the largest city and former capital of Gujarat, nurtures a striking
blend of the glorious past and a vibrant present. Named after
a Sultan who founded it in 1411, the city is associated with
Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, whose simple ashram on
the banks of river Sabarmati is now a site of national pilgrimage.
Ahmedabad is a great textile and commercial centre and known
as the "Manchester of India". The city is today the
second largest prosperous city in Western India and a place
where tradition and modernity coexist in perfect harmony.
Ashram - On a quiet stretch of the Sabarmati river lies
the Gandhi Ashram, established in 1920. During the lifetime
of Mahatma Gandhi it was known as Satyagraha Ashram and was
the centre of the struggle for Independence. It was from here,
in 1930, that the Mahatma started on his famous "Dandi
March" to the sea to protest against the Salt Tax imposed
by the British. 'Hridaya Kunj', the simple cottage where he
lived, is preserved as a National Monument. A Gandhi Memorial
Centre, a Library and a Sound-and-Light show offer indepth insight
into the Mahatma's life and work.
Hussain-Doshi's Gufa - It is a gallery housing the collaborative
efforts of artist M. F. Hussain and the architect B. V. Doshi.
Here, art and architecture fuse to become a unique experience,
both complementing each other magnificently. Located in the
campus of the Centre for Environment Planning and Technology,
the Gufa is a configuration of cave-like structures buried under
the ground. This marvel of contemporary architecture was constructed
using computer aided design and tribal initiative.
Calico Museum - The Calico Museum of Textiles, widely
regarded as one of the finest textile museums in the world was
constructed in 1949. The Museum houses no less than five centuries
of the finest fabrics spun, woven, printed and painted in different
parts of India. It also has a collection of marble, sandstone
and bronze icons and busts split in two thematic sections-gallery
for religious textiles and historical textiles.
Jama Masjid - Built by Ahmad Shah in 1423, Jama Masjid is
the principal mosque of the Islamic era, situated at the heart
of the city. The mosque was built in the Indo- Saracenic architectural
era and is said to be the most beautiful mosque in the East.
The mosque has 260 pillars supporting 15 domes arranged symmetrically.
A special feature of the mosque is the Muluk-Khana, or the Royal
Gallery, which is a platform standing on pillars and enclosed
upto the roof with beautiful stone work.
Siddi Bashir Mosque - Known as Shaking Minaret or Jhulta
Minar. When one minaret is shaken the other one begins to vibrate.
The mosque was obviously built by master craftsmen and the crucial
mechanism that causes the vibration is still a mystery.
Rani Rupmati's Mosque - Named after the Hindu wife of
Sultan Mohammed Beghara, this mosque was built between 1430
to 1440 A. D. It has three domes supported by pillars with the
central dome slightly elevated so as to allow natural light
into the mosque. The mosque has richly carved minarets, balcony
windows and perforated stone lattices. Its three domes are linked
together by a flat roof. However, the mosque and tomb of Rani
Sipri at Astodia surpasses it for its planning and structural
arrangement. Popularly known as Masjid-e-Nagina, this mosque
is the most exquisite gem of Ahmedabad.
Hatheesing Jain Temples - Built outside Delhi Gate in
1850 by Sheth Hatheesing, a rich Jain Merchant, this is the
best known of Ahmedabad's many ornate Jain Temples. Built of
pure white marble, it has a paved courtyard surrounded by an
imposing row of cloisters containing 52 shrines, each with an
image of a tirthankara, profusely decorated with rich carvings,
one containing the marble image of the 15th tirthankar. The
temple is a two storied structure with elaborate porches on
three sides and front porch crowned by a large dome. It was
designed by Premchand Salat and is dedicated to Dharmanath,
the fifteenth Jina or Jain apostle.
Kankaria Lake - A circular lake constructed in 1451 by
Sultan Qutubub-Din. At the centre of the lake is an island garden
with a summer palace, known as Nagina Wadi. The lake is a popular
recreation centre surrounded by parks, 'Bal Vatika', an aquarium,
a boat club, a natural history museum and a zoo.
