The state of Gujarat is situated along the westernmost coastline of the Indian subcontinent. Blessed with a coastline of about 1,600 km, Gujarat has been trading through sea routes since the ancient ages and there are remnants to prove it. This has resulted in Gujarat being a melting pot of various cultures, traditions and beliefs. Over the years, it has also turned into a tourist hub for many. With historical and mythological references in various Hindu literature, Gujarat is also a magnet for spiritual and religious folks. From being the home of the father of the nation and the tallest statue in the world to being the erstwhile kingdom of Lord Krishna and more, Gujarat is a land filled with rich history and wonderment. A playground for history buffs and curious souls, Gujarat is a must-visit for anyone and everyone. If you are planning a trip to this land of history and culture then here are the top 20 places to visit in Gujarat:
List of the 20 Best Tourist Places to Visit in Gujarat
1. The Great Rann of Kutch
Covering a massive area of 7,500 sq. km. The great Rann of Kutch is an expansive land of cracked white desert. This salt marsh is a stunning natural phenomenon which feels surreal to look at. During the winter months, this great white salt desert becomes a stage for the iconic Rann use, displaying proudly the rich culture and heritage of Gujarat. The region displays immaculate Banni Grasslands and serves as a home to several unique selections of plants and animals. It is surely a must-visit for the adventurous souls looking for a unique way to spend their holiday.
Suggested Tour: Rann Utsav Packages
2. Gir National Park
When it comes to famous national parks of India, Gir National Park or Sasan Gir deserves a special mention. It is the only place on the planet that is home of the endangered Asiatic Lion species. The national park was established in 1965 by the erstwhile Nawab of Junagadh in an attempt to carve out a specific hunting area for himself and his guests. Once the Asiatic Lion population started dwindling, it was immediately turned into a national park to safeguard and preserve the remaining lions. Other than lions, the national park is also home to some of the most uncommon birds and elusive animal species such as Asiatic Wild Ass, Gir Foxes, Pygmy Woodpeckers, Brown Fish Owl, Black Buck to name a few.
Suggested Tour: Dwarka Somnath Diu Gir Tour Package
3. Somnath Mahadev Temple
Somnath Mahadev Temple is one of the most important and the first Jyotirlinga in India. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is situated in the Prabhas Patan, Veraval region of Gujarat and is a major part of the 12 Jyotirlinga pilgrimage in India. The earliest recorded building of the temple dates back to1st to 9th century. The temple has been through a very tumultuous past of being destroyed and looted for its gems and jewels by the invaders. However, the belief of the people persisted and it was rebuilt every time. The current standing temple, on the bank of the crashing waves of the Arabian Sea is the 16th building.
4. Dwarkadhish Temple
Dwarkadhish Temple of Jagat Mandir is a 2,500-year-old temple established in the heart of the city. Dedicated to lord Krishna, this temple was built by lord Krishna’s grandson Vajranabha on the place of Lord Krishna’s old residence. The temple is built on a small hilly part of the city and consists of over 50 steps that every pilgrim needs to climb in order to reach the temple. The temple complex is also decorated with several small shrines dedicated to various gods and goddesses. Dwarkadhish is also an important part of the Char Dham Yatra of India along with Badrinath Dham, Jagannath Temple and Rameswaram Temple.
Suggested Tour: Dwarka Somnath Tour Package
5. Statue of Unity
It was on 31st October 2018, that history was created in Kevadia, Gujarat. Statue of Unity is the world’s highest statue. Dedicated to the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, this statue is an engineering and design marvel. Rising high at a height of 597 feet, the statue overlooks the Sardar Sarovar Dam and Narmada River. The statue complex comprises several features that makes a visit here wholesome. These features include a well-informed Museum, Nauka Vihar, Valley Of Flowers, Cactus Garden, Ekta Nursery and many more such interesting tourist spots. Ever since its opening the Statue of Unity has not only drawn tourists from all over the world but it has also been successful in creating job opportunities for the locals of Kevadia.
