The frontiers of West India, especially Gujarat has earned its position among the best holiday destinations in India. Owing to all the possible things to do in Gujarat, it will be your favorite place on holiday too. There are a number of unforgettable experiences awaiting you while you explore its rich history, culture, architecture, and more. Maybe cycling around the coastline is a good idea. Or picking up binoculars to spot wildlife. Or, peek in the heritage, tasting the authentic flavors or just exploring the top places to visit in Gujarat.
Top Things to do in Gujarat
- Encounter Asiatic Lions at Gir National Park
- Bow your heads at Somnath Temple
- Let the White Marsh of Salt be Your Backdrop at Rann of Kutch
- Allow Your Jaws to Drop at Statue of Unity
- Enjoy Water and Adventure Rides at Kankaria Lake
- Forget Buckingham Palace and Visit Laxmi Vilas Palace In Vadodara
- Pray to Lord Krishna at Dwarkadhish Temple
- Opt the Principles of Gandhigiri at Sabarmati Ashram
- Hike the Girnar Hill
- Admire the Architectural Brilliance of Rani Ki Vav Stepwell
- Find Your Zen at Akshardham Temple
- Put on Your Binoculars at Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary
- Explore the Roots of Indus Valley Civilization at Lothal
- Admire the Lush Greenery of Sayji Baugh
- Bewitch Your Mind With the Architecture of Jama Masjid
- Get Flabbergasted With the Chalukya Style Craftsmanship of Sun Temple
- Inhale Greenery Like Never Before at Victoria Park
- Be Watchful for Wildlife at Velavadar National Park
- Visit Nalsarovar Lake and Bird Sanctuary
- Enjoy A Cable Car Ride at The Ropeway in Saputara
- Make the Pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya
- Watch the Shimmering Aaina Mahal Palace
- Diu Fort – Reminiscence of Portuguese Heritage in India
- Watch the Octagonal Shaped Guda Mandapam at Hutheesing Temple
- Devor Tooth-Some Non-Veg Food at Bhatiyar Gali
This Gujarat travel guide covers a list of the best things to do in the state that you cannot miss out on.
1. Encounter Asiatic Lions at Gir National Park
Counted among the top national parks of India, Gir is a wildlife haven. Hop on a jeep and ride through the deciduous forest of Gir national park to get a glimpse of the Lions. In fact, it is the only home in India for the fearless Asiatic Lions. Chowsingha (four-horned antelope), hyenas, jackal, Indian Fox are the other animals who share the shelter.
As for the avifauna, the no. goes up to 200 species, along with 40 species of amphibians and reptiles. What’s even interesting to know is that it’s the only national park that has a community living in its perimeter. Surely, it is one of the top things to do in Gujarat.
- Entry Fee: INR 50 (approx.) for Indians, and INR 100 (approx.) for foreigners
- Best Time to Visit Gir National Park: Mid October till mid June
- When the Gir National Park is Closed: Mid July to mid October as southwest monsoon hits
- Safari Timings: 6 AM – 9 AM, 3 PM – 5 PM (subject to change anytime)
- Safari Cost: INR 4,000 (approx.) up to 6 persons for Indians, INR 10,000 (approx.) up to 6 person for foreigners
2. Bow your heads at Somnath Temple
Now it’s time to shift our focus to the religious side by taking a sightseeing tour to the Somnath Temple. Temple hopping is counted as one of the best things to do in Gujarat with family, irrespective of the season. Legend has it that the shrine was built in silver by God Ravi, in gold by the moon god Soma, in wood by Lord Krishna. In the 11th century, the temple was created in stone by the Solanki Rajputs. However, what we see today is the 17th version built on the original site in 1951.
Among the most religious sites in India, it is believed to be the 1st Jyotirlinga shrine of Shiva out of the 12. Another reason pilgrims visit this tourist attraction in Gujarat is for the confluence of Saraswati, Kapila, and Hiranya. Furthermore, legends say that the Moon God worshipped the Shivling here and that’s where the temple got its name, Somnath.
