If you are visiting Gujarat during the winters, then a trip to North Gujarat tourist places should be on your bucket list. North Gujarat tour packages are a mixture of sports, adventure and entertainment that blows you away with fun and thrill. You can enjoy the pleasant desert heat (during winters) that dissolve into the colorful attires and mud homes of the local dwellers. So, here are some offbeat North Gujarat tourism places that would cater a memorable outing experience.
Rann of Kutch
Rann of Kutch adorns a festive look during the winter months, due to the Rann of Kutch festival. There is so much to do and seen in this massive ‘Thar’ salt marsh. From riding on the white snow, to sleeping under the starry skies and enjoying some local cultural performances – time will fly by at Rann of Kutch. A trip through the Rann makes you believe in the Gujarat tourism caption – ‘Kutch nahi dekha toh kuchh nahi dekha’ (‘you haven’t seen anything if you haven’t seen Kutch’)! To magnify the Kutch tourism experience you need a telescope, a camera and a head gear.
- Best Season: November-February
- Best time to visit: Full moon on winter night to enjoy Kutch or during the Rann of Kutch Festival 2017-18
- Adventure Activities: Para motoring, ATV, Rifle shooting, Star gazing, Pool, Archery, Chess, Bunjee jumping, etc.
- Tips: Before visiting Dhordo, the largest salt desert in the world, you should seek permission from authorities at Bhirandiyari. You will require a photocopy of your ID proof to get the permission.
- Nearest Railway Station: Bhuj
Dholavira has its origin from the Indus Valley Civilization. Colloquially known as ‘Kotada timba’, contains ruins of one of the five most prosperous Harappan cities. You will be amazed at the Dholavira town planning. The ruins of the ancient city contain a Citadel, Middle town, lower town, reservoirs, and fort walls. All the buildings have airy spaces and special attention was paid to the hygiene and health of the dwellers. The ancient buildings with their pathbreaking art and science are integral parts of the Dholavira places to see.
- Activities: Walking, rock climbing, rock hugging, photography and studying rocks.
- Nearest Railway Station: Ahmedabad
Mandvi Beach has been a secret holiday destination for Gujaratis for many decades now. Mandvi tourism is all about enjoying the most beautiful sunset sitting on the salt ladden white sand overlooking the crystal clear sea water. Add to that the abundance of Palatial Mandvi Beach hotels and you are sure to have a regal experience in this beautiful coastal town.
- Activities: Watching the sunset, visit the Ship Building Yard, photography, horse cart rides, camel rides and playing beach football or volleyball.
- Things to buy: Wood crafts, kutchi handicraft, jewellery, jaded turban, purse and scarf
- Nearest Railway Station: Okha
Shipping business is much privy to the ones who stay on land. Kandla, a multi-cargo port, is famous for being the first and largest private coastal port of India. Getting into port requires Kandla Port visit permission and once you get in, it is a privilege to watch the sea from the top of a ship and observe the engineering operations (such as loading, unloading the ship). One can get into curious informative seeking conversation with the crew at the Ship.
- Activities: Ship climbing, interaction with cabin crew, loading and unloading of ships, etc.
- Tip: Special permission is also required for photography within the port.
- Things to buy: Khadva Milk sweets at Mewa wala market
- Other places nearby: Legendary Jesal-Toral Samadhi (Anjar), Gandhi Samadhi
- Nearest Railway Station: Gandhidham
A look through the Aaina Mahal in Bhuj history tells you that the magnificent monument was constructed in the year 1750 by Rao Lakhpatji. The Aaina Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) was built by two extremely deft craftsmen Ramsinh and Gaidhar Devshi during the period of Maharao Lakhpatti. Ramsinh Malam, had sought training in Holland for 17 years before being appointed to take on the craftwork like mirror work, tile work at the Mahal. It was Ramsinh who infused Aaina Mahal with the European styles of art and architecture.
- Timings: 9 AM –12 PM, 3 – 6 PM (remains closed on Thursdays and Public Holidays)
- Must See: There is a section within the Mahal known as Kala Atari Picture Gallery. The extraordinary exhibits here include a pendulum clock as per the Hindu calendar, a Venetian chandelier and the fine doors inlaid with gold and ivory.
Designed in Italian Gothic style with Italian marble and Rajasthani sandstone, the Prag Mahal in Bhuj proudly showcases a 45 foot high tower with a clock and has been featured in many Bollywood films like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Lagaan.
- Also see: Sharad Baug Palace, Rao Lakhpatji Chhatri, Vijay Vilas Palace
- Timings: 9 AM – 12 noon, 3 – 6 PM (Remains closed on Thursdays and Public Holidays)
- Entry Fees: INR 20 per person. (Photography: INR 30; Videography: INR 100)
- Nearest Railway Station: Bhuj
Kutch Museum Bhuj (Fergusson Museum)
Maharao Khengarj established this musuem in 1877 and today it is the oldest Museum of Gujarat. This Museum houses a collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions in Kutchi-Gujarati (a rare and dying language), embroidery, paintings, arms, musical instruments, sculpture and precious metalwork. A few section of museum is dedicate to tribal cultures displaying craft antiques, artifacts, folk-arts.
- Kutch Museum Timings: 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM – 5:30 PM (Closed on 2nd & 4th Saturdays)
- Entry Fees: INR 5 for Indians, INR 50 for foreign visitors. (Photography: INR 100, Videography: INR 500.)
Kutch is a wonderland for the Great Indian Bustard. And the Kutch Bustard Sanctuary is the best place to sight these heavy avian birds. Apart from serving as the Great Indian Bustard sanctuary, it also houses other animals such as wolf, hyena, fox, mongoose, caracal, chinkaras, desert cat, jackal, bluebell, royal snake, spiny tailed lizard etc.
- Best time to visit: October – March
- Entry Fees: Entry is free of cost, but you may have to pay for a Guide to enjoy the time in this park.