Nestled on the western coast of India, Gujarat is a vibrant state that attracts tourists all year long. The state is a spectacular medley of picturesque landscape, magnificent architecture, religious sites, historical places, fairs and festivals, wildlife sanctuaries, scenic coastline, museums, mesmerizing handicrafts, cultural exuberance, and mouth-watering cuisine, all of which come together to offer tourists an incredible holiday experience. Gujarat is also the only place in the world where you can view the majestic Asiatic lion.
Tourism contributes significantly to Gujarat’s economy. According to Indian Brand Equity Foundation, the tourist inflow was 44.8 million in the year 2017. The state is dotted with many hotels, including heritage hotels, star hotels, budget hotels, and guesthouses, all of which cater to varied travelers.
Gujarat Tourism Information
|Area||196,024 square kilometer|
|Main Cities||Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Rajkot, Kutch, Surat, Anand, Vadodara, Baroda, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Porbandar, and Bhuj|
|Official Tourism Website||https://www.gujarattourism.com/|
|Nicknames||The Land of Legends and Lions|
|Major Railheads||Vadodara Railway Station, Ahmedabad Railway Station, Surat railway Station, and Rajkot Railway Station|
|Airports||Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (Ahmedabad), Surat International Airport and Vadodara Airport besides domestic airports in Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhuj, Porbandar and other cities|
History of Gujarat
The present region of Gujarat traces its history back to the Indus Valley Civilization. The region came under the rule of various dynasties and empires, such as Mauryas, Kshaharatas, Satavahanas, Guptas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Palas, and Gurjara-Pratiharas. At the end of the 13th century, Alauddin Khilji overturned the Hindu powers in the region. It came under the Mughal Empire in the 16th century when Emperor Akbar conquered it, which was followed by the Maratha rule. In 1802, the British East India Company took over Gujarat and retained their control till India’s independence in 1947. During this period, Gujarat became a hotbed of activities for India’s freedom struggle, spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi. After India’s independence, the Gujarat Province was included under Bombay State. On 1st May 1960, the Bombay state was divided into two states namely, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Geography & Climate
Gujarat covers the Kathiawar Peninsula and extends to the neighboring area on the mainland. The state is surrounded by Madhya Pradesh on the east, Rajasthan on the northeast, Maharashtra and Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the southeast, Daman and Diu to the south, and the Sindh province of Pakistan in the northwest. The Arabian Sea borders it on the southwest. Ten rivers flow through Gujarat, out of which Sabarmati, Narmada, and Tapti are the major ones. Gujarat also boasts of several mountain ranges, including the Western Ghats, Aravalli, Satpura, and Vindhya Range. Rann of Kutch, a huge region of salt marshes, is also located in Gujarat.
Climatic conditions in Gujarat are diverse. While the summers are very dry and hot, the winters are pleasant and mild. Monsoons bring severe rainfall to the state. The best time to visit Gujarat is during the winter months of October to February.
