Travel to Gujarat in India for a sensory journey – and trust me, it’s a real treat!
After my unforgettable 15-day trip to Gujarat, I was left in sheer amazement. I was shocked, stunned, thrilled and shed a tear when it was time to bid farewell to this incredible state. I fell in love with Gujarat so deeply that I’ve occasionally pondered the idea of relocating to its capital, Ahmedabad, and leaving behind my lush Chikmagalur haven!
Our Gujarat Travel Guide is your go-to resource for planning your trip seamlessly. We’ve got all the practical info you need, uncover some hidden gems across the state, and tantalize your taste buds with delectable food stories.
- Why you should visit?
- Best time to travel to Gujarat
- How many days to spend here?
- Is it safe to travel in Gujarat?
- Gujarat is a dry state.
- How to get to Gujarat?
- How to get around in Gujarat by public transport?
- Car Rental in Gujarat
- What to wear in Gujarat?
- Gujarat food
- Places to See in Gujarat
Why you should visit Gujarat?
You travel to Gujarat for its vegetarian food and heritage sites!
It was a paradise for me and my vegetarian parents. The variety of vegetarian food you get in Gujarati cuisine is unlimited. To top it all off, it is super healthy! Their dairy products are to die for.
Gujarat is so vegetarian that, when my carnivorous husband Ashrith went to GIFT City for a Tech conference, he was asked if he prefers veg meals or Jain meals! He was shocked with the choices given but was delighted with his veg meal served.
Then comes the architecture – it is as varied as their food. The circular mud houses in Kutch, the superbly carved Modhera temple, step wells, and the narrow alleys of Old Ahmedabad, not to mention the havelis, are experiences to be had. It’s not just about ancient buildings; the capital city is full of progressive modern architecture and art galleries.
And there is vivid landscape. WIthout a doubt, you will fall in love with white flat slats of Rann of Kutch
How gujarat is different from other states?
Gujarat really stands out from the crowd when you look at it. It is a state located in the west of India bordered with Pakistan.It’s the only state in India that’s got these cool remnants from the Harappan civilization. And sure, you can find tigers in different parts of India, but if you’re after wild lions, Gir in Gujarat is where you gotta be.
It’s like the only place on the planet (outside of Africa, of course) where you can catch a glimpse of these majestic beasts. Plus, Gujarat’s got some pretty nifty handicrafts and those vast white salt deserts that just add to its unique charm.
What is the best thing of Gujarat?
“Gujjus”- the Gujarati people are the best part of Gujarat. You know how Indians are generally in a festive mood most of the time. Well, Gujjus take it to a whole new level. When it comes to celebrating Dasara, nobody does it quite like them.
Those desi Garba dances that go on for all nine nights of Dasara are like attending an international music and dance festival with vibrant Indian touch.Gujjus are known for kindness, and willingness to lend a hand – it’s truly remarkable. Plus, they’ve got quite the business acumen. I mean, they’re probably the largest and shrewdest businessmen in India! They aren’t stingy, but thinks twice or thrice before spending. When they spend, they go all over it.
They even outdid the Jews in Antwerp in the diamond business and brought the diamond cutting industry to Surat. That’s why Surat is now the world’s primary hub for diamond cutting. Gujarat sure knows how to shine, in more ways than one!
Travel to Gujarat for interesting history
Gujarat boasts India’s very first port, a historical gem dating back from 1000 B.C. to 750 B.C. Believe it or not, you can still pay a visit to this ancient port, although it’s now a barren piece of land. Once upon a time, it served as a crucial link between India, Egypt, Bahrain, and Mesopotamia.
In 1608, the ships of the British East India Company made a significant stopover in Surat, Gujarat. This marked the start of an era.
And who could forget the Sabarmati Ashram, the former residence of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife, Kasturba? It’s the very spot where Gandhi launched the iconic Dandi March.
The daring tales of our freedom fighters as they cleverly dodged those stern British officers in the narrow, winding lanes of Old Ahmedabad’s Pol is a slice of history that’s bound to leave you in awe!
If you believe in Hindu mythology, Gujarat’s Dwarka is where Lord Krishna established his kingdom. The beautiful 2,500-year-old temples by the seaside, Gopi Talav where Krishna and his Gopikas performed Raas Leela, Veraval where Krishna was hit by an arrow, and where he took his last breath later – all these are part of your Gujarat travel experience.
