little power on the upper arch, the minaret starts speaking. The swinging minaret in Ahmedabad, India is a fun place for children.
- Sarkhej Roza: Sarkhej Roza was a Muslim religious leader of Ahmed Khattu Ganj Baksh, a spiritual leader of Sultan Ahmed Shah, lying at a distance of 8 kilometres on the southwest coast of Ahmedabad. It consists of a group of monuments that came into being during the Mughal era.
- Teen Darwaza: Teen door is a miracle of architecture. The very sight of it leaves you amazed. The three-door monument with arched gateways is one of the city’s oldest monuments. This was constructed in the year 141 AD by Sultan Ahmed Shah.
- Lothal City: Lothal city is an important archaeological site in the state of Gujarat. Lothal is about 80kms away from the city of Ahmadabad. Lothal site is a part of one of the most ancient civilizations; i.e. the Indus Valley Civilization. Lothal’s history is as old as 2400 BC.
Gandhinagar, 25kms away from the business and industrial hub of Ahmadabad is the capital of Gujarat.
Some of the visit-able destinations of Gandhinagar are.
- Children’s park
- Sarita Udyan
- Deer Park
- Akshardham Temple
- Botanical Garden and Shopping Markets
Jamnagar is situated at a distance of 302 kilometres from Ahmadabad. Vestiges of the royals are everywhere in Jamnagar. The city presents some excellent architectural specimens in the form of forts, palaces and religious monuments that captivates the attention of every tourist.
Some of the popular tourist sites of Jamnagar are:
- Kotha fort
- Willingdon Crescent
- Lakhota Fort
- Jamsaheb Palace
- Bohra Hajira
- Lofty lake
- Adinath Temple
- Bal Hanuman Temple
- Crowded temple
- Shantinath Temple
- On the island of Dwarka Beach
Vadodara, Gujarat’s cultural capital, tells a lot about Gujarat’s culture and tradition. Filled with wonderful fine arts, magnificent gardens, Vadodara is on the top of Gujarat’s tourist attraction. There are several tourist places in the beautiful city of Vadodara.
Some popular tourist destinations in Vadodara are:
- Lakshmi Vilas Palace: Lakshmi Vilas Palace is situated only 6 kilometers from Vadodara Railway Station. Lakshmi Vilas Palace is a wonderful example of Indian architecture. This palace was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. Built in white marble and adorned with beautiful stones, glass and wood, this palace is one of the main attractions of Vadodara.
- Pratap Vilas Palace: Pratap Vilas Palace is a beautiful model of architecture. This palace was designed by Stevens. In this palace, unique coordination of bronze, marble and Terracotta crafts may be witnessed. Currently, there is a staffing staff of Indian Railways. The building is famous for its Vadodara site.
- Red Garden: Lal Bagh is situated about 10 kilometres from Vadodara railway station. This beautiful garden is a wonderful garden built in a modern style. It is very pleasant to spend time between green velvety grass and beautiful plants.
- Sayaji Garden: Sayaji Bagh is situated on the banks of the river Vishwamitri, one kilometre from the railway station. This garden was constructed in 1879. This garden is also known as “Kamati Bagh”. There is also a zoo and a museum within the sprawling garden. Both of these places are viewable.
- Celebrity Column: Kirti Colony Vadodara is very famous in the scenic spots list. This pillar is located near the famous Polo Ground in the city. The pillar is topped by a lion sculpture. This pillar was built by Maharaja Shivaji Rao Gaekwad in the form of Vijay Pillar in the year 1935.
- EME Temple: Vadodara is one of the city’s main tourist spots. The EME temple is one of the modern structures of Vadodara city. Built in 1966, this temple is made of aluminum sheet. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is located in the electrical mechanical engineering campus of the city’s military cantonment. This led to its name being EME Temple.
- Makarpura Palace: Makarpura Palace is about 12 kilometres from Vadodara railway station. This palace was built by Maharaja Khanderao between 1856 and 1870. He built it as a place of his residence. The architectural art of this palace is worth seeing.
- Vadodara Museum & Art Gallery: It was constructed by Gaekwad Rao in 1894. In this art gallery and museum, you can also see rare pictures with ancient rare items related to history.
- Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum: This museum itself is a unique museum. The collection of ancient artworks in this museum will leave you surprised. This is a must-visit place for Vadodara sightseeing tourists.
- Nalbeg Palace: Nalbeg palace is one of the oldest monuments in the spot. Nakabeg Palace used to be the residence of Gaekwad Shahi Kabil. This palace was built in the 18th century. This was a three-story monument. Now, this memorial has been transformed into ruins. But it has a major role in the history of Vadodara. Tourists who are interested in history often come here.
Pavagadh is a small hill station known for its magnificent landscape and peaceful ambiance. Pavagadh has got the honor of the World Heritage Site and is counted amongst Gujarat’s most visited tourist destinations.
Some popular tourist sites of Pavagadh are:
- Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park
- Pavagadh hill
- Kalika Mata Temple
- Pavagadh Temple
- Machi haveli
- Sadan Shah Peer Dargah
The historical city of Gujarat; Champaner is located 7 hours north of Mumbai. Champaner is a great place to spend weekends. This town was discovered in the 8th century by King Vanraj Chavda of the Chavda dynasty. Some people believe that Champaner was named after Raja’s friend Champa. There are many forts, palaces and mosques built in the beautiful ancient city of Champa, which were built many years ago. The buildings of this city are also thousands of years old. There are many ancient Jain and Hindu temples in the city which still look spectacular.
