When the possibility was first discussed of visiting the Gujarat region, I was excited but hesitant. Gujarat is famous for its amazing food (and this is a well deserved accolade) but it’s also definitely the real India – away from the crowds and with an intimidating political history. In 2002 Ahmedabad was home to the Gujarat riots, in which over 1,000 people were killed in Muslim/Hindu clashes and many buildings destroyed. However, Gujarat has since recovered from its history of violence and is home to amazing mosques, vibrant street culture, delicious food – as always in India! – and a small-town spirit of hospitality. I did not regret visiting Gujarat and doubt you would either. With Rajasthan to the North and the Arabian sea to the West, Ahmedabad and the nearby town of Junagadh offer a glimpse into a prosperous, devout and dynamic slice of Indian life.
Tip: Junegadh, a little nowhere-city on the map (the 7th largest in Gujarat), was one of my favourite destinations in India. Friendly and relaxed, home to smoothie shops, beautiful forts, stunning mausoleums and mosques and Ginar Hill, which rises to a peak of 3,383ft – the highest point in the state.
Pros: It’s under-rated, cheap and offers a vast range of experiences in a relatively small area. The thalis are some of the best in India and not to be missed. You won’t get the touts that pervade the hot spots in India.
Cons: The lack of other tourists will make you a curiosity, especially women travelling on their own. The staring can be intense and unwelcome (although in my opinion, the hospitality from those we met more than made up for that).