Why is Gujarat called land of legends?
Lastly, Gujarat is home to many legends who has helped shaping our India.
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel whose role is vital in unifying the country post colonial era.
- Dadabhai Naoroji: A prominent leader in the Indian National Congress and the first Asian to be elected to the British Parliament.
- Homi J. Bhabha: A nuclear physicist and the founding director of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
- Vikram Sarabhai: The visionary scientist who laid the foundation for India’s space program and is often called the “Father of the Indian Space Program.”
- Morarji Desai: The former Prime Minister of India and a prominent statesman.
- And ofcourse, the world knows Gandhiji – he was born in small town of Porbandar in Gujarat and spent more time in the state.
As a foreigner, if you don’t know any of the above folks, I am sure you would have heard Beyonce dancing at an Indian’s businessman’s daughter’s wedding! It is true! The Reliance industry owner Mukesh Ambani, one of the top 10 richest men in the world lives in Mumbai but is a Gujju.
What is the best time to travel to Gujarat?
Gujarat experiences a hot and dry climate for most of the year, with scorching summers and cooler winters. To enjoy the best of Gujarat, i suggest you to visit from October to March, ensuring you book air-conditioned rooms even in January.
For a deep cultural experience, plan your trip during Navaratri in September or October when Ahmedabad comes alive with Garba nights and delectable food. Another fantastic time to visit is during Rann Utsav, which runs from November to February in the salt flats of Kutch.
I personally enjoyed Gujarat’s delightful weather when I attended Rann Utsav in late February. However, as I departed after 15 days, the sun turned scorching, and hot air enveloped the region.
Keep in mind that if you’re keen on spotting lions in Gir, your best bet is to visit during the summer. During this season, lions are more likely to gather at man-made water ponds, while they have sufficient resources within the forest during the winter.
How long should I travel in Gujarat?
I strongly advise dedicating a minimum of 15 days to explore Gujarat, the fifth-largest state in India. To put its size in perspective, Gujarat is 2.35 times larger than the entire country of Austria! However, if you’re looking for a more condensed experience, consider spending at least 7 days in Gujarat.
Is it safe to travel in Gujarat?
Gujarat is recognized as one of the safest places for women in India. Given the scorching daytime sun, it’s no wonder that many people opt for nighttime food market adventures.
My mom and I decided to head out for evening experiences ; We had an amazing time without any issues. The auto-rickshaw drivers were not only friendly but also refreshingly honest, never taking us on unnecessary detours to make extra money. Our trip was incredibly carefree and thoroughly enjoyable!
You can confidently hit the road and explore Gujarat at night, but avoiding desolate routes after the sun goes down is advisable.
Plus, the ban on alcohol makes Gujarat even more safer place to travel in india for all kind of travellers.
When did Gujarat become a dry state?
Alcohol is banned in Gujarat. Gujarat has prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol since its formation in 1960. Gujarat is one of four dry states in India
Can I carry liquor to Gujarat?
No. You can’t haul booze from other states or smuggle it into Gujarat, whether you’re a local or a visitor. Customs folks might just snag your spirits if you try. Certain licensed clubs and hotels can serve alcohol to members and Indian guests. You can enjoy alcoholic drinks only on-site.
How can tourists consume alcohol in Gujarat?
If you’re a foreigner with a valid visa, you can score yourself a “booze pass” at major airports and a few hotels in Gujarat. This pass grants you the green light to sip on alcoholic drinks, but there’s a catch—it’s for a limited amount during your stay in the state. The pass typically comes with an expiration date, so you might need to renew it if you’re staying longer. For all the nitty-gritty details, you can check out the official website for more info. Cheers!
How to get to Gujarat?
There are three international airports in Gujarat – Ahmedabad, Surat and Dholera. Ahmedabad being the main airport, very likely you land in Ahmedabad if you are coming from outside of India. Ahmedabad connects to famous destinations like Bangkok, London, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur with direct flights.
Getting to Gujarat from other Indian cities.
You may have heard of Indian railways notoriously before. Our railways have evolved and are reliable now. Railways is the cheapest, safest and a convenient way to travel to most parts of Gujarat.
Where to go next from Gujarat?
