Gujarat (Gujarati: ગુજરાત, Hindi: गुजरात) is a state in the western region of India. Lothal, near to Ahmedabad and Dholavira, near to Kutch are sites of a Harappan (Indus) civilisation, which existed more than 4,000 years ago. Gujarat is known for the Stepped Wells, Jain Temples, Asiatic Lion and business-oriented people.
|North Gujarat |
|Central Gujarat |
|South Gujarat |
It was never incorporated into British India. Instead it survived as more than 200 princely states until Independence.
The largest district in the state and the country. The main city is Bhuj.
Below is a selection of eight of Gujarat's most populated cities. Other cities can be found under their specific regions.
- 1 Gandhinagar — administrative capital of Gujarat, city of Akshardham Temple and the second planned Green City
- 2 Ahmedabad — Manchester of the East, commercial capital of Gujarat, home of Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashram.
- 1 Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park — a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Old islamic cities with fortress and Jain temples
- 2 Dholavira — Harappan (Indus) Civilization Site.
- 2 Dwarka — believed to have been built by Lord Krishna. The temple must have been erected during the period of Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Dwarka is the westernmost of the Hindu holy cities.
- 3 Gir Forest National Park — a very important and supported habitat for this sole home of the Asiatic lions
- 3 White Desert of Kutch (Rann of Kutch) — beautiful desert (salty marsh) in the north west part of Gujarat. Worth visiting during winters and state government hosting "Rann Mahotsava" festival. It is also popular among the wild life enthusiast for it is home of lot of migratory birds and wild ass.
- 4 Lothal — Well planned Harappan (Indus) Civilization Port.
- 5 Palitana Temple — on Shatrunjaya holy mountain with marble temples and breath-taking views.
- 4 Pirotan Island — a Marine National Park, Gulf of Kutch
- 5 Rani ni Vav — A famous stepwell (1304 AD.) in Patan (Gujarat), inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014
- 6 Saputara — The only hill station of Gujarat. It's in the Sahyādri mountain series in the south Gujarat, about 150 km from Surat city. One can go anytime in the year to enjoy fabulous weather. Bunch of Hotel and Restaurants can be seen here including the government of Gujarat intiative 'Toran.' Road is the only choice to go there. Several public buses are available from near cities.
- 6 The Somanath — Glory of the Somnath temple attracted Islamic looter (Mahmud of Ghazni). That time temple is so wealthy that it had 1000 priests and 300 musicians. The temple is on a beach of Arabian Sea.
- 7 The Sun Temple Modhera — 1000-year-old famous Sun Temple. Modhera Sun Temple, dating back to the 11th century, is one of the best examples of Solanki architecture.
- 7 Vansda National Park — protected area of woodlands that provides habitat for its main attraction, a large number of forest birds. Also in this park is a variety of mammals, several species of venomous snakes, many types of insects and home to the giant wood spider
Gujarat is a dazzlingly diverse state that shakes up the know-it-all Indophile, and reveals treasures hidden from the tourist hordes. Gujaratis are famous for their thrift and entrepreneurship. Encounter an Indian anywhere, from Wall Street to Wellington, and there’s a good chance they hail from this wealthy, resourceful state. There are many significant sites of the God Krishna’s life along the coast of Saurashtra. With 20% of the country's total industrial output, Gujarat is also the most industrialized state in India.
About 89% of the population of Gujarat are Hindus. Muslims account for 9% and Jains 1% of the population. Most of the Gujarati people are strict vegetarians. Amongst Hindus the deity of Krishna is famously worshipped in his form of Shrinathji throughout Gujarat. Since Gujarat is a heavily industrialized state, there are many factory jobs that have attracted migrants from other parts of India.
Another notable community in Gujarat is the Siddi community, who are comprised of people of African descent who have lived in India for many generations. Despite now speaking Gujarati as their first language, many African customs continue to be preserved in the community.
The winters are mild, pleasant and dry, with average daytime temperatures around 24 °C (80 °F) and nights around 10 °C (51 °F) with 100 % sunny days and clear nights.
The summers are extremely hot and dry with day temperatures around 46 °C (115 °F) and at night no lower than 34 °C (90 °F) with sunshine.