- Darshan Timings: 6 AM – 9 PM
- Entry Fees: Free for all, but 25 INR (approx.) per person for Sound and Light Show
- Sound and Light Show Timings: 8 PM – 9 PM
- Ideal Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
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3. Let the White Marsh of Salt be Your Backdrop at Rann of Kutch
Meeting with the salt farmers of the Rann of Kutch except monsoon is one of the unique things to do in Gujarat. It goes without saying that Rann of Kutch is a rare beauty, and even travellers from across the world agree to this. This famous tourist attraction of Gujarat is a typical mix of sand and salt, spread over 7500 sq. km. Rare beauty is listed among the largest salt deserts in the world. It lies between the Arabian Sea and the Thar Desert. Moreover, it offers a vision not to miss during the night.
Therefore, the best time to plan your vacation in Gujarat to visit the Rann is between October to March. It is the occasion of Rann Utsav, the colorful celebration and not to forget it’s the best time to sight migratory flamingoes. In other words, a visit to the Rann of Kutch is among the best things to do in Gujarat.
P.S- Prior permission for taking a car or bike to the Rann of Kutch is required. Also, one needs to obtain easily obtained permits online as the Rann of Kutch area is close to the Pakistan border.
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4. Allow Your Jaws to Drop at Statue of Unity
Admire the jaw-dropping height of the Statue of Unity in search of astonishing things to do in Gujarat with family. It is the world’s tallest statue with a height of 182 m flanked on the Narmada River and close to Sardar Sarovar Dam. It is roughly four times bigger than the Statue of Unity. In no time, it joined the list of top places to see in Gujarat.
A visit to this historical marvel is a great way to pay homage to the visionary leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who brought together the 562 princely states of India under the democratic umbrella after independence. The Statue of Unity has five sections, out of which one is a museum, garden, and observation deck.
- Location: It is located on Sadhubet Island on the Narmada River
- Visiting Hours: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM from Tuesday to Sunday, Monday is closed
- Statue of Unity Ticket Price: ₹ 120 (approx.) for adults, ₹ 60 (approx.) for children
- Ideal Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
- Observation Deck Ticket Price: ₹ 300 for adults, ₹ 200 for children
5. Enjoy Water and Adventure Rides at Kankaria Lake
Finding its place among the top tourist destinations in Gujarat, Kankaria Lake lets you rejoice in the simple pleasures. It is located in Ahmedabad, the erstwhile capital of Gujarat and when you are, let your kids paddle the boats, enjoy the hot air balloon ride, and hop on the toy train. Indulging in the kids’ friendly activities at Kankaria Lake is counted as the best thing to do in Gujarat with kids.
Kankaria Lake is an oasis of bliss to relax after a rather chaotic day. Yes, that’s exactly where this lake which exhibits 34 sides like a polygon is settled. The lake was built under the rule of Sultan Qutb-ud-Din Ahmad Shah II in 1451 and has been a major attraction since then. Visit here in the evening and be a part of the crowd who come here to enjoy attractions like kids city, toy train, zoo, water rides, food stalls, balloon rides and more.
Besides, you can plan a visit here in December and be a part of the Kankaria Carnival which takes place over a week. Cultural performances and other activities are a major highlight of the carnival.
- Opening Timings: 4 AM – 8 AM, 9 AM – 10 AM
- Opening Days: Except Monday, it remains open on the rest of the 6 days
- Entry Fee: Free for joggers till 8 AM while ₹ 1 per person for education trips, free for Senior Citizens, ₹ 10 per person for children, and ₹ 25 per person for adults
6. Forget Buckingham Palace and Visit Laxmi Vilas Palace In Vadodara
Wondering why? Well, Laxmi Vilas Palace is roughly four times Buckingham Palace’s size and is now divided into various sections, a museum for tourists. Exploring the sections for tourists at this grand royal palace is one of the best things to do in Gujarat. This royal palace belongs to the Gaekwads of Vadodara. A visit to this jaw-dropping attraction will allow you to see the largest collection of stained glasses. One must explore the golf course, museum, and zoo available onsite.
P.S – The whole palace has no photography zone when you enter.
