When it comes to tourism, India is a land of profound diversity and beauty that leaves none of its four corners stays an exception. The land of vibrant culture and plush heritage, Gujarat is also the address to some of the most astoundingly winsome landscapes and one of the most delicious cuisines that India has to offer. Thus, it is not a surprise to know that Gujarat is also given the nickname 'The Land of Legends.
Located in the famous Gir forests of the state, Asiatic Lions are not the only impressive creatures of the jungle but, in fact, co-inhabit an intense range of their flora and fauna kin. The angelic beauty of Gujarat is visible in every square inch of its grounds, be it at the Great Rann of Kutch of the hill range of Satpura and every place falling in between. Although the western part of India is mainly known for Rajasthan and the lovely desert cities and palaces it brings in tow, Gujarat is the rare gem of a destination that holds some spellbinding natural sites and architectural marvels. Tourism in Gujarat is not just about its flawless scenery but also its long coastlines, ancient murals, fascinating cave paintings, historic capitals, serene beaches, holy temples, remarkable handicrafts and thrilling wildlife sanctuaries. On top of it, all the hospitable people and their cultural exuberance make a delightful vacation in Gujarat!
Along with many sightseeing options, naturally alluring sites and famous landmarks, the state also favours a tourist in terms of being a very well-developed and equipped tourist destination. Gujarat is very well connected to the various other forms of India and domestically via roads, rail or airways.
Besides, the variety of destinations Gujarat tourism offers ensures something for every traveller- the history buffs, the culture explorers, the adventure seekers and those looking for blissful repose.
Although a superb place for visiting on your holidays, Gujarat can be discouraging for some tourists because it is a dry state, meaning alcohol is banned in Gujarat. Moreover, since most of the state has a vegetarian population, you will also have difficulty finding a restaurant dishing out non-vegetarian food. Moreover, since the state has become quite commercialized and receives tourists in huge numbers during its peak season, it can be intimidating for some on the lookout for a peaceful getaway.
On the other hand, Gujarat is a paradise of its own accord for those searching for a rendezvous with history. The region has a lot to offer you with spectacular ancient ruins of Indus Valley Civilization, such as those at Lothal or Dholavira, dating back to over 4000 long years, innumerable temples and beautiful palaces. You can enjoy a safari in the dense forests of Gir and get the unique experience of looking at the regal beasts of Asiatic Lions and many other jungle creatures. The cities like Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Vadodara, Gandhinagar, Rajkot etc., give you another solid reason to visit Gujarat.
Coming to the Land of Legends wildlife, you will find some of the rarest and most imperial of animals here, along with many endangered species that you may not find anywhere else in the world. Gir National Park is home to many beautiful species of animals, of which the Asiatic Lions top the list. It is the last wildlife sanctuary for these animals. These include many ducks, Arctic Terns, flamingos, seagulls etc., who make their way from the North Pole to reach here. The Jamnagar Marine Sanctuary is another popular tourist spot in Gujarat where its visitors come to spot some incredible animals such as rockfish or sting rays.
Gujarat also derives its fame from being the birthplace of Gandhiji, or Bapu, as we endearingly call him. Born in the state, he returned from his vacation abroad, only to propagate his ideologies in the c.ountry, beginning here. This is the prime reason you will find several ashrams and monuments here built in his name. These are a sure way to give a glimpse of the kind of life and philosophy he believed in, along with the mass movements that played a significant role in directing India' s freedom struggle.
Kochar Ashram, located near Ahemadabad, is one such ashram that retains the relics of the items he used in his day-to-day life. Sabarmati Ashram is another highly popular ashram for being the germination ground for Swadeshi and Khadi movements. Gandhiji's birthplace, Porbandar, has emerged as an essential tourist destination in Gujarat which features a museum that chronicles his entire life's doings. Dandi is another place that finds its strong connection with him owing to the origination of the famous Dandi March.
One of Gujarat's best aspects of tourism is its geological wonder, the Rann of Kutch. Its beauty can only be described through its sight and rarely with words. What adds to its beauty is the colourful annual festival celebrated here between November and February, which is dedicated to regional music, dance and gastronomy. You get to stay in luxurious tents right in the barren desert and savour the traditional Gujarati performing arts and foods and various desert activities like paramotoring, cart rides and camel rides.
The place even has the provision to satiate those visitors who want to revel in the peace and tranquillity of the desert through its relaxing yoga and meditation schedules. The panoramic beauty and the aura of Rann of Kutch, which renders time to a standstill, encourages families, couples, groups of friends and photographers alike to visit this place.
