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Pack Your Bags And Head To These 5 Amazing Destinations In & Around Gujarat

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

    Best Time To Visit Gujarat: November – February

    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 with 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 and the large, heavily fortified citadel.

    The nearest domestic airport is Vadodara approx 42 kms away, and Champaner has its own railway station. Buses and taxis are easily available from the railway station.

    The Jain Temples At Palitana

    On Shatrunjaya hill by the city of Palitana lies a stunning collection of Jain temples. Palitana, colloquially known as the ‘City of Temples’, is considered to be one of the 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.

    Closest airport hub is Bhavnagar which is 118 kms away and the nearest rail hub is Palitana around 40 kms away.

    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.

    The park is closed from 16th June to 15th October every year. The best time to visit is from December to March, while you'll get the best chances of spotting wildlife from April to May. Beware the heat!

    The closest airports are at Keshod and Rajkot. Veraval is the nearest railhead at 40 kms away. The best way to reach the park is considered to be by road from Ahmedabad which is a 7 hour road trip.

    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.

    The best time to visit is considered to be from 15 October to 15 March. Accommodation options include basic home stays.

    The nearest rail hubs are at Dhrangadhra which is 16 kms away, Ahmedabad at 130 kms, and Rajkot 175 kms away. The sanctuary has three main access points at Dhrangadhra, Range Bajana, and Range Aadeshwar. Each of these is different and you can decide according to your requirements. 

    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.

    Easily accessible from Nashik, these caves can be reached via bus, cab or auto from the city. The caves are accessible through the year, but winter is a good time to visit as the weather is the most pleasant. They are open till 5:30 PM every day.

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

    This story is in partnership with Deccan Odyssey.