Jewel of Western India

The land of Mahatma Gandhi, where Lord Krishna migrated from Mathura, is still a haven – for holidaymakers.

12/2/2016 2:10:13 PM
written By : Abhijit Nag Print

Gujarat is a haven for holidaymakers. With a long coastline lapped by the Arabian Sea, forested hilly tracts and fertile plains in the east, vast tidal marshland and arid desert in the west, the Jewel of Western India has beautiful beaches, lush forests, hill stations and vast sandy expanses for picture-perfect holidays.

An ancient land inhabited from time immemorial, Gujarat has sites dating back to Indus Valley Civilisation. Incidentally, Gujarat gets its name from  “Gujaratta” meaning the land of Gurjars, who passed through Punjab and settled in parts of western India.  

Ahmedabad, the state capital till 1970, is a good place to begin a tour. Visit the Sabarmati Ashram founded by Mahatma Gandhi. See the first mosques built in the Indo-Saracenic style, the richly carved temples and step-wells dating from the 11th century. Just north is the ancient capital of Patan and the Solanki sun temple at Modhera, while south is Lothal, a relic of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

Gandhinagar, the state capital since 1970, is also known as the “Garden City” for its greenery. Its main tourist attraction is the huge, modern Akshardham Swaminarayan Temple built in pink stone and white marble.

Jamnagar, the Jewel of Kathiawar, is on the shores of the Gulf of Kutch. Legend associates the area with Lord Krishna, who migrated from Mathura and established his kingdom at Dwarka. The Jams of Jamnagar trace their ancestry to Krishna’s Yadav clan. The famous cricketer, Jam Ranjitsinhji, who ruled Jamnagar early in the 20th century, laid out the city out on a western model. 

Steeped in history and culture, Junagadh is the Soul of Saurastra. Nestled at the foot of Mt Girnar, is an amazing amalgam of the old and new where bustling bazaars and winding narrow streets alternate with monuments that span two millennia. The Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is the only remaining habitat of the pure Asiatic Lion.

Rajkot, the former capital of the princely state of Saurashtra, skirts the Aji river and sprawls with regal architecture . The house where Gandhi spent his early years in Rajkot is now a musueum. The district is also famous for its fine silverwork, Bandhani, Patola saris and beadwork. 

4 comments for “Jewel of Western India”

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