Gujarat, India’s westernmost state, has varied terrain and numerous sacred sites. In its urban center of Ahmedabad is the Calico Museum of Textiles, displaying antique and modern Indian fabrics. Spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi’s base from 1917–1930 was Sabarmati Ashram, where his living quarters remain on view. The Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), built in the 15th century, has a huge courtyard and a columned design.
In the capital Gandhinagar, the pink-sandstone Hindu temple Akshardham stands within a garden complex. Bhuj contains the ornate Aina Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) and Kutch Museum, known for its 1st-century Kshatrapa inscriptions. Modhera’s 11th-century Sun Temple features 52 elaborately carved pillars. Patan is noted for the Rani Ki Vav, a monumental 11th-century stepwell (water storage system). In the southeast, Shatrunjaya is a Jain pilgrimage locale with hundreds of hilltop temples. Other pilgrimage sites on the west coast include Dwarkadhish Temple and Somnath Temple. Gir Forest National Park is a sanctuary for the rare Asiatic lion.
When to visit : Gujarat has a hot semi-arid climate and is very dry most of the year. Popular travel periods include May–Jun before the peak monsoon rains around Jul–Aug. Winter (Dec–Feb), also a peak travel period, is warm with some cool evenings. Key events include Uttarayan (Jan) an international kite festival in Ahmedabad. The Modhera Dance Festival (Jan) features classical Indian dancers in the city’s Sun Temple. Navarati (Sep/Oct, dates vary) is a religious festival with decorated shrines and elaborate Garba dances.