Sidi Sayed Jhali - The Mosque of Sidi Sayed, near Lal
Darwaja is world-renowned for its magnificent stone tracery,
in particular, the splendid Jali screen, framed, in ten semi-circular
windows. It is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture
and its models in miniature are best known souvenirs of the
Gandhinagar, named after the Father of the Nation, is the
capital city of Gujarat. Built on the river Sabarmati it
is just 32 kms away from Ahmedabad. In 1960 when the old
Bombay state was partitioned into Maharashtra and Gujarat,
the city of Bombay went to Maharashtra. It was then decided
to construct a new capital for Gujarat. Thus came into being
Gandhinagar, the second planned city in India after Chandigarh.
It presents a spacious, well designed look of an architecturally
integrated city. It has 30 sectors with each sector having
its own shopping, health, community center and housing colonies.
Extensive planting of trees and large recreational areas
along the river gives the city a fresh, green garden city
atmosphere. The famous temple of Swaminarayan is also built
Akshardham is a unique cultural complex built in Gandhinagar
in memory of Lord Swaminarayan. Inspired by H. D. Pramukh Swami
Maharaj, Akshardham is a miracle worked by the service and devotion
of thousands of volunteers. It is an intricately carved, majestic
monument of 6000 tons of pink sand stone. The entire monument
was built without the use of steel. Besides a 7 feet gold leafed
idol of Lord Swaminarayan and his holy relics, there are three
exhibitions on Indian Culture with light and sound shows, a
multimedia show and an animatronic show. Games, rides and food
refreshments are other attractions of Akshardham.
Baroda is known as the garden city of Gujarat. Once the capital
of the princely Gaekwad Family, Vadodara is a graceful city
of palaces, parks, temples, and museums. Places to visit are
: Nazarbaug Palace - Built in old classical style, the palace
was used on ceremonial occasions by the Gaekwads. The royal
family heirlooms are on display. Lakshmi Vilas Palace - The
Royal Family's residence is an extravagant building in Indo-
Saracenic style. Pratap Vilas Palace - Built as the residence
of the royal family, the Pratap Vilas is a magnificent building
in the Indo - Sarcenic style. The Palace houses a collection
of old armory and sculptures in bronze, marble & terra-cotta.
The Baroda museum and art gallery and the Maharaja Fateh Singh
Museum - The museums boast of an excellent art collection of
works by Indian artists and European Masters, of Mughal miniatures
and valuable palm leaf manuscripts of Buddhist and Jain origin.
Situated on the banks of river Tapi, Surat was a great port
city during the Mughal era. Today, it is a major industrial
center with many textile mills. It is also famous for its zari
and brocades and is also an important diamond cutting centre.
Surat was one of the most prosperous cities of India in the
17th and 18th century. The East India Company established its
first warehouse in Surat in 1612. During the Mughal period,
Surat was the main port from which pilgrims sailed to Mecca.
One can also make short trips to Dumas, Hajira, Ubharat, Tithal,
Bardoli and Ukai, all resorts a few kilometres away from Surat.
Rajkot was once the capital of the princely state of Saurashtra.
It was also the headquarters of the British Government. Rajkot
is famous for its jewellery market. Mahatma Gandhi did his schooling
from Alfred High School, now known as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
High School. Places of interest are Kaba Gandhi No Delo, Royal
Watson Museum and Library, Lal Pari Lake, Aji Dam, Rajkumar
College, Rashtriya Shala, Ram Krishna Paramhansa Temple and
Race Course. Rajkot is about 220 kms from Ahmedabad.
Porbander is Saurashtra's end - a picturesque sea port on the
Arabian Sea. It is situated 395 Kms from Ahmedabad. It is also
known as "White City" because of its white stone construction.
It is the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi. Porbander has a pleasant
beach with beach villas. Other places of interests are Gandhiji's
Kirti Mandir, Sudama Mandir, Bharat Mandir, Planetarium, Chowpati
etc. Its ancient maritime activities - trade with Arabia, Africa
and Persia have given way to a thriving industry of cement and
This is one of the most picturesque places of pilgrimage in
India, located on Shatrunjaya hills. There are 863 temples,
exquisitely carved in marble, built over a span of 900 years.
