Gujarat Tourism Guide: Travel Tips On Attractions, Food, Stay
The charming state of Gujarat is quite popular for its enthralling scenic beauty, rich culture and heritage, colourful traditions, prestigious historic monuments, remains of ancient civilizations and scenic beaches that usually casts a spell on all its tourists which is very hard to break. And if you are keen to know everything about this alluring state, here is our Gujarat tourism guide to help you know everything.
Gujarat Tourism Guide
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Best Time To Visit Gujarat
Gujarat, the land of rich culture and heritage is an incredible travel destination in India which offers its visitors the best sightseeing, eating and shopping options. Located in the western part of India, Gujarat experiences hot and dry summers and pleasant winters. Although the state is lively and energetic throughout the year, the best time to visit Gujarat is in winters, between the months of November and February. That being said, let’s check out the different seasons of Gujarat.
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The summer season starts in the month of March and extends till June. The weather is very sunny, hot and dry making Gujarat one of the hottest states in India. Although it is not a very suitable time to plan a Gujarat trip, tourists can visit Saputara, the only hill station in the state which has a pleasant climate and places like Dwarka, Somnath and Vadodara, where people can visit temples and other attractions at night as well. Summers prove to be the best time to visit wildlife sanctuaries and nature enthusiasts must visit Gir Forest National Park, Blackbuck National Park and Vansda National Park.
Gujarat Tourism Travel Tip: Be sure to carry light cotton clothes and lots of sunscreen.
Monsoons hit the state in the month of July and last till September. Weather is hot and humid but there is fresh green foliage everywhere. Ahmadabad, Rajkot, Surat, Jamnagar, Saputara and Dwarka are the best monsoon destinations in Gujarat.
Winters start in the month of November and extends till February. The weather is extremely pleasant and it is a great time to explore tourist attractions, temples, magnificent forts, heritage hotels, royal palaces and wildlife sanctuaries. Ran of Kutch, Girnar, Sabarmati Ashram and Jama Mosque are some of the best winter attractions. Winter is a time of festivities with traditional festivals like Navaratri, which is a 9 day festival dedicated to Goddess Durga, Diwali, Rann Utsav, which is celebrated on the desert of Rann and includes folk music, dance and loads of entertainment followed by Christmas and New Year. All in all, Gujarat tourism winter is a wonderful time to experience the beauty of Gujarat.
So, plan your holiday and fear not because Gujarat is always hot!
How To Reach Gujarat
Gujarat is very well connected to all the major cities of India and can be reached by every mode of transport- road, rail, air and via sea.
Gujarat has a wide network of airways and boasts of having the maximum number of domestic airports in the country. The state has 17 domestic airports connecting various national and international destinations. The only international airport is Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport, located in Ahmadabad. The main domestic airports of the state include Vadodara Airport, Surat Airport, Rajkot Airport, Porbandar Airport, Bhavnagar Airport and Keshod Airport.
Gujarat tourism has a vast network of railways that connect every state of India. It falls under the Western Railway Zone of the Indian Railways and consists of many railway stations. The Vadodara Railway Station is the busiest railway station as it lies on the Mumbai-Delhi route. Other major railway stations include Surat Railway Station, Rajkot Railway Station and Ahmadabad Railway Station.
In addition to a superb air and rail network, Gujarat also has a fantastic road network which connects the entire country. The state has the best maintained roads in the country along with a number of two to four lane highways. The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation is the main body that runs and maintains the buses and other public transport.
Gujarat has the longest coastline in India and hence has a number of ports. The Kandla Port is one of the biggest ports in Western India which serves as the major international shipping terminal. Other important ports include Port Porbandar, Port of Navlakhi, Port Pipavav and Port of Veraval.
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Travelling Within Gujarat
Popularly known as one of the top tourist destinations in India, Gujarat is always bustling with visitors from all over the world. This tourist friendly state offers a wide variety of cheap and affordable transport options ranging from flights, trains, buses, rental vehicles and taxis. Whatever way you choose, be sure to enjoy a comfortable ride.
