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West India is a magnificent kaleidoscope of cultures where distinct religions, traditions, and lifestyles mingle to thrive and prosper. The Ministry of Home Affairs in its Western Zonal Council Administrative division includes the states of Goa, Gujarat, and Maharashtra along with the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. The states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa are culturally varied and distinct. Maharashtrian culture derives from the ancient Hindu Vedic culture influenced deeply by the Maratha Empire. Maharashtrians take great pride in the Maratha Empire, and many places in Maharashtra are named after the founder of the Empire, Shivaji. Marathi literature and cinema are popular in the state as well as across India. Bollywood has had a huge impact on the lifestyle and culture of this part of India as the industry is primarily located in Mumbai. Gujarati culture is a blend of Indian culture and foreign influence. It has been influenced by the Parsis, who migrated to Gujarat from Persia about a 1000 years ago. Gujarat also saw Turkic and Mughal conquests, as well as a constant stream of back and forth migrations to and from Sindh and Rajasthan, which helped shape the unique cultural landscape of the state. Cultural Events like Rann Utsav, International Kite Festival and Global Garba festivals have been started in Gujarat to showcase its culture internationally.Goa's culture is a unique blend of Indian and Portuguese cultures, as a result of it formerly being part of Portuguese India for 450 years. The state is popular amongst tourists for its beaches, Goan cuisine, temples, churches and architecture. The Churches and Convents of Goa have been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Popularly referred to as "Rome of the East" and "Pearl of the Orient", the small state of Goa nestles on the lush green Konkan coast on the western coast of India. Goa is renowned for its breathtaking scenic beauty and the architectural splendors of Old Portuguese mansions magnificent churches, massive forts, and ornate temples. Commanded by various dynasties, this exotic land is a potpourri of various cultures and traditions. Known for its palm-fringed beaches, culinary delights, and lively parties, Goa amazes everyone with its vibrant lifestyle and gracious hospitality that have made it the most popular tourist destination with travelers around the world.
If you are enthused by spirituality, mysticism and Hindu mythology, then Dwarka city in Gujarat should definitely find a place in your travel plans. The Indian government has conceived a scheme called HRIDAY (i.e. Heritage Development and Augmentation Yojana) for twelve cities of archaeological importance in India, and Dwarka - one of the seven oldest religious cities (sapt puris) in the country, is a part of it.In 2001, it was reported that artifacts about a submerged city near the Gulf of Cambay had been discovered. These claims have been disputed, but the treasure hunt is being turned into a tourist attraction. The government is planning to develop scuba diving facilities to view the submerged city.
A cozy little town in the Rann of Kutch that tempts tourists to put it on their itinerary, Bhuj has a healthy mix of ancient picturesque temples and wildlife sanctuaries in the backdrop of lofty hills. Bhuj is known for its interesting mix of flora and fauna, serene ambience, beautiful lakes and hills and exquisite monuments. Because of its stretches of white desert, which forms the largest salt marsh in the world, Bhuj is also called the ‘Jaisalmer of Gujarat’.
Gujarat’s only hill station, Saputara in located in the Dang Forest region of the Sahyadri mountain range in the Western Ghats. The cool climate and picturesque views of the valley have made Saputara a popular tourist destination.The city has now developed into a hill resort with modern amenities like hotels, restaurants, theaters and even a museum. The thick green forests and gushing waterfalls provide a respite from the drier cities of the state. It is one of the most organized and well-planned hill stations in India. There’s so much to do here; from riding the cable car to paddling your way across a river to admiring the exhibits at the museum or taking a stroll through a beautiful garden. This small, enchanting town is the ideal weekend getaway with the right blend of natural beauty and sightseeing attractions to keep you entertained as well as relaxed and rested.
