Gujarat is one of the most uniquely positioned Indian states. A dry and arid desert sits on its north and the cool waters of the Arabian Sea send a sweet breeze its way from the south. The westernmost tip of the country lies in Gujarat too - the small village of Ghuar Moti in the district of Kutch. The diversity of its topography is interesting as well, with heavily forested tracts and plains in the west that are high yielding, meadows and marshlands and a mountainous shoreline, as a result of which there are a number of interesting places to visit in Gujarat. The people here are as diverse as the land - Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jains and various tribes find their home here. The birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi is also proud to be the number one generator of India’s economic output.
In terms of travel, Gujarat does not get the attention that it should and is often overlooked when explorers are planning their trips within the country. Many people think that there aren’t many places to visit in Gujarat. In fact, there are a surprising number of tourist places in Gujarat, which is also the sixth-largest state in the country.
It goes without saying that the Rann of Kutch is one of the best places to visit in Gujarat but it only constitutes a part of the all that Kutch has to offer. There are beaches, caves and wildlife sanctuaries to appease the wanderer in you. Kutch is the largest district in India and also happens to be one of the most famous places in Gujarat. Known primarily for the Rann Festival that takes place each year without fail from November to February, Kutch is a great destination for you and your family. While the white salt flats of Rann make for a spectacular visual experience, Kutch has other delights on offer as well. Ride to the black hill, popularly known as the Kalo Dungar, the highest point of Kutch that provides great views, including that of the Indo-Pak border. This hill is also known for the temple of the 400-year-old Dattatreya. Kandla port is where you should head to if you want to see the Gulf in all its glory or if you find yourself better suited to museums then head to the oldest museum in Gujarat - the Kutch museum. Doravila, too is one of the famous places in Gujarat and is a great option to delight in the treasures of the Harappan civilization.
Gujarat’s pride and also a UNESCO World Heritage City is brimming with locals and tourists alike. The city is steeped in history and culture and anyone interested in exploring the walled city will never run out of options. The first place to start is the Sabarmati Ashram, from where one can set out to discover the beauty of Teen Darwaza, Bhadra Fort, Bashir’s Mosque among others. Take back an assortment of namkeen, fafda and khakra with you while you’re at it. Needless to the say, Ahmedabad is one of the best places to visit in Gujarat.
Gujarat is a paradise for anyone who has an interest in archaeology and history and if they wish to get an in-depth experience of South Asian history, then Bhuj is one of the best places to visit in Gujarat. Begin your journey from the Hall of Mirrors, visit the Kutch Museum and remark at the 2000-year-old inscriptions of Kshatrapa. All those who love anything to do with Ramayan will want to visit the Ramkund stepwell and learn about the stories that surround it. You can spend the rest of the day unwinding at the Hamirsar Lake.
Dwarka has long been associated with Lord Krishna. The first capital of Gujarat is known to be the kingdom of Krishna and a must-visit for pilgrims as it is one of the char dhams. The Dwarkadhish Temple is where you should head first, followed by the Jagat Mandir. If you’re not about temples then go straight to Gomti Ghat where you will find dolled-up camels, seashells of wondrous shapes and sizes and breathtaking jewellery.
About 35 km from Rajkot lies the city of Gondal which was once ruled by a royal family. If you visit the Riverside Palace, which is one of the best places in Gujarat that Gondal is known for, then you will come across an enviable selection of automobiles. The palace has been converted into a heritage hotel is great for just spending hours lounging about and soaking in the views.
Saputara Hill Station
If you don’t want to confine yourself to walls and buildings, find joy amidst the beauty of nature in Saputura hill station. Saputara means “abode of serpents''. The drive to this hill station is just as pleasurable as the stay as you slowly make your way to an altitude of about 1,000 metres, with the Sahyadri range offering stunning views. Wake up early in the morning and hike up to Gandhi Shikhar to catch a gorgeous sunrise. The trail is full of lush greenery and will make the nature lover in you jump up with joy. The views of the Saputara lake add to the experience, making it one of the best places to visit in Gujarat.
Known all over the world for its Chalukya style of architectural magnificence, Somnath temple in the district of Junagarh has attracted tourists from all over the world, making it one of the more popular tourist places in Gujarat The tales that surround it, talk of invaders who, owing to its wealth, were drawn to it and emptied its coffers and yet it was reconstructed to its full glory time after time, standing tall as a great example of resilience. The temple has a proud 50m tall shikhar, intricate architecture, doors and ceilings that speak of great artistry, the famous Nandi idol, the majestic mandap, and yet the prime attraction of the temple remains the Shiva linga. You can also marvel at radiant views of the Arabian Sea from here. Karthik Purnima is celebrated here over a course of three days, bringing people together in celebration.