Suggested Tour: Statue of Unity Package
6. Laxmi Vilas Palace
Built over a sprawling area of 500 acres, Laxmi Vilas Palace is a sight to behold. Famous for being the largest private dwelling built in the 19th century, this stunning palace is four times the size of Buckingham Palace. Built-in a traditional Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, it was one of the earliest residences to have modern amenities like elevators and interiors that will take you to a European-style country house. The palace compound consists of number of other small and medium-size buildings like Moti Bagh Palace, Maharaja Fateh Singh Palace and many more.
7. Kankaria Lake
Kankaria Lake is the 2nd largest lake in Ahmedabad and graces the southeastern part of the city. This artificial lake was built in 1451 during the reign of Ahmad Shah 2 although its original foundation can be dated further back to the Chalukya Period. Over time, a lakefront developed around the circumference of the lake for the entertainment of the local people. There are several public attractions here like a zoo, a toy train, tethered balloon ride, water rides, a theme park, food stalls and more. The lake also serves as a stage for several social and cultural activities that takes place throughout the year. One of the most fun events of the year is the week-long Kankaria Carnival that takes place every year at the end of December.
Suggested Tour: Gujarat Tour Packages
8. Rani Ki Vav
Rani Ki Vav or the queen’s Stepwell is situated in the Patan town of Gujarat along the banks of the Saraswati River. It is not merely a Stepwell, it is a work of art in every sense. Built-in the 11th century by Queen Udayamati, the Stepwell has also been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Stepwell is designed in the form of an inverted temple which is truly a marvel to behold. Every stair and every inch and corner of the Stepwell is intricately designed with sculptures, symbolic imagery and religious sights. The Stepwell is one of the most important icons of Gujarat tourism.
9. Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park
Situated in the Panchmahal district of Gujarat, Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a UNESCO world heritage site. This park was founded and established by the most prominent king of the Chavda Dynasty, Vanraj Chavda during the 8th century. This iconic heritage site is a playground for history buffs from all over the world. It boasts of several heritage buildings and features like forts and temples, chalcolithic sites and hill fortresses. There are also large, elaborate entrance gates, arches, mosques and tombs. There is a lot to see and do here. The Kalika Mata Temple, located on the Pavagadh Hills at a height of 800 metres above sea level is one of the most important Hindu shrines, attracting religious folks from all over the country.
Tucked in the lush greenery and gently rolling slopes of the Sahyadri or the Western Ghats, the Saputara hill station of Gujarat is a quaint hilly hamlet. Displaying lush green cover and an immaculate collection of flora and fauna, the Saputara Hills are all about dreamy landscapes, cascading waterfalls and awe-inspiring sights. This hilly town is a favourite among tourists, domestic and international. Placed on a comfortable elevation of 875 meters above sea level, Saputara can be visited by people of all ages and makes for a peaceful and unhurried getaway.
Located in Junagadh district, Girnar or Girinagar, is a group of mountains that is considered to be older than the Himalayas. The Girnar Mountain along with the entire range is considered to be extremely sacred. This is also a major pilgrimage site for both Hindus as well as Jains. Religious folks gather on the hill to celebrate the famous Girnar Parikrama festival. As for Jains, it is one of the 5 major Tirthas attributed to the Panch Kalyanakas. The mountain is extremely important for Shiva followers and devotees as well. The largest and the oldest temple complex on the hill can be dated back to the 12th century, the temple of Neminath, dedicated to the 22nd Tirthankar. Further up, the Girnar Hills are also decorated with several Hindu temples.
12. Adalaj Stepwell
Situated close to Gandhinagar city, Adalaj Stepwell was built in 1498 and is a marvel to behold. The Stepwell was built by Queen Rudadevi in memory of his husband, king Rana Veer Singh of the Vaghela dynasty. Although the Stepwell dates back to the 15th century, its wonder and charm remain intact. The intricate carvings on the pillars and walls of the Stepwell is a testament to the art and creativity of the local Gujarat is who got this immaculate Stepwell made. It is 5 stories high and the massive opening on top of the Stepwell allows plenty of sun and air to stream into the octagonal well underneath it. The Stepwell had served as a much-needed place for fetching water and socializing in the semi-arid region of Gujarat.