Places to Visit in Gujarat
- Beaches: Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach, Chorwad, Gopnath, Dwarka, Tithal, Dandi, and Somnath Beach are some of the best beaches in Gujarat
- Temples: Somnath Temple, Dwarkadhish Temple, Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, Hutheesing Jain Temple, Modhera Sun Temple, Jagannath Temple, and Palitana Jain Temple are among the most famous temples in Gujarat
- Mosques and Mausoleums: Jama Masjid (Ahmedabad), Sidi Bashir Mosque, Rani Sipri’s Mosque, Vora’s Roza, Sarkhej Roza, Shah Alam Dargah, and Mahabat Maqbara are a few of the must-visit mausoleums and mosques in Gujarat
- Hill Stations: Wilson Hills, Pavagadh, Saputara, and Palitana are the hill stations in Gujarat ideal for a relaxed holiday
- Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks: Gir National Park, Vansda National Park, Marine National Park, Purna Wildlife Sanctuary, Kutch Bustard Sanctuary, Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, and Blackbuck National Park are great places to explore the flora and fauna of Gujarat
- Museums: Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery, Sabarmati Ashram, Kirti Mandir, Kaba Gandhi No Delo, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, Calico Museum of Textiles, and Kutch Museum are must-visit places for history-enthusiasts
- Forts: Bhujia Fort, Kanthkot Fort, Uparkot Fort, Dhoraji Fort, Pavagadh Champaner Fort, and Surat Fort are worth exploring in Gujarat
- Waterfalls: Gira Waterfalls, Girmal Waterfalls, Chimer Falls, Barda Waterfall, Zanzari Waterfall, Hathni Mata Waterfall, and Zarwani Waterfall are among the most mesmerizing waterfalls in Gujarat
- Stepwells: Rani ki Vav, Dada Harir Vav, and Adalaj Vav
- Other Attractions: Lakshmi Vilas Palace, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Prag Mahal, Kankaria Lake, Vijay Vilas Palace, and Dholavira are some of the other exceptional attractions to visit in Gujarat
Cuisine of Gujarat
Gujarat has a mouth-watering cuisine which is mainly vegetarian. A typical Gujarati meal comprises of Rice, Rotli, Shaak, and Kadhi or Dal. Many delicacies and dishes of Gujarat are spicy, tangy, and sweet simultaneously. Among the popular food items of Gujarat are Khandvi, Undhiyu, Gujarati Kadhi, Dhokla, Thepla, and Dal Dhokli, to name a few. Shrikhand, Sutarfeni, Kansar, Ghari, and Doodhpaak are a few desserts to indulge your sweet tooth. Read also – Best time to visit in Ahmedabad
Shopping in Gujarat
Shopaholics can find a lot of places to shop in Gujarat, ranging from bustling local markets to shopping malls. Among the best things to buy in Gujarat are:
- Patola silk saris
- Traditional gharga choli
- Bandhani and cotton fabric
- Embroidered quilts
- Handicraft items
- Warli painting
- Rogan painting
- Tangaliya work
- Zari embroidery
- Applique and patchwork
Things to Do in Gujarat
- Offer prayers at the temples of Gujarat
- Enjoy a safari at the Gir National Park and spot Asiatic Lions
- Enjoy the local delicacies at the best restaurants
- Explore Gandhiji’s legacy at Sabarmati Ashram
- Explore the ancient ruins of Lothal and Dholavira
- Visit the Rann of Kutch to enjoy its pristine beauty
- Take part in the various festivals of the state, such as International Kite Festival Modhera Dance Festival, Navratri Festival, and Rann Utsav
- Visit the intriguing architectural wonder in Ahmedabad called Jhulta Minara or Shaking Minarets
- Explore the history of Indian textiles at the Calico Textile Museum, Ahmedabad
- Go birdwatching at Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary
- Explore the famous stepwells
- Take a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Historic City of Ahmedabad, Rani ki Vav, Champaner-Pavagadh Archeological Park, etc.
- Visit the Statue of Unity
How to Reach Gujarat
By Air: Gujarat has three international airports located in Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat. All these airports have regular services that connect them to many other Indian cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Goa, etc. While the Surat Airport has international flight services to Sharjah, the Ahmedabad Airport has services to London, Sharjah, Kuwait, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Bangkok, etc.
By Rail: Located under the Western Railway Zone, Gujarat has many major railheads that keep the state linked to the other parts of the country through several trains, including the Shatabdi Express and Duronto Express. The main railway stations of the state are situated in Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, and Ahmedabad. The state even has a luxury train, called the Royal Orient Train that runs between the state and Rajasthan and covers tourist attractions in both the states.
By Road: Gujarat is well connected by road. Many national highways are running through the state including NE-I, 8, 8A, 14, 15, 59, 113 & 228. These national highways connect the state with other parts of India. The state-run Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) buses connect Gujarat with rural and urban areas as well as to other major Indian cities. There are also other private operators providing bus services in various cities of the state.