Gujarat is a veritable tourist paradise with some spectacular temples, beaches, wildlife sanctuaries and fairs! The land of Gandhi immortalized by Amitabh Bachchan’s rich baritone is one of the most developed states in the country and is buzzing with travel hotspots to explore and relish. Let us try and see the top 5 destinations that must be there on any traveler’s itinerary:
Somnath Temple: Somnath Temple is one of the most auspicious temples for the Hindus. It is among the 12 jyotirlings of Shiva and draws massive crowds of followers every year. It is believed to have been built in the 11th century in gold by moon God Soma. The temple has been destroyed many times by invaders and rebuilt by devotees every single time. The current temple is the seventh reconstruction that was done in 1950. The temple is an architectural marvel. It is built in Chalukyan style with an imposing 50-m shikhara. The temple is situated atop a peninsula giving a spectacular view of the Arabian sea. There are some amazing carvings done both on the silver doors and the temple façade. The Nandi idol and Shiva linga are majestic.
During Mahashivaratri, the temple sees massive crowds. And every Kartik Purnima is celebrated with much fanfare at the temple. There is a popular Light and Sound show to be watched. An architectural marvel, Somnath Temple is a must see on every tourist’s itinerary!
Gir National Park: This is among the top 5 National Parks in India. It was established in 1965 and is a park and wildlife sanctuary. It is the only place in the world where you can find Asiatic lions. Their numbers are growing due to massive conservation efforts to protect the majestic animal. Apart from the lion, you can see a variety of wildlife here including 300 species of birds. There is a lovely Crocodie breeding farm. Photographers will have a field day capturing the amazing wildlife as well as flora and fauna. Safaris can be taken in the Park. Best time to visit the Park is from October to June.
Great Rann of Kutch: This is an amazing area of geographical diversity. Spread over 16000 kilometers in the Thar desert in Gujarat, this is the largest salt desert in the world. There are some really wonderful wildlife sanctuaries here. The town of Dhordo near Bhuj is gateway to the Rann. Full moon nights are an amazing time to admire the salty expanse. There is a thrilling cultural extravaganza called Rann Utsav that is organized every year during December. This is the best time to visit the Rann to explore its beauty in all its hues.
Sabarmati Ashram: Located on the banks of Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad, Sabarmati Ashram is also widely known as Gandhi Ashram. A national monument now, the Ashram offers a piece of history. It is the place from where Gandhiji began his salt satyagraha in 1930. The place is replete with relics and stories from that era. A must see for its significance in Indian history and for a slice of Gandhiji’s life. The Ashram houses a museum that displays artifacts related to Gandhi’s life.
Dwarka: This is among the 7 holiest cities of Hindus. It is also a part of the Char Dhaam pilgrimage. The city houses the renowned Dwarkadheesh Temple that was built in 6th or 7th century AD. The city is a must-visit place for Krishna devotees as well as for those interested in mythology. Dwarka finds mention in the Mahabharata and was believed to be originally built by Vishwakarma on the orders of Lord Krishna. The original city was submerged into the sea, and the current city on the banks of Gomati lies close to it.
Pics courtesy: Wikipedia