13. Gandhi Ashram
Gandhi or Sabarmati Ashram is situated in the Sabarmati suburb of Ahmedabad. Situated on the banks of Sabarmati River and just 6.4 kms away from the town hall, this is one of the most important places concerning the freedom movement of India. This place was also one of the many residences of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. He used to live here when he was not travelling abroad or was in prison. As a part of the ashram schedule, Bhagavad Gita is recited here every single day. It was from here that the iconic Dandi Yatra or the Salt Satyagraha was started on March 12th 1930.
14. Marine National Park
Marine National Park is a one-of-a-kind national park in India. Situated on the southern shore of the Gulf of Kutch it is a must-visit in the Dwarka district. In 1980 a 270 sq. km area from Okha to Jodiya was cordoned off and declared a marine national park under the Wildlife Protection Act. The national park is made up of a collection of 42 islands with the best known island being Pirotan. Every island is decorated with a wonderful collection of reefs. The entire national park can be explored with the help of boat rides which is unlike any other national park in India.
The ancient Harappan city of Dholavira is an arid site on the island of Khadir. Currently functioning as a protected archaeological site, this region was occupied from 3,000-1,500 BCE. This place has served as a testament to the engineering marvel that the ancient residents of Dholavira possessed. It is clear through the city planning, house style, drainage and water management system and more that the people here were very good at planning their way of life. It is a must-visit for everyone curious to learn more about our past and where we come from and also for history buffs.
16. Pirotan Island
Pirotan Island is the most outstanding and famous island in the Marine National Park. Located about 22 kms away from the Jamnagar district, the island is famous for its mangroves, low tide peaceful beaches and covers an overall area of 3 sq. km. The visitors are permitted to enter and explore this island of the marine national park. The island remains uninhabited except for the workers of the Pirotan Lighthouse worker. Tourists can easily spend hours or even a full day just walking around, exploring and learning more about the flora and fauna here.
17. Aina Mahal
Aina Mahal or the Palace of mirrors, is an 18th-century palace that is situated right next to the Prag Mahal in Bhuj, Kutch. The palace was constructed by Rao Lakhpatji of Kutch in 1750. The palace was designed by Lakhpatji’s master craftsman, Ram Singh Malam. It is a stunning display of local styles with European sensibilities. The palace consisted of two floors, the first floor was the audience hall, the pleasure hall, the hall of mirrors and the state apartments while the second floor had an ante-chamber, Darbar or the court hall and the marriage hall.
Diu is an island situated a little off the coast of Kathiawar near the Veraval port. The coastal length of the island spans 21 kms and is about 768 kms away from Daman. Diu town is a medieval fortified fishing town whose population is the 10th least populated district in India. Historically, Diu was a part of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat and had also served as an important trading port route of the Arabian Sea. Due to its strategic importance, there was a battle of Diu in 1509. Some of the main attractions in Diu are the Diu fort that was built in 1535, three surviving Portuguese churches and INS Khukri.
Famous as the most populous city of Gujarat, Ahmedabad is also known as the textile city of Gujarat. The old Ahmedabad city is also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is situated on the banks of the Sabarmati River and is also famous as India’s most joyous and colourful city. Also known as Amdavad, the city boasts of being the cultural and educational centre of Gujarat. The city also represents a mix of historical charm and modern lifestyle. While the old city has gateways, monuments, pols and Havelis, the new part of the city has art, culture and innovation. There is always something for everything in Ahmedabad.
Suggested Tour: Ahmedabad Sightseeing Package
Lothal is the southernmost sites of the ancient Indus Valley civilization site. Located in the Bhal region, the city is believed to have been occupied during 2,200 BCE. The ASI is responsible for preserving and conserving the ancient site. According to various studies and experiments, Lothal is the earliest known dock, which connected the city to an ancient course of the Sabarmati River on the trade route. Lothal was known for its vital and immensely thriving trade centre of the ancient ages where it used to regularly trade in beads, gems and other such valuables.