Get ready to celebrate Special Navratras in Gujarat - One of the best states to visit during Navratri week in India

Navratras are coming and one of the key thing our viewers search on Travellingcamera are - "where to go for celebrating Navratris in India", "special places for Navratris in North India" or related stuff. Keeping this in mind, we thought of compiling what we did a few years back. Even though we can hardly call ourselves knowledgeable enough to suggest about the best itineraries in Gujarat, we feel that we did a fairly good job when it came to planning one at a short notice of two days. So we can still talk about how we finalised the itinerary, what were the considerations, what worked well, and what did not.


Navratras are coming and one of the key thing our viewers search on Travellingcamera are - "where to go for celebrating Navratris in India", "special places for Navratris in North India" or related stuff. Keeping this in mind, we thought of compiling what we did a few years back. Even though we can hardly call ourselves knowledgeable enough to suggest about the best itineraries in Gujarat, we feel that we did a fairly good job when it came to planning one at a short notice of two days. So we can still talk about how we finalised the itinerary, what were the considerations, what worked well, and what did not. 


This is that time of the year when every small town as well as big city is decorated beautiful and evenings are super happening when most of the Gujaratis going to these Garba grounds in colourful dresses. Above photograph shows GMDC ground in Ahmedabad which is one of the popular Garba group for people in Ahmedabad.

This is that time of the year when every small town as well as big city is decorated beautiful and evenings are super happening when most of the Gujaratis going to these Garba grounds in colourful dresses. Above photograph shows GMDC ground in Ahmedabad which is one of the popular Garba group for people in Ahmedabad. 




Every year, some of the Garba committees of Guajarat plans something unique which gets world's attention through some world record. The celebrations are becoming grander with every passing year. It's like Durga pujo of West Bengal where festivities are all around and every year there is an intent to celebrate in better way than last year, whether that is about pandal decoration, size/design of Durga idol or decorations of streets in unique ways.

Every year, some of the Garba committees of Guajarat plans something unique which gets world's attention through some world record. The celebrations are becoming grander with every passing year. It's like Durga pujo of West Bengal where festivities are all around and every year there is an intent to celebrate in better way than last year, whether that is about pandal decoration, size/design of Durga idol or decorations of streets in unique ways. 




Gujarat markets look most beautiful during this time of the year and some special markets are setup only during Navratri week. Most of these markets are selling colourful Lahanga-Choli, Silver jewellery and lot of stuff which helps Gujaratis get well dressed for the Garba evenings. The colours of Garba dresses are bright and shiny, along with beautiful designs of colourful threads & small pieces of glass. Over the years, these designs have also evolved but more in traditional ways.


Gujarat markets look most beautiful during this time of the year and some special markets are setup only during Navratri week. Most of these markets are selling colourful Lahanga-Choli, Silver jewellery and lot of stuff which helps Gujaratis get well dressed for the Garba evenings. The colours of Garba dresses are bright and shiny, along with beautiful designs of colourful threads & small pieces of glass. Over the years, these designs have also evolved but more in traditional ways. 



For Garba nights, people need to arrange passes if you really want to enjoy it by getting decent spot at the ground. Every evening there are performances by popular singers and if you don't have passes, you may not even see what's happening on these stages at distance. Although there are screens installed so that everyone can experience the action, but still it's very different when you are close to the stage. In fact, some of the garba grounds only allow access when you have passes, especially on Ashtami and Navami.

For Garba nights, people need to arrange passes if you really want to enjoy it by getting decent spot at the ground. Every evening there are performances by popular singers and if you don't have passes, you may not even see what's happening on these stages at distance. Although there are screens installed so that everyone can experience the action, but still it's very different when you are close to the stage. In fact, some of the garba grounds only allow access when you have passes, especially on Ashtami and Navami. 




Day 1: Land in Ahmedabad, Local Sightseeing Day 2: Excursion to Modhera Sun Temple and Pattan to see the famous Rani ki Vav  Day 3: Lothal and then drive to Vadodara  Day 4: Statue of Unity and then back to Ahmedabad

Here is what we planned a few years ago and should be helpful as a reference point for planning Gujarat trip during Navratris -







Hera are a few things that worked in our favour and some that did not:  1) Flights:  We booked Indigo flights for to and fro. The timings of these flights was perfect. We reached early enough on October 5th so that we had the whole day to explore the city. On 8th October, our flight out of Ahmedabad was at 10:20 PM. That gave us the entire day to visit Statue of Unity and then return to the Ahmedabad airport.


