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Gujarat

On behalf of everyone in Gujarat we extend towards you our very warm welcome. The main intention behind creating this website is to share the colors, the romance, the heritage, the insights as well as the mystique that entwines this Gujarati legend. It is an attempt to equip you with all the relevant information, tools and resources needed to make your journey enriching, uncomplicated and enjoyable. The Gujarati soul is embodied by its regular everyday people. We hope that to some extent, this website will also connect you with the warmth and celebratory spirit of its people.

Here in Gujarat you will discover centuries of history as spanning the geological core of the earth onto a fascinatingly vibrant future. Gujarat is unique in its geological and topographical landscape. From volcanic outpourings through bedrock to fossil fields of indegenous dinosaurs; from the art of the neolithic cave painter to the stone masterpieces of a series of civilized architecture. Gujarat has it all.

Places to Visit in Gujarat

Akshardham temple is the most renowned temple of the Swaminarayan Sect. The temple was built using pink stones with beautiful carvings. Lush green gardens and admirable fountain surrounded it, Akshardham temple is situated in Gandhinagar, Gujarat

It is a modern complex, built in traditional Indian architectural style. This imposing 10 storey high monument is made entirely of intricately carved, 6000 tons of pink sand-stone from Rajsthan, with no steel or cement used at all, ensuring that the monument will last for a thousand years. It is 108 feet tall, 240 feet long and 131 feet wide. More than 12 million man-hours of 900 skilled craftsmen have created this magnificent monument of 93 sculpted pillars, 40 windows carved from both sides, and a feast of forms and filigrees.

At the centre of the spacious Akshardham complex, is a delicate and beautiful architectural masterpiece, the Akshardham Monument, which enshrines the golden idol of Swaminarayan, the founder of the Swaminarayan Faith. The first floor galleries house a museum portraying the 500 ‘paramhansas’, and several things belonging to Swaminarayan such as his letter to the guru Ramanand, a piece from an old tree from Chapaya, his pure wool shawl, a replica of his old home and other displays.

The temple is located in the midst of a spacious garden called Sahajanand Van, with the presence of carvings of Hindu Gods. The panoramic view of the place includes beautiful gardens, cafeteria and other amusements. You can find sculptures of Lord Swaminarayan, Gunatinand Swami and Gopalanand Swami. All the statues are either gold or copper plated. Akshardham Temple opens for worshipers from 9:30 A.M. to 7:30P.M. Exhibitions, games and restaurant closed only on Monday.

Ambaji is the major Shakti piths of Ambe Mata situated in the Banaskantha district of Gujarat State. Ambaji is the seat of Ambe Mata, the mother goddess. Millions of devotees visit the temple every year. Ambaji temple has a golden yantra with 51 shlokas. A triangular Yantra, inscribed with figures and the syllable shree in the center, represents the deity There is no image of Ambaji Mata in temple, people worship the yantra.

Original seat of Ambe Mata is on gabbar hill, located 3 kms away from Ambaji temple. The temple is aligned in the same axis at Gabbar hill. On the Gabbar hill, footsteps of Goddess Ambe Mata are printed. It is believed that heart of Goddess Parvati fell on Gabbar Hill. Also tonsure of Lord Krishna took place here.

The temple is open from 7 AM to 4:0 PM and 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM . A large number of devotees visit the temple every year specially on Purnima days . Every Purnima devotees reaches Ambaji to worship Ambe Mata. Bhadrapadi Purnima is the main festival when a big fair of devotees comes at Ambaji.

Ambaji town is also known for mines of fine quality of marble and granites located in the area. Mt. Abu is just 45 kms away from Ambaji.

Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath is one of the most famous and most visited tourist spot in India. Emperor Ashoka erected this pillar like several others in other parts of his kingdom. The date of erection and commissioner of this pillar is also confirmed by the edicts of Ashoka that is engraved on it. The pillar also records the visit of Ashoka to Sarnath. The year of his visit is said to be around mid 3rd century BC. It is interesting to note that at one time, the Ashoka Pillar of Sarnath stood over 17 meters in height. Its capital with the four lions back to back that has been adopted as the official emblem of modern India can be seen in the museum at Sarnath.

