Places Covered: Ahmadabad – Bhavnagar – Palithana – Gopnath – Diu – Sasan Gir – Junagarh – Dwarka – Jamnagar – Hodka – Bhuj – Dasada – Ahmdabad & Dep.
The westernmost state of India is the home of Mahatma Gandhi and is so far visited by tourists a very few tourists. The region has a lot to offer its visitors. The cultural and landscape diversity is unparalleled in India. Fascinating temple sites, imposing fortresses and grand palaces from various periods of rulers inspire as well as traditional tribal villages, where time seems to have stopped and ancient crafts still have great significance. In addition, we find here the last Asiatic lions in the Gir National Park, the rare stag-goat antelopes in the Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar and in the Little Rann Sanctuary the last Indian wild asses.
Being the most visited state in India, a trip to Gujarat combines the discovery of a splendid historical and religious heritage with walks in the heart of famous national parks. Located in the West of India, this tour leads you in the footsteps of Gandhi. A trip to Gujarat is also a mix of Muslim and Hindu architecture. The fortified city of Gondal, the ancient cities of Junagadh, Bhuj or Patan will allow you to contemplate superb historic buildings. The colonial remains of the island of Diu will be other highlights of your stay. Going on a tour through Gujarat is finally traveling through national parks housing emblematic animals of India. From Gir to Wild Ass Sanctuary, you will go to meet the last lions of Asia and very rare Indian hemlines.
Upon arrival at Ahmadabad airport, welcomed by our staff and transfer to hotel. After a rest we start sightseeing. First, we visit the famous Calico Textile Museum. Here is one of the best exhibitions of Indian textiles of the last 500 years. The former capital of Gujarat is still the cultural and economic center of the state. It impresses with a fascinating of tradition and modernity, Islam and Hinduism. On the eastern side of the Sabarmati River is the Old City with numerous mosques such as the Sidhi Sayed Mosque, narrow streets and colorful bazaars. A special position in Gujarat is occupied by the strictly ascetic Jains, whose temples are among the most impressive sights in Gujarat. We visit the impressive 19th century Hutheesing Jain Temple, Swaminarayan Temple and Mangaldas ni Haveli. Another marvel of the architecture is the stepped wells Dada Hari Ni Vav & Adalaj, which we also visit. Overnight Hotel The House of MG.
Today we head for Bhavnagar. On the way we visit the important Velavadar Black Buck National Park. Blackbuck is the English word for a stag-goat antelope – for whose protection it was mainly founded. In addition to this species of antelope, which can be found here in droves, there are also the rare Indian wolves, which one sees in the day but rather rare, as well as wild boar, various species of cats and jackals.
Then we continue the journey to Bhavnagar. Bhanavgar is a vibrant trading city with an oriental flair. The main attraction is the winding old town with its lively markets and some outstanding temples. If time permits, we will start a short sightseeing program upon our arrival. After the short climb to the hilltop Takhteshwar Temple we enjoy the fantastic view of the harbor and the bay. Overnight at Nilambag Palace Hotel.
Early in the morning we set off for Palitana, where we can climb the holy mountain of Shatrunajaya and admire its 836 Jain temples and more than 10,000 statues. The most impressive plant of the Jains from the 15./16. Century is one of the most important pilgrimage site on our journey. The finely carved reliefs and sculptures as well as columns and domes of pure white marble are impressive witnesses of high culture and skill of the Jain. But the climb is not a walk, because it is necessary to overcome 600 meters and 3,500 steps. If you cannot do this, you can take a litter up the mountain (for a fee). Once at the summit, we can let our eyes wander over the surrounding countryside with its lakes. On our drive to Gopnath we make a short stop in Talaja to visit a Jain temple and the more than 2000 years old Buddhist caves. Overnight at hotel.
Today we reach Diu, an island on the south coast of the state of Gujarat. On our sightseeing tour we discover the numerous colonial influences, since Diu until 1961 still belonged to the Portuguese colonial empire. We stroll through the dreamy, idyllic provincial town and visit the Fort built by the Portuguese, St. Paul’s Church and the Diu Museum. We end our day at the Nagoa beach on the turquoise blue sea. Overnight at hotel Krishna Beach Resorts.
In the early morning we visit the fishing village Vanakabra and the local fish market. After breakfast, another highlight awaits us as we visit the legendary Somnath Temple, the Temple of the Moon God. He is one of the twelve holiest shrines dedicated to the god Shiva. After the sightseeing we drive to the Sasan Gir National Park, the last shelter of Asian lions. The national park is about 260 km² and is located in a well over 1400 km² large protected area. The landscape is characterized by hills and small valleys. Mixed forests and grasslands alternate and provide a habitat for various species of deer, antelopes, wild boars and langurs. But the park is known for its big cats. So you can find hyenas, wild cats and leopards, as well as Asian lions. At early morning / afternoon we go on safari to observe the active animal life up close.Overnight at The Fern Gir Forest Resort.