Amongst all the Jain temples, Palitana temples are considered
to be the most sacred. The most important temple is that of
the first Tirthankara. The earliest temple was built by Kuwarpal
Solanki, a great Jain patron. It has a fabulous collection of
jewels, which can be seen with special permission. Pilgrims
and even priests are not allowed to stay overnight because the
temple city has been built as an abode for the Gods. Tourists
cannot carry any leather item.
An ancient fortified city rich in myth and legend, Junagadh
lies at the foot of Girnar Hill and takes its name from the
'Old Fort' which encircles the medieval town. Founded in 1540,
it was the capital of Jamthe Jadeja, the Rajput ruler of Nawanagar.
It was built around Rammol Lake. At the centre of the lake is
a small palace reached by a causeway. It is famous for pearl
fisheries, tie & dye fabrics and bandhini work. Places of
interest are Lakhota Fort which is a museum with collections
of sculptures from 9th to 18th century; an old well in Kotha
Bastion where the water can be drawn by blowing into a small
hole in the floor; Solarium, Jansahed's Palace and Rozi and
Bedi Ports. Jamnagar is 310 kms from Ahmedabad via Rajkot.
Chorwad is a delightful resort on the sunny coast of Gujarat.
The only beach in India where you can live in the timeless splendour
of a palace built amidst soft golden sand facing the beach.
It was built by the former Nawabs of Junagadh. It is 400 kms
south west of Ahmedabad and 66 kms from Junagadh. The nearest
Airport is Keshod.
Kandla is a major sea port 380 kms from Ahmedabad. It has single
point mooring facilities with a free trade zone. The places
of interest are a monument of Mahatma Gandhi and Nirva Siteshwar
Gujarat's picturesque hill station is perched on a plateau in
the Dang forest area of the Sahyadri Range. It has a cool bracing
climate, the highest temperature even in the summer months not
exceeding 28 Degree celcius. The abode of serpents, at a height
of 1000 metres, Saputara is a cool, pleasant hill resort. Saputara
is in south eastern part of the state, and is surrounded by
the Adivasi villages. People visiting Saputara can enjoy the
local adivasi folk music and dance. An artificial lake and shady
walks make Saputara an ideal get-away. At the distance of 60
Kms is the Bardipara Wildlife Sanctuary which is worth a visit.
Gira waterfalls are at distance of 52 kms.
The second largest district in India and sparsely populated,
Kachchh is a dry belt with Great Rann to the north and Little
Rann to the east. Kachchh produces exquisite handicrafts like
embroidery, tie-dye fabrics, enameled silverware and other handicrafts.
Kachchh is well known for its wild ass sanctuary. The great
Rann of Kachchh is also a breeding ground for the flamingo,
pelican and avocet species of birds.
Gir Forest & Sanctuary
380 kms south-west of Ahmedabad and 50 kms from Junagadh is
the Gir Forest, sprawling on 1412 sq kms. It has dry deciduous
forest and a luxuriantly rich eco system endowed with fauna
aplenty. Gir is the last home of the Asiatic lion. In this sanctuary
one can see lions roaming freely. This rare sight can be enjoyed
on a guided jeep tour. While driving one can see animals like
chital, nilgai, sambar, black buck, chinkara, wild pig, jackal
etc. Guides and vehicles are available for hire. Tulsishyam,
a temple dedicated to Bhim and his mother Kunti is located in
the heart of Gir, which is a scenic spot because of its hot
The temple of Somnath is one of the twelve sacred Shiva shrines
in India. According to legend, Somnath was built by Some, the
moon God. Constantly washed by the Arabian sea, the temples
of Somnath were destroyed seven times but were rebuilt each
time. The majestic monument as it stands today is a replica
of the earlier construction. The present temple Maha Meru Prasad
was recently rebuilt on the exact location of the original shrine
in accordance with the ancient plants. Somnath is 5 kms from
The Sun Temple of Modhera is one of the finest examples of Indian
temple architecture of its period. Built in 1026 A.D the temple
is dedicated to the Sun God, Surya and stands high on a plinth
overlooking a deep stone-steeped tank. Every inch of the edifice,
both inside and outside is magnificently carved with Gods and
Goddesses, birds, beasts and flowers.