Gujarat has a colorful profile.
The land is fertile, beautiful and prosperous on the coastline from Kutch in
the West to Daman in South, the hill line from Aravali in the East to the
Western hills with lush green forests, large and small rivers as well the
plains in the middle. The rivers and reservoirs, farms and fields, villages
and towns, suburbs and cities, markets and industries, temples and complexes
add to its physical prosperity and unfold the prosperity of its historic
basis. Number of historic monuments, religious places, industrial complexes
and educational institutions glorify the cultural pride of Gujarat. It
reminds us of great traditions of Lord Krishna to Mahatma Gandhi.
Facts of Gujarat :-
196,024 sq. km.
Climate in Summer
March to June - [Warm]
Climate in Monsoon
July to August - [Warm]
Clothing in Summer
Clothing in Winter
Light Woolens or Cotton
Best Time to Visit
October to March
At the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi,
visit Kirti Mandir, where he was born. It houses a photo exhibition on the
life and times of the Mahatma, a library, and a prayer hall.
Excavations here have unearthed an
ancient port complete with dockyard measuring 218 x 37 metres, connected to
the sea through the river Bhagava. The streets laid out in chessboard
pattern (dividing the town into many blocks), houses with bathrooms and
underground drainage system are identical to those found at Mohenjodaro.
97 kms from Ahmedabad, is one of the
most magnificent monuments of Gujarat - the Modhera Temple, built by the
Solanki kings in 1025 AD, and dedicated to Surya, the Sun God. The temple
was constructed in such a manner that the rising sun at the equinoxes shines
straight into the shrine and illuminates the image of Surya. The temple is
profusely covered with intricate carvings.
The legendary shore temple of
Somnath is one of the most sacred Shiva shrines in India. According to
legend, Somnath is as old as creation, having been built by the Moon God
himself. Through the turbulent centuries, Somnath was sacked and rebuilt
seven times. The present temple, known as the Maha Meru Prasad, was rebuilt
about 25 years ago on the location of the original shrine, in accordance
with ancient plans.
This city is famous for its
architectural wonders built during the Solanki dynasty, and its'
geometrically patterned Patola saris.
Home to the last remaining
population of Asiatic lions, this is the only place in the world, outside
Africa, where the lion can be seen in its natural habitat. The sanctuary
also has other herbivores like chital, nilgai, blue bull and rare four
This coastal town carved a niche in
India's freedom struggle - the famous Dandi March Satyagraha, in 1930, took
place here. Today, it is a salt centre.
Literally the "abode of the
serpents", Saputara is Gujarat's best known hill station.
863 Jain temples on the Shetrunjaya
Hills here make Palitana a major Jain pilgrimage place. The architectural
grandeur of these temples have few parallels.
This ancient sacred city on the edge
of the Saurashtra peninsula was once the capital of Lord Krishna's empire.
Its' main attraction is the Dwarkadhish Temple.
Bhavnagar is known for Gandhi Smriti,
an institution built in memory of Mahatma Gandhi.
To the west of Bhavnagar, situated
at the base of Girnar hills is Junagarh. Its special claim to fame are the
rock edicts of Emperor Ashoka, dating back to 250 BC.
Once the royal summer retreat of the
pleasure-loving Nawabs of Junagadh, Chorwad has the imposing Chorwad palace
and the lovely expanse of beach in front.
Just 125 kms along the coastline
from Chorwad lies this unusual beach resort designed as a traditional ethnic Saurashtrian village. Cottages modelled on rural Gujarati architecture look
out onto a secluded beach, one of the state's chief centres for water
Built by the Jadeja Rajputs, known
as "jams" (really!), as their capital in the 16th century, Jamnagar is known
for its pearl fisheries, a naval base of some importance and a certain type
of tie-and-dye fabric. Visit the lake, which has the Kotha Bastion (Jamnagar's
arsenal) and Lakhota Palace (Jamnagar's museum) on an island in the lake.
Is the jump off point to the
colourful tribal villages of Kutch.
