Exploring Gujarat and its different dimensions

Culture, heritage, wildlife, royalty and much more


March 13, 2023

/ By / Gujrat

Exploring Gujarat and its different dimensions

One of the twelve holy Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva is located in the magnificent temple of Somnath in Gujarat's Saurashtra region

Visiting different parts of Gujarat brings out different aspects of this multi-faceted state that offers a wide variety to tourists seeking almost any kind of experience.

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I have travelled to Gujarat several times and on each occasion I felt as if I were in a different place as each visit was different in almost every way. Here is a snapshot of the wide variety of experiences and sights that the state can offer to a tourist, making it worthwhile for repeat visitors like me.

Located along the western coast of India, Gujarat is a vibrant destination for tourists to explore. The state with the longest coastline which runs about 1,600 km, Gujarat is a flourishing state with cultural diversity, rich heritage and of course, beautiful landscapes. The state has a well-developed and maintained roads, highways, airports, and railways network. I decided to start my journey from the capital city, Ahmedabad.


The Sabarmati river is one of the major west-flowing rivers in India

Situated on the banks of the Sabarmati River, Ahmedabad is a colourful city which has been rapidly growing and has evolved into a popular tourist destination. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage City, Ahmedabad is home to a plethora of remarkable temples like the Swaminarayan Temple, intriguing museums and markets of historic significance in the colonial time. It has several monuments dating from the Islamic rule of the Gujarat Sultanate from the 14th century onwards. These include the famous Jhoolti Minars and the numerous Jaalis with intricate carvings in stone.

A few kilometres from the city centre is a historical site that is a must-visit for every Indian, Sabarmati Ashram, which is Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi stayed. The ashram has been converted into a museum where one can learn all about Gandhi’s life and teachings.


Located at the center of the Thar Desert, Kutch is known for its Great Rann of Kutch

Moving up towards the north of the state, tourists must visit Kutch, a unique destination. A former princely state, Kutch is considered one of the most surreal places in India. With vast expanses of the white salt desert, Kutch holds the infamous Rann Festival every winter in the month December-February where huge camp settlements are organised along with cultural programmes, functions and adventure activities like hot-air ballooning. Besides Kutch is also famous for crafts and embroidery works, the Flamingo Sanctuary and Wild Ass Sanctuary. Bhuj is an ideal point to start the journey into the Rann of Kutch, close to which one can also visit Dholavira, one of the sites of Harappan civilisation.

After a splendid and colourful visit to Kutch, one can also plan a trip which offers sharp contrast to Kutch’s barren landscapes and head to the thick forests of Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, the only remaining home for the Asiatic Lions. In addition to the lions, other important wildlife species found here include the leopard, chausingha, spotted deer, hyena, sambar deer and chinkara. Besides the wildlife, Gir also has several other attractions to offer to tourists. The Kamleshwar dam which is the largest dam in Gir is a must-visit. It is built over the Hiran river and is often referred to as the ‘lifeline of Gir’. The beautiful Tulsi Shyam temple located within the national park as well as the crocodile breeding farm, located near the Sasan Gir reserve are other key attractions.

Lakshmi Vilas Palace

Lakshmi Vilas Palace was built by the Gaekwad family, a prominent Maratha family, who ruled Baroda State in Gujarat, India.

Another destination that is very different to Kutch and Gir is Vadodara, a cosmopolitan city home to some of the most exemplary displays of architecture such as the Lakshmi Vilas Palace and the Maharaja Sayajirao University. Located on the banks of Vishwamitri River, Vadodara is also considered a cultural hub blessed with several beautiful gardens, museums and art galleries.

If in the city, the Old Baroda is also a must-visit. It is the walled section of the city where you can explore shrines, century-old tenements, pilgrims and medieval bazaars. The Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery is another heritage with remarkable designs on the walls.

Those looking for spiritual experiences can move to visit Somnath, home to one of the oldest temples in India. A temple town with a spiritual environment flourished with a huge number of temples, your quest for peace and serenity ends here at the Somnath Jyotirlingam.  Two of the most popular attractions in the town are the Somnath temple and the Panch Pandava Gufa temple. Besides, a beach and a museum are other primary attractions here. Gita Mandir, Balukha Tirtha, and Kamnath Mahadev Temple are some of the other places that one can also visit.

After all the city life, desert safari, and spiritual journey if you are looking at spending time in the lap of nature then enclosed by the Sahyadris or the Western Ghats, Saputara is a quaint little hill station in the Dang district of Gujarat. Located 875 metres above sea level, it is the perfect destination for adventure and wildlife enthusiasts. Considered a favourite among tourists, Saputara is popular for its lush green forests, majestic hills, dazzling waterfalls, dreamy winding roads and livid landscapes.

Gujarati veg Thali

And of course one thing that every tourist has to relish is Gujarati cuisine, which is primarily vegetarian and offers numerous exotic dishes that are unique to the state.

Himanshu Talwar is an avid traveller himself and has explored many countries around the world. An author of several books, he also frequently writes travelogues. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not represent those of Media India Group.



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