Welcome to Gujarat, one familiar state to all yet comprehensively known to none. Sadly, it is overlooked often as a travel destination even though it is by far the richest state when it comes to culture, history, traditions, food, or art. It is here in Gujarat; you can experience India in all its glory.
Only after traveling across this state for two weeks, covering the best it offers, I proudly and confidently endorse it. Be it the proud Asiatic lion or the marvelous Jain architecture; a multitude of diverse festivals or universally loved gastronomical delights; divinity of Hindu temples or the mystery of great cities dating back to the ancient Indus valley; amazing craftsmanship or historical bylanes - Gujarat has it all. It promises a wonder packed holiday and you will agree after exploring it yourself and thank me later. Have a look at my favorite spots!
KUTCH – Saving the best for the last. And best because of its unique landscape and even more unique craft. The inhabitants of this infinite stretch of the largely barren and harsh desert, fight adversaries every day to survive. Still, their artistic expression remains purely exquisite. Kutch produces the most stunning textile and craft in the whole country, all handmade by the tribal women and their kids. The dark-skinned ladies of Kutch clad in their traditional technicolored Ghaghara cholis with chunnis (blouse, skirt, and a scarf) are a sight to behold. They are live museums of age-old traditions and one-of-a-kind cultures of this white desert. The tribal women of Kutch adorn their bodies with a variety of jewelry made from bell-metal, brass, and other natural materials. The ornaments mostly include necklaces, rings, bangles, bracelets, and anklets made in beautiful designs and patterns. Preserving traditions for a long time, they take pride in wearing them and handing them down to further generations. As you further traverse the Western coast of the stunning Kutch, you will often find Shepherds herding their cattle on the way. Their traditional outfits and expertise in handling such large groups of cattle will definitely make you want to stop and click a picture of the itinerant faces of India.
JUNAGARH, a city of exquisite art & architecture is the 7th largest city of Gujarat that gives you a heady mix of the earth, the heaven, the human, and the wild. A visit to this city will transport you to an era of beautiful palaces, colorful streets, and aesthetically built temples, almost giving you an old-world romantic fairy tale experience.
LIKE the well-known Sun Temple of Konark in Odisha, the Lesser-known Sun Temple of Modhera, Gujaratis the perfect architectural legacies of the Solanki dynasty. Built-in 1027 by Bhimdev I, this temple is dedicated to the Sun God and set along with the backdrop of River Pushpavati. The temple compound has three divisions; Gudhamandapa, the shrine hall, Sabhamandapa, the assembly hall, and Kunda, the Stepwell. The halls have intricately carved pillars and the exteriors. The stepwell has steps to reach the numerous small shrines and the bottom. Plan your visit during the third week of January for an annual 3-day classical dance festival known as 'Uttarardha Mahotsav'.
IF THERE is yet another astounding reason to visit Vibrant Gujarat then it's the Patan's glorious stepwell; exquisite step-well, deservingly inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list of 2014.
Being the finest and oldest, the stunning stepwell was built by Rani Udayamati in 1063 to commemorate her husband, Bhimdev I. Enduring steps take you down through the multiple levels with around 800 remarkable sculptures on the pillars and walls with intriguing geometric patterns, representing the Buddha, priest, saddhus, Celestial dancers (Apsaras) and mostly the various incarnations of Lord Vishu.