Where To Stay In Gujarat
Marvellous Gujarat offers a wide variety of accommodation options to all its visitors. From heritage resorts and majestic palaces to luxurious 5 star hotels and standard budget hotels- the state has it all. Tourists coming for a family holiday or pilgrimage tour can book their stay at some of the best hotels and resorts of Gujarat such as Novotel Ahmadabad, Hyatt Ahmadabad, Grand Bhagwati (Surat), Royal Orchid Central (Vadodara) and Madhuban Resort and Spa. For those who want to laze around in the sun and want to enjoy the adventurous beaches of Gujarat can go for the amazing beach resorts like Mandvi Beach Resort and Azzaro Resorts and Spa (Diu). Travellers looking for utmost royalty with a hint of old-world charm and modern conveniences should experience the heritage hotels of Gujarat like Natwar Niwas Palace ( Rajpipala), Neemran Hotel (Diwan’s Bungalow, Ahmadabad) and the House of Mangaldas Girdhardas (Ahmadabad).
Gujarat Tourism Guide Tip: Apart from the hotels and resorts there are many budget hotels, home stays and hostels for travellers on a budget.
Beautiful Places To Visit Gujarat
A UNESCO World Heritage city, a fast growing metropolis, an instructive hotspot and a city soaked in rich culture and heritage makes Ahmadabad one of the most visited tourist places in Gujarat. Located on the banks of Sabarmati River, the city is home to number of incredible temples, fascinating museums, wonderful art galleries, historic structures, tranquil lakes, classy restaurants and busy markets. Major attractions include Akshardham Temple, Sabarmati Ashram and Kankaria Lake. History buffs should definitely visit Teen Darwaza, Jhulta Minar, Bhadra Fort and Lothal. Vintage car lovers should certainly check out Auto Vintage Word Car museum. Also, Ahmadabad is very popular for its shopping. Tourists can buy fabrics, jewellery, handicrafts, carpets, rugs, antiques, furniture, bandhej saris and dupattas. Not only this, the city is equally famous for its delectable Gujarati thali and mouth watering street food. Get ready to be hypnotised by the colourful culture and amazing hospitality of Ahmadabad.
2. Rann of Kutch
Nestled between the Thar Desert and Arabian Sea, Rann of Kutch is a spellbinding wonder of sand and salt. With vast expanses of sand and salt, it is one of the most beautiful and dreamlike places to visit in Gujarat. On full moon nights, the desert shines brightly and a lot of cultural programmes are held. This place actually comes to life in winters when the famous Rann Festival is celebrated. The whole place looks stunning with huge camp settlements, live cultural programmes, music, camel safaris, hot-air ballooning, handicrafts and awesome traditional Gujarati food. With the onset of winters, Rann of Kutch also welcomes Flamingos and that too all the way from Siberia! The otherwise white desert looks divine with tantalizing shades of pink everywhere. Do take a jeep ride to Kalo Dungar, the highest point of Kutch for implausible views of the Indo-Pak border. History fanatics can check out Kutch Museum or Dholavira, one of the greatest historical places in Gujarat for ruins of Harappan civilisation.
Nestled in the Dang district of the Western Ghats, Saputara is the only hill station in Gujarat. This quaint hill station proves to be a breath of fresh air in the otherwise hot and humid climate of the state. Located at an altitude of about 1000 metres, this place derives its name from the snake god. Admired for its lush green forests, rugged mountains, mesmerising waterfalls, zigzag roads, uneven landscape and plenty of amiable cubbyholes, this town is among the top Gujarat destinations. Go on a trek to Gandhi Shikhar or enjoy a leisurely stroll on the Governor’s Hill, check out the boat club or ride the cable car- fun is guaranteed. Saputara is undoubtedly one of the best places in Gujarat to relax and unwind.
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Gujarat Tourism – Top Things To Do In Gujarat
1. Get face to face with Asiatic Lions at the Gir National Park
Spread across 1412 square kilometres of land, Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the largest number of Asiatic Lions. The park has a huge variety of flora and fauna and has a number of water bodies that are inhabited by different birds and crocodiles. Apart from these, Gir also has a variety of other rare wild animals like hyenas, black bucks, fish owls, sambhar, wild boar, Indian porcupine, antelopes and jackals. Jungle safaris are one of the most exciting ways to explore the park. Jeeps with guides are arranged by the Gir Forest Department. The park also organises Lion shows in which the lions are lured with live baits to keep them visible for tourists. Other attractions include Tulishyam Hot Springs, that are located within the vicinity of the park and tourists can take bath here too.
2. Be in the awe of the renowned Somnath Temple
The legendary temple of Somnath is one of the most sacred of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The shrine is a significant pilgrimage centre and is thronged by devotees all through the year. Lying on the shores of the thriving Arabian Sea, this temple has been destroyed and rebuilt innumerable times. It was once built by Lord Soma in gold, once by Ravana in silver, once by Krishna in wood and once by King Bhimdev in stone. It is the stone creation that stands tall today. The temple is constructed in Chalukya style of architecture having a crowning tower of about 50 metres and is very large, airy and spacious. It is a great place to worship Lord Shiva and other deities.