The Royal Orient is Gujarat's
equivalent of Rajasthan's "Palace on Wheels" heritage train. Starting at
Delhi, it takes you on a seven-day journey through Chittaur, Udaipur,
Junagadh, Somnath, Sasan Gir, Ahmedpur-Mandvi, Diu, Palitana, Ahmedabad, and
Many legends, tales and stories of bravery and generosity, efficiency and
imagination, prosperity and charity, Penance and Sacrifice, knowledge and
devotion are spread in the air and atmosphere of Gujarat. The hardwork and
civilized approach of the people of Gujarat are evident at the coast of
Dandi in South Gujarat where Gandhiji accomplished the salt satyagarh, at
Somnath on the coast of Saurashtra where the echoes of eternal tranquility
is heard, history and religion are the way of life at Pavgadh or Girnar,
business booms at the markets of Ahmedabad and Surat, folk-life rules the
streets of Jamnagar and Bhuj, water of life flows in Narmada and Mahi and
greenery plays with the wind in forest of Dang and Gir.
The journey through the width and breadth of Gujarat is not merely a
physical tour of the land, it is a treat with its people. A treat, which
gives an opportunity to know them in real sense, which would arouse feeling
of proud and poetic welcome to the distinguished land.
Gujarat unfolds its magic in abundance. With the largest coastline in the
country Gujarat has got countless quiet, scenic, reclusive beach pockets
where the sea lovers can have a heyday. For wildlife enthusiasts and
naturalists, Gujarat offers a fascinating variety of species in Sasan Gir
sanctuary and other places. For the devote pilgrims, Gujarat is a source of
plentiful faith and devotion Palitana, Somnath, Dwarka and many other
pilgrim spots attract lacs of disciples every year. For those who want to go
for a quiet holiday in the hills, saputara offers a world class option.
Monument of Ahmedabad are living example of one of the finest architectural
works. Gujarat’s rich tradition of textile and handicraft, are unique styles
developed as culmination of hundred of years of experience.
The fairs and festivals are a time of rejoicement and rejuvination when the
people shed their inhibitions and join unitedly in the festive exuberance.
The fairs are mostly held in rural areas where the folk art, folk music and
folk dances are displayed with all the originality and performing genius.
The town and cities of Gujarat represent all that is progressive and
enterprising in the industrious Gujarat psyche. These cities are nerves of
the present day prosperous Gujarat. All in all, Gujarat is a land of
interest to many a tourists and in turn a major work filed for you. We,
therefore offer you in this, a compact package of all that in Gujarat.
Festivals of Gujarat
Nearly 3,500 small and big fairs and
festivals are celebrated in Gujarat every year. They are mostly organised
during the change of season. Festivals apart, even the fairs have a backdrop
of some relegious day or association. These are mostly held in the vast open
expanse. River sides, sea shores, sacred ponds, hills, reservoirs and
confluences of rivers. Fairs are held on the full moon day. The cool bluish
yellow light of the full moon floating in the sky and its reflection causing
shimmers on the ripples of the river adds to the charm and enhances the
beauty of the landscape.
January Fairs & Festivals
Kite festival falls on January 14 each year heralds a change of season,
marking the movement of the Sun into the northen hemisphere. Kite flying day
in Gujarat is like no other day, anywhere. On this day the sky all over
Gujarat gets dotted with innumerable kites. Kite flier engages another to
prove the superiority of his thread and the kite flying skill. Thousands of
Kites and Kite flying thread are prepared in advance. Since 1989, this
regional highlight has been turned into an International Kite Festival,
sponsored by T.C.G.L. The Festival attracts kite enthusiasts from all over
Dance Festival : Modhera
The llth century Sun Temple at Modhra in North Gujarat, is an impressive
sight. The temple has its own architectural importance. An annual festival
of Indian classical dances at the site of the Sun Temple is held during the
third week of January every year, after the festival of Uttarayan. Artist of
Indian classical dance perform their art during three days festival. People
from India and abroad to experience the cultural tradition.
February/March Fairs & Festivals
Kutch Utsav :
In February there is very special opportunity to visit Kutch intimately.