The next recommended destinations would include Udaipur in Rajasthan or Indore in Madhya Pradesh, which you can reach conveniently by train or flight. Alternatively, you can opt for a road trip from Ahmedabad to Mumbai in Maharashtra. Another exciting option is heading to the nation’s capital, Delhi, which is a 13 to 15-hour train journey from Ahmedabad.
If political circumstances between the two nations was right, it would be possible to travel from Bhuj to Karachi in Pakistan, although this isn’t possible right now.
How to get around in Gujarat by public transport?
Buses and auto-rickshaws are like the heartbeat of Gujarat’s public transport system. The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) is the unsung hero, linking various city spots and even whisking you away to different cities efficiently.
When hopping on city buses, brace yourself for some hustle and bustle, but if you’re in the mood for a smoother, hassle-free ride, just pull out your phone and summon an auto-rickshaw or Uber taxi.
I’d suggest going for auto-rickshaws instead of taxis. They’re my personal favorites when it comes to getting around in India and Thailand. The drivers are often lively, witty, and chatty! As they navigate the streets, they might even point out the homes of famous celebrities and politicians, which can be quite entertaining. It’s always a hoot to hear their take on the city and its residents. Plus, these auto-rickshaw drivers can be your secret weapon for discovering fantastic local restaurants!
Car Rental in Gujarat
If you’re up for a mid-range budget, the best way to go for longer journeys in Gujarat is to hire a car with a driver. I don’t recommend foreign travellers to drive in any state of India.
Or, you can travel through Gujarat by bike like how Ashrith did
Is renting car with driver cheap in Gujarat?
Absolutely, car rental in Gujarat doesn’t have to break the bank like it might in countries like Vienna or Tokyo. We opted for a 15-day trip with an AC Innova car and driver. Typically, they charge around 10 to 15 INR per kilometer, and the drivers expect around 250 to 300 INR per day.
However, I have to admit that we had some issues with the service provided by “Gujarat Trails.” We encountered problems with aggressive driving and an impolite driver who refused to follow our pre-discussed itinerary. Our trip would have been much smoother with a different driver. So, I strongly recommend checking with reliable sources for better options.
What to wear in Gujarat?
In Gujarat, a well-developed modern state with it’s heritage existing still strong. Hence it is good to to pack semi-conservative clothing suitable for hot weather. Men and women alike should opt for smart casuals made of breathable cotton for the heat. Don’t forget comfortable slip-on shoes for easy removal when entering religious sites.
Clothes here are affordable and diverse. Soyou can buy some once you are in the state especially in Ahmedabad, Vadodara and my favourite place for shopping – Kutch.
What clothes do Gujaratis wear?
Gujaratis, like many other Indians, wear a diverse range of clothing depending on the occasion, climate, and personal preferences including western clothing.
Gujarati women wear
Traditional Gujarati women’s attire includes Chaniya Choli and Ghagra, commonly worn during festivals like Navaratri. Chaniya Choli consists of a flared skirt, a blouse, and a matching or contrasting scarf. Ghagra is similar but with a long skirt.
Despite the heat, younger generations embrace modern fashion, wearing skinny jeans with stylish tops even in summer.
For casual wear, women opt for sarees and salwar kameez. Gujarati sarees are vibrant and distinct, draped in an anticlockwise direction. Salwar kameez is popular, often paired with Jhumkas. Younger girls go for long cotton skirts with a casual top, kind of a mix of tradition to meet contemporary needs.
What do Gujarati Men Wear?
Elderly men prefer cotton full-sleeved kurtas with loose white pants, ideal for the heat. For special occasions, they add a “Bandhgala” overcoat. The traditional dhoti ( a long fabric used as bottom wear that goes around the legs ) is draped with a kurta, unlike South India.
Younger generation do wear western clothes. And you will never see men in tank tops and shorts or gym wear wandering on the street.
All about Gujarati Food
The list of “Must-Try Food in Gujarat” can go on tooooooooo long ( can you hear my stomach growling). Gujjus, known for their sweet tooth, excel in desserts, especially Aamras
Although our Gujarati driver, Meeth Bhai, wasn’t good at driving, he knew his food well. He shared a common phrase used in Gujarat: “Surat Nu Jaman Ane Kashi Nu Maran,” which cheekily suggests that “Dining in Surat and dying in Varanasi is the route to heaven” I agree with dining in Surat and somewhat disagree with the latter. (I believe Varanasi is not a place where people come to die, but a place where you can learn to live.)”
