|Saurashtra is a region on the Arabian Sea coast of Gujarat. This region is also known as the Kathiawar peninsula. Before Independence, Saurashtra consisted of 200 princely states.
The cities with the region are prosperous and bustling. Rajkot was once the capital of Saurashtra.
The region consists of a central plateau with coastal plains and dense forest.
Attraction of Saurashtra
Bhavnagar was founded in 1743 as an important cotton trading post. Bhavsinhji Gohil was the founder and the name of the town was derived from the king's own name.
Bhavnagar offers a glimpse of traditional Gujarati culture; the old town section seems untouched by time with several bazaars and cluttered shops available for browsing. Tourists are an uncommon sight in the town.
Takhteshwar Temple is set on a hill and provides excellent views of Bhavnagar and the Gulf of Cambay. The Barton/ Gandhi Smriti Museum features religious carvings and numerous Gandhi photographs.
Diu is an island located off the south coast of Gujarat with a unique atmosphere of Portugese architecture and Gujarati culture. Diu was a Portugese colony until 1961 when India took control.
The main attraction on Diu is the massive Portugese fort that was built in 1535 and is still well preserved. The ramparts have a number of cannons still in place and cannonballs can be seen where they fell centuries ago. The fort was constructed of limestone that was quarried on the island of Diu.
Nagoa Beach is a popular tourist destination for relaxing by the sea!
Jamnagar is a colorful old town with ornate buildings, colorful markets and India's only Ayurvedic University. The local bazaars or markets are famous for 'bandhani' - a 5,000-year old process that involves thousands of tiny knots in folded fabric.
The Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary has salt and freshwater marshlands attracting over 200 species of birds. It is a bird watcher's paradise. The best time to visit the sanctuary is a sunrise.
Jamnagar has pristine golden and white sand beaches; hills dotted with temples; and nearby forests are home to leopards, jackals, wolves, jungle cats, and hyenas.
Jamnagar is home to India's only Ayurvedic University. Ayurvedic medicine, yoga and naturopathy are taught in diploma and degree courses. Basic theory and medicine preparation are available.
The Ayurved University in Jamnagar offers a 3-month course in Ayurvedic medicine for non-Indian students.
The Bala Hanuman Temple is located at the southeastern side of Ranmal Lake. It is noteworthy for the continuous 24-hour chanting of 'Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram' that has occurred since August 1st, 1964.
The Bala Hanuman Temple now has a place in the Guinness Book of Records for this devotion.
Lakhota Fort or Palace is situated in the middle of Ranmal Lake. The palace once belonged to the ruler of Nawanagar. The semi-circular Kotha Bastion is Jamnagar's arsenal.
Housed within Lakhota Fort is Jamnagar's Museum with displays of a collection of sculpture and pottery that spans a period from the 9th to 18th C. The guards room features a display of swords and muskets.
An arched stone bridge links the palace to the town of Jamnagar.
Junagadh is a colorful ancient town at the base of Girnar Hill. The name Junagadh means "Old Fort". Girnar is sacred in the Jain community. The five peaks feature 16 carved and sculptured marble shrines.
Visitors can enjoy a walking tour of the town to discover some of the exotic old buildings.
At the time of Partition, the nawab of Junagadh wanted to have the town become part of Pakistan. This was not shared by the residents thus the nawab departed but not without first emptying the state treasury of cash and securities.
Uperkot Fort is believed to have been constructed in 319 BC and it has been extended many times since then. In some places the wall around the Uperkot Fort reaches over 20m high.
The ornate gateway of the Uperkot Fort leads to the abandoned ruins, which were overgrown with jungle. The two cannons still in place on the western wall are believed to have been cast in Egypt. The Jama Mosque was built from a demolished Hindu Temple. One hundred and forty pillars support the ceiling of the mosque.
In and around the fort is Buddhist caves with pillars and carvings. The caves are carved into the rocks and feature floral patterns. A two-storied cave is believed to be from the 1st C.
Rajkot was once the capital of the state of Saurashtra. The city was founded in 1612 and Mahatma Gandhi spent his early years in Rajkot. His family home is now a museum.
