March 2017
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Galloping Across Gujarat
[Lifestyle-February 2009]

Gujarat is situated on the western part of the Indian sub-continent. It derives its name from Gujaratta, which means the land of the Gurjars. The Gurjars passed through Punjab and settled in some parts of Western India, which came to be known as Gujarat.

Gujarat offers a wide range of the most spectacular attractions such as breathtaking locations and scenic landscapes. Gujarat is a melting pot of several different civilizations, resulting in vibrant culture and a rich heritage. It is home to several architectural marvels, witnesses of its glorious history, and pilgrim centers for many faiths. Gujarat is also the land of several mythological and historical figures such as the legendary Krishna and Mahatma Gandhi!

Some of the major parts of Gujarat include: Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Dwarka, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Kutch, Palitana, Porbandar, Rajkot, Saputara, Sasangir, Somnath, Surat, and Vadodara. The capital of Gujarat is Gandhinagar. It is located near Ahmedabad. Gujarat is famous for its garba, bandhini, cuisine, the beaches, and Rann of Kutch. Gujarat is divided into several districts which are then subdivided into talukas and villages. The largest district of Gujarat is Kutch. It is also the second largest district in India.

THINGS TO DO

Of the many things to do in Gujarat are the fairs and festivals, beaches, cultural centers, hillstations, wildlife and national parks, and religous places and temples. Depending on what you like there are a numerous things to do in Gujarat. Gujarat could be well termed as the Land of Festivals and Fairs because nearly 3,500 of them are celebrated in different parts of the state every year. The festivals and fairs revolve around an occasion whether it is the turn of the season, time for harvest, or a religious event. Fairs and festivals offer a visitor an excellent opportunity to experience the diverse cultural and religious identity of the people of Gujarat. The geographic diversity of Gujarat has made it a home to and incredible variety of people. Gujarat boasts of its rich and varied cultural heritage that is reflected in arts, music, cuisine, literature, and religious traditions. In spite of regional and cultural diversities, there is a unity of being a part of the state.

Some places of archaeological and historical interest include Jumma Masjid in Ahmedabad, Old Fort in Surat, Aina Mahal in Kutch, Adalaj, Rani ki Vav in Patan, and many many more. The history of Gujarat is portrayed in its numerous museums, shrines, temples, mosques, and ancient and archaeological finds.

The 1600 km coastline of Gujarat is the longest in India and binds it from the west. It is dotted with some really fine beaches that include: Gopnath Beach, Rozi and Bedi Ports, Bet Dwarka, Ahmedpur Mandvi, Chorwad, Diu, Mandvi, and Hazira and Tithal. The coast is also a historical center with interesting Portuguese forts, shore temples, princely port cities, and beach palaces.

There are four national parks in Gujarat and several sanctuaries. The state is unique in that it has many kinds of habitats. These varied landforms include dry, deciduous forests; majestic grasslands; wetlands; marine ecosystems; and rich, moist, deciduous forests. These habitats are home to some extremely rare wildlife. The Asiatic Lion is found only in Gir. The Wild Ass is distinct to the Rann of Kutch and is the rare great Indian bustard in the bird reserves. The world’s only four-horned antelope and the Black Buck are other valued species protected in Gujarat. The rare boralia species and dugong also make their home in Gujarat.

Saputara is a hillstation perched on top of Sahyadri Hills. It is surrounded by forests and inhabited by ancient tribes. It is picture postcard perfect with lakes, streams, woodlands, and hills. At the heart of Saputara is a lake with boating facilities. A climbing road takes you upto to the Chimney Ropeway where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the hills. The Dangs, in which Saputara lies, rises from 50 to 1083m above sea level and offers a vista of paradise. The climate here is cool. The major attractions here are the natural beauty, sunrise and sunset points, beautifully maintained gardens, and a museum. One of the best attractions here is the Pushpak Ropeway. It is nearly one km long and usually very busy in the evenings as people eagerly wait their turn on the country’s longest ropeway! The Gujarat Tourism office is also situated here to welcome tourists. The best time to visit Saputara is from April to early July.