- Entry Fee of Palace: INR 150 (approx.)
- Museum fees: INR 60 (approx.) per person
- Opening Day : All the 6 days ,except Mondays
- Opening Timings: 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM (timings may differ at the festivals)
7. Pray to Lord Krishna at Dwarkadhish Temple
Gujarat opens doors to the pristine Dwarkadhish Temple located at Dwarka for the dear worshippers of Lord Krishna. Dwarkadhish Temple, also known as Jagat Temple is believed to be built by the grandson of Lord Krishna, Vajranbha. This Hindu temple is swarmed by pilgrims all-round the year for it is a part of the Char Dham Yatra. Therefore, a visit to the holy temple is among the top things to do in Gujarat.
According to legend, Lord Krishna built Dwarka on a piece of land that was found in the sea. Later when Durvasa, a Hindu saint came to meet Krishna and Rukmini and wished to visit their palace. As they walked towards the palace, Rukmini felt tired and asked Lord Krishna for some water. Lord Krishna harrowed a hole from where the Ganga River started flowing. Upon watching all this, the saint in his rage cursed Rukmini to stay at the same place. The Rukmini temple we see today is exactly where the queen stood.
- Darshan Timings: 6:30 AM – 01:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 9:30 PM
- Ideal Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
- Advice: The temple is no photography zone, and electronic gadgets are not allowed
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8. Opt the Principles of Gandhigiri at Sabarmati Ashram
Get inspired from the principles of the Gandhigiri at Sabarmati Ashram in the hunt of best things to do in Gujarat. Sabarmati Ashram, also known as Gandhi Ashram is the place where Mahatma Gandhi stayed for 12 years. In fact, this wasn’t the first ashram in India where Gandhi stayed, rather it was Jivanlal Desai’s Kochrab Bungalow. By the time it was 1917, Gandhi realized that he needs a bigger place to continue various activities like animal husbandry and farming. And that’s when he came to Ashram close to the River Sabarmati and was named after the same.
It was from here, he started the famous Dandi March (Salt Satyagraha) on 12 March 1930. At present, the ashram houses a museum by the name Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya. Other attractions inside this ashram are Vinoba Kutir, a cottage with its name from Acharya Vinoba Bhave; Nandini, which is a guest house; Magan Niwas and Upasana Mandir.
Opening Timings: 8 AM – 6.30 PM
Entry Fee: Free of Cost for all
Sabarmati Ashram Events That Held Annually: 30th January, Gandhi’s Death Anniversary, 26th January – Flag Hoisting for Republic Day
9. Hike the Girnar Hill
Touted to be the highest point in Gujarat, Girnar Hill on the far end of Junagadh is a famous religious place for Hindu and Jain devotees. Hiking the Girnar Hill at the Hindu and Jain Temples summit is among the most popular things to do in Gujarat’s Junagadh region. Start your trekking early in the morning before sunrise to reach the base of the hill via Tuk Tuks.
Now that you have started thinking about pushing your limits in Gujarat, what more is to be known is that it takes around 9999 steps to reach the top, really!The best time to visit Girnar for a thrilling time is between September and March. Early morning is a good time to start trekking and exploring the temples.
- Elevation of the Girnal Hill: 3,672 feet (approx.)
- When to Start Trekking: Reach the foot of the hills around 4:30 AM
- Estimated Steps to Reach the Summit of Girnar Hill: 10,000 steps (approx.)
10. Admire the Architectural Brilliance of Rani Ki Vav Stepwell
Built in the 11th century by Queen Udayamati of Solanki Dynasty in the memory of her husband, Rani Ki vav is one of the best places to visit in Gujarat. The charming UNESCO World Heritage Site in India deserves every praise. This intricately-carved stepwell was given the honor in 2014, years after its excavation.
Also known as the Queen’s Stepwell, this tourist attraction in Gujarat sits close to the River Saraswati and is sculpted as an inverted temple below the surface of the earth. Moreover, the site is a marvel divided into 7 levels, 4th level possessing the tank. The rest of the site has 500 major sculptures and 1000 minors which exhibit a mix of secular and mythological imagery. Indulge in the cultural program held at this place during December or January to nosh on local cuisine and shopping experience.
