Gujarat
Golden Triangle Tour with Tiger Safari


The state of Gujarat has three distinct regions – a corridor running north to south which is the industrial mainland, a peninsula known as Saurashtra, and Kutch, which is partly desert and partly marshland. Fascinating archaeological sites, superb Jain, Hindu and Islamic architecture, exquisite crafts and rare wildlife, including the Asiatic lion, are among Gujarat's attractions, as are its hardworking, enterprising people.

Gujarat also has some vivid historical associations. Mahatma Gandhi was born at Porbandar and had his ashram at Sabarmati near Ahmadabad. Vadodara (Baroda) was the capital of the Gaekwads. Places to visit in Gujarat are: Enquire Now

1. Ahmedabad

Legend tells us that the city owes it foundation to Sultan Ahmed Shah (r.1411-42), who, while out hunting, encountered a warren of rabbits on the banks of the Sabarmati River. Astonishingly, the rabbits turned fiercely on his hounds and defended their territory. Viewing this as an auspicious sign, the sultan built his new capital at this site and named it after himself – Ahmedabad. The town is full of interesting places and important among them are The Calico Museum, Bhadra Fort, Ahmed Shah's Mosque, Siddi Saiyad's Mosque, Jami Masjid, Tomb of Ahmad Shah, Rani Sipri's Mosque, the Sanskar Kendra and the Sabarmati Ashram.

2. Adalaj Vav

The stepwells (Vavs) of Gujarat are an ingenious answer to the water scarcity in this arid region. Perhaps Gujarat's finest stepwell, Adalaj Vav was built in 1499 by Rudabai, the wife of a local chieftain, to conserve water and provide a cool and pleasant ambience for social interactions. The star features of this stepwell are the First Well, The First Landing and Wall Niches.

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3. Nal Sarovar Sanctuary

Nal Sarovar Sanctuary is one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the country. The best time to visit the sanctuary is between November and February when the place attracts as many as 250 species of waterfowl, including flamingoes, geese, cranes, pelicans, storks, cormorants, Ibis and spoonbills.

4. Modhera Sun Temple

The Sun Temple at Modhera was built by King Bhima I of the Solanki dynasty. It is so precisely laid out in an east-west direction that the sun's rays course through its chambers and strike the centre of the inner sanctum at high noon everyday. The carvings, both inside and on the exterior, are extraordinarily detailed, depicting a pantheon of Hindu deities as well as scenes from everyday life. Don't forget to check these out: The Entrance Hall, The Kund, The Torana, Nritya Mandapa, and the Garbhagriha.

5. Vadodara

Formerly Baroda, Vadodara was the capital of one of the most powerful princely states. Today Vadodara is a vibrant city with many interesting buildings, museums and parks. Interesting places to visit in Vadodara are Laxmi Vilas Palace, Maharaj Fateh Singh Museum, Sayaji Bagh, Vadodara Museum and Picture Gallery, Kriti Mandir and Nyaya Mandir.

6. Champaner

A UNESCO world Heritage Site, the deserted city of Champaner is situated at the foot of Pavagadh Hill. Champaner remained the capital of Gujarat till 1535, when it was conquered by the Mughal emperor Humayun. Much of the Champaner lies in ruins today, with remains of many old mosques and palaces reflecting a blend of Islamic and Jain traditions. The places of interest are Jami Masjid, Nagina Masjid, Pavagadh Fort, and the seven-storeyed Sat Mahal.

7. Daman

Tucked away in the southern tip of Gujarat adjoining Maharastra, is the tiny enclave of Daman which was a Portuguese colony until 1961. Daman, on the coast, retains something of the atmosphere of its distinctive Portuguese inheritance which linked it with both Mediterranean Europe and Africa. The places worth visiting are the massive Daman fort, Bom Jesus Cathedral, Rosario Chapel and St Jerome's Fort. Enquire Now

8. Bhavnagar

For most visitors, Bhavnagar is little more than a convenient base for exploring the magnificent temple town of Palitana. For most visitors, Bhavnagar is little more than a convenient base for exploring the magnificent temple town of Palitana. Yet Bhavnagar itself is not without charm – its old bazaar, dotted with merchants' havelis has shops specializing in tie-dye textiles and gold and silver jewellery. The places to visit in the town are Barton Museum, and the Nilambagh Palace.

