The architecture, temples, food and the deep blue sea, this sums of Gujarat for me. The historic architecture of Gujarat is well acclaimed by all & promoted by India’s favorite Amitabh Bachchan. The state is home to one of the char dhams of Hinduism; Dwarkadhish – the westernmost corner of India. An abode for distinguished wildlife including Sasan Gir and a mecca for safari enthusiasts, Gujarat is a diverse state. My Gujarat itinerary included a tour of the new tourist attraction – Statue of Unity, age-old temples, and the forts & palaces. Let’s dive in about the places to see in Gujarat in 5 days –
A Gujarat Itinerary for 5 Days
Gujarat is a huge state and we realized during our trip planning that we can’t cover it all in a single trip of 5 days. So, we took inputs from all three members & prioritized. As we wanted to cover Gujarat as much as possible in 5 days so we booked an early morning flight from Delhi and a late departure from Ahmedabad.
So let’s dive into my Gujarat itinerary with all the places to see in Gujarat in 5 days.
Places to see in Gujarat – Day 1
Drive from Ahmedabad to Dwarka – 8 hour Journey
As the major tourist places to see in Gujarat are literally miles apart and a drive is the best way to travel unless you take a train. Trains are usually booked & full almost 2 months in advance. I tried & failed to get a train so we decided on a cab to drive us through the state. The drive from Ahmedabad airport to Dwarka will take approximately 8 hours without any breaks, which is impossible to imagine. Road trips are best enjoyed with tea breaks & lunch to enjoy local cuisine.
The route will take you through the state’s countryside and various cities you’ve heard only here & there. The route includes a pass-through Rajkot which is known for automobiles & Gandhi’s childhood schooling. If you’re a Gandhi fan, make a detour to the school-turned-memorial else proceed on the journey. Enjoy the famous kathiyawadi meal of the region when here.
Reaching Jamnagar means you’re getting closer to Dwarka. This small town is known for national parks, bird centuries & a beautiful beach. Although one cannot visit the national parks while en-route to Dwarka. However, a diversion to the beach for catching the sunset will be memorable. Enjoy the sunset while sipping tea and then head back for the final destination.
Check in the hotel, relax for the night & sleep tight for an equally exciting next day.
Places to see in Gujarat – Day 2
The Dwarkadhish temple of Dwarka is one of the char-dhams of Hindu religion & most visited places. It is indeed one of the must-visit places to see in Gujarat and a humbling way to connect to Lord Krishna. Don’t miss out including Dwarka in your Gujarat itinerary.
There’s a saying that Dwarka is the one where Lord Krishna settled after marriage. Dwarka has 2 main temples, one is on an island – Dwarka Beyt – accessible only via a boat. The boat is organized by locals and is usually filled completely charing 20₹ per person. The ride takes you through the sea, with seagulls all around & even coming near to the boats when people throw bread to them. Although you shouldn’t as it’s not their meal, after being fed from so many years, they’re used to it now, & it’s unethical too. As a responsible traveler, I didn’t and I only admired them fly over the sea. The 15-20 minute journey seems a tad hectic because of uncomfortable boats, but the sea & the blue water diverted me for good.
The temple is a 10-minute walk from the port with no phones or camera allowed. I love the places where photography isn’t allowed and we can actually connect. There you’ll pass various rooms of Lord Krishna and finally a room where the saga of this place is shared by the pundits. They explain how & why the donation of rice is an important ritual here and we too made a donation.
The 12th-century temple dedicated to Rukmini Devi, Lord Krishna’s wife, is a marvel to admire. The carvings, historic & religious significance makes it one of the places to see in Gujarat.
The Dwarkadhish Temple is of prime importance to Hindus and is known to be admired from people across India. One of the char-dhams, the temple is frequently visited by the believers of Lord Krishna.
Lord Krishna’s poor friend who came to visit him in the hope of some help with his poverty. Sudama brought cooked rice as a gift to Lord Krishna and as Krishna took each bite, Sudama’s home turned into a palace. The Setu or bridge is named after Sudama and connects Panchnad island to main Dwarka.
Enjoy a local meal before proceeding to Somnath and make a pit stop at Porbandar too.
The birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi & Sudama, Porbandar is one of the places to see in Gujarat to know our roots. If your time permits, make a detour to Sudama temple and Kirti Mandir about the life of Gandhi. The town also has a beach if you would like to see the mesmerizing sunset here.
Continue the drive to Sasan Gir to call it a day!
Places to see in Gujarat – Day 3
Sasan Gir Aka Gir National Park
It is almost impossible to think that a trip to Gujarat is complete without a detour to Sasan Gir. That said my Gujarat itinerary also includes an early morning trip to Gir National Park. The wildlife sanctuary is known for the only home for Asiatic lions in the Asian continent. The booking should be done much in advance online, and early morning slot is the best time to spot the lion. Book the safari here.
