Located on the western coast of India between Maharashtra and Rajasthan, Gujarat didn't feature on the tourist map until recent years. A very successful series of ad campaigns with Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan has changed this though, and tourist interest in the state is growing. There are actually some amazing places to visit in Gujarat, with diverse attractions such as handicrafts, architecture, temples, and wildlife. It's worthwhile getting out and about, away from the major cities, and exploring.
Ahmedabad, the capital of Gujarat for many centuries, was declared to be India's first UNESCO World Heritage City in 2017, beating both Delhi and Mumbai. Its walled Old City was founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah in the 15th century, and is home to diverse Hindu, Islamic and Jain communities.
The Old City is divided into numerous pols (historic residential neighborhoods with winding lanes and carved wooden homes). Plus, it has some of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and Hindu Muslim art in India. Explore the area on this fascinating Ahmedabad Heritage Walk.
The peaceful village of Modhera is home to one of the most significant sun temples in India. Built in the 11th century by Solanki dynasty rulers, it's dedicated to Surya the Sun God. The temple is a substantial structure, consisting of a carved stepped tank, assembly hall, and main shrine. It's covered in intricate stone sculptures. The sanctum is positioned in a way that it receives the first rays of the morning sun at the equinox.
The Kutch region of Gujarat is sometimes described as India's "wild west". This immense stretch of largely barren and harsh desert landscape apparently spans more than 40,000 square kilometers, and is one of the country's largest districts. Its name, Kutch (or Kachchh), refers to the fact that it alternates between wet (submerged during the monsoon season) and dry.
Much of Kutch consists of seasonal wetlands known as the Great Rann of Kutch (famous for its salt desert) and smaller Little Rann of Kutch (famous for its Wild Ass Sanctuary). Other attractions in the Kutch region include historic Bhuj, villages and traditional handicrafts, the ship building in the port town of Mandvi, and the Dholavira ruins of an ancient Indus Valley Civilization/Harappan city. Find out more in this Kutch Travel Guide.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Rani ki Vav is an ancient abandoned stepwell dating back to the 11th century. It was also constructed during the Solanki dynasty, apparently in memory of ruler Bhimdev I, by his widowed wife. The stepwell has stairs going down seven levels, and panels containing more than 500 main sculptures and over 1,000 minor ones.
Only discovered relatively recently, the stepwell was flooded by the nearby Saraswati River and silted over until the late 1980s. When it was excavated by the Archeological Survey of India, its carvings were found in pristine condition.
One of the four most sacred char dham Hindu pilgrimage sites and seven most ancient sapta puri religious cities in India, Dwarka is considered to be the ancient kingdom of Lord Krishna and the first capital of Gujarat. The Krishna Janmashtami festival is a major event there. Of special importance are Dwarkadhish Temple, built around 200 BC, and Jagat Mandir. Head down to Gomti Ghat, at the holy water's edge, for a spectacle of decorated camels, tea stalls, and seashell jewelery sellers.
I tried to cover as much as I could for a newbie to get started, but if you still have a question in your mind, feel free to give us a comment
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