Streaming lights, the swirl of the chaniya and the live performance of ‘Hove Hove’, Navratri in Gujarat is a spectacle to marvel. The energy and enthusiasm amongst locals is unparalleled and infectious. 9 days of dancing all night and spending all day preparing to dance again, as fun as it may be can also be exhausting. After constant dancing, make a getaway to these relaxing locations: (These destinations can be accessed easily from most of the cities, the list however classifies it according to proximity.)
From Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Vadodara
Some of the largest garba crowds flock together in Ahmedabad and Vadodara. The belt of Gandhinagar-Ahmedabad-Vadodara offer plenty of options for a quick escape.
One of which is Mount Abu. Lush greenery sprawled across the hill station in Rajasthan, the cool atmosphere is a refreshing change from the tropical warmth of Gujarat. Take a boat ride on Nakki Lake, enjoy the colours of the sky changing on sunset point or even visit the famous Dilwara temples. Almost a 1000 years old, these temples flaunt grand architecture built up over 200 years.
Another option is Champaner-Pavagadh. Only a quick drive from the belt (only 45km away from Vadodara), the place is of great historical significance. Sikander Shah’s Tomb, mosques of Champaner, Brick Tomb, Jambughoda wildlife sanctuary, Makai Kothar, Kevdi Eco Campsite; the area spoils you for choice. Undoubtedly the most popular sites are Pavagadh Fort and Mahakali Temple, visited by hundreds every month.
From Rajkot and Jamnagar
Tucked into the heart of Gujarat are the cities of Rajkot and Jamnagar. While the getaways from this belt may not lead you out of the state, they will nevertheless provide the same experience.
A picturesque island with all the fun activities at a beach one can think of, Diu is a paradise for those who wish to skip the city life for a relaxing trip. A coastal area, beaches stretch across 21 kms and offer water sports opportunities such as jet skiing, banana boats, parasailing and board skiing. Additionally, visitors can also check out the Fortress of Panikotha, museums, churches and Naida Caves in the vicinity.
For the fans of The Lion King who just can’t get over the majesty of the wildcat, Gir National Park provides the perfect experience for the animal lover. The only natural habitat of the Asiatic Lion, the sanctuary is also home to the brown fish owl, black buck, hyenas, Asiatic wild ass and Gir foxes. A guided safari takes you through the biodiversity of the area but the tent stays offered across Gir are the real cherry on the sundae.
From Surat and Bharuch
To the south of the state are Surat and Bharuch. Closer to neighbouring states, there are many destinations in and around Gujarat that can be accessed from these cities.
Tranquil nature wraps itself around the city of Silvassa. Natural beauty is abundant in the form of waterfalls, flower fields and gardens (Popular garden to visit is Hirwa Van Garden). However, Silvassa also houses many attractions of historical and cultural importance. One can visit the Tribal museum, Tadkeshwar Mahadev Temple and the church of Our Lady of Piety. Indulgence at the local shops for handicrafts and handmade products is a must.
Just a hop, skip and leap away from Surat is the quaint hill station of Saputara. Lush forests, undulating mountains, enchanting cubby holes and roaring waterfalls are sprinkled across the green landscape. Induce an adrenaline rush by trying ziplining, paragliding, rappelling and rock climbing at the various adventure zones (Saputara Adventure Park is quite popular).
Sitting on the banks of river Godavari, Nashik is a religious city known to host the Kumbh Mela every 12 years. While it may be home to many temples, Nashik also offers a unique experience with its wine tours. Popular vineyard Sula is present here. Along with the fun drinks and contrasting religious attractions, it is also a natural wonder, with hills and waterfalls welcoming the tourists.
From Ahmedabad and Rajkot
While the places are located a bit far away in the state, the following attractions lie in between the two cities, thus quickly accessible by people from both areas.
You may have heard of the famous Rann of Kutch but were you aware of Little Rann of Kutch? A wondrous natural habitat, you can see the desert stretch, salt pans and even check out the diversity of animals including desert fox, hyenas and jackals. Most of all, one must visit the Wild Ass Sanctuary, which is home to the endemic wild asses. And of course, one cannot escape the shopping spree for embroidered fabrics and clothing.
Keeping with the theme of wildlife and nature, another option between Rajkot and Ahmedabad is Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, however it is a lot closer to the latter. A marshland, the shallow waters of the area invite various migratory birds including pelicans, kingfishers, herons, grebes and godwits, amongst many others. A wetland sanctuary, it is truly every bird watchers paradise.
Again, all the locations are fairly accessible from all the cities in the state, however, the list is compiled to suggest destinations according to proximity.