The pillar of Ashoka at Sarnath is famous for its edict. It bears one of the edicts of Ashoka. The edict has an inscription that is said to target schism within the Buddhist community. It reads, "No one shall cause division in the order of monks". The Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath is actually a column surmounted by a capital. Among others, it consists of a canopy representing an inverted bell-shaped lotus flower. A short cylindrical abacus assists it where four 24-spoked Dharma wheels with four animals (an elephant, a bull, a horse, a lion in this order), and four lions face the four cardinal directions. The four animals are believed to symbolize different steps of the Gautam Buddha's life.

Balaram Palace Resort is located at distance of 167 kms from Ahmedabad (Gujarat - INDIA).14kms from Palanpur station. 3 kms off Ahmedabad-Abu National Highway-14 and is a very convenient stopover between Ahmedabad and the destinations of Rajasthan and for pilgrimage of Ambaji which is about 35 kms from Balaram Palace.

The palace has a neo-classical architecture, with 13 acres of private woodlands and formally landscaped gardens with Mexican lawns, exotic flower beds, modern fountains and well consoled music system. Inside the palace are some beautiful marble galleries, wooden staircases and well appointed public areas. The terrace has views of the Arravali hills, especially during the sunset.

For accommodation it has 4 Gold Rooms, 12 Platinum Rooms and 1 Nawabi Suite,all room equiped with TV, telephone, refrigerator, attached baths, fireplace and handcrafted furniture. Some rooms have a colonial style with semi circular pillars jutting out of the wall, English fireplaces and marble faced stone beds.

Balaram also has a fully facilitated AC conference hall (75 persons in theater format, 30 persons in U- type) and Multi-cuisine AC restaurant serving North Indian, Continental and Chinese dishes.

Bhadreshwar temple is in the Gujarat State in India. Most of the people following Jain religion make sure to visit this holy place at least once in their life.

Bhadreshwar is situated around 45 miles away from the city of Bhuj. Bhuj is well connected by air, rail, and road from Mumbai and all the major cities of the Gujarat State. The tourists can travel by buses or hired cars and taxis up to Bhadreshwar from Bhuj. It can be a one day outing from morning to evening from the city of Bhuj. Bhadreshwar is situated at the sea shore. The Jain temples situated here have been constructed in the year 1708 and have been renovated by the Shah Sodagar Jagdusha in the later part of Nineteenth century. Bhadreshwar is the birth place of Shah Sodagar Jagdusha. The main Jain temple here is of Mahavir Swami. Bhadreshwar was known as Bhadravati before around 2500 years and was one of the main ports and the business center of the Western coast of India. As there are many wells and the stepped wells at Bhadravati, the city was called the city of wells. Mahavir Swami was the twenty-fourth and last Jain Tirthankar. The temple of Mahavir Swami has a large meeting, praying, and dancing hall in the center. The temple is facing north, which is considered very holy and sacred. There are beautiful Jain paintings and the sculptures inside the temple. There are forty four small temples inside this main temple. These smaller temples have the statues of other Jain Tirthankars. The next place to visit at Bhadreshwar is the palace of Jagdusha. This palace was supported on 100 pillars originally. Sixty pillars have still remained even today. The palace is built in Jain style and there is a temple of Mahavir Swami in the middle of the palace. The temple is arranged in such a way that the statue of Mahavir Swami can be seen from all the rooms of the palace.

Dwarka (Jamnagar district) in ancient Anarta (Saurashtra) was the capital of Lord Krishna's terrestrial kingdom. He shifted to Kusasthali which was the old name of the region to escape the harassing raids of Kansa's father-in-law Jarasandha on Mathura after Krishna had killed Kansa. Kusasthali was Krishna's ancestral place on his mother's side. It was founded by Raivata, his Yadava ancestor after he had lost his kingdom to Punyajanas and migrated to Mathura for safety; then he came back to found Kusasthali. So Krishna's migration to the Dwarka was in the reverse order.

