GUJARAT- The Wild West of India:
A beauty that remains unmarred by the sands of time, it has captured hearts and astounded those who have been there. Stunning colors that embellish the white sands, mouth watering food, festivals where its people dance to the rhythms of music ceaselessly, wild ass or the great Indian bustard and pink flamingoes, embroidered textiles and the rich culture of our civilization; Gujarat has it all and much and more.
Rann of Kutch
The little and Great Rann are salt marshes which are submerged under the sea during the monsoons. When the water recedes, it leaves behind a desert of white sand. Camels and desert coursers take tourists into the depths of the Rann for daylong safaris.
The Kutch festival is a six days long event mainly held between February and March in worship of Lord Shiva. During the festival, the whole land comes alive. Dance and music flow, ensconced in a sea of bedazzling colours. The incessant play of the moonlight on the sands at night, a magnificence of nature’s creation, awashes the lands in its radiance. Tourists stay in luxurious tents at night.
Bhuj was primarily resurrected after the 2001 earthquake. The main attraction there is the Bhujiya Mahal atop the Bhujiya Dongar hill. Other places to visit are the Aina Mahal and Prag Mahal. These historical buildings still possess an eerie beauty unique to this fabled land. Embroidered textiles interlaced with intricately woven in mirror work are native to this place and famous as Kutchi work. For the foodies, the Kutchi ‘Dabeli’ is a must try.
The great Indian bustard sanctuary
An abode of the great Indian bustard, this place has the largest number of these birds second only to the desert national park of Gujarat.
It is an archaeological site dating back to the Indus Valley civilization. A number of Harappan sites still exist. The water reservoir(bawdi) at Dholavira is one of them. The place is emblematic of the origin of our culture, our beliefs and the very origin of human civilization.
Somnath Mahadev Mandir
It is one of the 12 jyotir-lingas in India. Every morning and evening there is an aarti. A red arrow just outside the temple is believed to be pointing towards the North Pole. During the evening as the last of the light fades away into darkness, there is a light and sound show limning the history and the ancient mythology associated with temple.
It is home to the king of the jungle, lions. Men and lions co-exist here, exhibiting interplay between the man and the beast. Jeep safaris take tourists through the jungles.
A developed yet, crowded metropolitan city of Gujarat. During the navratri season there is talk of little else except Garba and dandiya nights. Swathed in prismatic chainya-cholisand angrakhas, shimmering jewellery and traditional garbs of the land, the sight of Gujaratis dancing away to the music is a sight to behold. Some of the famous local clubs providing large setups and celebrity appearances include Rajpath, Karnavati, Gulmohar Greens and YMCA clubs.
On the western banks of Sabarmati River, in the suburbs, lies the Sabarmati ashram. Once occupied by a spiritual leader the ashram shows Mahatma Gandhi’s style of living, his culture and the is symbolic of the Satyagrah movement.
It was the nagri of Lord Krishna. The Dwarkadhish (literally meaning: the King of Dwarka) temple devoted to the worship of Lord Krishna is a beautiful temple consisting of 5 main shrines. Every morning and evening hordes of people come to worship. Devotees often feed the cows on the banks of Gomti River. The walls are adorned paintings, all showing the life of the Lord. This temple is sacred to the Hindus and considered a part of the char-dham yatra.