Kutch Utsav: Ajourney in to history. A visit to lndia's oldest traditional
and cultural icons. Welcome to Kutch Utsav- Forget the world. Kutch Utsav is
a tour of life and time of Kutch : Its beauty, its ethos, its traditions,
its history and its culture. It is the most unforgettable experience of the
world's oldest and richest cultural heritages. It contains travel,
entertainment and cultural exposure. Virgin sea beaches, inscrutable desert
lands, breathtaking landscape, thriving wildlife, bird sanctuaries featuring
exalted species such as the Flamingo, historic monuments, forts and palaces,
During the tour, you will be a special guest of Tourism Corporation of
Gujarat Limited, and every requirement of yours - travel , boarding,
lodging, cuisine, sightseeing, tour guidance... will be taken care of, with
that unique Eastern hospitality.
Just at the foot of Mount Girnar in Junagadh is a temple called "Vastrapata
Kshetra". A five day festival of Bhavnath is held on this hallowed ground
during the Mahashivratri celebrations. Prayers are offered in this Shiva
temple after a dip in the holy mrig Kunda. Lakhs of pilgrims from all over
the country converge on this place. Prior to the start of the Mahapuja, a
huge procession led by “Naga Bavas” (ascetics with no clothes on) seated on
gaily decorated elephants and holding flags, gets under way. Series of
cultural programmes are arranged during the perod. Leading troupes and
exponents forms of dance, music and folk stage participate in these events.
Bhavai, folk songs and folk dances attract large audiences. Mahashivratri
fair is also held at Somnath.
March/April Fairs & Festivals
Dangs darbar is held every year in Ahwa, a few days before Holi. If you want
to witness the Tribal dances and hear thetribal instruments, don't miss the
most popular Adivasi fair - Dangs Durbar. It is inhabited by the Tribals.
Their life style is almost the same today as it was thousands of years back.
It is a different world. Tribal chiefs in their colourful traditional
costumes attend the fair. Ancient tribal instruments called Kahalia and
Tadpur are played.
Holi – Festival of Colour
Holi is a festival of colour. With age being no bar, the young and old alike
take to sprinkling coloured water and Guial (coloured powder) on one
another. Bonfires are lit in the main squares of the villages, localities
and colonies, Men, women and children collect at the time of the bonfire and
sing and dance. The bonfire is the symbolic repetition of the victory of
good over evil.
Chitra Vichitra is a Tribal fair which takes place 14days after the Holi at
Gunbhakheri' village near Khedbrahma. The fair is organised at the
confluence of rivers and has accociation with the unique curing powers of
the place. It is said that Chitravira and Vichitravira were cured of
diseases when they stayed at this place. The fair takes its name after these
two people. Thousands of Garasia and Bhil Adivasis visit the fair with their
own drums. The atmosphere becomes alive with folk songs of women.
July / August Fairs & Festivals
Rathyatra of Jagannath Puri, in Orissa, is world famous. A similar festival
takes place in Ahmedabad too. Right from the break of dawn, thousands of
devotees throng the Jagdish temple in the heart of old Ahmedabad City. A
massive procession is taken out. The idols of Krishna, Balram and Subhadra
are placed in the main temple charot. This chariot is then pulled by
thousands of devotees. Caparisoned elephants, camels and decorated trucks
accompany the procession. It passes through various streets and lanes of the
Gokulashtami or Janamashtami is a special and very joyous occasion. All the
major temples, including Dwarka and Dakor, specially dedicated to Lord
Krishna are colourfully decorated on this day. Bhajans and Kirtans in these
temples are the highlights of the day long celebrations. At the stroke of
midnight, when Lord Krishna was born, the chants hailing Lord Krishna rend
the air and the devotees go ecstatic. There are also live enactments of the
scenes from his childhood specially. The Ras, introduced by Lord Krishna
himself in, Gujarat, is performed in temple and homes. Men and Women both
participate in this rhythmic and colourful folk dance.
August / September Fairs & Festivals
Tarnetar is a small village about 75 kilometers from Rajkot in Saurashtra.
Here, one of the most colourful fairs in the State takes place. Elegantly
dressed in colourful dhot s, waistcoat and head cloth twisted at an angle on
their heads, they hold large colourful embroidered umbrellas which indeed
have become emblems of the fair. Tarnetar is one of the most important
matchmaking melas. An ancient Shiva temple is stood on the site. The present
temple was built on the banks of a rivulet and has a kund or reservoir in
the traditional manner. It is usually attended by at least 50,000 people.