At the time just before the Monsoon, the temperatures are similar to summer but with high humidity which makes the air feel hotter. Relief comes when the monsoon season starts around mid June. The day temperatures are lower to around 38 °C (100 °F) but humidity is very high and nights are around 27 °C (80 °F).
Winter (October to January) is best time to travel in Gujarat.
- By plane
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPIA) (AMD IATA) airport is in the North Zone of Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad is the only international airport in Gujarat with regular flights to and from London, New York, Chicago, Singapore, Muscat, Kuwait, DohaQatar, Sharjah and Dubai. Domestic flights connect to Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Indore and Kolkata.
- Vadodara Airport is a major airport in Gujarat with daily flights to Delhi and Mumbai; and hopping flights to Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.
- Surat Airport (STV IATA) is a domestic airport in the Magdalla area of Surat. Air India has daily flights to and from Delhi. Spicejet operates daily from Surat to Mumbai and Delhi.
Domestic airlines include Jet Air, Indigo, Air India.
- From Delhi Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and other places in North India: Take the National Highway 8 (NH8).
- From Mumbai and other places in North India: Take the National Highway 8 (NH8).
- From Nagpur and from other parts of Vidarbh: Take the National Highway 6 (NH6).
- From Indore, Bhopal and other parts of Central India: Take the National Highway 59 (NH59).
Gujarat has 1,572 km of National Highway Network.
India has very big rail network. Indian Rail has a 5,890 km rail network in Gujarat.
- There are trains from/to Bombay (500 km) and New Delhi (1000 km) and other big cities of India several times a day going to the main cities of North-Centre-South Gujarat, including Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat.
- Cities of Saurashtra and Kutch, including Bhavnagar, Bhuj, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Surendranagar, Porbandar, Kandla and Rajkot, are connected via Mumbai.
Most people in Gujarat travel by private buses or by taxi. These are excellent modes of transport as the roads are among the best in India. Check at your hotel if you want a travel agent for private buses.
- The Calico Museum of Textiles, Sarabhai Foundation, Opp. Underbridge, Shahibag, Ahmedabad, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Th-Tu 10:30 to 12:30 and 14:30 to 17:00 (no entry after 11:00 in morning). Entry restricted to 30 visitors – 15 visitors on the basis of first-come-first-served and 15 by group booking. Free.
- Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Indology Museum, R Gujrat University, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad. Tu-Su 10:30 to 17:30, closed on public holidays. The museum covers a wide variety of topics from Buddhism, Jainism and its darshans, grammar, tantra and poetics to Vedas, agama to the different branches of Indian philosophy. It is learnt that this museum has the largest collection of Jain scripts which come around 75, 000 manuscripts with 500 illustrated versions and 45,000 printed books. Free.
- Sabarmati Ashram (Mahatma Gandhi Ashram), Ashram Road, Ahmedabad, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 08:00 to 19:00 including Sundays and holidays. Free.
Fairs & festivals
- Government Sponsored and organized
- The International Kite Festival. The three-four days International Kite Festival is held every year during the second/third weekend of January at Ahmedabad during Uttarayan festival (14-January). Visitors come from around India for the celebration and international visitors have come from many countries.
- 8 The Modhera Dance Festival. The three-day Modhera Dance Festival is held every year during the third weekend of January after the conclusion of Uttarayan festival. The dance festival is frequently visited by art and dance connoisseurs from around the world. Classical and folk dancers and musicians from different states of the India exhibit their talent and flair while culture enthusiasts become part of the festival to witness this splendid event.
- The Rann Utsav (desert festival). The three-day Rann Utsav is held every year during the Full moon night in the month of December at Bhuj and goes around the district with a grand finale. The festival is visited and enjoyed by more than 8000 tourists from all over the world to celebrate the mystical magic of Kutch and its diversity.
- Traditional Festival
- Bhadra Purnima-Bhadra Purnima is one of the biggest festivals of Gujarat, popularly known as the Ambaji Bhadra Purnima. This is because the festival is celebrated at Ambaji, a village which derives its name from the shrine that is here. The village is situated at the foothills of Mount Aravalli.