Gir National Park
One of the many places to visit in Gujarat is the Gir National Park. Why this National Park stands out from the rest is because it is the only place in the world where you can find the Asiatic lion. Spreading across almost 1,412 square kilometres it is also home to tribal communities and sets a wonderful example of cohabitation. Gir National Park is one of the best places to visit in Gujarat, primarily because of the Asiatic Lion but it also makes for an enriching experience thanks to around 300 species of birds that are found here. Hire a jeep to explore the park in the best way possible.
Rani ki Vav Patan
Commissioned by Rani Udaymati in the year 1603, this UNESCO world heritage site is an example of how something as simple and functional as a stepwell could be a piece of art. This makes Rani ki Vav Patan one of the more interesting places to visit in Gujarat. In old times these step-wells were not just used collecting water but also a place to socialise. Rani ki Vav Patan, with seven grand galleries and more than 800 sculptures, was often used as a place of gathering in the Solanki Dynasty. It was constructed around the theme of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, also known as the Dasavatars. There is a Vishnu carving as well that attracts a lot of attention. Visit this archaeological marvel also known for its spiritual significance and take a deep dive into the past.
Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach
Known mainly for the occasional dolphins that can be spotted here Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach is not very popular and this tends to work in its favour because the beach is not very crowded. Head here for a pleasant evening with your friends or family or try out the various water sports that are on offer. The beach lies next to the Diu where it extends as the Godha Beach. This is a great beach for a swim as well as the waters are clear. Add Ahmedput Mandvi beach to your list of amazing tourist places in Gujarat.
Not safe for swimming like the Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach, Chowrad is ideal for a laidback day. Chorwad is around 37km-long-drive away from Somnath and was once home to the Nawab of Junagarh. Head here for a pleasant stroll with the wind in your hair. It is no wonder that this beach is one of the popular tourist places in Gujarat.
Wild Ass Sanctuary
Only Sanctuary in the world that is Home to the Wild Ass, an endangered species, popularly known as ‘ghudkar’, Wild Ass Sanctuary houses about 3000 asses that can be spotted in herds when you visit. They are sharp and have great speed and make for fascinating creatures.
On your visit, you can also spot other animals such as nilgais, the desert fox, chikara, striped hyenas, Indian wolves and others. It is especially fascinating to see the birds here - there is a cinereous vulture which can be found in Egypt, cranes from Siberia and the houbara bustard of Iran - all of whom fly here to feed and breed. This is possible as the Sanctuary is close to the Gulf of Kutch making a visit to the sanctuary a treat for bird and nature lovers.
Laxmi Vilas Palace
Four times the size of Buckingham Palace, Laxmi Vilas Palace is the pride of Gujarat and often seen as a must-visit. It is still the home to the royal family of Baroda and prides itself on its magnificence and opulence. There are many important buildings that sit in its compound, these include the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building, LVP Banquets & Conventions, Moti Baug Palace. Anyone who loves art must drop everything and head to the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum which has paintings on display by none other than Raja Ravi Verma. Those who delight in Hindu mythology will also find many treats for the eyes.
Daman and Diu
One of the most popular places to visit outside Gujarat is the islands of Daman and Diu. Since they are frequented by Gujaratis a lot, the route from Ahmedabad to these islands is pretty smooth. The best way to go is to take the road via the NH48. It is a 10-hou drive from Ahmedabad. You can also take the train and hop on a bus by the Gujarat State Transport from the Vapi station, which is just 12 km from Daman. Sitting on the western coastline of the country, these islands make for a good change from the usual Goa plan, where most beaches are too crowded and, hence, dirty. Apart from strolling along the white sand beaches in Daman, which are the main attraction here, you can also check out well known Portuguese churches, such as the Church of Bom Jesus and the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. When in Diu, make your way to Ghogla beach which offers great views and an opportunity to participate in watersports like parasailing. Needless to say, the islands top the list of the best places to visit outside Gujarat.
Another one of the places to visit outside Gujarat lies in the heart of India. Sure, Bhopal is the capital of Madhya Pradesh, but it is Indore that is the largest. Around a 7-hour-drive away from Ahmedabad via the NH47, Indore is easily accessible. The must-visit places include the 18th-century style Rajwada Palace and Lalbagh Palace, both of which stun you with their beauty and grandeur. Annapurna Temple, Khajrana Ganesh Temple, Patalpani Waterfall and Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary are also worth seeing. If you’re looking for gastronomic adventures, then the vibrant streets of Sarafa Market are for you.