9. Palitana

Palitana is renowned for the extraordinary Jain temple complex on Shatrunjaya Hill which attracts domestic pilgrims as well as foreign visitors. Most of the temples date to the 16th century. The temples are grouped into nine fortified clusters called tuks, named after the wealthy devotees who paid for their construction. The most impressive of the main shrines are the 17th century Adinath Temple and the 16th century Adishvara Temple.

10. Diu

The island of Diu has a fascinating history, some unspoilt beaches and a relaxed atmosphere with very little traffic. The north side of the island has salt pans and marshes which attract wading birds. The south coast has some fine limestone cliffs and pleasant, palm-fringed sandy beaches where government environment protection laws keep the immediate coastal strip clear of permanent structures. The branching Hoka palms, rarely seen on the mainland, were introduced from Africa by Portuguese. Coconut palms are also very much in evidence. The taverns of the town attract those deprived of alcohol from neighbouring Gujarat and the bars can get noisy especially at the weekends. Places worth visiting in Diu are the majestic Diu Fort, Nagar Seth Haveli, Church of Saint Paul, St Thomas Church and the beach at Nagoa.

11. Sasan Gir National Park

The only habitat of the Asiatic Lions outside Africa, the Sasan Gir National Park covers a total area of 1,412 sq km in the Saurashtra peninsula. Asiatic lions are smaller than African lions, with a fold of skin along the belly. Enquire Now

12. Junagarh

The small town is surrounded by an old wall, large parts of which are now gone, but the narrow winding lanes and colorful bazaars are evocative of earlier centuries. The places of interest in Junagarh are Durbar Hall Museum, Mahabat Maqbara, Girnar Hill, Ashokan Rock Edict, Neminath Temple and the Amba Mata Temple.

13. Jamnagar

Founded by a local prince, Jam Rawal, in 1540, Jamnagar's old walled city is dominated by the Lakhota Fort, the original seat of its rulers, and the Ranmal Lake which surrounds it. Other places for visiting are Darbar Gadh, Shantinath and Adinath Temples, Rantanbai Mosque and the nearby Marine National Park.

14. Rajkot

Rajkot is a bustling commercial city with a large number of shopping complexes and accompanying heavy road traffic, but there are also some fine late 19th century colonial buildings and institutions since the British Resident for the western Indian states lived here. The places to stop at are the Watson Museum, Rajkumar College, and the nearing Wankaner Palace.

15. Dwarka

A small coastal town on the tip of the Kathiawad peninsula, Dwarka is one of the most sacred sites for Vaishnavite Hindus. It has the unique distinction of being one of Hinduism's four 'Holy Abodes' as well as one of its seven 'Holy Places'. Heavily geared up to receive pilgrims, the people are easy-going, friendly and welcoming. The places of interest in the town are the Rukmini Temple and Dwarkadisha Temple.

16. The Little Rann of Kutch Sanctuary

An expanse of salt flats and grasslands in northwest Gujarat, the Little Rann of Kutch has a stark and unforgettable beauty – in sunlight, the salt crystals in the sand glitter like diamonds, while at night they bathe the landscape in an eerie blue haze. Some 4,841 sq km of this unique ecosystem, which supports a variety of rare fauna, form a wildlife sanctuary which is one of the last refuges of the Asiatic wild ass. The sanctuary also has a large population of nilgai (blue bull), blackbuck, chinkara (Indian gazelle), wolves, and the rare caracal. Enquire Now

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