- Dangs Darbar-Dangs Darbar is an annual festival celebrated in the Dangs district, in the Saputara Hills of India. The district is inhabited by the tribal people, who have lived in the region's woods and highlands since times memorial. This makes Dangs Darbar, essentially a tribal festival of Gujarat.
- Kutch Mahotsav-Kutch Mahotsav serves as the guided tour of the Kutch region of Gujarat. It is organized by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat and lasts for six day. This tour takes you around the venerated places in Kutch.
- Modhera Dance Festival-Modhera dance festival is one of the major festivals organized in the state of Gujarat. It is primarily a dance festival and showcases the various traditional dance forms of the region.
- Rath Yatra-Rath Yatra is a huge festival celebrated in Gujarat. Rath means chariot and Yatra means journey. As the name suggests, during the festival, huge wooden floats are prepared and the idols of Lord Krishna, Lord Balaram and Goddess Subhadra are placed in them.
- The Uttarayan- The one-day Uttarayan is held every year on 14 January across Gujarat. The aerodynamic skill, devotion and ingenuity that goes into the kite making and flying is almost a religion in itself, honed to the level of an art form, though it looks deceptively simple.
- Buddhist Route (4 Day / 3 Night) - Start from Bhavnagar – Day one - Buddhist Caves at Talaja - Night (Junagadh) – Day two - Ashoka Rock Edicts, Buddhist Caves at Junagadh and Upperkot Fort – Night (Bhuj) - Day three - Buddhist caves in Siyot village via Lakhpat - Night (Bhuj)- Day Four - Shopping at [Ahmedabad]] and/or Exit for Rajasthan or Delhi or Mumbai.
- International Tourist Route (4 Day / 3 Night) - Start from Ahmedabad- Day one – Mahatma Gandhi Ashram - Calico Museum of Textiles – Night (Ahmedabad or Utelia Palace Hotel or Velavadar National Park gust house) – Day Two - Velavadar National Park - Palitana – Night (Bhavnagar or Diu) – Day Three - Relax on beaches and resorts of Diu or The Somnath temple – Junagadh –Night (Junagadh or Rajkot or Rann Riders Resort) – Day Four - Rann Riders Resort or Shopping or Exit for Rajasthan or Delhi or Mumbai.
- Travel by Royal Orient Train The Royal Orient train is one of the world's most exotic trains. It is an experience that takes you back to the times of Rajas and Maharajas. You get to explore two of the most fascinating and culturally rich states of India, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The train travel 7 days through Delhi - Chittaurgarh - Udaipur - Junagarh - Dilwara - Palitana - Ahmedabad - Jaipur and back to Delhi
- Travel by man driven Boat in Nal Sarovar (lake) Bird Sanctuary spread over 120 km² to see over 250 species of migrated birds from Siberia and Europe. Best time to visit Nal Sarovar is Between November and February. In April Birds start to leave the lake.
- Safari in Blackbuck National Park to see group of jumping Black Bucks from every parts of the park. There is no wild animal in park, it is also fun to trail or Camping in park.
- Hiking on the Shatrunjaya hill and biking on Hastagiri to see devotion of Jain. There are in total 863 marble temples (largest cluster of temples in India) on Shatrunjaya hill
- Safari in Gir Forest National Park to see Remaining Asiatic Lions in the world.
There are Gujarati Handicraft Development Corporation showrooms selling Gujarati and Kutchhy handicrafts in Ahmedabad, Baroda, Bhavnagar, Rajkot, and Surat.
Gujarat is heaven for vegetarians. Approximately 80% of Gujaratis eat vegetarian foods only. Hundreds of varieties of lacto-vegetarian foods are offered across Gujarat. Rotli (chapati/puri), shaak (subzi/vegetables/curries), mithai (sweets), rice and dal are parts of a Gujarati Thali in restaurants. Finding non-vegetarian restaurants in Gujarat can be difficult. Chicken and mutton are the most common kinds of meat, but only occasionally eaten.
Alcohol is forbidden in Gujarat. Foreign tourists are partly exempted from this restriction and can drink in a few five-star hotels like Taj and Courtyard by Marriott. Drinking in public is strictly prohibited. However, if you are going to stay longer in Gujarat, you may apply for an alcohol permit. Ask how to do it in your hotel or the place where you stay.
Gujarat is a relatively safe state.