4 Must Visit Places in Gujarat

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Gujarat is a popular tourist destination as the state is home to historical monuments, picturesque beaches, and enchanting scenic beauty. Here, you can catch a glimpse of Asiatic lions in their natural habitat. But that’s just a part of the fascinations of the state as there’s whole lot to discover for visitors.

Here are some of the must visit places in Gujarat.

1. Great Rann of Kutch – Kutch district

If you plan to visit Gujarat, then the Great Rann of Kutch should be on the top of your bucket list. The salt marsh covers 7,505.22 square kilometres of area and is therefore considered to be one of the biggest salt deserts in the world.

Consider yourself lucky if you happen to spend the night in Rann of Kutch during a full moon as the salt desert shines bright and effuse a surreal calm. The locals (Kutchi people) host cultural programs which will not only entertain you but also give a glimpse of the tradition and history of the place. During winter, the desert changes its colour from white to a delicate shade of pink and it’s something that you’d definitely not want to miss out.

2. Rani ki Vav – Patan

Rani ki Vav is a unique and ancient step well with an intricate construction that dates back to the 11th century. Just opposite to the story of Taj Mahal, Rani ki Vav was built by a queen in the memory of her king.

Rani ki Vav houses more than 1,500 sculptures, each of the having intricate detailing. What’s interesting to know is that the monument has been discovered fairly recently as it was previously flooded by the nearby Saraswati river. And it’s because of the recent discovery that the place has become a popular tourist spot. Rani ki Vav was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 2014.

3. Dwarka – Devbhumi Dwarka district

Dwarka is one of the highly revered “Char Dham” Hindu pilgrimages which is why the city attracts a number of devotees throughout the year.
Dwarka is popular for notable temples including Gomti Ghat, and Rukmini Devi Temple. The best time to visit Dwarka would be during the Krishna Janmashtami festival as the temples are decorated with garlands.

4. Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad is the largest city in Gujarat and it should be one of the first places that you should be visiting while travelling Gujarat. The city is culturally rich and attracts tourists from all around the world.
It would be best to visit Ahmedabad during the International Kite Festival (14th January) as the sky swells up with soaring kites. The International Kite Festival is also considered as one of the biggest festivals in the city.

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What to Shop in these Popular Tourist Destinations in India

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Souvenirs are something that always reminds you of the trip you have taken. From exquisite handicrafts to sweets, each state in India offers a speciality that you would love to bring back to your friends and family members. Here’s a list of items to shop for if you are travelling to these tourist place in India:

1. Rajasthan

Rajasthan is well-known for its exclusive accessories, Kundan jewellery and Lac bangles. If you are visiting Rajasthan, do not forget to get some for the women and girls in your family.

2. Jammu and Kashmir

This is a land of variations and natural beauty. But if you are visiting Jammu and Kashmir, exquisite Pashmina shawls are a must buy. Pashmina is very fine Cashmere wool and from centuries, these are worn by the royalty and the elite people in Kashmir. If you are visiting Ladakh, you may even pick Tibetan prayer flags and items made from paper mache. These are very colourful and are intricately painted.

3. Uttar Pradesh

If you are visiting Agra you may buy marble carvings and sculptures from the place. You will find plenty of shops in that area that sells such products. Intricately decorated marble plates, marble figurines of animals and deities are things you should buy when visiting this place.

4. Bihar

Bihar is the birthplace of the famous Madhubani or Mithila painting. This type of painting first originated in a village called Maithili in Bihar and is one of the oldest art forms in the region. Naturally, when you are visiting this state, this is a must-buy thing. This type of painting usually depicts scenes from Hindu mythology or images of Hindu deities. Madhubani painting is created using branches, twigs, matchsticks, and single hair brushes and is painted using natural pigments. You may even get hand printed sarees too.

5. Odisha

If you are visiting Odisha and wondering what to buy then without any second thoughts, go for Pattachitra painting. This is a famous artwork of the state and usually, comes in a scroll form. The scenes that are depicted are usually from Hindu mythology and the entire story is painted in a single piece of canvas. This art form dates back to about 5 century B.C and the colours that are used are all natural colours.

