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Forts and Monuments in Gujarat

The magnificent forts of Gujarat and splendid historical monuments are testaments to the majestic Indian architecture. However, there are valid reasons why the terms history, heritage, culture, and traditions define the real glory of Gujarat. India’s fifth-largest state by area, Gujarat, has roughly 350 (approx.) protected monuments in the form of temples, ruined forts, palaces, museums, and more! Out of 200 (approx.) holds national importance. All of them are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Gujarat is a powerhouse of rich history. When a state has its roots in the stone age settlement of the Indus Valley Civilization, it is evident that it has a vibrant past that glorifies the testimony of the erstwhile rulers of Gujarat. Several dynasties like the Guptas, Chalukyas, Jadeja, Palas, and Marathas have commissioned their forts and palaces throughout Gujarat. These empires have left behind a mark as monuments and fortifications in Gujarat. Guess what? Only a few Indian states are well-known for their forts, and Gujarat is among them.

From Dwarka to Junagadh, from Vadodara to Bhuj, this effervescent state of India is dipped in rich history. When you explore the best forts and monuments in Gujarat, every nook and corner speaks to Gujarat’s richness and royal grandeur. Gujarat forts and monuments constitute a very significant part of the several types of tourist attractions in Gujarat. It would not be an overstatement to say; that with these in the backdrop, the beauty of Gujarat has reached a unique height.

Today, modern structures standing amidst the old ones appear to exemplify the concept of inheritance and moving ahead with time, carrying old values along. The combination of old and new has precisely beguiled every heart and mind. Honestly speaking, this combination speaks about the grandeur of Gujarat and presents some of the sublime values of India, for which it is known in the entire world. On a very close look at Gujarat forts and monuments, you will find that most of these sites showcase a blend of Hindu, Islamic, and European architectural styles.

Here is the list of must-visit forts and monuments in Gujarat you can visit all the year round:

1. Statue Of Unity

Dubbed as Gujarat's tribute to the nation. Statute of Unity is hailed as the world’s tallest statue, with a height of 597 feet (182 meters). This gigantic monument of Gujarat is dedicated to the statesman and independence activist Vallabhbhai Patel because he was the face behind uniting the 562 princely states to build the Republic of India. The Statue of Unity is towered over the Narmada River and gives sweeping views of the Vindhyachal and Satpura Hills along with Sardar Sarovar Dam.

The height of this newly built monument in Gujarat is around four times New York’s Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Unity is divided into five sections, of which only three open to the public, including a museum, exhibition area, and Memorial Garden on the first floor. Zone 2 extends up to 149 meters to the statue’s thigh. While zone 3 has featured a viewing gallery at 153 m. Visitors must visit the galley at the statue's chest at 500 feet height via the escalator.

One can also take a helicopter ride to enjoy the bird-eye views of the Statue of Liberty, Vindyanchal, and Satpura Hills. Reach the observation deck via high-speed elevators to get a commanding view of the river, dam, and hills. The laser light and Sound Show after 7:30 PM, every day except Monday, invokes patriotism in visitors.

  • 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
  • Helicopter Ride: ₹ 2,900 (approx.) per person for 10 minutes ride

2. Shree Dwarkadhish Temple

The list of most visited monuments in Gujarat couldn’t be completed without mentioning Shree Dwarkadhish Temple. It is dedicated to the King of Dwarka, Lord Krishna, and is visited annually by millions of visitors because this temple constitutes the Bada Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. Also called Jagat Mandir, the architecture of the Hindu Temple is inspired by the Chaulakhya and Solanki styles. Did we mention that Dwarkadhish Temple is home to one of the four Shankaracharya Peethas – Sharda Peetha?

The temple is located on the western tip where the River Gomti meets the Arabian Sea. This rare ancient monument has a daily rhythm with clockwork precision, but celebration vibes increase 10X fold in August annually during Janmashtami. The temple's height is approximately 25 stories from the modern building. One can enter the temple via the north and south entrance called Moksha Dwar and Swarg Dwar.

  • 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.

3. Laxmi Vilas Palace

This Indian Palace is four times the size of Buckingham Palace and is sprawled across 700 acres of land. Nestled in the heart of Vadodara, Laxmi Vilas Palace was commissioned by the commanding architect, Major Charles Mant, 126 years (approx.) back and is still proudly standing in its grandeur. This supreme monument in Vadodara in Ahmedabad was built under the rule of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890 and is now a royal residence of the Gaekwads of Baroda, which resides on the second floor.

Visit the Laxmi Vilas Palace and get enamored at the entrance with the big golf course. Upon the entrance, this swanky palace displays the stunning craftsmanship of Indo Saracenic architecture amalgamated with a fusion of Gothic elements on its minarets, arches, and domes. There are 8 main sections inside Laxmi Vilas Palace that allow you to explore the royalty and this magnificent piece of architecture in Vadodara in Gujarat.

  • Location: Vadodara
  • Distance from Ahmedabad: 111 kilometers/2.5 hours (approx.)
  • Opening Hours of Laxmi Vilas Palace: 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM (approx.)
  • Entry Ticket of Laxmi Vilas Palace: ₹ 225 (approx.) per person for Indians, and ₹ 400 (approx.) per person for foreigners
  • Attractions of Laxmi Vilas Palace: Darbar Hall, Elephant Hall/Hathi Hall, NavLakhi Step Well, Italian Patio, Armoury Hall, The Royal Staircase, Royal Gardens, Golf Course.