10 Things to know about Gujarat Cuisine
- Veggie Haven: Gujarat’s primarily vegetarian, so expect a veggie-packed culinary adventure with deliciously inventive dishes.
- Jain Jolt: As Jain community are in majority, most veggie creations ditch garlic, onions, and fierce spices.
- Sweet Meets Savory: Gujarati food is all about the sweet, sour, and savory tango.
- Mild Spice Magic: While not as fiery as some Indian cuisines, Gujarati fare still boasts cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, fenugreek, and asafoetida for flavor fireworks.
- Bread Bonanza: Say hello to a bread buffet! From thin rotlis to hearty bajra rotla, plus thepla, puris, and bakhris – there’s a bread for every craving.
- Snack Attack: Gujarat’s snack game is strong with dhokla, khandvi, fafda, and khakras ruling the streets. Trust the locals for the best streetfood tips!
- Seasonal Surprises: The cuisine changes with the seasons. Sip on aamraas in summer and savor Undhiyu in the winter chill.
- Sidekicks: Chutneys, pickles, ghee, and yogurt-based delights jazz up your meal with extra flavor layers.
- Festive Feast: Gujarat’s festivals bring their own delicious dishes, like sabudana khichdi and vrat ki kadhi during Navaratri’s Garba nights.
- Healthy Bites: Packed with lentils, grains, and veggies, Gujarati fare is a healthy choice for your taste buds and your body.
What is the breakfast of Gujarat?
In the Rann of Kutch, I was amazed when the lady making rotis told me there are around 60 different dishes for Gujarati breakfast. During my 15-day stay, I never had the same thing twice. Khakra was my favorite; I couldn’t resist it, even with a full stomach!
In general you can find the following food on typical Gujarati Breakfast Table.
- Dabeli Delight: Kutch’s pride and joy – spiced boiled potatoes snuggled between homemade buns, served with a zesty tamarind, garlic, and red chili chutney.
- Panki – Rice and moong dal pancakes, steam-cooked in banana leaves, accompanied by a refreshing coriander chutney. Healthy and heavenly!
- Fafda & Jalebi : Crispy besan goodness meets its sweet soulmate, deep-fried Jalebi (a twist that might remind foreigners of pretzels). A match made in snack heaven!
Traditional Gujarati Meals
So the delicious traditional Gujarati meals come in “Thali”- a collection of several dishes that compliment each other is a common indian food set. Consider like an extended version of Japan’s Bento box.
I wholeheartedly declare “Aamras,” which translates to mango extract as the true hero of a Gujarati meal. Savoring this delight is the quintessential way to conclude your elaborate traditional Gujju feast. As the sun sets, dinner takes a simpler yet equally delicious turn with the comforting companionship of Theplas and an array of flavorful vegetable curries.
Do you get non-veg food in Gujarat?
Yes, you do get non-veg food in Gujarat, but not as much variety as you would find in vegetarian cuisine. Beef is almost hard to find as it is illegal there. But some folks will have their ways to tweak the law to get beef.
Meat is not legally prohibited in Gujarat. However, the sale and display of meat, fish, and eggs on the street is banned in Ahmedabad and at least four other cities. The Muslim community and tribal groups such as the Bohras and Khojas present distinct non-vegetarian delicacies.
Places to See in Gujarat
Gujarat is divided into five regions and each region has it’s own beauty.
- Saurashtra: Arabian Sea coastline and significant places like Dwarka, Lothal.
- Kutch: Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and as a hub for handicrafts and arts.
- North Gujarat: Home to the capital city and fascinating stepwells.
- Central Gujarat: Distinguished by its palaces and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- South Gujarat: A bustling business hub, known for hosting the world’s largest diamond-cutting industry.
Diu and Daman, a union territory with an ethnic Gujarati flavor, is a beach destination where folks from Gujarat go to unwind and enjoy a drink on the weekends. Compared to other Indian beaches in Goa, Lakshadweep and Kerala, the beaches in Diu are neither as picturesque nor as hippie-friendly Plus South Gujrat is more industrial. So, you might consider skipping these two.
Check out the post titled “15 Days Gujarat Travel Itinerary” for more detailed information.”