Another spectacular getaway from Gujarat is the star city of Rajasthan. Udaipur is just 6 hours away from Ahmedabad if you take the NH48 and lovely way to spend a weekend away from home. Built around a series of lakes, Udaipur was once touted as the most romantic spot in India by the British administrator James Tod and the proof is in the pudding. Rich in history and culture and landmarks that remind you of Indian royalty, make Udaipur one of the best places to visit outside Gujarat.
Toran Dining Hall
If you’re looking for authentic Gujarati food, then Toran Dining Hall is where you should head to. You can find it near the Income Tax Circle, on Ashram Road in Ahmedabad. Savour local favourites such as dal kachori and the ever-popular Gujarati thali. The hall also has outdoor seating to enjoy your meal.
Jassi De Parathe
A paratha place in the heart of Gujarat is an uncommon sight and that is also the reason why Jassi de Parathe is so well-known. Jasvinder Kaur owns the hotel, which is in Vastrapur in Ahmedabad and whips up mouth-watering paratha after paratha for her customers. The masalas used in the dishes are picked carefully by her.
Gopi Dining Hall
Massive dining halls are a hit in Gujarat and this restaurant is both affordable and serves delicious preparations. Their vegetarian food is known all around with kadhi and halwa standing deserving of a special mention. It is located on 100 Feet Road in Ahmedabad.
Peshawri is another one of the famous places in Gujarat. More of a high-end restaurant, it gives you the space to have a quiet dinner with pleasant music for company. Peshawari is known for serving pan and sweets along with their meals as well. It is situated in Alkapuri in Vadodara.
No list is complete without the mention of this rooftop restaurant, adored by Gujaratis. This fine-dining restaurant is known for its thalis and pretty much everything under the sun when it comes to Gujarati Cuisine. The opulence of the place doesn’t take away from the food, as you can sit back and enjoy a meal like a royalty. If you wish to splurge on one meal while you are travelling in Gujarat, let it be at Agashiye. It is located in Ahmedabad, on the third floor of The House of MG Hotel. Agashiye tops our list of famous places in Gujarat when it comes to food.
True to its name, this Gujarati restaurant is known for its unlimited menu. The cuisine does not restrict itself to Gujarati, for there is Continental, Mughlai and Chinese on offer as well. The restaurant is also famous for its non-vegetarian dishes. Head to Ashram Road in Ahmedabad to enjoy a meal here.
What sets this restaurant apart from the others is its location. For any foodie looking for a true blue Gujarati dining experience, Rajwadu is the place to be. It is set up like a traditional village serves both Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisines. Dig into your meal as you enjoy the fresh air of the open-area restaurant. You can also take away some traditional items from its many stores that are found inside this restaurant. Rajwadu is in Vejalpur in Ahmedabad.
Every state has one snack shop that is known all around and is a favourite with both locals and tourists. For Gujarat, it is Swati Snacks. The mouth-watering treats here include dal bati, dhokla and patra. Wash all the delicacies down with their sugarcane juice.
If you’re missing a taste of South India in Ahmedabad, head to Dakshinayan without a second thought. There is everything under the sun - idlis, dosas, pongals, gulab jamuns you name it. While the main dishes are delicious, the chutneys served with each of the meals are truly spectacular. End your meal with a filter coffee. Visit Dakshinayan for the best South Indian in the city.
If you want a taste of luxury, dine at the multi-cuisine restaurant in Four Points by Sheraton Hotel called The Eatery. Dig into a big breakfast buffet spread that offers a combination of Gujarati and Continental cuisines. They also serve some delectable non-vegetarian dishes.
Another one of the luxury restaurants is Earthen Oven, located in the famous Fortune Landmark Hotel. It sits on the top floor of the hotel and promises North Indian delights. The best part about enjoying a meal here, however, is the view of the Sabarmati River and Ashram Shore skyline. Bite into luxurious dahi kebabs as you sit back in your chair and enjoy the extravagant view of Gujarat.
Another one of the hardcore traditional places to polish off an authentic Gujarati Thali Gordhan Thal. So much constitutes a thali that you will not know where to look. The food is so delicious, that you would not know where to look, forget where to begin. They have an efficient and quick service staff who immediately put you at ease.