Rajkot is noted for its handicrafts such as bandhani, mirror-work, patch work, bead work, jewelry market, and silk embroidery.
The main attraction in Rajkot is the Watson Museum, which highlights to work of Colonel John Watson.
The city is also known for the Rajkumar College, regarded as one of India's best private schools. The college was founded in 1870 by the British to educate the sons of nobility.
The Watson Museum is located in the Jubilee Gardens in Rajkot. The museum is a memorial to Colonel John Watson, a political agent from 1886 to 1889, and Saurashtra's cultural heritage.
Exhibits in the Watson Museum include remakes of artifacts from Mohenjodaro, 13th C carvings, silverware, natural history exhibits and textiles. A large marble statue of Queen Victoria is prominently displayed.
Portraits and photographs of princes of Saurashtra and European dignitaries feature alongside 3rd C inscriptions, rare coins, pottery and delicate ivory carvings.
Tourist Attraction of Saurashtra
Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
The Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary is home to 300 Asiatic lions. In fact the sanctuary was started to provide protection to the largest surviving group of Asiatic lions. At one time, the Asiatic lions were almost extinct but the numbers have steadily been on the rise since 1980.
The landscape of the Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary consists of teak and deciduous trees, and rugged rocky terrain. Natural habitat is also provided for other species like the chital, gazelle, antelope, leopard, spotted deer, monkeys, parrots and peacock.
Within the sanctuary is the Gir Interpretation Zone, featuring a cross-section of wildlife, several watchtowers and hides near the watering holes to enjoy close up wildlife sightings
The best time to visit Sasan Gir is from December to April. The sanctuary is closed during monsoon season from mid-June to mid-October.
Velavadar National Park
Velavadar National Park is famous for the Blackbucks, Indian antelope, the main attraction of the park. The Blackbucks are endemic to India and considered the fastest animals over a long distance.
Velavadar National Park is set between two rivers and is the only tropical grassland in India. Some of the wildlife in Velavadar is fox, jackal, jungle cat, wild pig, hare and rodents. Abundant bird life includes the sandgrouse and larks as well as the harrier that winter in the park, with a roost that is one of the largest in the world.
Gir National Park
The Gir National Park, Gujarat is one of the leading national parks in India. Located in the Junagadh District in Gujarat, the Gir National Park is toured by large number of tourists every year. Gir National Park, Gujarat houses various kinds of flora and fauna of the region and is the home to the famous Asiatic lions.
Gir National Park, Gujarat is the only place in India where the Asiatic Lion are found. The terrain of the Gir National Park is rugged. Various kinds of trees found in this park are Tendu, Acacia, Teak, Jamun and Dhak. Cattle herders known as Maldharis reside inside this park.
Leopard can also be found in the Gir National Park, Gujarat. During your tour to this park you will get to see Leopard at close proximity. In the Gir National Park there are more than 210 leopards.
The Gir National Park, Gujarat is also the home to various kinds of snakes. Some of the snakes that are found in this Gir National Park are:
- Indian Rock Python
- Indian Cobra
- Common Krait
- Saw Scaled Viper
- Russell's Viper
The other kinds of wildlife that can be seen at the Gir National Park, Gujarat are:
- Black Bucks
- Wild Boar
- Grey Musk Shrew
- Indian Flying Foe
- Pale Hedgehog
- Small Indian Mangoose
- Indian Pangolin
- Indian Porcupine
- Indian Fox
- The Jungle Cat
- Spotted Deer
- Desert Cat
- Rusty Spotted Cat
- Small Indian Civet
- Indian Hare
In the forest of the Gir National Park, Gujarat you can find more than 300 species of colorful birds. Some of the poplar kinds of birds which are found in this park include:
- Pied Woodpecker
- Bonelli's Eagle
- Painted Sandgrouse
- Bush Quail
- Grey Patridge
- The Paradise Flycatcher
- Creset Serpant Eagle
- Black Headed Cuckoo Shrike
In the Gir National Park, Gujarat, you can enjoy various jeep safaris. By availing the jeep safaris you can go into the interiors of the park. You can also go inside the Gir National Park in your own vehicle but with park guide. The tourists can hire jeeps from Sasan office. Jeeps can also be hired from the tour operators.
