Just to the south of Rajasthan is the coastal state of Gujarat. Home to many ancient civilisations, a unique culture and people, it will always have unique sites worthy of a visit.

To celebrate the state, we teamed up with Deccan Odyssey and count down five destinations in Gujarat that are well worth a visit.

Best Time To Visit Gujarat: Nov – Feb

The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Near Vadodara

This UNESCO World Heritage site is located just around the historic city of Champaner, filled with forts and neighbouring hills of Pavagadh. Along the imposing forts, expect to find many temples, both Hindu and Jain, five beautiful mosques and a few small palaces.

If you’re looking for specific sites that are must-sees, we’d recommend the often visited Kalika Mata temple {there will be a lot of steps}, the Jama Masjid mosque {no, not the one you’re thinking} and the large, heavily fortified citadel.

Where: Champaner, Gujarat

The Jain Temples At Palitana

On Shatrunjaya hill by the city of Palitana lies a stunning collection of Jain temples. Palitana has colloquially been known as the ‘City of Temples’, considered to be one of Jain community’s holiest sites.

You can get lost spending your entire day exploring the hilltop and its close to 900 {you read that right} temples. These marble-carved structures are filled with intricate stonework and design, and are grouped in clusters across Shatrunjaya hill. A truly unique temple complex, the Palitana temples have hundreds upon hundreds of buildings of different shapes and sizes.

Where: Palitana, Bhavnagar, Gujarat

The Gir Forest National Park And Wildlife Sanctuary

Also known as Sasan Gir, this national park has a rich ecosystem and diverse flora and fauna. It also once served as the private hunting grounds of the Nawabs of Junagadh, however it’s real claim to fame is the Asiatic lion.

The Gir Forest National Park is the sole home of this gorgeous, and quite endangered, animal.  The good news is that the conservation projects in place have seen the population of this big cat rise over the last five years, and chances of spotting one on a safari have improved drastically.

Where: Gir Forest National Park, Gujarat

Little Rann Of Kutch

Exploring the deceptively named Little Rann of Kutch is an unusual and intriguing experience. Using jeeps, you can drive across the seasonal salt marsh ranging across a whooping 7,500 sq km and see the local wildlife. This includes the Indian wild ass {also known as the ghudkar}, the desert fox, jungle cat, jackal and several species of birds.

However, what really catches the eye is the stunning landscape. Dry, arid, and devoid of vegetation, the Little Rann of Kutch is a glorious site for any would-be photographer, with its never-ending horizons and stunning clarity of light.

Where: Kutch, Gujarat

Pandavleni Caves At Nashik

There is much to see in the holy city of Nashik. There are three nearby forts {Ramshej, Trigalwadi and Harihar}, holy bank tanks, ancient temples, and the holy Hindu site of Ramkund. However we would like to focus on the Pandvleni caves, also known as Panduleni.

This site is located just a few kilometres south of Nashik and is a holy Buddhist site. Said to have been somewhere between the third century BC and second century AD, their architectural style reminds us of the caves at Ajanta. There are around 24 caves with carvings, inscriptions and idols of the Buddha.

Visit all those monumental sites and much more when you take Deccan Odyssey’s Hidden Treasure’s of Gujarat trip. Find out more here.

Where: Buddha Vihar, Pathardi Phata, Nashik

This story is in partnership with Deccan Odyssey.

Featured photo source: Deccan Odyssey

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