Gujarat is a state in the west of India, with a surprising number of unique sights. Despite its close proximity to tourist hotspot Rajasthan, it is rarely frequented by international tourists.
Here are a view of the things to see / do in Gujarat:
Asiatic Lions in Gir
Gir National Park is now the only place left in the world to see Asiatic Lions in the wild. In other words, if you want to see a wild Asiatic Lion, you have to go to Gujarat! They are truly beautiful creatures and well worth the visit.
If you are an international tourist the permit / jeep cost will seem high (in comparison to domestic tourists) but it is actually fairly reasonable when you compare it to African safaris.
There are a limited number of permits for each day / time slot, and it can be tricky to get your hands on one. If your finances are plentiful, you can pay someone to arrange it all for you. If you’re on a budget, then you will have to join the queue at 2am like I did – more on that in another post!
It’s definitely worth the hassle. The lions are stunning and each safari has a good 50:50 chance of a sighting. A lioness came within 10 metres of my jeep – something I will never forget.
Diu is a coastal town to the south of Gujarat and a former Portuguese colony. As a result the streets are awash with brightly coloured buildings and the food a delicious selection of seafood.
The beaches aren’t great for swimming (due to some problems with broken glass), but they are quiet! This is a luxury which is often hard to come by in India. So if you’ve been travelling around for a while, and crave some tranquility, head to Diu.
There is also some great food. The best being O’Coqueiro, where you can get a delicious fish and potato dinner for less than 200 rupees (£2). Then head to Ram Vijay for a dessert of handmade ice cream. It is possible to get traditional Gujarati food too, but if you need a break from the spice Diu is perfect.
Best visited from Bhuj, the white desert is a phenomenal sight. Also known as the Great Rann of Kutch, the white desert is a large salt marsh, and considered one of the biggest in the world. You can arrange a tour with travel agents in Bhuj for an easy trip to marvel at the white wonderland.
Jamnagar is a typical Indian town, and has not been tainted by the tourist industry. This means you can go to the fruit market and get it at right price with no difficulty (yes even if you’re white!). You can wander round without being hassled and see what day to day life is like. The restaurants are affordable and the lake area is under development, meaning it’s likely to be a lovely to place hang out in the near future. There are also some beautiful Jain temples in the centre of the town.
Gujarat was one of my favourite states in India. It’s an easy step off the beaten track, with incredibly rewarding sights and friendly people – definitely worth a visit.