6. Gujarat

The state is famous for its needlework. So if you are travelling to Gujarat, buy Katab appliqué clothes. This exquisite handicraft is done by stitching pieces of clothes in a decorative manner. These pieces are embellished with mirror work and embroidery to add richness.

7. Assam

The weave works and mekhla sarees are the two must-buy souvenirs in Assam.

8. Chattisgarh

Home to several tribal communities, Chhattisgarh is a place where you will get the best terracotta pottery and sculptures. These works represent the customs and rituals of the state.

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8 Famous Bird Sanctuaries in India

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India is home to myriad species of birds. Apart from local birds, thousands of migratory birds from across the globe flock to various bird sanctuaries in India. If you are a bird watcher or a bird enthusiast, then we have got a list of the famous bird sanctuaries in India for a spectacular experience. Take a look:

1. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Kerala

Also known as Vembanad Bird Sanctuary, this place is located near the Vembanad Lake. It is home to a great variety of migratory birds such as a crane, teal, Flycatcher, Wood Beetle, and Siberian Stork. This is a favourite spot for bird lovers and is also known for its rich flora.

2. Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu

This is considered the oldest bird sanctuary in India. Located near the Vedanthangal Lake this sanctuary attracts a large variety of exotic birds such as Blue-winged teal, Grey Wagtail, Common Sandpiper, Pintail, and Garganey.

3. Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan

Also known as Keoladeo National Park, this place is amongst the best bird sanctuaries in India and is a major tourist attraction. During the winter season, the park is flocked by rare, exotic, and endangered species of birds. You will find cranes, hawks, pelicans and pipits during the winter season.

4. Manjira Bird Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh

Manjira Bird Sanctuary is located in the Medak, Andhra Pradesh. Originally, this place was a crocodile sanctuary. However, today, you will spot more than 70 species of bird in this sanctuary. It is home to a variety of exotic and rare species of birds and is also home to the vulnerable mugger crocodile.

5. Chilika Lake Bird Sanctuary, Odisha

Chilika Bird Sanctuary not very far from Puri in Odisha. This bird sanctuary is extremely popular among tourists. This is also among the most splendid brackish water lakes in Asia. Every year in winter, Chilika welcomes thousands of migratory birds.

6. Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat

Located in Ahmedabad, this bird sanctuary comprises of a huge lake and marshy land, making it the largest wetland in Gujarat and a famous bird watching spot. You may easily spot birds such as Pelicans, Flamingos, Avocets, Pintails, Spoonbills, Small Grebes, Small Cormorants, and Shovellers. This is amongst one of the busiest tourist attractions in India.

7. Kolleru Bird Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh

Located just between the Krishna and Godavari delta, this bird sanctuary is spread over two districts- Krishna and the West Godavari. During winters this place is home to birds such as Siberian Crane, Painted Storks, and Ibis. It is also a key habitat for about 20 million resident and migratory birds.

8. Nawabgunj Bird Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh

This bird sanctuary is located in Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh, just on the Kanpur- Lucknow highway. More than 250 species of migratory birds come to this place. Most of the birds are from the CIS or Commonwealth of Independent States countries (former Soviet Republics).

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7 Famed Indian Offbeat Destinations

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India is a land of mystic charm. Each corner of the country offers unique experiences that will blow your mind. It’s also a land of hidden gems, gleaming with a bounty of nature, tucked in the less explored corners of the country. If you are looking for unconventional places, then here’s our list of offbeat places for you:

1. Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh

A carpet of greenery, misty hills, sprawling rice fields, and a horizon of misty clouds- Zero is a place of unspoilt natural beauty. Home to the Apa Tani tribe, life in Ziro is relaxed. If serenity and calmness are what you are looking for, this is the place to be.

2. Gurez Valley, Kashmir

Pleasant weather, cool air, surreal landscape at the backdrop of snow-capped mountains- Gurez valley in Kashmir offer breathtaking natural beauty. Located just below the Line of Control, this is also the most protected piece of land in the country. The weather during the months of May through September is the most pleasant.

