Gujarat

Capital
Gandhinagar
Population
41 310 000
Areal
196 000 km²
Languages
Gujarati

Best time to visit
October - March
Climate (°C)
Maritime climate.
The state experiences an intense hot or cold climate.

About

With a coastline 1650 km long, Gujrat is renowned for its beaches, temple towns and historic capitals.Added attractions are wildlife sanctuaries, hill resorts, and natural grandeur. Sculpture, handicrafts, arts also make the state rich.

Gujarat has always been a major centre for the Jains, and some of its most interesting sights are Jain Temple centres like those at Palitana and at Girnar Hill, near Junagadh. Apart from its Jain temples, Gujarat's major attractions include the last Asian lions and the fascinating Indo-Saracenic architecture of Ahmedabad. The colourful tribal villages of Kutch make a visit to this barren land worth it.

Gujarat is situated in the west coast of India. The state is bounded by the Arabian sea on the west, Pakistan and Rajasthan in the north and north-east respectively, Madhya Pradesh in the south-east and Maharashtra in the south.

The name 'Gujarat' is said to have been derived from the Prakrit Gujjar Ratta or Gujjar Rashtra - the land of Gujjars - a tribe that entered India with the Huns in ancient time and wandering through Punjab and Rajasthan, settled in western India. Gujarat had a great civilization even before the arrival of the Aryans. It had trade links with ancient civilizations of Sumer, Babylon, Assyria and Egypt.

How to get here

Air
Airports at Ahmedabad and Vadodara

Rail & Bus
Stations at Ahmedabad • Gandhi Nagar • Surat • Rajkot • Junadagh • Porbandar

Wildlife

Gujarat has 4 national parks and 11 wildlife sanctuaries.It's a unique state that has many kinds of habitats. These varied land forms include the famous dry deciduous forests like the Gir, majestic grasslands like those found at Velavadar, vast landscapes harbouring rare animals in habitats like the Little Rann of Kutch, wetland habitats such as the Nalsarovar, marine ecosystems such as those found near the Pirotan Islands and the rich moist deciduous forests like those found in the dense forests of the Dangs.

.: Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
Gir today is the only place in the World, outside Africa, where the lion can be seen in its natural habitat. From Biblical times till a hundred years ago, the Asiatic lion roamed over a vast area ranging from Greece through West Asia to Bengal and Bihar. The last lion seen outside Gir was in 1884, and the king of the jungle has taken his final refuge in Gir.Even in Gir the number of lions had dwindled to as low as just 15 around 1910. Serious and timely protection measures have raised their numbers to just over 300.

It is said that had Gir not been a lion sanctuary, it would have been termed one of the finest bird sanctuaries in Gujarat. Some of the typical birds of Gir are the creasted serpent eagle, creasted hawk eagle, brown fish owl, king vulture, jungle bush quail, painted sandgrouse, paradise fly-catcher, white breasted minivet, pigmy woodpecker, black headed oriole, creasted swift and pitta. Adholia, Valadara, Ratanghuna and Pilipat are places rewarding for bird watching.

.: Marine National Park
Gujarat has the distinction of creating the country's first Marine National Park spread over an area of nearly 458 sq.kms. in the Gulf of Kutch, 30 km. from Jamnagar.

Here corals create fantasies in stone and are the master builders of the Park. Their limestone fortresses - each one the work of a colony of countless tiny animals - come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes, from the convoluted brain coral to corals that look like horns. Here you will find plants that look like animals and animals that look like plants. Turtles, shrimp, sponge, eels, sea urchin lurk among the corals and huge schools of fish create a brilliance of colours that are unknown, unseen and unimaginable to us.

.: Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary
If we had the task of designing a multi-purpose animal that could exploit many habitats, we would be hard pressed to improve upon the birds of the wetlands. We can see that they are at home in water, land and ofcourse superb in the air. In places like the Nalsarovar and Thol lake they are seen in great numbers, the variety of shapes and sizes being simply amazing.Gujarat has some outstanding places for viewing birds of the wetlands. Just 80 km. from Ahmedabad is Nalsarovar, and Thol Wildlife Sanctuary is also just 40 km. from Ahmedabad. 10 km. from Jamnagar is Khijadia Bird Sanctuary. Within the Porbandar city itself is the Porbandar Bird Sanctuary. The sheer variety that can be seen at such places is rewarding by any standards.

.: Wild Ass Sanctuary
Gujarat is as famous for its large herds of wild asses as it is for its lions. To protect this rare animal, a Sanctuary covering an area of over 4953 q.kms. was created to offer protection to more than 2100 wild asses inhabiting this area.

In India the horse tribe is represented by the Indian wild ass. In the Little Rann of Kutch, the asses are attracted by the flat grass covered expanses known as bets or islands where coarse grasses spring up in monsoon. With the advent of summer, the asses move to other bets in which there is perennial supply of water and grass.

Places to visit

Gandhinagar -Rann of Kutch - Bhuj - Baroda - Dwarka

.: Gandhinagar
Gandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat, is situated 32 km north-east on the west bank of the Sabarmati River and named Gandhinagar, after the Gujarat-born Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhinagar is India's second planned city after Chandigarh. Its sole tourist site is the splendid Akshardham Temple of the Hindu Swaminarayan sect, constructed out of 6000 tonnes of pink sandstone.

Once known as "Pragiyotishpura" or Light of the East, the most striking feature of Guwahati, is the Brahmaputra, whose swollen sandy channel is so wide that the far shore is often rendered invisible.

.: Rann of Kutch
Kutch, in North-Western Gujarat, stands out in splended isolation among Gujarat's other districts by it's colourful assortment of flora and fauna. It's rich traditions take provenance from eighteen different tribes, cultures and language zones. Kutch offers a delectable fare, in complete collaboration with nature. The people of Kutch are renowed for their temperate nature and warm hospitality.

.: Bhuj
Bhuj, a major town of Kutch, is an old walled city. There are walls within walls, crenellated gateways, old palaces with intricately carved wooden pavilions, and brightly decorated Hindu temples. To visit villages north of Kutch, including Khavda, Bhirandiara and Dumaro, foreign nationals require permission from the District Collector. An intricate maze of streets and alleys make up this fascinating town. The large Hamirsar Tank adjoins the old town to the west .

.: Dwarka
The ancient sacred city, on the edge of the Saurashtra peninsula was once the capital of Lord Krishna's empire where he had shifted from Mathura thousands of years ago. The main attraction is the Dwarkadhish Temple.



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