Located at a distance of 60 km from the town of Junagarh, India, Gir National Park is one of the few places in the world besides Africa, where you can experience the majestic presence of the Asiatic Lion. It was established as an initiative to preserve the almost extinct species of this rare carnivore and has been continuing to do so, efficiently. The exotic flora of this national park provides habitat to nearly 200 species of birds, including the endangered Long-billed Vulture. Kamleshwar reservoir, which is the largest one in the forest, is home to about 40 species of reptiles and amphibians, such as the King Cobra. These forests are also known to house the world’s only four-horned antelope- the Chowsingha. Get an insight into the lives of the Nawabs of the area, as you visit the Gir Museum in the premises of the national park. Trophy hunting almost erased the existence the Asiatic Lion from the globe, and with sheer efforts, the numbers have shown a remarkable increase. If you are a wildlife adventurist, then a visit to the Gir National Park is going to captivate you for a lifetime
One of the most important pilgrimages or tirthas in India for Hindus, Somnath is a city within the Veraval municipality of the Saurashtra region of western Gujarat. Somnath is famous for the Lord Shiva temple, which is considered to be the first of the Twelve Jyotirlingas across the country, making it an important religious centre revered by many. The name Somnath is derived from another description of Lord Shiva which translates to 'Lord of the Soma'. Somnath, however, isn't just known for the temple but also for the beautiful beaches within the vicinity too. Somnath is a small easy going town with mostly pilgrims coming here year round and in numbers for certain festivals such as Mahashivratri. This is a quaint little seaside town where you can come to rejuvenate yourself spiritually and also take in the view of the serene seaside.
Silvassa, the capital of the Indian Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, is a former Portuguese colony famous for its scenic beauty, wildlife sanctuaries, beaches, and water sports. The Warlis or Varlis are an indigenous tribe who practice animistic beliefs, customs, and traditions. For the spiritually-inclined, the several Roman-Catholic churches, evocative of the city's Portuguese heritage offer a peaceful sanctuary. Silvassa will be a welcome change for anyone who’s tired of the din and bustle of the city. The three-hour drive that you have to make from Mumbai is worth it because of the calm and serene experience you receive. Silvassa should be the perfect place for you to enjoy a weekend detox.
Vadodara a.k.a. Baroda, a city in the state of Gujarat, is a burgeoning, industrial and educational hub with a confluence of traditional and contemporary influences. Vadodara is home to magnificent palaces such as the You can visit places of religious significance like, which has Hindu and Jain monuments.Also known as Garden City, Vadodara owes this name to its gardens and parks namely.
Ahmedabad is a city where modernity and tradition prevail side-by-side. This erstwhile capital of Gujarat is the largest city in the state and also the sixth largest and one of the fastest growing cities in India. Located on the banks of the Sabarmati River, it has emerged as a significant economic and industrial hub. This river divides the city into two regions. The eastern region, which houses the old city, retains the old-world charm of Ahmedabad. The region is home to numerous places of worship and historically significant buildings. The western region represents the city’s rapid development. Ahmedabad is home to various educational institutions, modern buildings, and multiplexes. This buzzing region has remarkable buildings, a number of fine dining restaurants, malls and all modern comforts.
Steeped in the history, Junagarh is situated in a district having the same name in the state of Gujrat. The city’s name can be translated to ‘old fort.' It was also termed as ‘Yonagadh,' which means ‘City of the Greeks,' as it was once ruled by the Greeks. Established by Nawab Sahib Muhammad Mahabat Khan in1863, the zoo is home to asiatic lions and other animals and is one of India's oldest zoos.
Jamnagar, which literally translates to mean ‘Town of the Kings’, is a city in the district of Jamnagar, in the state of Gujarat. Owing to its rich history, it comes as no surprise that the city is home to at least three palaces – the Darbargadh Palace, the Pratap Vilas Palace, and the Lakhota Palace An interesting place to visit on your trip to Jamnagar is the Kotha Bastion, which has an array of intriguing items including sculptures, copper plates, coins, and even a skeleton of a whale! Temples are a major attraction for those who are spiritually inclined and want a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Khijadia Bird Sanctuary is home to several bird species and makes for an interesting tourist attraction in Jamnagar. The sanctuary houses a variety of eagles, hawks, and falcons. Several avid bird watchers visit to catch a glimpse of exotic species such as the Great Crested Grebe, Purple Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, and Pheasant-tailed Jacana. Marine National Park is also worth visiting if you want to watch dolphins, porpoises, turtles and several types of colorful tropical fish. On your visit to Jamnagar don't forget to savor the delicacies of the city. Try out the famous dry fruit Kachori and Jamnagar Mukhvaas.