4. Adalaj Stepwell

One of the best historical landmarks of Gujarat near Ahmedabad in Adalaj Village, this stepwell showcases fine Indian craftsmanship work. Commissioned in 1498 in the memory of Rana Veer Singh by his beloved wife, this five-story stepwell is an impressive example of Islamic architecture with carvings of Hindu deities on the walls. One can enter via three entrances of this stepwell. You can reach the bottom of the stepwell via three staircases from the first floor and watch the octagonal shape of the Adalaj Stepwell from the grounds while looking up above your head.

  • Location: Adalaj Village
  • Distance from Ahmedabad: 19 kilometers/30 minutes (approx.)
  • Opening Timings: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Entry Fee: Free of cost for all
  • Ideal Duration: 1 hour (approx.)

5. Lothal

Another fascinating historical site of Gujarat is Lother. It has ancient ruins dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization period. On a day trip from Ahmedabad, tourists will love touring the ruins of the Lothal, which were discovered in 1964. Stroll through the residential complexes, dockyards, and burial grounds to get a sneak peek into the living environment of the Indus Valley Civilization. There is one archeological museum to visit, which houses painted pottery, bronze objects, and terracotta ornaments.

  • Location: Bhāl region of Gujarat near Ahmedabad
  • Distance from Ahmedabad: 79 kilometers/2 hours (approx.)
  • Ideal Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
  • Best Time to Visit: Winters, early summers, monsoon

6. Bhadra Fort

Bhadra Fort in Ahmedabad is one of the most visited forts by international travelers coming to Gujarat. The fort sprawls over 44 acres of lush green landscape and houses Bhadrakali Temple. Bhadra Fort houses the famous Siddi Syed Mosque on the eastern banks of the Sabarmati River. This magnificent fort in Gujarat was built by Ahmad Shah I in 1411 A.D. and was commissioned in the old walled city of Ahmedabad.

Inside the Bhadra Fort, explore Nagina Baugh, and visit the east side of the fort to explore Maidan-Shah. Indo-Saracenic architecture is the hallmark of the excellence of Bhadra Fort, which has 14 towers, and eight gates.

  • Location: Old Walled City, on the eastern banks of the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad
  • Ideal Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
  • Entry Fee: Free for all

7. Uparkot Fort

Uparkot Fort in the Junagadh district of Gujarat displays remnants dating to 2,300 years back. Thus, Uparkot Fort is one of the must-visit forts in Gujarat. Legends of this fort say that Mauryan emperor Chandragupta built it in 319 BC. The fort has been besieged around 16 times, and since it is located on Girnar Hill, tourists get superb selfie backdrops. Inside the walls of this fort are a mosque, old Buddhist caves, and two stepwells made from solid rock.

  • Location: Junagadh
  • Visiting Hours: 6 AM - 7 PM
  • Entry Fee: ₹ 5 (approx.) per person for Indians, and ₹ 100 (approx.) per person for foreigners
  • Guide Fee: ₹ 200 (approx.) for a few minutes

8. Songadh Fort

Visit this trekking fort in Gujarat’s Songadh town while traversing through mud trails or forests. Songadh Fort is situated at an elevation of 112 m (approx.) above sea level. Therefore, easy trekking to the fort is rewarding as the summit gives tourists sweeping views of the lush greenery and town.

Songadh Fort is a lesser-known trek but a must-visit one if you want to get respite from the city’s madness and go through the flora and fauna-enriched trek on weekends. Inside the fort, there is Dargah and Mata Durga Temple. Those tourists living in and around Surat must plan a day trip to Songadh Fort on weekends.

  • Location: Songadh near Surat
  • Songadh Trek distance: 2 kilometers (approx.)
  • SongadhTrek duration: 30-35 minutes (approx.)
  • Best Time to Visit: Through the year but be careful in monsoon because of the leeches
  • Ideal Duration to Explore Fort: 2 hours (approx.)

9. Pavagadh Fort

Pavagadh Fort is a hilltop fort located in Champaner and was once the royal ground of the Solanki Kings. Vanraj Chavada, the Rajput King, laid the foundation of this 13th-century fort. Most of the fort is in ruins, but some sections still exhibit Nagara-style architecture. One can enter Pavagadh Fort via three main gates, including Atak Gate, Machi Gate, and Budhiya Gate, without any entry fee all year round.

  • Distance from Ahmedabad: 146 kilometers/2.5 hours (approx.)
  • Ideal Duration: 1 hour (approx.)
  • Nearby Attractions to Explore: Mahakali Temple, Jami Masjid, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

10. Bhujia Fort

Positioned on the Bhujia Dungar Hill, Rao Goji commissioned Bhujia Fort in 1715 to ward off the Mughals and Rajputs to protect their territory. The fort is well known for its Bhujang Nag Temple. This ancient hill fort of Gujarat is in the Kutch region, sliced outside a few kilometers from Bhuj. There is no entry fee to reach the fort, and the best day hours to hike the 200 steps to reach the summit are sunrise and sunset.

  • Visiting Hours: 6 AM - 6 PM
  • Trek Difficulty: Easy
  • Ideal Duration: 1.5 hours

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Q: How many monuments are there in Gujarat?

Ans. There are 203 monuments of national importance in Gujarat, recognized by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Q: Which is the heritage city in Gujarat?

Ans. Ahmedabad is the best city to witness Gujarat’s heritage. The city has many UNESCO-crowned monuments, luring national and international tourists.