Ahmedabad, the city of Ahmed Shah (the medieval ruler of Gujarat), is known for its rich past and its association with Mahatma Gandhi. The city offers the traveler a unique style of architecture, which is a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles (Indo-Saracenic style of architecture). The monuments of Ahmedabad mainly date back to the 15th century. Ahmedabad has been known for its industry since medieval times. Presently it is famous for its textile mills and is often referred to as the 'Manchester of the East'.
Gandhinagar, situated about 25 kilometers north of Ahmedabad, is the newly built capital of Gujarat. Gandhinagar, named after Mahatma Gandhi, has been built on a grid pattern. The presence of abundant foliage here has earned it the title of the 'Green Capital'.
Jamnagar is situated in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat around 302 km from Ahmedabad. Major sites here include the Lakhota Fort, Kotha Bastion, Willington Crescent, Solarium, Jamsaheb's Palace, and Rozi and Bedi ports.
Patan lies further north of Jamnagar, founded during the 9th century. Originally known as Anhilwad Patan, the city is famous for its architectural wonders built during the rule of the Solanki dynasty. The Rani Udayamati vav (step well) and the Sahastralinga Lake are some of the tourist attractions here.
To the south of Ahmedabad lies the city of Vadodara, Gujarat's cultural capital, which has a long tradition of music, fine arts and education. The credit for this cultural awareness goes to Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaikwad who made primary education mandatory for both boys and girls and encouraged artistes.
A favorite hill resort for the people of Vadodara, Pavagadh is believed by many to be the chunk of the Himalayas that was to be carried by Hanuman to Lanka.
Lying at the base of the Pavagadh hill is Champaner, the ancient capital of Sultan Mahmud Beghara. The Jama Masjid here is considered to be one of the finest in the State.
Further south of Vadodara lies the important trading center and port of ancient India called Surat. Today, Surat is an important center for textiles, zari (gold and silver threadwork) and diamond cutting and polishing.
Saputara-literally, the Abode of Serpents-is Gujarat's best-known hill resort, situated atop the second highest plateau in the Sahyadri range and in the midst of thick forests.
Founded by a Rajput chief in the 16th century, Rajkot had been the scene of many a clash between the Mughals and the British. Located in the center of the peninsula further northwest of Surat, the city is mainly known for the handicrafts it produces. Especially famous are its bead and mirror work, tie and dye (bandhani), silk embroidery and appliqué work.
To the southeast of Rajkot is the city of Bhavnagar, originally the capital of a state of the same name and ruled by the Suryavanshi Rajputs from Marwar. The prime attraction here is a Mahadev Temple.
To the west of Bhavnagar, situated at the base of the Girnar Hills is Junagadh. Its special claim to fame is the rock edict of Emperor Ashoka, dating back to 250 BC.
One of the biggest attractions about five kilometers from Junagadh is Uperkot. The fort atop the Uperkot hill, originally constructed by the Rajputs, has an ornamented triple gateway. Equally fascinating are the Buddhist caves and stupa all dating back to 100-700 AD.
Further west of Junagadh, situated along the coast is Porbandar-the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.
Known popularly as the gateway to Kutch, Bhuj is the most important town in this region. An old walled city, the gates of which (in olden times) were locked from dusk to dawn, it encloses within itself not only the palace but also the entire bazaar and a lake too.
Situated in Junagadh, near the port town of Veraval, Somnath is probably one of the best-known pilgrimage centers of Gujarat.
Yet another pilgrimage for which this state is known, is the holy town of Dwarka lying on the northern tip of the Saurashtra peninsula, at the confluence of the Gomti River and the Arabian Sea.
One of the most sacred pilgrimage centers for the Jain community, situated in Junagadh district, are the 16 marble temples atop the 1,118-meter high Mount Girnar.
The architectural grandeur of many of the 863 Jain temples at Palitana has few parallels. Located on the 600 meter high Shatrujaya Hill, this cluster of temples, dedicated to various Jain saints and deities, is yet another important place of pilgrimage on the Jain circuit.