Today you have to get up very early, because especially in the morning the chance to see the animals of the national park is especially great. That’s why we set off early for our jungle safari and enjoy the unique atmosphere of dawn. If you are lucky, we may meet some “park dwellers.” After nature experiences, we will continue to Junagarh to visit some of the local attractions, including the colorful Shree Swaminarayan Temple and the imposing Upperkot Fortress. The fortress, which is over 2000 years old, is perched on a hill to the east of the city, with a huge cannon, a mosque, two cisterns, and fourth-century Buddhist cave temples in addition to the mighty walls 16 times in vain besieged – the two step wells within the walls provided enough water to supply not only the inhabitants but also horses and elephants within the walls On the way to the fortress visit the Darbar Hall Museum The Muslim Tomb Mahabat Maqbara from the The year 1892 impresses with its corkscrew-like, winding towers , Flights of stairs and filigree domes and is a popular photo opportunity. On a short trip we also visit Ashokas rock edicts. Hotel Harmony.
Today is a trip to Gondal. Gondal is a small fortified city that radiates a tranquil atmosphere, although in the early 20th century it was the center of a progressive, eponymous Indian principality. Through the city flows the river Gondali, after which it was named. Here we visit the Naulakha Palace as well as the Riverside & the Orchard Palace with the princely garages. Here you will find a collection of imposing American cars from the Second World War and the post-war period. Afterwards we visit a factory that produces traditional Ayurvedic medicine. After our sightseeing tour we drive back to Junagarh.
On our way to Dwarka, we stop at Probandar, the birthplace of Ghandi. In October 1869 Ghandi was born here. On our trip we visit his birthplace – Kirti Mandir with personal objects and writings. Afterwards drive to the place of pilgrimage Dwarka. Legend has it that Krishna built his capital here after fleeing Mathura. Besides Badrinath, Puri and Rameshwaram, Dwarka is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage destinations and a visit there is a must for every devout Hindu. Visit the famous Dwarkanath temple. which is usually reserved for Hindus only. With luck, we can still enter. But even from the outside, with a five-storey tower, which is supported by 60 pillars, it is worth seeing. Every day pilgrims from all over the world come here. The temple is more than 1400 years old and houses the image of the god Krishna. Overnight at The Fern Sattva Resort.
In the morning we visit the Rukmani temple in Dwarka. This temple belongs to the wife of god Krishna. Continue to Gomati Temple. The Gomati Temple is a Shiva temple located on the banks of the river Gomati. Then we continue to Jamnagar. The old town of Jamnagar was built around the Ranmal Lake, in the middle of which rises the circular Lakhota Fort. In the southeastern corner of the lake is the Bala Hanuman Temple. He is famous for pilgrims and priests who have been singing ‘Sri Ram, Jai Ram, and Jai Jai Ram’ continuously since August 1, 1964, earning him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. Overnight Celebration Jamnagar.
After breakfast we continue to Bhuj, in the northwestern tip of Gujarat. Today we visit a typical palace of Bhuj – the Aina Mahal Palace. This mirror palace was built in the 18th century in European style. It is one of the largest and most beautiful complexes today, although it was severely affected by the scary earthquake in 2001. Overnight Regenta Resort, Bhuj
Another attraction in Bhuj is the Kutch Museum. It used to be known as the Fergusson Museum. It was built in 1877 AD and is the oldest museum in Gujarat. It is situated in picturesque surroundings on the shores of Lake Hamirsar. The museum has a large collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions and various archaeological items.
We continue our journey to visit the famous Banni Villages, famous for their rich traditional tribes and amazing art and handicrafts. We will get to know the different villages and their crafts as well as the way of life of the inhabitants. The day may seem a bit like driving through a huge “open-air museum.” The artisanal work done in the villages includes embroidery, woodcarving, painting, pottery, and even the finest silk weaving. Afterwards we will return to Hodka where we will have our first experiences with Indian bureaucracy, because this region is close to the Indian-Pakistani border, so we have to register in person with the police. Overnight Kutir Craft Village Resort.
From Hodka we drive back to Bhuj. We pass the villages of Karo Dungar and Zura and the village of Nirona, the only place where the so-called Rogan paintings are made. Rogan is Persian and means “oil-based”. Here we look at the most diverse arts and crafts.
In the morning we drive to Little Rann of Kutch. The day is all about nature. The word “Rann” comes from the Hindu language and means “salty swamp.” The mostly dry area is flooded only in the rainy season between July and September, when it forms this salty swamp.
In the late afternoon we take a safari through the Little Rann of Kutch National Park, home to the Asian wild ass, a relative of the African zebras and unfortunately threatened with extinction, with good luck being seen in small flocks There are many species of birds and pelicans, but also spoonbills, cranes, eagles, storks and ducks Other animals that can be spotted are antelopes, wolves, foxes, but also various types of snakes, such as cobra Boa or Viperm. Overnight at Rann Reider.
Drive back to Ahmedabad. On the way we visit the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar. The temple is even listed in the Guinness Book of Records, because it is the world’s largest Hindu temple complex. Rajasthan pink sandstone served as material for the construction of this contemporary religious monument. After visiting the temple we continue to Ahmedabad. Overnight The House M G.
Depending on the booked return flight, the transfer to the airport takes place and we will start the return flight to home or onward destination.