The participants are tribal people belonging to various groups, such as the
koli, Bharwad, Rabari, Kanbi, Kathi, Charan, and other Castes. The folk
music and folk dances are the principal attractions of the fair. Tribal folk
dressed in their most colourful embroidered garments and dashing headgear,
give themselves up to merrymaking.The fair is held for three days in
Ravechi Mata Temple is located near Nana Reva in Rapar Taluka of Kutch. A
grand fair is held on Bhadra Sud Atham of Hindu Calender. More then 30
thousand people participate in Ravechi Fair, mainly Ahir, Rabari & Charan
communities. Special buses are made available during the fair.
Bhadra Purnima Fair : Ambaji
Ambaji village lies at the foothills of the Aravalli mountain range in north
Gujarat. It is the principal shrine of the goddess in Gujarat. The temple of
Ambaji is recognised as one of the original Shakti Pithas. On full moon days
there is a virtual festival at Ambaji, but the full moon of Bhadrapad is one
of the four most important festival days of the year, when agriculturists go
to the temple in their thousands, along with members of the general public.
There is a large fair on this occasion, while in the evening performances of
Bhavai are held, and garba programmes are organised. Over five Lacs people
come here during Bhadra Purnima fair.
October/November Fairs & Festivals
Nine days preceding Dussehra have a special significance for the people of
Gujarat. They celebrate Navaratri festival which is by far the most
colourful and prominent festival in the State.These celebrations are part of
the worship by the followers of the Shakti cult. Meni women and children
participate in the Garba dance to the accompaniment of chorus singing and
beating of the drums and other folk instruments. There are Garba
competitions in major cities and towns. In the Garba and Ras dances there is
music, rhythm, grace, sweetness and above all colour. It is mode of culture
and self expression of a people unique to Gujarat. On the day following the
completion of nine nights, Dussera festival is celebrated. The day marks the
victory of Lord Ram over the demon King Ravan who had abducted Lord Ram's
consort Site. Effigies of Ravan, Meghnath and Kumbhakarna, stuffed with
crackers, are burnt at a number of places. The day signifies the victory of
good, personified by Ram, over evil, personified by Ravan.
Deepavali – The Festival of Lights
After vanquishing Ravan and rescuing Sita, Lord Ram made a triumphant return
to his Capital Ayodhya where he was crowned. To mark the joyous occasion
people decorated their homes with lamps and since then this day is
celebrated as Deepavali – the festival of lights. The backdrop of the black
night enhances the beauty of the tiny earthen oil lamps decorating the
houses. On this day, people worship Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth, Saraswati,
the Goddess of learning and arts, and Lord Ganesh, the God of plenty. To
mark this joyous occasion, a large number of crackers are burst. The next
day of Deepavali is celebrated as a New Year’s in Gujarat.
Vautha is some 60 kilometers from Ahmedabad where a fair is held at the
Sangam Tirth which is the conf luence of seven rivers. This is one of the
biggest fairs in the State. A magnificent fair is held every year at Vautha,
where two rivers, the Sabarmati and the Vatrak, meet. The Vautha Mela site
is 3 square miles in area. In the now temporary township at the fair site,
visitors have a choice or several pastimes to indulge in. This is the only
major animal trading fair in Gujarat. About 4000 donkeys are brought every
yearfor sale, usually by Vaniara traders.
Shamlaji Fair ( Kartik Purnima Fair)
A three week long fair is held at Shamlaji in Sabarkantha district of north
Gujarat is held during the month of November, every year. The shrine of
Shamiaji is one of the principal Vaishnav shrines. People from the adjoining
State of Rajasthan also attend this fair. The Shamlaji Temple is a renowned
Vaishnav shrine. It was built in the 11th century. There are several other
temples and shrines as well, all of great antiquity. It lasts for about two
weeks. During this period, nearly 200,000 people of all communities and
castes including the Garasias & Bhils, visit the fair. The fair is also
popular with the tribal people of the area, particularly the Bhills, who
revers Shamlaji. Apart from a darshan of the deity in the temple, a bath in
the river Meshwo is considered essential. Visitors usually come in groups,
an sing devotional songs, carrying religious banners.