Straddling the mighty Arabian Sea and the arid desert plains of
Rajasthan, Gujarat has a very distinctive culture despite the fact
that it is far less travelled than the neighbouring states of
Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Its landscape comprises fertile
plains, forested hills, tidal marshland and desert plains, not to
mention the affable island of Diu.
The capital city Ahmedabad offers superb examples of
Indo-Islamic architecture and is well known as the main residence
of Mahatma Gandhi where he spent twelve years at the Sabarmati
Ashram. Move beyond the chaotic capital and you can find many
diverse and fascinating gems.
Sacred Jain and Hindu pilgrimage sites scatter the landscapes
and hilltops. The stunning, eleventh century Sun Temple in
Modhera, is considered to be the finest surviving example of
Solanki architecture and The Dwarkadish Temple shrouded in legend,
is famed as Krishna's capital. Just outside of Palitana is
the holy hill of Shatrunjaya where over nine hundred, intricately
carved marble temples stand on the hillside.
In the northwest of the state, stands the intriguing, barren
lands of Kutch, sometimes stranded by the vast tracts of flooded
marshland. Here village culture still survives and the age
old tribal traditions of embroidery, block printing and tie-dye
still thrive resulting in the famous exquisite textiles of the
Although India is well known as the homeland of the Bengal
Tiger, few are aware that Gir National Park in Gujarat is the last
remaining habitat of the rare Asiatic Lion. Gujarat is also
home to herds of wild Asses and many exotic migratory birds.