The city that presents a medley of colors of intricate handicrafts, textiles, beautiful architecture of monuments, green pastures around and the joyful shopping markets is ‘Rangilu Rajkot’ (Colourful Rajkot) located in the Indian state of Gujarat. There are a number of schools, including the Mohandas Gandhi High School, where Mahatma Gandhi took his initial education. Rajkot also houses a number of cricket stadiums as the city dwellers are lovers of the game and promote it. Rajkot is surely a city flying high with its fast pace of development and grounded to the roots with its strong culture and heritage. Surat, formerly known as Suryapur, is the second largest city in the Indian state of Gujarat. The city is a major industrial hub for textile and diamond cutting and polishing industry. Surat is world famous for its textiles, ivory handicrafts, embroidery, and jewelry. Silver and gold jewelry crafted in Surat are sought after all over the world. Beneath all the grandeur as a business and financial hub lies a city of great historical significance and glory. One can get a feel of the historical past while traversing through the older parts of the city, separated from the newer suburbs by a moat, with narrow streets and historical buildings dotting the landscape. This city has many historical buildings which are quite captivating. Due to its prominence as a trading and financial center, most people tend to overlook the fact that Surat lies on the west coast of India, overlooking the Arabian Sea. There are many beautiful beaches in Surat like Nargol, Dandi, Dumas, Suvali and Tithal. Most of the beaches are secluded, thus offering a perfect getaway to travelers looking for a serene environ.
A city where one gets intoxicated by spirituality and wine, where one is mesmerized by the green pastures and the mountains and where history meets mythology, is Nashik! This Indian city is located in the northern part of the state of Maharashtra. The city is one of the important centers of devotion for Hindus, notably for the Kumbh Mela, conducted once in 12 years. The city has many destinations like the Panchvati, part of Jungle where Lord Ram from the epic Ramayana resided during his exile and Ramkund, where he bathed. The Coin Museum is a great place for history lovers, as it houses the drawings and inscriptions on coins of various empires and rulers. Away from the crowd of the bustling metropolitan cities of Mumbai and Pune, Lonavala offers a much-needed retreat to city dwellers. Lush green Sahyadri Hills, incessant waterfalls, and beautiful lakes will make you fall in love with this town. No wonder that scores of Bollywood films have used this spectacular hill station as a backdrop. The picturesque landscape has inspired the likes of artists, explorers, and even honeymooners. This town is located in Maharashtra, at just 64 km from Pune and 96 km from Mumbai, making it one of the most popular destinations in the state. As you roam around munching ‘chikki’, a traditional candy, you cannot help but feel relaxed and rejuvenated. If you are intrigued by historical places, you can visit Rajmachi Point, which provides you with a stunning view of the fort of the mighty Chattrapati Shivaji. Adventure enthusiasts can hike to Duke’s Nose or Tiger’s Leap.
A place without the chaos of traffic, the monotony of concrete jungle and the ever increasing threat and side effects of global warming to human beings, is the ‘Jungle on top,'- Matheran. It is located in the Raigad District of Maharashtra and known as the smallest hill station; it is an automobile-free zone to preserve the sensitive ecosystem at this hill town. The transport mediums here other than walking are horse rides, hand-driven carts or the small toy train slowly maneuvering its way across the valleys and scenic locations. The slow pace of life here enables you to pay attention to the minute details which most people have forgotten in today’s fast-paced lives.
