When you think of tourist places in India, what comes to your mind? Chances are that you will not think beyond Shimla, Manali, Kerala, Goa, Rajasthan, Ladakh or northeast India. And rightly so! All the wonderful destinations are so alluring and have so much to offer that you hardly feel the need to think about other options. However, once you move past the cliched holiday spots, you realize that India is full of astonishing places that let you in on its rich history and diverse culture. (ALSO SEE Offbeat Monsoon Destinations Near Mumbai That Nobody Knows About) From the food to the weather to the people, there are a number of places in India that can surprise you in ways you cannot imagine. One such marvelous place is Gujarat. Known primarily as the home state of the great Mahatama Gandhi (and now the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi), Gujarat is a beautiful offbeat state worth exploring. Here are the best places to visit in Gujarat.

Gir Forest National Park

Gir Forest in Gujarat

Gir Forest in Gujarat

Gir Forest National Park is a wildlife sanctuary located near Talala Gir in Gujarat. It is famous all over the world for being the sole home in the wilderness to the Asiatic lion. Its ecosystem consisting of various flora and fauna is considered to be one of the most important in the world. A trip to Gir Forest is a delight to nature and wildlife lovers.

The Great Rann of Kutch

The Great Rann of Kutch

The Great Rann of Kutch

Located in the majestic Thar desert of India, the Great Rann of Kutch is a seasonal salt marsh that provides the most spectacular landscape of a vast expanse of white. It falls in the Kutch district of Gujarat and attracts a number of tourists during the Rann Utsav that takes place between November and February.

Somnath temple

Somnath temple in Gujarat

Somnath temple in Gujarat

The Somnath temple is Gujarat is located on the western coast in Saurashtra region of the state. It is an important site for Hindu pilgrims as it is believed to be the first of twelve jyotirlingas of Shiva in India. A visit to this temple is a divine and rejuvenating experience as you can pay your respects while enjoying the view of the adjacent waterfront.

Sabarmati Ashram

sabarmati-ashram

Photograph courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

The Sabarmati ashram in Ahmedabad is where the great Mahatma Gandhi lived and led his freedom struggle from. A visit to this ashram on the banks of the river Sabarmati is a peek into the Mahatma’s life. Since Mahatma Gandhi is the most popular Indian to have walked the face of the earth, it is no surprise that the Sabarmati ashram attracts tourist from all over the world. CHECK OUT Mahatma Gandhi trail: 4 places in Gujarat where Bapu left his mark

Rani ki Vav

Rani ki Vav in Gujarat

Rani ki Vav in Gujarat

Known for the intricacy in its construction, the Rani ki Vav is a stepwell in the Patan town of Gujarat. It was built in the memory of 11th century King Bhimdev I and today, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rani ki Vav won an award for the cleanest iconic place in 2016. Its marvelous construction takes you back in time.

Akshardham temple

Akshardham temple in Gujarat

One of the most revered temples of India, the Akshardham temple is located in Gujarat’s capital city Gandhinagar. It has a huge complex that makes for a wonderful tour. The architecture of the temple is as magnificent as the sat-chit-anand water show held here. You can take audio visual tours of various themes of Hinduism in the exhibition halls housed in the complex.

Dwarkadhish temple

Dwarkadheesh-temple

Photograph Courtesy: Scalebelow/Wikimedia Commons

The Dwarkadhish or Dwarkadheesh temple is another important Hindu pilgrim site located in the state of Gujarat. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the Dwarkadhish temple is one of the prime tourist attractions in Dwarka. It is also called Jagat mandir and draws in a number of tourists and pilgrims alike.

Saputara

Gira waterfall in Saputara

Gira waterfall in Saputara

Gujarat’s only hill station, Saputara is located in the Dang district and is home to some beautiful tourist attractions like the serene Saputara lake and the gushing Gira waterfalls. A visit to Saputara can be a rejuvenating experience amidst nature. It falls in the Sahyadri range and is surrounded by views of beautiful mountains.

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