- Opening Timings: 8 AM – 6 PM
- Entry Fee: Rs. 40 for Indians and Rs. 600 for Foreigners
- Ideal Duration: 1 hour (approx.)
11. Find Your Zen at Akshardham Temple
Dressed with the best pink Sandstone from Rajasthan is Akshardham Temple, the spiritual symbol of Gujarat. Settled in the district of Gandhinagar, it is a Hindu Temple that sits in the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple built over a period of 13 years. The temple complex pays homage to Bhagwan Swaminarayan who is worshipped as Parabrahma (Highest Brahman). Along with that, the temple gives tribute to the teachings and life of Lord Swaminarayan who turned around the central Hindu practices.
Besides, Akshardham takes its inspiration from Yogiji Maharaja, who was the fourth successor of Lord Swaminarayan. The temple is a famous pilgrimage site that is designed with traditional Hindu architecture. For kids and adults alike, evenings are graced with a Light and Sound Show. Watch the colourful spectrum of the lights when you attend the ethereal light and sound show for 45 minutes (approx.).
- Opening Timings: 9:30 AM – 7:30 PM
- Light and Sound Show Timings: 7:30 PM (approx.)
- Entry Fee: Free of cost but ₹ 90 (approx.) for adults and ₹ 60 (approx.) for kids
12. Put on Your Binoculars at Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary
Capturing the Avi-fauna at Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary is one of the best things to do in Gujarat for nature lovers. If you have a penchant for nature, take a jeep or car safari inside the Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary and don’t forget to take your binoculars. The place is close to Jamnagar, around 16 km and houses around 220 species of birds, out of which migratory birds are the highlight of winter travel.
Moreover, Khijadiya is counted among the best places to visit in Gujarat for its unique diversity of ecosystems. This is because the sanctuary is surrounded by salty marshlands and freshwater lakes on the other. Further, paddle boats, watchtowers, and trails are present in the Khijadiya to make your bird watching experience more enjoyable.
P.S.: Additional charges for camera of around INR 200 would be imposed
- Opening Timings: 6.30 AM – 5 PM
- Entry Fee: Rs. 40 for Indians, Rs 550 for Foreigners
- Safari Charges (Upto 6 people): INR 400 (approx.) for Indians and INR 3,500 (approx) for foreigners
13. Explore the Roots of Indus Valley Civilization at Lothal
If transporting yourself back to 5000 years ago sounds exciting to you, activate your history mode in Lothal. Explore this ancient city whose roots were associated with the Indus Valley Civilization. All thanks to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) who excavated the site between 13 February and 19 May 1960 and brought to notice the world’s earliest known dock.
And that’s not where it ends, as the dock is believed to be the finest work of maritime architecture. Moreover, during the excavation, the archaeologists also found a township, a marketplace, a mound, and the dock.Lothal was excavated close to the Sabarmati River and is believed to be a star among the trade centers which dealt in gems, beads and valuable ornaments. All of which were traded to West Asia and Africa.
14. Admire the Lush Greenery of Sayji Baugh
Pushing off to the next destination on the blog, we come across the Sayaji Baug, one of the largest public parks in West India. Gifted by Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III to the residents of Vadodara in 1879, the park stretches over 113 acres. On a visit here, you will be surrounded by a rejuvenating blanket of flora, 98 species so as to say.
The best time to visit Sayaji Baug is an early morning for strolling or walking through the pleasing environs. That being said, the park also shares its land with the Sayaji Baug Zoo, Sardar Patel Planetarium, and Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery.
- Entry Price: Free for the park
- Park Timings: 5 AM – 9 PM
- Museum and Art Gallery Timings: 10.30 AM – 5.30 PM
- Zoo Timings: 8 AM to 11.30 AM, 2.30 PM to 6 PM, Except Thursdays
- Toy Train Timings: 10 AM – 8 PM, Closed on Thursday
15. Bewitch Your Mind With the Architecture of Jama Masjid
Pulling in pilgrims from 1424, yes that’s when Jama Mosque was built in the city of Ahmedabad.Flanked by the eastern side of the Sabarmati River, a day trip to this historical marvel bills itself as one of the best things to do in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad town.