Champaner used to be the capital of Gujarat but after the rule of the Mughals, Ahmedabad became the capital. The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park located here is a famous UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site.
Champaner weather is very hot during the summer season. So, it is always good to plan travel between October and February during the winter season. During this period, Champaner’s weather remains pleasant and sometimes falls below 9 degrees Celsius. Therefore, bring warm clothes when you come.
Route of Champaner from Mumbai: Chedda Nagar – NH 48 – Vadodara-Halol Highway in Harni – Exit NH 48
The route of Champaner from Champaner Mumbai is quite easy because most of the roads are of highways only. This train can take 7 hours and 30 minutes to reach 465 km.
Porbandar has some of the finest holy shrines of ancient India. The city has a fine blend of modernity and rustic charms.
Some popular tourist destinations in Porbandar are:
- Kirti temple
- Arya Virgo
- Sudama Temple
- Bharat temple and constellations
The Anand city of Gujarat is known as ‘India’s milk capital’. Anand city is known for ‘Amul Dairy’ and ‘Milk Revolution’ also known as the ‘white revolution’.
Some popular tourist destinations in Anand are:
- Swaminarayan Temple
- Ranchhod Dakor Temple
- Amul Dairy Museum
- Flow art gallery
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Veer Vithal Patel Memorial
Bhavnagar is the main trading port for cotton grown in Gujarat. This port was built in 1743. Bhavnagar Lake also maintains ships in the port in Low Tide.
Some of the popular tourist attractions of Bhavnagar are:
- Takhteshwar Temple
- Gandhi Memorial Museum or Gandhi Memorial
- Gaurishankar Lake
- Samaldas Arts College
- Barton Library
- Water Lac Gate
Junagadh is located on the foothills of beautiful Girnar Hill in Gujarat. Girnar is a famed Jain pilgrimage site. There are a large number of temples atop Girnar Hill. Junagadh is a charming city with many old buildings.
Some popular tourist sites of Junagadh are:
- Akshar Mandir
- Neminath Temple
- Datar hill
- Durbar Hall Museum
- Rock inscriptions of Emperor Ashoka
- Girnar Mountain Junagadh
- Relics of the Harappan era
- Sakkarbaug Zoo
This is India’s most spectacular beach resort in Gujarat. Ahmedpur-Mandvi beach is the other name for this spectacular beach. Water sports at Mandvi are a fond recreational attraction for tourists. It is located 298 kilometres from Ahmedabad. Clear sea water makes it the perfect place to swim.
Some tourist places of Mandvi are:
- Vijay Vilas Palace
- Shyamji Krishna Varma Memorial
- Rukmavati Bridge
- Kashi Vishwanath Beach
- Mandvi Beach
- Topansar Lake
The history of Patan was at its peak in the times of the Solankis. This period was the Golden Age of Gujarat. At that time the city was considered a great place for business and education. According to Jain articles, ‘Kumarpal Raja’ Patan was a prosperous city in Gujarat.
Some popular tourist sites in Patan are:
- Old fort near Kalka
- Rani-Ki-Vav and Trikam Barot Ni Wave
- Sahastralinga Lake
- Anand Lake
- Kalka Temple
- Mahalaxmi temple
- Hingaraj Mandir
Rajkot had the distinction of being the capital of Saurashtra at one time. It was also the headquarters of the British Government earlier. Rajkot in Gujarat is the place where Mahatma Gandhi spent his early years of life. Here you can see the Gandhi family’s house, Kaba Gandhi no Delo. Now, in this house, a permanent exhibition of Gandhiji’s goods is held.
Some popular tourist sites of Rajkot are:
- Watson Museum
- Kaba Gandhi no Delo
- Rajkumar College
- Mohandas Gandhi School
- National house
- Grand dam
Surat is situated on the banks of Tapti River in Gujarat. Earlier it was one of the major ports of western India. There is also evidence that this port used to function as the gateway of Gujarat state at that time. In the 12th century, Parsis came to Gujarat and settled in Surat. In 1573 Surat came under the rule of Emperor Akbar. They identified the immense possibilities of this port and the city became a major Mughal trading port. The main places to see at Surat are-
Bardoli occupies an important place in the Indian struggle for freedom. Bardoli is the place where the famous Satyagraha movement started in the year 1921. Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel were the chief spokespeople in this movement.
Surat city is situated on the banks of Tapi River in the western Indian state of Gujarat. During the Mughal era, Surat had been a bustling port city. Since the ancient times, Surat’s early harbour is famous for its distinctive quality silk and beautiful brocade trade as well as spice trade.
Surat is one of the major industrial cities, famous for its textile mills and is Asia’s largest diamond-cutting centre with many tourist destinations.
Some popular tourist sites of Surat are:
- Chintamani Jain Temple
- Dutch garden
- Sardar Patel Museum
- Jawahar Lal Nehru Garden
Bharuch port city, situated on the mouth of the river Narmada, is used for the trade of spices and silk between East and West. It was built by the British in 1818, with the Golden Bridge connected to Ankleshwar. Being situated on the banks of river Narmada, there are several temples in Bharuch. In addition to the temples, the tourists can also see the Lallubhai Haveli. It was built in 1791.