5 Must Visit Offbeat Destinations in Gujarat - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

5 Must Visit Offbeat Destinations in Gujarat

5 Must Visit Offbeat Destinations in Gujarat

There is more to Gujarat than what meets the eye. There is more to this vibrant state than the Statue of Unity, kite festival, White Rann, Gir National Park, Somnath, Dwarka, Rani Ki Vav, Champaneer-Pavagadh Archaeological park and the UNESCO World heritage city of Ahmedabad. There are so many hidden attractions in this rich state that it will blow your mind. All you have to do is meander along its many offbeat trails to discover these lesser known gems.

Below are 5 such must visit offbeat destinations in Gujarat that span wildlife, art, culture, architecture, handicrafts, temples and more.

1) Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar

'V' for Blackbuck; 'V' for Velavadar

As the name suggests, the Velavadar Blackbuck national park is one of the best places to sight the stunning looking blackbuck antelope. It is also a great place to sight two rare predators, the Indian wolf and the striped hyena. And it is also home to the highest number of lesser floricans in India.

Tucked between two seasonal rivers and with the Gulf of Khambhat to its south, this national park ranges from grassland, shrubland, saline land to tidal mudflats, which attracts a lot of winter visitors, especially harriers, pelicans, demoiselle cranes, Eurasian spoonbills, pied avocets. In total, Velavadar is home to over 120 species of birds.

My favorite experience here has been to the sight of the black male blackbuck with his shimmering coat and spiralling V shaped horns set amidst the golden grasslands.

Best season to visit: The winter months from November through February

Nearest airport: Bhavnagar, 45 kms away

Nearest railway station: Bhavnagar, 45 kms away

Other nearby tourist attractions: Bhavnagar, Diu and Gir National Park

2) Sun Temple, Modhera

Modhera Sun Temple - rich Indian heritage

It precedes the gorgeous UNESCO world heritage site of Konark Sun temple by a good 200 years. And it looks every bit as ornate as Konark Sun Temple, if not more. Built in the 10th century under the reign of the Chalukya kingdom, bears testament to our rich past where we were technologically advanced, excelled in engineering, vaastu, design, astronomy, optics, geography, physics, water harvesting and so much more. Built directly on the Tropic of Cancer, the Modhera Sun temple and the Surya Kund are a treat to the eye, even after over 1000 years. It’s 365 elephants at its base, 52 intricately carved pillars in the sabha mantapa, the 12 statues of the sun god and the different vasstu devatas for each direction, each pay homage to the sun god, the directions and the solar calendar that we follow today. You need to spend a few hours just to come to terms with it.

Best season to visit: August through February

Nearest airport: Ahmedabad

Nearest railway station: Mahesana, though Ahmedabad would have the best connectivity

Other nearby tourist attractions: Rani Ki Vav, 900 year old Patan Patola Saree, 130 year old paper carving heritage

3) Artisan Village of Nirona

Rogan art - the art form kept alive by the Khatri family

One of the handicrafts from this village was gifted to a sitting President of the United States in the White House by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This tiny village located between Bhuj and the White Rann dabbles in two things – agriculture and handicrafts.

Creativity seem to be in the blood of the people of this village. Nirona is not just home to the 300 year old Rogan art painting that was gifted to then president Barrack Obama, it is also home to traditional lacquer artisans and toy makers, family schooled sound engineers who turn scrap material into musical instruments, jewellery artists, wood artisans and more. Each handicraft tells you a beautiful story with a rich history. It is a must visit offbeat destination in Kutch.
Best season to visit: October through February

Nearest airport: Bhuj

Nearest railway station: Bhuj

Other nearby tourist attractions: Bhirandiyara, White Rann, Rann Utsav, Gandhi nu gram,

4) Heritage Town of Siddhpur

Beautiful homes of Heritage Siddpur town, Gujarat

This heritage town was an important part of the Chalukya and Solanki empires between the 10th and the 15th centuries. Its merchants and traders did excellent business with the far east and the west and this riches can be seen through the beautiful homes with Hacienda architecture, the exquisite clock tower in the middle of the bazaar and many other buildings with elements of Hindu, Islam and Hacienda deisgn elements in its architecture.

In addition to these heritage homes and buildings, Siddhpur is also a spiritual destination and a pilgrimage site. There is the 12th century ruins of the Rudra Mahalaya temple that in its hey days boasted of a multi level intricately carved palace temple. Then, there is Bindu Sarovar, a tank mentioned in the Rig Veda, a sacred place to offer Matru-Shadh.

In sum, walking through the lanes of this town transports you into a different era and that feeling is truly special.

Best season to visit: November to February

Nearest airport: Ahmedabad

Nearest railway station: Siddhpur

Other nearby tourist attractions: Rani Ki Vav, Patan

5) Wild Ass Sanctuary, Little Rann of Kutch

The Asiatic Wild Ass at Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India

The Little Rann of Kutch is not as promoted as much as the Greater Rann of Kutch, but it is a treat for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers. While the shallow waters of the Rann and the nearby lakes attract millions of birds during the winter season, the bets (hillocks) and the hard mud flats of the Rann are home to the Wild Asses, a cousin of the African Zebra. Said to touch speeds of 70 kmph, the wild ass finds its home in these inhospitable conditions of the Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch. Lesser flamingos, houbara bustard, the Great Indian bustard, harriers and many other gorgeous and rare species of birds can be found here.

In addition to the rich wildlife, one can experience the salt pans and the life of a salt farmer and a star studded sky, especially in the dry winter months.
Best season to visit: October to February

Nearest airport: Ahmedabad

Nearest railway station: Surendranagar, Dhrangadhra, Halvad, Santalpur and Radhanpur (depends on which side you intend to explore)

Other nearby tourist attractions: Greater Rann of Kutch, Bhuj, Velavadar Blackbuck National Park, Ahmedabad heritage city

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