Added to the already rich treasure of tourist attractions in Gujarat are newer ones that enrich Gujarat tourism. One of this is the Statue of Unity. At 597 feet, it's the world's giant statue. Some attractions surrounding the figure are the butterfly garden, cactus garden, handicraft stores and mirror maze.
Another is the Sardar Patel Zoological Park, just 3 kilometres from the Statue of Unity. It's popularly known as Jungle Safari Park. The park has animals that have been imported from across the world.
Gujarat is the home of Mahatma Gandhi, fondly called the Father of the Nation. There are several points of tourist attraction in Gujarat connected with Mahatma Gandhi. These include statues, museums and ashrams.
Heritage lovers have a lot to look forward to in the Gujarat sightseeing tour. These range across palaces, forts, step-wells and monuments. Laxmi Vilas Palace, Rani ki Vav and Modhera Sun Temple are some of the most famous heritage tourist sites.
It's fascinating to know that more than 200 Indus Valley Civilization sites are spread across Gujarat. Among these, Dholavira dates back 4500 years. The Rann of Kutch surrounds it. You come across the world's earliest and best-planned water conservation systems here.
There are many things on which Gujarat tourism prides itself. One amongst them is the Asiatic lion. You can speck the Asiatic lions and other wildlife at Gir National Park. Besides, there are 4 National Parks & 21 Wildlife Sanctuaries in Gujarat. The rich biodiversity of wildlife reserves is characterized by scenic landscapes, dense forests, mountain streams, waterfalls and rivers.
The beaches in Gujarat are as stunning as any other in India. Its 1600 kilometres shoreline is dotted with excellent beaches. Many of these beaches have a temple encountered nearby. Tranquillity and spiritual atmosphere pervade them in equal measure. Somnath Temple and Koteshwar Temple are two famous temples just beside the shore. Gujarat also houses India's first national marine park on the Jamnagar coast.
Bird watching or birding can be counted among the top things to do on a Gujarat tour. It has some of India's most accessible wetlands and hotspots for bird watching. Gujarat's best bird-watching destinations are Rann of Kutch, Nakhatrana, Jamnagar, Velvadar and Sasan Gir.
Ayurveda-based wellness tourism is also gaining rapid popularity in Gujarat. There are several spas and Ayurveda resorts. You can enjoy a relaxing Swedish massage, Panchkarma & other treatments. Some Ayurveda resorts where you can spend a wellness vacation are Bhavani Retreat, Khadi Veda, Yogashram Nature Cure Center and Indu Ayurveda Hospital.
An unmissable experience while travelling to Gujarat is attending its fairs and festivals. Beautifully choreographed dances, a riot of colours and lively folk performances mark these celebrations. Gujarat's famous fairs and festivals are Navratri Festival, Rann Utsav and Dang Darbar Fair.
Ahmedabad: Ahmedabad, established in 1411, is a UNESCO World Heritage City. The old city includes pols, narrow streets, chabutaras for feeding birds & secret passages. Sabarmati Ashram is another attraction.
Junagadh: Visit the city of Junagadh to see the Buddhist Cave groups, Gir National Park, Somnath Temple, Mahabat Maqbara Temple, Damodar Kund and Junagadh Museum.
Vadodara: Visit the 19th-century Laxmi Vilas Palace, enjoy golfing, and visit 140 years old Tambekar Wada and the 18th-century Sursagar Lake & Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum.
Kutch is a top tourist attraction for one of the world's largest salt deserts: The Great Rann of Kutch. Watch how Nirona's painting is done.
Surat: Surat is a curious mix of Parsi plagiarism, European tombs, carved mosques and colonial houses.
Gir National Park: Gir is a must-visit lure in Gujarat because of the Asiatic Lions. It's the only place in India with the biggest population of Asiatic lions. There are more than 300 bird species, too, which is perfect for birding.
Dwarkadhish Temple: What makes this temple a must-visit is its unique architecture! Five stories are standing on 72 pillars.
Sabarmati Ashram: Sabarmati Ashram is a must-visit because Mahatma Gandhi dwelled here between 1917 & 1930. It consists of his residence quarters. An open-air gallery also presents a record of his life & teachings.
Local: It is an essential site of Harappan civilization and hence, a must-visit tourist attraction in Gujarat. This archaeological site dates back 4,500 years. There is a museum that showcases 5,089 products varying from ornaments to weights.
Sun Temple: The Sun Temple in Modhera was made in 1,027 AD. Inside the temple complex are a stepwell, prayer hall and another room leading to Garbagriha.
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