Aurangabad is the tourism capital of Maharashtra. As it is guarded by 54 gates around the city boundaries, Aurangabad is known as the ‘City of Gates.' The city is a blend of rich cultural heritage and the rapid modernisation. Major attractions in Aurangabad include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora Caves. The paintings and carvings at Ajanta depict the serenity and calmness of Lord Buddha. Other than tourism, the industrial sector boasts of some of the huge names in automobile and manufacturing, having their plants set here and providing economic growth. The city is known for its rich history, historical monuments and different handicrafts.
Shirdi holds spiritual significance as the birthplace of guru Sai Baba. Hence, the place has a plethora of temples and is ideal for a pilgrimage. Visit the spiritual Lord Ganesha's temple and surrender your worries to the tranquil air of Ganpatipule. The historical and cultural city of Kolhapur is a lesser-known tourist destination alongside the Panchganga River in southern Maharashtra. Yet, it certainly has plenty to offer! Its magnificent temples are one of the main attractions, with the Mahalaxmi Temple being the focus. Kolhapur is situated on the banks of the Panchganga River in the state of Maharashtra. It is an important pilgrim destination drawing in thousands of people who come to visit the Mahalaxmi Temple of the city. Nanded, an old and historic city, is the second largest city in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Its name is believed to have originated from the name Nandi, a vehicle of consciousness of Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva performed penance on the banks of River Godavari that flows in this region.
Chandrapur is an ancient city nestled between the Wardha and Wainganga River basins in the state of Maharashtra. The historic city of Chandrapur attracts numerous national and international tourists due to its proximity with various wildlife sanctuaries and magnificent temples. Chandrapur is well known for its abundant mineral wealth such as coal and limestone. A home to numerous coal mines, Chandrapur is also known as 'Black Gold City'. Chandrapur fort, which was built way back in the 13th century, is the main attraction among all the tourist places in Chandrapur. Walk down the ancient caves near Chandrapur; they will take you back to the 8th century when the ancient sages used these caves for meditation. Chandrapur is an ideal holiday spot for historians, adventure junkies, and nature lovers.
Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is the city of dreams and the land of opportunities. The capital of Maharashtra, Mumbai is also a vital sea port. It is the financial and industrial capital of India and one of the most densely populated cities in the world. However, there’s another reason why the world knows Mumbai, and that’s because it is the prime hub of the Indian Film Industry - Bollywood. It is not unusual to spot your favorite star walking down the street or enjoying a burger at a local café. More than the promise of seeing a celebrity, it’s the numerous tourist attractions that draw in thousands of visitors from around the world. The most popular of these are the Elephanta Caves and the Gateway of India. There are also gardens, theme parks, and beautiful beaches. Those who like a good bargain can head to Fashion Street or Chor Bazaar for the latest in clothing and accessories. Though Mumbai is famous for its street foods (especially the Vada Pav), it also offers various dining options from quaint coffee shops to award-winning restaurants. Home to people from various cultures, Mumbai is a true representation of the phrase ‘unity in diversity.'
Snuggled cozily amid the state of Maharashtra and Gujarat, Dadra & Nagar Haveli is located in the western corner of India. It lies on the north bank of the Daman Ganga River. This small union territory sprawls over an area less than 500 sq. km, covered with tall, awesome trees and winding rivers. A land of spell bounding beauty, Dadra & Nagar Haveli is endowed with lush green forests, thundering waterfalls, gurgling streams, undulating mountain ranges and a dazzling show of flora and fauna. The tranquil and quaint Dadra & Nagar Haveli is truly a haven for those who seek a relaxing holiday in the lap of Mother Nature.
Plan a trip to Daman and Diu if you want to have a good time. Daman and Diu is the union territory of India located in the western part of it. These two regions are separated by each other by the Gulf of Khambhat. It offers several opportunities for leisure, along with some adventure thrown in between. Once the colonies of the Portuguese, their legacy lives on in this union territory in the form of churches and forts. Most tourists who arrive here, are immediately struck by its tranquillity. You can get your fair share of adventure by enjoying water sports or exploring caves. Among the many things to see here, one is visiting its temples, some of which date back to ancient times.