3. Shojha, Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is a land of many offbeat places and Shojha is one of them. This idyllic village offers an awe-inspiring view of the mountains and a panoramic view of the lush green valleys. A visit to this place will make you feel close to nature.

4. Mainpat, Chhattisgarh

Mainpat is home to a large Tibetan settlement and some of the most heavenly gompas in the country. The Thakpo Sheduplinh Monastery in Mainpat was built in 1970 and is one of the key attractions here. The wall murals adorning the interior walls of the monastery are truly inspiring.

5. Moodbidri, Karnataka

This place is a dream destination for any history enthusiast. This place is home to centuries old Jain temples and the Digambara culture. One of the most popular Jain temples is the thousand pillared Jain temple. It is said that this temple is about 600 years old. The architecture of this temple depicts a blend of the Hoysala, Nepalese, and Oriental architecture.

6. Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Known as the birth place of the Dalai Lama, the landscape of this hill station is dominated by stunning panoramic valleys, misty mountains, and lush greenery. There are several monasteries in this place which are a must-visit for any travel enthusiast.

7. Bhedaghat, Madhya Pradesh

Amidst popular tourist destinations such as Bandhavgarh National Park and Gwalior, Bhedaghat is a place still untouched by the maddening crowd of tourists. Bhedaghat is home to some of the few marble rock reserves in the country. It’s located on the banks of Narmada. The Dhuandhar Falls is a major attraction here. The Chaunsath Yogini temple is also a must-visit. This place is located just 20 kilometres away from Jabalpur and is an excellent place for nature lovers and history-enthusiasts.

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3 Unique Places in India that you Must Visit

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India has a lot to offer; probably more than you can imagine. Apart from some of the world popular tourist destinations, there are several amazing places in the country which you won’t believe could have existed.
Here is the list of some of the unique places in India.

1. Rama Setu, Tamil Nadu

Rama Setu, or also known as Adam’s Bridge, is a chain of limestone shoals that connects the two nations – Mannar Islands in Sri Lanka and Dhanushkodi in India. The biggest fascination (and mystery) of Rama Setu is that the stones, which are part of the bridge, float in water.

While there’s an ongoing debate of whether Rama Setu is natural or manmade, the causeway has been described as a manmade structure in Ramayana. As described in the Hindu epic, Rama and Lakshmana created the bridge with the assistance of Hanumana and Vanara army to reach Sri Lanka in order to find Sita who had been kidnapped by Ravana.

On the other hand, geologists have said that the causeway is built by natural process but have failed to provide concrete reasons. So, this mysterious and unique place is worth visiting.

2. Lonar Crater Lake, Maharashtra

Formed about 52,000 years ago, the Lonar Crater Lake, located 500 km away from Mumbai, is a result of a meteor striking the earth’s surface at a speed of 90,000 kmph. The meteor is estimated to have weighed almost 2 million tonnes.

Initially, Lonar Carter Lake had been thought to be of volcanic origin as the surrounding region which consist of volcanic rock which is estimated to be 65 million years old. Later, the extraterrestrial origin of the lake was pointed out when the presence of maskelynite – a glassy phase which only forms in meteorite impact craters.

Contradictory to the scientific theory, local legend holds that the lake was the result of the tremendous force used by Lord Vishnu to vanquish the mythical demon Lonasura who used to trouble the local people.

Lonar Crater Lake is also the Earth’s largest and only hypervelocity impact crater in basaltic rock.

3. Rakhigarhi, Haryana

Rakhigarhi is another unique place in India, also archaeologists’ dream. The village in Hisar District is the site of an Indus Valley Civilisation settlement which dates back to the period of 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE.

The site has been excavated since 1963, and numerous artefacts have been recovered, some over 5,000 years old. Years of excavation has also revealed the size of the lost city. Archaeologists have also come to the conclusion that Rakhigarhi is the biggest Harappan civilisation site; bigger than Mohenjo-Daro in Pakistan.

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