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Travel Guide Asia India Gujarat

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Introduction

Sun temple, Gujarat

Sun temple, Gujarat

© All Rights Reserved Kabir

Gujarat is the westernmost state in India. The state encompasses some sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, such as Lothal, Dholavira and Gola Dhoro. Lothal is believed to be one of the world's first seaports. Gujarat's coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch and Khambhat, served as ports and trading centres in the Maurya and Gupta empires, and during the succession of royal Saka dynasties from the Western Satraps era.

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Geography

It has an area of 196,024 km2 with a coastline of 1,600 kilometres, most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula, and a population in excess of 60 million. The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the north, Maharashtra to the south, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west. Its capital city is Gandhinagar, while its largest city is Ahmedabad. Gujarat is home to the Gujarati-speaking people of India.

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

Gir Forest National Park

The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (also known as Sasan-Gir) is the only place where the Asian Lion lives in the wild. It is located in the southern central part of Gujarat and is a great reserve to spot dozens of other Indian animals, including many endemic species.

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

Listed on UNESCO's World Heritage list Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a concentration of largely unexcavated archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage properties. More information can be found on the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park page.

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Events and Festivals

  • Holi is quite popular in the Indian sub-continent and is traditionally celebrated on the day after the full moon in the month of Phalguna (early March), according to Hindu calender. Holi is a thanksgiving festival, where people offer prayer to God for good harvest and fertility of the land. Holi is a festival of freedom from social norms and caste inhibitions are shed for a day as people indulge in fun and merry-making. Colors and 'gulal' are showered on the people dressed up for the occasion and the whole community seems to merge into one big family under the guise of colors, without any distinction whatsoever. Children with face smeared with colors run around with 'pichkaris' (big syringes to splash colored water) and play amongst themselves. People exchange good wishes, sweets and gifts. Holi is also marked by vibrant processions which are accompanied by folk songs, dances and drum beating. Parties are also organized where snacks and the traditional milk-based drink “Thandai” is served which is often intoxicated with “Bhang”. Of late, lots of foreigners have started taking interest in this festival and they even enjoy the colors and the intoxicating drink. It is advised to cover your hair with a cap and eyes with sunglasses to avoid the colors splashing the eyes and damaging the hair.
  • Republic Day - Republic Day is a national holiday in India every January 26 to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution in 1950 and the declaration of independence in 1930. The capital of New Delhi is the focus of the celebrations, including a flag raising ceremony, wreath laying, 21-gun salute, Presidential speech, and presentation of awards for selflessness and bravery. A massive military parade includes elephants ridden by children who have received national accolades.
  • Gandhi Jayanti - Gandhi Jayanti is a national public holiday commemorating the birth of the peaceful activist, Mohandas Gandhi on October 2, 1869. The celebration coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence. In India, Gandhi is remembered through statues, flower and candle offerings, prayers and singing the devotional hymn Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram. The Indian government issues special mint rupees and postage stamps bearing his picture.
  • Diwali - Diwali is the five-day festival of lights held in India in late October or early November each year. The widely celebrated Hindu event marks Lord Rama’s victory over the demon Ravan. Homes and streets are decorated with lights, candles and small clay lamps, and new clothes are worn and sweets are exchanged.

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Weather

Gira Falls, Gujarat

Gira Falls, Gujarat

© All Rights Reserved -4view

Like much of India, Gujarat is experiencing two significant seasons: the wet from June to October and the dry from November to February. It's not as wet as much of India though. March to May generally is dry, but temperatures during these months can reach well over 40 °C which, combined with the humidity, obviously is not the best time to visit. Instead, choose the months of December and January if you want to avoid the worst conditions. Temperatures are still mostly between 25 and 30 °C but nights are pleasant at an average of 15 °C. It's almost guaranteed dry and sunny.
Note that there are huge differences regarding rainfall: the north is an arid region, bordering the southwestern parts of Rajasthan, whereas the southern region, bordering the Indian Ocean, is much wetter and humidity is high year round.

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Getting There

By Plane

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPIA) (IATA: AMD) airport is in the North Zone of Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad is the only international airport in Gujarat with regular flights to and from London, New York, Chicago, Singapore, Muscat, Kuwait, DohaQatar, Sharjah and Dubai. Domestic flights connect to Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Indore and Kolkata.

Surat Airport (IATA: STV) is a domestic airport located in the Magdalla area of Surat. Air India has daily flights to and from Delhi. Spicejet Operates daily from Surat to Mumbai and Delhi.

Flights into smaller airports of Baroda, Bhavnagar Bhuj, Diu, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Keshod, Kandla, Surat and Rajkot connect through Mumbai.

Domestic airlines include Jet Air, Indigo, Air India.

By Train

There are trains from/to Bombay (500 kilometres) and New Delhi (1,000 kilometres) and other big cities of India several times a day going to the main cities of North-Centre-South Gujarat, including Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Surat.
Cities of Saurashtra and Kutch, including Bhavnagar, Bhuj, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Surendranagar, Porbandar, Kandla and Rajkot, are connected via Mumbai.

By Car

From Delhi Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and other places in North India: Take the National Highway 8 (NH8).
From Mumbai and other places in North India: Take the National Highway 8 (NH8).
From Nagpur and from other parts of Vidarbh: Take the National Highway 6 (NH6).
From Indore, Bhopal and other parts of Central India: Take the National Highway 59 (NH59).

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Getting Around

Most people in Gujarat travel by private buses or by taxi. These are excellent modes of transport as the roads are among the best in India. Check at your hotel if you want a travel agent for private buses.

Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Bhuj, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Surendranagar, Porbandar and Kandla are big stations in the Indian Rail Network.

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Eat

Gujarat is heaven for vegetarians. Approximately 80% of Gujaratis eat vegetarian foods only. Hundreds of varieties of lacto-vegetarian foods are offered across Gujarat. Rotli (Chapati/Puri), Shaak (Subzi/Vegetables/Curries), Mithai (Sweets), Rice and Dal are parts of a Standard Gujarati Thali (Meal) in restaurants. In fact, it might be a little difficult to find non-vegetarian restaurants in Gujarat. International travelers can find multi-cuisine restaurants serving global varieties.

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Drink

Alcohol is forbidden in Gujarat. Foreign tourists are partly exempted from this restriction and can drink in a few five-star hotels like Taj and Courtyard by Marriott. Drinking in public is strictly prohibited. However, if you are going to stay longer in Gujarat, you may apply for an alcohol permit. Ask how to do it in your hotel or the place where you stay.

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Contributors

as well as Sam I Am (3%), Hien (1%)

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This is version 8. Last edited at 12:32 on Aug 14, 17 by Utrecht. 14 articles link to this page.

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