This shrine is revered as the largest mosque built in the Indian subcontinent during that era. Each brick of yellow sandstone used in making the mosque portrays the glorious efforts of Emperor Sultan Ahmed Shah. Besides, it is also said the pilgrimage site was carved out for the personal use of the Sultans.
Note: During Eid, the Mosque gets crowded, so visit accordingly.
- Opening Timings: 6 AM – 8 PM every day
- Ideal Duration: 45 minutes (approx.)
16. Get Flabbergasted With the Chalukya Style Craftsmanship of Sun Temple
To find the perfect solace, there is no other best place of worship in Gujarat than Sun Temple. As you enter the Modhera village which is a part of the Mehsana district, you will be instantly pulled in by the charm of this temple which revers Sun Lord, Surya. The temple was gifted to the city by Bhima I of the Chaulukya dynasty after 1026-27 CE.
What travelers need to know about the temple is that no worship is offered at the temple in present times. Rather it is turned into a monument that is taken care of by ASI. If you visit this tourist attraction then do explore the Sabhamandapa, the assembly hall, Gudhamandapa, the shrine hall and Kunda, the reservoir.
- Temple Timings: 6 am – 6 pm
- Ideal Duration: 1.5 hours (approx.)
- Entry Ticket: 15 INR (approx.) for Indians, 200 INR (approx.) for foreigners
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17. Inhale Greenery Like Never Before at Victoria Park
Spread over an area of 500 acres, the Victoria Park in Bhavnagar is another famous tourist attraction in Gujarat. It is basically a reserved forest area which is also India’s oldest man-made forests. On your visit here, your heart will fill with joy at the sight of diverse flora and fauna the forest holds close. There are over 422 species of fauna and 100 species of flora.
Come here early in the morning and feel a refreshing vibe taking over you. With its close proximity to the Gaurishankar Lake, the park poses as a home to migratory birds. All of which makes bird watching such a heartwarming experience.
- Opening Timings: 6 AM – 9 PM, 4 PM – 7 PM
- Entry Fee: Rs. 20 per person (approx.)
18. Be Watchful for Wildlife at Velavadar National Park
Another addition to the list of things to do in Gujarat is a visit to the Velavadar National Park. It is a complete paradise for wildlife lovers as it is home to various flora and fauna species. What’s interesting to know is that Velavadar was formerly the hunting grounds of the Maharaja of the princely state of Bhavnagar. With the coming years, the national park was started in 1976 snuggled close to the Gulf of Khambat, in the Bhal region of Saurashtra.
The national park is home to blackbucks, Macqueen’s bustards, wolves, jackals, hyenas, and lesser floricans, with foxes, and jungle cats.If you wanna witness wildlife in Bhavnagar, go and visit Velavadar National Park, as it is a must-do thing for wildlife lovers.
- Entry Fee: INR 30 (approx.) for Indians, and INR 300 (approx.) for foreigners
- Best Time to Visit Velavadar National Park: Mid October till mid-June
- When the Velavadar National Park is Closed: Mid July to mid-October as southwest monsoon hits
- Safari Timings: 6:30 AM – 6:30 PM (subject to change anytime)
19. Visit Nalsarovar Lake and Bird Sanctuary
Stretching over an area of 120.82-sq-km, Nalsarovar is the largest wetland bird sanctuary in Gujarat. Travelers who come here are stunned by the rich number of avifaunal species that take shelter under the sanctuary. The lake, on the other hand, is present in the low-lying areas between East Saurashtra and Central Gujarat. It is also a representation of a sea link that existed in the yesteryears between Little Rann and the Gulf of Khambat.
The number of avifaunal birds goes up to 200 here, out of which most of them are migratory birds who come from far ends like Siberia. Join the other travelers in the morning and evening time and get a mindblowing view of the sanctuary donned by the birds.