It is highly probable that the day will start way early, so I’d advise booking a resort near Sasan Gir, rather than driving from Junagadh or Somnath. Driving is also feasible but that will make the night shorter and might leave you grumpy. Coming from Porbandar, the resorts will help you unwind for the action-packed next day.
After the 3 hour Sasan Gir Safari, head back to the resort for breakfast and check out from here. Before heading to the final stop of Somnath, I’d suggest taking a day trip to Junagadh.
Junagadh is a central city in the state closely located to Somnath, Diu, Sasan Gir and Porbandar. If you plan to visit only these places then Junagadh is an optimal place to settle in.
A princely state Junagadh came to Indian territory after a brief fight with Pakistan. Historically a part of Bombay state, Junagadh came into Gujarat only in 1960. Located at the foot of the sacred Girnar hills, there are a number of places to see in Junagadh.
I’d recommend starting your day with the Uparkot Fort going way back to the Mauryan dynasty. The Fort is home to Ranaki Devi Palace from where the entire city is visible. The fort also has various other structures including a step well – Adi Kadi Vav, Buddhist caves, and canons on display from Portuguese era. In my observation, the Fort needs serious restoration and because of its historical significance, it can be a major crowd puller.
Mahabat Maqbara is a mausoleum built by the Nawabs of the city. The entry into the mausoleum isn’t allowed but it’s tangled architecture can be admired from outside. What caught my attention was the spiral staircase surrounding the main structure. If time persists, I would suggest hiking the Girnar hills too.
In the evening drive to Somnath for visiting the famous temple & also catching the sunset on India’s west coast.
The western town of Gujarat is renowned for its shore temple going by the name – Somnath Temple. The temple is a part of 12 jyotirlingas spread all across India, which also Kedarnath temple too. Mobiles, camera & even handbags aren’t allowed inside the temple and can be submitted in a cloakroom outside the temple premises. I would advise going on a weekday and not in peak seasons like Saavan Hindu month, or Shivratri as it will unbearably crowded then.
After visiting the temple, head to the north side of the temple to catch a glimpse of disappearing sun. There’s no way to access the beach from the temple’s side, but the premises outside is worth spending time. Enjoy the dusking of the day while munching on the street food sold by the vendors.
Oddly I couldn’t find any good hotels in Somnath so we headed back to Junagadh for calling it a day. We stayed in Click Hotel, one of the best hotels to stay in the 7th largest city in Gujarat. The hotel is known to host a celebrity (John Abraham) when a Bollywood movie was shot here.
Places to see in Gujarat – Day 4
Head back to Ahmedabad from Junagadh (or Somnath) and take a quick pit-stop in Gondal to drop by a palace. I’ve included an off-beat palace in my Gujarat itinerary –
When driving back to Ahmedabad, Gondal will be on route and a place not known by many. Tourists usually come to Gondal to stay in the Palace which is offered by the authorities. The Naulakha palace goes back to the 18th century which literally got its name by the total amount used to build it. The palace houses some of the private collection of the Maharaja Bhagwat Sinhji. The Maharaja’s Durbar hall – audience hall, huge dining hall, children’s room, private doll & cars collection and royal kitchen.
The palace’s staff also acts as a guide for the tour, and the ticket includes a price for tour and photography too.
Indian history dates back to the Harappan era and some of the archaeological sites were found in Lothal in 1954. The gigantic ruins spread in the city are the most stupefying things to see in the city. The old dockyards are other things one must visit when in the town.
Head back after the historic ruins tour to Ahmedabad to call it a day. Check in the hotel to relax & prepare for another adventurous day.
Places to see in Gujarat – Day 5
A highly controversial new addition to Gujarat’s tourism is the Statue of Unity and no trip to the state is now complete without a detour to the Statue.
Start your day early day by a drive towards the statue of unity via Vadodara or known ubiquitously as Baroda. Try to include Statue of Unity in your Gujarat itinerary.
Statue of Unity
World’s tallest colossal statue built to honor Indian freedom activist Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Alluded by controversies, the 182-meter statue is attracting thousands of tourists. The statue also hosts an observatory to the valley of flowers over Narmada river and a Statue of Unity sign engraved on the hill facing it. I’d recommend booking tickets online in advance as the tickets run out fast & long queues cause a long wait.
If you don’t get caught up in the long lines for the bus taking you to the statue, you’ll be free by noon. On the way back to Ahmedabad, I’d suggest visiting the Laxmi Villas Palace in Vadodara. The Indo-Saracenic architecture of the palace owned by the Maratha family ruling Baroda in the 18th century.
After this packed Gujarat itinerary, head back to the Ahmedabad’s airport or railway station for your onward journey.
This sums up my Gujarat itinerary and we managed to see quite a number of places. We also covered Diu, a Union Territory as a day trip from Somnath. I loved Diu and would suggest visiting it when visiting its nearby place. But if you’re short on time, then you might need to plan a separate trip to this part of the state. Hope you’d like these places to see in Gujarat & will plan a trip to the state soon.
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