WHERE TO STAY

There are many Heritage Hotels in Gujarat, deeply rooted in history. This is a unique opportunity to experience the rich culture of the state in royal ambience. Once the Heritage Hotels were splendid palaces but are now open to tourists who can savor the traditions, history, architecture, culure, and philosophy of Gujarat in a luxurious, beautiful, and comfortable atmosphere. There are Heritage Hotels in Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Vadodara, and Vijay Nagar.

Comprehensive travel services to visitors are provided by The Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited, set up in 1975. Their services include accomodations, conducted tours, and ground transport. They have a wide range of services to meet diverse needs. The corporation has a network of 19 accomodations units under the brand name Toran. These Toran Hotels can be found all over Gujarat.

TRAVEL TIPS

For travel tips including health, safety precautions, vaccinations, tipping, and other rules and regulations check out the Gujarat Tourism website where you’ll not only find great tips but much more information on the things to see and do in Gujarat. http://www.gujarattourism.com/travel_tips/index.html

WHAT TO EAT

Majority of Gujaratis are vegetarian. The cuisine varies throughout the state but a typical meal consists of rice, vegetables, curry or dal, and roti. The different types of breads include rotli, bhakhri, thepla, dhebra, puri, maal purah, and puran pohli. Ghari and khakhra are sometimes eaten as rotli but are usually consuded asy a snack. Traditional and popular Gujarati dishes include khaman, dhokla, dhokli, dal dhokli, undhiyo, fafda, chevro, papdi, muthia, bhajia, paatra, bhusu, and sev mamra. Gujarati meals can be as simple as khichdi or elaborate and include yogurt, papad, atharun, and onions. The use of ghee is very common on rice, khichdi, and rotli. Farsaan, snacks, are very popular in Gujarat such as vada, ghantiya, chakri, and sevyun. internationally.

Masalas are usually ground on grinding stones. People from northern Gujarat like to use dry red chilli powder while the inhabitants of southern Gujarat prefer green chillies and coriander in their cooking. Jains avoid using garlic and onions in their cooking. At the end of a meal mukhwas or paan is usually eaten. Chaas or buttermilk is a common drink after meals.

SHOPPING

Gujarat claims its worldwide fame in its rich tradition of handcrafts. The most famous of its handicraft’s is related to textiles. It has an age old history of embroidery and still retains its fame. Saris in Gujarat display an amazing variety with inlaid zari work, beadwork, embellished mirrors, sequins and shells, and tie dye and block printed designs.

While shopping in Gujarat tourists can pick and choose from the wide range of items on display in the Gujarati markets. These include wall hangings, embroidered footwear, patola silk saris, bandhinis, traditional ghagra cholis/chaniya cholis, lacquer furniture, embroidered and appliqued quilts, and much more.

It is important to know that just like much of India, bargaining is also very important in Gujarat. The shopkeepers purposely charge a high price for their goods because they expect you to bargain. So good bargaining skills are a must-have to avoid getting humiliated.

A SAFE JOURNEY

A visit to Gujarat will really enable a person to appreciate its culture and heritage to a much deeper extent. It’s definitely one of the “must-see” places in India. Not only is it one of the most diverse and intriqueing states but it has also been home to some of the great figures in history and Bollywood celebrities such as Mahatma Gandhi, Asha Parekh, Amisha Patel, Upen Patel, Prachi Desai, Ayesha Takia, Divyanka Tripathi, Sunidhi Chauhan, Kal Penn, Tarla Dalal, and many many more! A visit to India is incomplete without a visit to Gujarat.

[source: incredibleindia.org, gujarat tourism.com]

[photo credits: touristplacesinindia.com, desiclub.com, indianweddingdesigners.com, oneindia.in, hindu.com, rockymountainnews.com, egglesscakesandcookies.com, bullyingawarenessweek.org, daylife.com, holidayiq.com, tribuneindia.com, flickr.com, heritagehotelsofindia.com, colorsofgujarat.com, webindia123.com]

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One Response to “Galloping Across Gujarat”

  1. kaushik mehta Says:

    It is really wonderful information and almost covered full information in full length.The editing is superb.My hats off to the team members and photographer.

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