Dwarka which was known as Suvarna Dwarka (The Golden Dwarka) had been very prosperous and hence got the name. The Dwarkadhish temple honours Krishna Bhagwan and attracts thousands of pilgrims from different parts of the country. The Dwarka of Krishna's time lies submerged under the Arabian Sea. Tradition has itthat Krishna's residence was at Bet Dwarka, a few kms from the mainland Dwarka.

The Dwarkadhish temple (also known as Jagat temple) and its Sikhar rises to 170 feet. The pataka or flag of the temple is changed three times a day.

Pilgrims and devotees vie with one another to pay for the flag. There are special tailors to stitch it. Before hoisting the flag it is taken round the temple by the donor. The five-storeyed temple stands on 60 pillars. The pilgrims enter the temple by Swarg Dwar (the gateway of heaven) and leave by Moksh Dwar (the gateway of salvation).

The temple has rich carvings. The ancient shrine has been supported by kings and commoners alike from its inception. It is one of the important moksh dhams. The Gomti River flows nearby.

The other temples in Dwarka are the Trikamji temple, Kalyanrai temple, the Patrani temple, Durvas temple, etc. Sharda Pith set up by Adi Shankaracharya imparts instruction in Sanskrit. Darukvan in the region is one of the Jyotirlingas.

The main temple, enclosed by a fort wall, is situated near the bank of the holy lake Gomti in the midst of the main bazaar of Dakor. The temple is covered with 8 domes and 24 turrets, with the central dome reaching a height of 27m. Crowned with a golden kalash and a white silken flag, this temple is the tallest in the district. Though not very rich in carving, the main cupola derives its influence from the Maharashtrian style of temple architecture. The main hall features paintings depicting events in Lord Krishna’s life.

It is believed that Ranchhodji, a name for Lord Krishna meaning "he who left the battlefield", inspired Gopal Jagannath Ambekar, a shroff of a Peshwa’s court in Poona, in a dream to build a vast and magnificent temple. The temple was built in 1772 A.D. The main Ranchhodrai idol is in black touchstone, 1m tall and 45 cm in breadth, richly adorned with gold, jewels and expensive clothes. Its throne, an ornate masterpiece of woodcarving plated in silver and gold, was presented by the Gaekwad of Baroda.

On the upper floor of the gate there is a tokorkhana (music room) where music is played on shehnai and drums daily every three hours. Shri Bhalchandrarao and other descendants of the builder of this temple, Inamdar Tambekar, give their services to this temple even today. For many, listening to the devotional songs sung by Champavatiben Tambekar is a very special experience.

Gandhiji selected a place on the bank of the river Sabarmati very close to the Saint Dadheechi’s temple as well as from Jail and a crematorium. Gandhi used to remark, "This is the right place for our activities to carry on the search for Truth and develop Fearlessness for on one side are the iron bolts of the foreigners and on the other, thunderbolts of mother nature." After building a few essential structures, activities in ashram stated full fledged in 1917.

Gandhiji had driven all the major activities of independence as well as upliftment of the society from this Ashram which was popularly known as Sabarmati Ashram. He stayed in the ashram for many years before he finally proceeded for a march to Dandi to break the salt law on 12 March 1930. Before starting the march to Dandi, Gandhiji declared that he will not return to the ashram before the independence of the country.

The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya is run by a public trust established in 1951. The museum’s new premises were built in 1963. The museum’s main objective is to house the personal memorabilia of Mahatma Gandhi. Consequently the exhibits on view depict the vivid and historic events of Gandhiji’s life. There are books, manuscripts and photocopies of his correspondence, photographs of Gandhiji with his wife Kasturba and other ashram associates, life size oil paintings and actual relics like his writing desk and spinning wheel.

