Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair

Tripoto
8th Nov 2014

The intricate carvings astound me

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

The Somnath Temple behind me

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

Heading out to spot some lions at Gir Nat Par

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

Beachside at Diu, small town in Gujarat

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

The Noida Caves...nature's wonder

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

Gandhiji's original room

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

Spinning some yarn :P

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

Another magnificent temple we passed by

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

A Portuguese trading port in Diu

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

Camel spotted at Gir!

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

Pretty ghagras

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

A model of the 'Dandi March'

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

Words of the nation's patriot: Gandhi ji

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

Yummy dhoklas, jalebis, and khakdas for break

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

A delicious thali lunch

Photo of Gujarat: A ‘Gujju’ Affair by Arushi Dutt

           The warm and fluffy ‘dhoklas’ melted in my mouth, giving a spring of relief from the long drive through the highways of Gujarat. We had been driving through for a couple hours, passing by green fields, colorful draped saris, and even some camels! Stepping out into the hot yet pleasant environment, we finally arrived at a local restaurant to stop for a yummy meal of ‘dhoklas,’ ‘khakdas,’ with green chillies on the side. I looked around at the women draped in brightly colored saris, shyly conversing, as the boisterous men guffawed with laughter amongst friends. Everyone seemed to be in utter bliss in this wondrous state.

            We finished up our meal and continued onwards in our journey to the city of Ahmadabad. A stark contrast from the rural Gujarat, tall buildings loomed over busy, sophisticated lanes maneuvering buses and the like. In awe of the organized layout of the city, I couldn’t help feeling like I was somewhere out of India! We soon arrived at our hotel, and dropped off our belongings to make our way to the Sabramati Ashram.

            Greeted by Gandhi ji’s inspirational message: ‘My Life Is My Message,’ the Gandhi ashram encases precious pictures, stories, documents, and statues of the greatest freedom fighter of our nation. His house, called ‘Hridayakunj,’ stands behind the ashram for visitors to take a tour of. This was the starting point of his ‘Dandi March,’ an unforgettable act of rebellion in history. Getting a peek at his spinning wheel, glasses, walking stick, and other symbolic treasures reminded me of the courage with which this great leader fought for our nation. 

            Then, we went for some shopping afterwards in Ahmadabad’s Law Gardens. Pretty ghagras, colorful ‘jootis,’ and trinkets displayed sent me into a shopping frenzy! Bargaining left and right, we bagged some deals, satisfied. Hauling the numerous bags, we dumped them in, as we climbed aboard for our next pit stop.

            Somnath Temple, which lies a bit outside of Gujarat, is another wonder, known to have become a tourist attraction for pilgrims. Arriving just in time for the evening ‘aarti,’ we lined up to enter the massive Shiva temple. The thunderous sound of drums gave a steady beat, as the chanting of prayers resonated through the temple walls. Praising the lord above, we all raised our hands above our head, lost in a trance. After the hour-long aarti, we stepped outside for a spectacular view of the beach. Breathing in and out, I closed my eyes, and let the cool breeze shuffle my hair, feeling completely at peace.

            For a little bit on the adventurous side, the home of the Asiatic lion lies in the outskirts of Gujarat, in the Gir National Park. A ride through the misty forests bright and early in the morning just might let you see some lions in the wild! Along with other wild animals from the leopard, deer, samba, the Asiatic lion is the main attraction. We were lucky enough to see one, sleeping, but still a lion in the wild, nevertheless!

            If a multitude of cultures, color, and nature is what you’re looking for, Gujarat is the place to go! The vibrant and sophisticated state leaves one awestruck, with its many modern developments within the significant history. I did end up falling a bit sick, due to the extreme weather changes throughout the day. The nights get a bit cold, so it’s best to pack accordingly. But, the afternoons get blazing hot, so you don’t want to bundle up too much! A DSLR is a must to capture some fantastic shots of this beautiful state!

Diu is a cute Portuguese township, comfortable to spend a day in. Make sure to soak up the sun at the Diu beach. A few sea facing restaurants line up the streets at Diu. The Naida Caves are definitely worth checking out, one of nature's purest form of wonders. We also went to the Portuguese fort, another major tourist attraction.
Photo of Diu, Gujarat, India by Arushi Dutt
Gir is for you nature lovers. Getting to experience safari adventures, you can ride through the Gir forest in search of the king of the jungle. Setting out bright and early in the morning in the open jeeps gives a better chance of lion sightings. Munching on hot and mouth watering jalebis was also one of our morning routines at the sweets shops close to our guest houses.
Photo of Gir National Park, Gujarat, India by Arushi Dutt
The Somnath Temple is one of Gujarat's beautiful Shiva temples. It's a 7 hour drive or so from Gir. We arrived just in time for the entrancing aarti, or prayer ceremony, which takes place every evening. It does get a bit crowded, so it's best to arrive early. There's also a really nice open space behind the temple, to breathe in the sea breeze, and cleanse the mind...
Photo of Somnath Temple, Brahmpuri, Kodinar, Gujarat, India by Arushi Dutt
Shopping is absolutely heavenly here! Tapestries, ghagras, accessories, purses, shoes, you can find almost anything here with a touch of Gujarat. Make sure to bring along some locals to help you bargain with the prices!
Photo of Law Garden, Netaji Road, Ellisbridge, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Arushi Dutt
Photo of Law Garden, Netaji Road, Ellisbridge, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India by Arushi Dutt
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