If your vacation is going to be a short one, it would be better not to consider visiting Gujarat. Your visit to Gujarat cannot be justified if you miss the important places to visit in Gujarat. To understand the essence of the culture and heritage of Gujarat, the lives of the people and the present state of Gujarat, you need to be on a long vacation. Exploring Gujarat will be a great experience and rewarding as well. The state, rightly called the ‘Jewel of the West’ has a lot to offer for everyone. Constructions that represent diversified faiths, palaces that depict the heroic past, beaches that let you unwind and relax and last but not the least, the beautiful nature’s generosity in various parts of the state await visitors to be explored and enjoyed. A state that currently sets a rich example in progressive industrialization needs to be visited when you have time at your disposal.
It is a difficult task to shortlist 8 attractions amongst the innumerable tourist spots. However, here is an earnest and humble effort to provide you with a list. However, the suggestion would be to make your visits based on the purpose of your travel. If it is a heritage tour, you could go all out to visit the heritage sites in Gujarat. If you seek to visit temples, mosques, or both, you will find that you are short of time as the state has various temples and mosques. If wildlife is your passion, you have a lot to keep you moving. If you want somewhere quiet to spend your holiday in a relaxed place and rejuvenate your tired soul after a hectic schedule, you will find in Gujarat various tourist spots to suit your needs.
1. Kankaria Lake
Kankaria Lake was constructed by Sultan Qutb-ud-Din in the year 1451. Situated in Ahmedabad, this is one of the biggest lakes in the city. Nagina Wadi, a summer palace is seen in the island garden, which is at the center of Kankaria Lake. The lake would be a natural choice of tourists as it has something to offer for all age groups. Parks, children’s gardens, recreational center, boat club, zoo and a museum are the top attractions here. Kankaria Zoo is spread over a massive 21-acre land and it houses various animals like tigers, elephants, anaconda, python and a lot more. The children’s park has various entertainments for children such as boathouse, mirror house, planetarium and toy house. Toy trains are available to take you round the lake. Balloon safari near Kankaria Lake attracts tourists in great numbers.
Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is in a massive 1412 sq km of forests with a wide range of plants and animals. Asiatic lions are in great numbers here. The place is abundant in water bodies and hence it is home for crocodiles and a variety of birds. Some of the animals found here include hyenas, wild boar, antelopes, sambhar, jackals, hare, Indian porcupine, fox and many more. Lion shows organized by the park are very famous.
3. Laxmi Vilas Palace
Built between the years 1878 and 1890 by Maharaja Sayaji Rao, the Third, Laxmi Vilas Palace is a glorious example of architectural brilliance of the past. The palace is situated in a massive 700 acre of land. The stunning interiors of the palace and the opulent furnishings are awe-inspiring. The museum in the palace has a rare collection of sculptures, artworks, armory and many more. Some of Raja Ravi Varma’s famous paintings are seen here. The zoo in the palace houses peacocks and crocodiles.
4. Great Rann Of Kutch
Great Rann of Kutch is one among the ‘not to miss’ places in Gujarat. For your information, there is a Little Rann of Kutch as well. Great Rann of Kutch measures over 16000 sq. kms and this is the largest salt desert in the world. The massive area is packed with white salt except during monsoon times in India when the desert is filled with waters. The right time to visit the place would be on a full moon day when the place looks glorious in moonlight. The sunrise and sunset on Great Rann of Kutch is a feast to your eyes and they elevate your spirits as well. It would be great if you visit this place by the end of December to experience the cultural extravaganza organized by the government. The luxury tents set up by the government will make your stay comfortable.
5. Marine National Park
Marine National Park in Gujarat is the first of its kind in the country. The 458 sq. km. park has a rich variety of wildlife species including jackal, jungle cat, green sea turtle, imperial eagle, flamingo, clamorous reed warbler, laggar falcon and many more. Bird watchers would love the park has they could view over 30 types of migratory birds here.
6. Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary
Located 10 kms from Jamnagar, Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary enjoys visits from over 300 types of migratory birds. The massive 605-hectare sanctuary attracts birds owing to the presence of fresh water and sea. It is home to over 300 species of birds. Freshwater lakes, salty beds, mangroves and all that migratory birds need are abundant here and it was declared a safe haven for all kinds of birds in the year 1982. The three watch towers are the perfect locations to watch birds. Paddleboats are available for use to explore the area.
7. Porbandar Beach
Popularly known as Chowpati, Porbandar beach is one of the most frequented beaches in India which is located in Porbandar. Children would enjoy the skating rink here. Near the beautiful beach, Huzur Palace is situated, which is yet another tourist attraction. Gujarat’s most important port is situated here and the beach aids in the commercial development of the state. Commercial purposes apart, it is a great place to relax and rejuvenate the tired spirits.
The list of places to visit in Gujarat is long and exhaustive. Gandhinagar, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Patan, Pavagadh and many other top tourist spots attract visitors. Take your time to make the most of your visit to Gujarat.