Saputara means the Abode of Serpents and a snake image on the banks of the river Sarpagana is worshipped by he Adivasis on festivals like Holi.

ISaputara has been developed as a planned hill resort with all the necessary amenities like hotels, Parks, swimming pools, boat club, theatres and a museum to ensure an enjoyable holiday in the cool of the hill. Saputara is only 164 Kms. from Surat. Excursions from Saputara can be made to the wild life sanctuary in the Mahal Bardipara forest, 60 Kms. from the resort and the Gira Waterfalls 52 Kms away.

The thick forest around Saputara is dotted with Adivasi tribal, villages and heir unique dance is great interest to visitors.

Vansda National Park: Originally, a private forest of maharaja of Vansada, the park now covers on area of 24 sq kms. Despite its small size the park harbours tiger, leopard, pangolin, rusty-spotted cat, python, giant squirrel, fourhorned antelope etc. Prior permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden, of Gandhinagar or DFO, Ahwa is required before visiting the park.

Purna Sanctuary: Covering an area of 160 sq kms, Purna Sanctuary is a part of a dense moist deciduous forest in the Western Ghat of Gujarat. Situated at Mahal, 60 kms, north of Dangs, the sanctuary is crossed by Purna and Gira rivers. There are bamboo lined pathways for trekkers. Prior permission is necessary for visiting.

Sunrise Point:

It is a point which offers the best view of Saputara and adjoining Malegoan could be reached after a walk of 1.5 km in the direction of Waghai. The naming restricts the tourist traffic to this best place as tourists believe that the point should only be visited at sun rise, however, one may visit it at any time of the day to catch a panoramic view. The Tata Consultancy Services has suggested renaming this point as Valley View Point to enhance tourist traffic.

Shamlaji temple resides with the Mountains, forests, and the beauty of the River Meshvo, flowing nearby. In addition, behind the Temple at Shamlaji we find a big Lake has formed in natural surroundings and is named Shyam Sarovar. Built due to the dam on the river Meshvo, this water-body adds greatly to the already beautiful Shamlaji temple.

The site of the Shamlaji temple is full of natural beauty. The 'Gadadhar' image of the beautiful temple is very attractive. Situated as it is nearly on the borders of 'Mewad', this place has a long history too. The big bricks of large size that are scattered in the area, mounds, ruins of big and small temples, the crossroads of Harishchandra, temples of Trilokinath, Ranchhodraiji and Kashivishvanath, besides the Karmabai's Pond, etc. continue to preserve the past to the best of their ability. Among these probably the most important is the Mahavishnu Image called 'Kalshi Chhokran ni Ma' that has been installed by the people of the village in small temple. On the crown of this image we find 24 Avatars of Lord Vishnu carved out. One brick Sti.Ipaand two Viharas, believed to be of Kshatrapa period are found from the Shyam Sarovar. Besides, many smaller remnants of Stupas and Viharas indicate that this must have been an important Budddhist center.

In modem times it has seen the addition of the Bridge on the River Meshvo and a beautiful Ashram Shala for the Advasi children. In spite of all these the main center of attraction in the place remains the Gadadhar temple. A Gate with huge carved elephants allows you to enter the temple premises with a big open ground in the front, with the seven-layered temple at the end of it. There is a difference of opinion about the antiquity of this temple, though. However, the generally accepted time is mostly between 400 to 500 years ago.

We have found two copper plates from this temple. The writing on them indicates that in 1782 the temple was renovated. Also, we come to know that originally the temple was of Haldhar Balram, and probably the Trivikram image of Lord Krishna or Shamlaji was installed later. In any case the Gadadhar image of the temple reminds us of the beauty of Ranchhodrai temple of Dakor. This image is 130 cm tall, made from beautiful black marble, to present the Chaturbhuj form of Lord Vishnu. Before it is yet another beautiful image, carved from black marble again, of Garuda, the 'vahana' of the God, as a human form with a gesture of 'anjali' carved in stone for eternity.