- Opening Timings: 6:00 am – 5:30 pm
- Boating Price Starts at: INR 220 per person (approx.)
- Entry Fee: INR 40 per person (approx.)
20. Enjoy A Cable Car Ride at The Ropeway in Saputara
Saputara is a treasure of its own cuddled on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border in the district of Dang. It is a hill station that is blessed with a cheerful climate that makes a tour of its waterfalls, gardens, and mountains a wonderful experience. As per many legends, it is believed that Lord Rama of the Hindu epic Ramayana spent 11 years in the verdant forest of Saputara. Travelers who come to Saputara don’t forget to seek blessings from the idol of serpent placed on the banks of Sarpaganga River.
Sunset Point, Step Garden, Echo Point, Valley View Point, Vansda National Park, and Pandava Caves are some of the major attractions of Saputara.
21. Make the Pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya
Etched to the banks of the River Shetrunji are the sacred hills of Shatrunjaya, one of the top tourist places in Gujarat. The hills are considered a popular pilgrimage site with over 900 Jain temples carved out of marble. Shatrunjaya sits close to the city of Palitana in Bhavnagar district and the site is considered pious by the Svetambara Jains. It is said that the hills were hallowed when the first Tirthankara of Jainism, Rishabha preached in the temple atop the hill.
Furthermore, Shatrunjaya is believed to be sanctified by 23 of 24 Jain Tirthankaras. The abode of Rishabhanatha is the most revered out of all and is reached by climbing 3500 steps.
22. Watch the Shimmering Aaina Mahal Palace
Your vacation in Gujarat is not complete without a visit to Aina Mahal, the 18th-century palace in Bhuj. This tourist attraction is one of the astounding marvels of Bhuj carved out of the finest marble walls, glass and bronze lace. Aina Mahal was built in 1761 by Rao Lakhpatji. Also known as ‘Hall of Mirrors’, the palace shares the northeast corner of the Hamirsar Lake and is at a walkable distance from Bhuj.
Due to the 2001 earthquake, Aina Mahal was brought down to shackles and now stands in ruins. Thanks to the restoration process, a part of the palace now houses a museum which has bedrooms, music room, paintings, palanquins and more.
- Opening Timings: 9:00 am– 10:00 PM pm 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
- Entry Fee: INR 10 per person (approx.)
- Ideal Duration: 1 hour (approx.)
23. Diu Fort – Reminiscence of Portuguese Heritage in India
There is no better way to steer back to the time Portuguese ruled than visiting the Diu Fort in Gujarat. Situated on the west coast of India, this tourist spot in Gujarat was built during the colonial rule of Portuguese with sandstone and lime mortar. Diu Fort dates back to 1535 and was strengthened till 1546. You will actually love the architecture and the view of the surrounding peaceful region.
Moreover, the fort shares its land with three churches namely the St. Paul’s Church, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the St. Thomas Church. Along with that, there are stone/wooden Havelis and bungalows within the fort.
24. Watch the Octagonal Shaped Guda Mandapam at Hutheesing Temple
Hutheesing Temple is another pride symbol of Ahmedabad and is indeed one of the best known Jain Temples in India. The double storied temple was constructed in 1848 and houses the main deity is the 15th Tirthankara, Lord Dharamnath carved out of marble. There are 11 deities in the main temple.
- Opening Timings: 8 AM – 5 PM
- Entry Fee: Free of cost
25. Devor Tooth-Some Non-Veg Food at Bhatiyar Gali
Looking for a place to spend the evening trying drool-worthy food? Head straight to Bhatiyar Gali. As you enter the narrow alley, all you will be surrounded by is the aroma of Mughlai dishes prepared at the stalls. The place is famous for its 600 years old tradition of making non-vegetarian dishes and delighting visitors. Tava-Biryani, Bera Samosa, Chicken Angaar, Bheja Masala, Keema Samosas, Bhuna Gosht, spicy Skewers charcoal-grilled and Chaap Fry are some of the must-try dishes
Suggested Read: Best Gujarati Cuisines
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