Navaratri hits Gujarat roughly a month before the actual date. The festive season calls for a lot of socialising, especially for the ladies who’ll take any excuse to go shopping for lehengas and jewellery. Now that Navaratri is here, you’ll see this month-long effort in fruition. If you’re travelling to Gujarat and are looking to hop towns, this is where you should be.
The erstwhile Portuguese colony, an island off the coast of Gujarat, has wonderfully uncrowded beaches, stunning forts, and delicious food.
An erstwhile Portuguese territory, Diu is connected by a lattice of bridges and ferries to Gujarat on the mainland. It has a distinct Mediterranean-meets-Kutch look where houses are painted sunshine yellow, creamy white and powder blue under a scorching sun and clear sky. With a Union Territory status, it is a refuge for travellers to get a real drink as its neighbour is a dry state. Some call it Little Goa, and some call it Gujarat’s Ibiza. But it’s actually a charming and quiet island with clean beaches and delicious food. Wander at the old Portuguese churches and dine on fabulous seafood including rockfish, calamari and prawns.
► Rent a bike and drive to the quiet beaches of Goghla or Ngao and explore the Naida Caves.
► Plan a day trip to the Gir National Park to spot the endangered Asiatic lion from an open-roof jeep.
For the love of solitaires and textiles.
A colony of merchants, Surat was once known for its silk weaving and brocade fabrics. Even today, you can visit its bazaars and buy silk saris and embroideries. The city is also famous for its diamonds: Surat is the world’s largest diamond processing cluster. A makeover is on the cards for the city to transform it into a smart city with automatic fare collection system, intelligent traffic control, solar street lighting, and a skywalk.
► Get spooked on the haunted Dumas Beach known for its unique black sand.
► Download the Heritage Walk app and discover historic monuments, Hindu and Jain temples, and heritage homes in the city.
A coastal stopover for a wildlife adventure.
A historically important port city with trade links stretching to Africa, Bhavnagar is today one of Gujarat’s largest cities. You’ll find traces of Victorian history and a museum dedicated to Gandhi—he went to a university in Bhavnagar. It is the best place to base yourself if you’re visiting the Blackbuck National Park.
► Climb up to the Shiva temple of Takhteshwar for a spectacular view of the Gulf of Cambay.
► Take a boat ride to the privately owned Piram Bet Island.