The Somnath in the Prabhas Kshetra in Saurashtra, on the western cost of Gujarat (INDIA) is one of the twelve Jyotirlings that are most scared to the Hindus. It is as old as creation and its reference is available in Rig Ved also. It is said - the Moon (Soma) with his wife Rohini worshipped the deity of the temple, the Sparsha Ling, to free himself from the curse of his father-in-law, Daksha Prajapati. Lord Shiva pleased with his penance restored his light for half of the month. Hence the deity here is known as Someshwar or Somnath, Lord of the moon and the place as Prabhas. The Somnath is known as the Shrine Eternal as it has withstood the shocks of time and the attacks of the destroyers. It has risen like a phoenix each time it was destroyed or desecrated. The present temple is the seventh temple built on the original site. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the great son of India and its first Deputy Prime Minister took a pledge on November 13, 1947 for its reconstruction which was completed on December 1, 1995 when the President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma dedicated it in the service of the nation. The present temple is built by Shree Somnath Trust which looks after the entire complex of Shree Somnath and its environs. The Present Temple, Kailash Mahameru Prasada is built in the chalukya style of temple architecture and reflects the inherent skill of Sompuras, Gujarat's master masons. It has the Shikhar portion, the Garbh Gruh, the Sabha Mandap and the Nritya Mandap. Such a temple has not been constructed in India during the last 800 years. The Temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in between from Somnath sea-shore to Antartica, the South Pole. Such an inscription in Sanskrit is found on the ARROW-PILLAR erected on the sea-protection wall at the Somnath Temple. The Prabhas Kshetra is one of the most sacred places in India for Shaivaites as well as for Vaishnavites. Lord Krishna was hurt here at Bhalka in his foot by the arrow of a hunter who mistook him to be a deer.

Mahmud of Ghazni, whose raids on the riches of India are legendary, descended on Somnath from his Afghan kingdom and after a two-day-battle, took the town and the temple. Having looted its fabulous wealth, he destroyed it for good measure. So, began a pattern of Muslim destruction and Hindu rebuilding that continued for centuries. The temple was again razed in 1297, 1394 and finally in 1706 by Aurangzeb, the notorious Mughal fundamentalist. After the 1706 demolition, the temple was not rebuilt until 1950. Outside, opposite the entrance, is a statue of S V Patel (1875-1950), who was responsible for reconstruction. The current temple was built to traditional designs on the original site by the sea. It contains one of the 12 sacred Shiva shrines known as jyoti linga. Photography is prohibited inside the temple, and you must leave your camera at the hut outside. There is a grey-sand beach outside the temple which is part of the temple's lonely seaside charm.

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the most famous Lord Vishnu Temples in Kerala, South India. Also known as Sree Ananda Padmanabhaswamy Temple, this Mahavishnu Temple is located inside East Fort, in Thiruvananthapuram - the capital city of Kerala, India. Lord Vishnu is enshrined here in the Anananthasayanam posture (in eternal sleep of yognidra), lying on Sri Anantha, the hooded snake. According to traditions, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Kshetram is believed to have been worshipped by Chandra (Moon God) and Lord Indra (the head of the Devas).

Significance of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu. Divya Desams are the holiest abodes of the Lord Mahavishnu that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars (saints). Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is also one of the seven Parasurama kshetras in Kerala. The city of Thiruvananthapuram is named after the Lord. The word Thiruvananthapuram literally means "The land of Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy.

The idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is made up of 12008 salagramams that compose the reclining lord. They are special because they are from Nepal, from the banks of river Gandhaki and they were brought to the temple with all pomp and gaiety on elephant top. On top of them "Katusarkara Yogam", Navaratnams, a special Ayurvedic mix, was used to give a plaster. Followers believe that the Lord has personally come in disguise and had saved many times the Travancore Kingdom from the clutches of enemies.

 

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