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Gujarat Travel Information

Gujarat is a state whose history and culture has a long winding tradition. Situated on the western part of India, this state gets its name from the major inhabitants of the state- the gurjars. Gujaratta, from which Gujarat is derived, means the land of Gurjars. The gurjars were a nomadic group that travelled through Punjab and settled in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat. This state was also home to Lord Krishna’s brother Balram upon his departure from Mathura. Balram’s home is believed to be Dwarka at Saurashtra. It is also known as Kushasthali.

In the modern time, Gujarat is recognized for its industrial progress. Many large, medium and small scale industrial units have been established here. Major industries in the state are textiles, chemicals and petro-chemicals; many refineries have been established here. It is also a leading national producer of tobacco, groundnut and cotton.

Climate of Gujarat

The climate of Gujarat is truly diverse. While winters are dry, mild and pleasant with daytime temperatures averaging 29 degrees Celsius and night time temperature averaging 12 degrees Celsius, the summers are extremely hot with daytime temperature averaging 41 degrees Celsius and night time temperature averaging 29 degrees Celsius. The summers are simmering hot and dry. The days before the onset of monsoons are hot and humid. Monsoons begin in mid-June when the day temperatures fall to an average of 35 degrees Celsius during the day and 27 degrees Celsius during the night. The rains in Gujarat can cause devastating floods. The days are not sunny. The north-west part of the state is an arid-desert like terrain with the southern parts being wet after receiving most of the rains.

Clothing

Traditional attire of Gujarati women consists of the GhagraCholi. The Ghagra is a bright, iridescent skirt that reaches the ankle and covers the whole lower body. This skirt has immense mirror work and embroidery. The choli is a bare backed blouse that accompanies the Ghagra and covers the upper body. It is extended to the waist and decorated with mirror work and embroidery like the skirt. The dupatta complements the whole attire. It is worn as a veil by women to cover their heads. The Sari and blouse is mostly worn by women these days. The ghagracholi has become an outfit that is worn on festive occasions.

Jewelry is an important part of a woman’s attire even in Gujarat. Gujarati women usually wear a ring called ‘Vinti’, a silver band ‘kandora’ around the waist and another one around the neck called the ‘kanthi’. Silver jewelry is most common in Gujarat.

Food

Gujarati food is famous for its distinct flavours. The dishes are usually served on silver platters. Gujaratis like their food to be spicy and sweet. A traditional Gujarati thali consists of sweet meats, farshans, an assortment of sweets and sour chutneys and pickles. The cuisine is characterized by the combination of sweet and sour flavours. Gujaratis eat a lot of rice/ chapatis, pulses, mixed vegetable salads, curd and papad. Gujarati snacks like khandvi, dhokla and sweets like basundi are ubiquitous in India.

Shopping Market

Shopping in Gujarat is a memorable experience for all tourists. Tourists from all corners of the world come here to indulge in handicrafts, Patolasarees, ghagra-cholis, curios, traditional cloth toys, embroidered footwear, wall-hangings, etc. A diverse shopping list can be easily extinguished while shopping in Gujarat. You can buy anything from jewelry, home décor, furniture, clothes, etc.

Fairs and Festivals to Enjoy

The vibrant state of Gujarat in India has a calendar filled with festivals. It is thus known as the land of festivals. People in Gujarat are spiritually enlightened and celebrate many festivals. There are pilgrimages and traditional cultural fairs. Modern festivals are also celebrated with equal vigor here. Some of the famous festivals out of the 3500 plus festivals are:

Kite Festival

Held in the month of Januray, this festival is one of the most famous festivals of the state. Thousands of kite lovers flock to Gujarat to participate in this festival. This festival is celebrated on the eve of Makarsankranti.

Modhera Dance Festival

There is a sun temple at Modhera in the Mehsana district of Gujarat. This temple, dedicated to Lord Surya, has outer walls that are prominently covered with figures of Lord Surya. Indian classical dance performances are held here in for three days every year in the month of January.

Kutch Utsav

Organized in different locations all over Kutch in the Gujarat state for three to four days, the Rann or Kutch Utsavdepicts various traditional art and cultures of India. This festival is organized by the Gujarat state authority that is charge of tourism to honour, celebrate and preserve the diversity and uniqueness of the Kutch district.

Bhavnath Festival Mahashivratri

A festival devoted to the Lord Shiva, it is celebrated in the BhavnathMahadev temple in Junagarh, a district in Gujarat. A fair known as the Bhavnath fair is held here during the Shivratri. This mela celebrates hindu customs and beliefs and is a significant occasion for understanding Hinduism. This fair is held for three or four days every year.

Saptak Music Festival

Usually conducted in the first week of January in Ahmedabad every year, this festival is a celebration of the Indian classical music. A public charitable trust runs the Saptakschool of music and also organizes this festival. One can witness the most talented in the field of indian classical music in the first 11 days of January. This musical gala also showcases the talents of those dedicated in perfecting the art of indian classical music.

There many more festivals in Gujarat that are important to different cultures and traditions. Though not mentioned here, these festivals are definitely worth visiting while you are exploring Gujarat. It will truly complete your fantastic culturally imbued journey.

Local Transport

There are diverse means of local transport in the state of Gujarat. One needs to know the options available for travelling in Gujarat and in its cities. Public transportation is fantastically arranged in this state compared to other states. The public transportation system in Gujarat covers almost every nook and cranny of the state. The best thing about public transportation in Gujarat is that it is efficient but at a low cost. Public transportation in Gujarat can be wholly relied on for travelling across the state. Without any dearth of options in local transport, one only needs to choose according to his or her comforts and needs.

Bus

The buses in Gujarat are very popular as a means of public transport. The city buses are efficient, but the information given in the buses, the bus numbers and routes, are chiefly in Gujarati. The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) is the chief body that is responsible for managing inter-city and inter-state bus services in Gujarat. This public transport corporation provides a bus services that connect different cities in Gujarat and cities in neighbouring states to those in Gujarat. The public transportation corporation provides various other services too.

Mofussil Services

This service connects major cities to small towns and villages in Gujarat..

  • Intercity Bus Services
    Ahmedabad, Vadodra and Rajkot are connected through this route. These are the three major cities in the state.
  • Interstate Bus Services
    this service connects Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, gujarat’s closest neighbours.
  • City Services
    bus services are provided in other cities of Gujarat- Surat, Rajkot, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Vadodra, etc.
  • Parcel Services
    transportation of goods and services in Gujarat is provided by the parcel services.

Special bus services are also provided to connect schools and colleges, industrial zones, pilgrimage sites and festivals.

Auto Rickshaws

Auto rickshaws in Gujarat are the cheapest mode of comfortable and rapid public transportation. Those who prefer not to wait for the buses hire auto rickshaws. This frequently used mode of public transportation is convenient. The rickshaw drivers are helpful and understand simple English as well hindi and in this way, it is more tourist-friendly.

Taxis

taxi stands can be found at railway stations, outside the airports and at bus stands. Taxis can be hired for the required period of time while the driver stays with you till the end of the journey. On long journeys, you may need to pay the driver for food and accommodation. Taxi drivers are also well-versed in English and hindi. For those who have an elastic budget, taxis are the best bets.

Best Time Visit

As Gujarat’s summers are characterized by scorching days, it is best to visit this place in winters or in the months after the monsoon season. October to March is the best season because the days are pleasant and dry.

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