3. Admire the brilliant architecture at Laxmi Vilas Palace
This glorious palace situated in Vadodara, covers an area of more than 700 acres and is an excellent example of fantastic architecture from the past. The elaborate interiors and marvellous furnishings of the palace is simply beyond comparison and will captivate you. The palace has a museum that showcases precious collection of artworks, sculptures, bronze armoury, terracotta artefacts and paintings of the famous painter Raja Ravi Varma. The palace also has a zoo that is inhabited by crocodiles and peacocks. Even though the palace is still the residence of the royal family of Vadodara, it is open to the public for visits and one of the best things to do in Gujarat.
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Gujarati Food – What To Eat In Gujarat
Gujaratis are very well known for their extreme love for food. And this is one reason, the Guajaratis are found all over the world and spread their culture and traditions. A burst of flavours, an assortment of colours and a sweet tinge make up the tempting Gujarati cuisine. Furthermore, the use of jaggery in Gujarati food makes it very different, healthy and nutritious. Here are some of the most delectable Gujarati dishes that will make you sing and dance like a Gujarati!
- Start your gastronomic journey in Gujarat with the very tasty Khaman Dhokla, a steamed snack made with chickpea flour. It is usually served with green chutney and sweet tamarind and dates chutney.
- Do try the irresistible Khandvi or thin soft rolls made of gram flour which literally melts in the mouth like butter. The garnishing of curry leaves, coriander leaves, mustard, sesame and coconut makes it even more delicious.
- No Gujarati picnics, holiday trips or journeys are complete without Thepla. Thepla is a Gujarati version of paratha, made with wheat flour, gram flour, spices and fenugreek leaves that usually have a long shelf life. Served with various kinds of pickle, this tasty treat can leave anyone drooling.
- Do not miss trying Handvo, a healthy baked savoury snack made with lentils, rice, sesame and spices. This snack is best enjoyed with green chutney along with a hot cuppa.
- The classic Undhiyu is also a must try. This dish is a winter delicacy which is made in an inverted clay pot. It is a combination of all kinds of vegetables, coconut and dry spices.
- Do not leave Gujarat without tasting Patra, one of the most appetizing Gujarati snacks. It is an amazing steamed snack made of Colcocasia leaves and gram flour.
- Basundi is one of the most appealing Gujarati sweets and a must have for people who love desserts. It is made from condensed milk, saffron and nuts.
- Other lip smacking Gujarati delicacies include Dal Dhokli, Khakra, Dabeli, Locho, Gathiya, Khichdi, Sev Usal, Gujarati Kadhi, Sev Tamatar nu Shaak, Methi Muthiya, Lilva Kachori, Khichu, Gota, Fafda-Jalebi and Shrikhand.
What? The aromatic and flavoursome Gujarati dishes have already done their job? Are you already salivating? Wait, this is just a glimpse, in reality there is much more! If your taste buds are tingling right now, just imagine what would happen when you actually taste them!
Gujarat Tourism – Nightlife In Gujarat
Although Gujarat is predominantly a dry state where liquor is prohibited but, the people of the state are always high on life. Music, dance and food form a vital part of their nightlife and they are always in a party mood. Nightlife in Gujarat is mainly about indulging in lip smacking street food, shopping in malls and markets that remain open late at night and watching late night movie shows. Though the laws of the state are very strict regarding liquor, there are a few five star hotels and bars that have permission to serve liquor to the guests.
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Money In Gujarat
The currency of Gujarat is Indian Rupee. Notes come in the denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 2000. Exchanging money in Gujarat is not a problem as there are many currency exchangers here. ATMs are also widespread. All major debit cards and credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted here. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency the visitors can bring during their visit.
Gujarat Tourism Guide – Travel Tips
- Keep your identity proofs and other important documents handy.
- Do not drink tap water here, drink packaged mineral water.
- Alcohol is prohibited in Gujarat.
- If you are travelling away from major towns, always carry cash as backup.
- Dress a little conservatively while visiting places of worship.
- In case of an emergency, dial 100 (Police) or 108 (Ambulance).
Gujarat, the jewel of Western India is well known to create wonderful, alluring memories for all its visitors. So, hurry! Plan your Gujarat trip soon and do keep our Gujarat tourism guide handy.
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