Dwarkadhish Temple in Gujarat is devoted to the famous lord of Hindu religion, Lord Krishna. The Dwarkadhish Temple in Gujarat is an important pilgrimage center for Hindus from all over the world.
The Dwarkadhish Temple is one of the most significant temples of Lord Krishna. It is said that Lord Krishna spent close to a hundred years of his life in this holy city. The city is believed to have been immersed in the sea after lord left for his heavenly abode. In the year 400 BC, the famed Dwarkadhish temple was just a small umbrella type monument. It was renovated time and again. In the year 1960 the Government of India took it over.
Popularly known as Jagat Mandir, the Dwarkadhish Temple is a five-storey structure. It is built on seventy-two pillars. The temple spire is 78.3 meters high. Atop the temple dome flutters an eighty-four foot long multicolored flag decorated with the symbols of the sun and moon. It is commonly believed that the original temple of Dwarkadhish was built over the Hari-griha or Lord Krishna's residential place by Lord Krishna's grandson, Vajranabha.
The sanctum of the temple is formed by the Jagat Mandir, or Nija Mandir. It dates back to 2500 years. The Jagat Mandir has a tall tower and a hall of audience. There are two entrances to the temple. The northern entrance which is also the main entrance is called Moksha Dwara or the door to salvation. The southern entrance of the temple is called Swarga Dwara or the Gate to Heaven. Outside this door there are 56 steps that lead to the Gomati River.
Devotees from all over India throng the place during Janmasthanmi. The festival is celebrated in a special way in this temple. The entire place is very well decorated with rows of lighting everywhere. Special puja is performed. Aarti is performed at different times of the day. People wait in long queue to have a glimpse of the Lord. At the end of the day offerings are distributed to the devotees. It is commonly believed that devotees visiting the temple during Janmasthanmi are freed from all sufferings.
The Shatrunjays Temple in Gujarat is a magnificent Jain temple in India. Perched on top of the Shatrunjay hill, it is very close by the town of Palitana. This temple is one of the famous Gujarat Tourist Attractions. Being an important center of pilgrimage in Gujarat, the Shatrunjays Temple in Gujarat is a wonderful example of architecture. Tourists find the temple and its surroundings an ideal gateway from the usually crowded streets of Gujarat.
To visit the Shatrunjays Temple in Gujarat, located on top of the hill, a flight of 3764 steps have to be covered. A very popular legend is associated with the construction of the Jain temple over here. According to the legend, long lived a monk who along with his disciple had the ability of flying. They have founded the city on this hilltop. The hill is about 20 meters above the level of the sea. The Shatrunjay hill is considered very scared as many sages attained nirvana on this spot. The hill means place of victory is a very important place of pilgrimage for the Jains.
On the hilltop, tourists can see more than 100 beautiful temples dispersed throughout the peak of the hill. The tourists and barefoot pilgrims go uphill in about 90 minutes taking occasional rests. An early morning start will make it favorable for climbing, as the air is cool and enjoyable. Water is available in the resting points of the Shatrunjays Temple.
The journey to reach the top most point of the Shatrunjays Temple in Gujarat is filled with beautiful scenic views. Reaching the top most point of the hill, tourists are spell bound by the beauty of the temples. Tourists are stopped the striking construction of the Adishwara temple.
This 12th century temple has the faced adorning with the 9 figures of Jain tradition. The temple has the Adinath statue made of marble. The statue is standing under the umbrellas of bright white and red color cloth. The Jain temples have their daily rituals. The most important ritual is the cleaning of the Adinath statue with milk, water, yogurt, honey and sugar.
Apart from the main temple, tourists can examine the beautiful construction of 863 other temples located in the Shatrunjays hill. The mesmerizing sights called for picture moments but photography is strictly not allowed. One can avoid the summer seasons for visiting this temple.
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