Hera are a few things that worked in our favour and some that did not:


1) Flights:


We booked Indigo flights for to and fro. The timings of these flights were perfect. We reached early enough on October 5th so that we had the whole day to explore the city. On 8th October, our flight out of Ahmedabad was at 10:20 PM. That gave us the entire day to visit Statue of Unity and then return to the Ahmedabad airport. 



2) Timing of the trip:  There were plus and well as minus points of this timing. These were Navratras and therefore the best opportunity to witness Dandiya and Garba, some of the most incredible visual experiences in the state. However, October is generally a hot month in Gujarat, so we ended up exhausted and badly tanned.


2) Timing of the trip:


There were plus and well as minus points of this timing. These were Navratra days and therefore the best opportunity to witness Dandiya and Garba, some of the most incredible visual experiences in the state. However, October is generally a hot month in Gujarat, so we ended up exhausted and badly tanned. 



3) Itinerary:  While Ahmedabad worked in terms of local travel as well as day-long excursions, Vadodara was a bit of disappointment at least in terms of local travel. May be it was because of our weird hotel experience that we were not really able to enjoy the city. But in general, I feel you can skip visiting the city if you can plan a trip to Statue of Unity without entering Vadodara. I believe this was one aspect where we could have done better. Our Day 3 was so busy (tip to Lothal on the way from Ahmedabad to Vadodara) that by the time we reached Vadodara and sorted out our hotel mess, we were too put off to do any sightseeing. Also it was a Monday and apparently the city palace, which is one important places to see in the city, was closed.


3) Itinerary:


While Ahmedabad worked in terms of local travel as well as day-long excursions, Vadodara was a bit of disappointment at least in terms of local travel. May be it was because of our weird hotel experience that we were not really able to enjoy the city. But in general, I feel you can skip visiting the city if you can plan a trip to Statue of Unity without entering Vadodara. I believe this was one aspect where we could have done better. Our Day 3 was so busy (tip to Lothal on the way from Ahmedabad to Vadodara) that by the time we reached Vadodara and sorted out our hotel mess, we were too put off to do any sightseeing. Also it was a Monday and apparently the city palace, which is one important places to see in the city, was closed. 



4) Hotel booking:  We used Booking.com to book the hotels in Ahmedabad and then in Vadodara. When we reached Ahmedabad, we only had one night booking at Hotel Treebo Trend Ambassador. The hotel was okay and we did not want to spend too much time changing hotels so we booked the same hotel for the second night as well. Once we had finalized the plans to visit Lothal and Statue of Unity too, we booked the hotel in Vadodara. This wasn't such a great experience though. Even though we had received a confirmation from the hotel, when we reached there, the man at the reception informed us that their listing on Booking.com was through OYO and they have now broken the tie with OYO. The man suggested that he would not be able to entertain our booking from booking.com but we could cancel that booking and book directly from the reception there.


4) Hotel booking:


We used Booking.com to book the hotels in Ahmedabad and then in Vadodara. When we reached Ahmedabad, we only had one night booking at Hotel Treebo Trend Ambassador. The hotel was okay and we did not want to spend too much time changing hotels so we booked the same hotel for the second night as well. Once we had finalized the plans to visit Lothal and Statue of Unity too, we booked the hotel in Vadodara. This wasn't such a great experience though. Even though we had received a confirmation from the hotel, when we reached there, the man at the reception informed us that their listing on Booking.com was through OYO and they have now broken the tie with OYO. The man suggested that he would not be able to entertain our booking from booking.com but we could cancel that booking and book directly from the reception there. 



The hotel wasn't so charming. The prices that they were offering was higher than what we had paid through booking.com and since this would be same-day cancellation, we would lose some money if we cancelled the booking. So we decided to leave and fight the battle with booking.com instead. In parallel, we made another booking for another hotel through booking.com and called up and confirmed that we were indeed booked there. Then we raised the case with booking.com. After some to and fro, booking.com cancelled our previous booking without any charges and also reimbursed us for the new booking that we had had to make.


The hotel wasn't so charming. The prices that they were offering was higher than what we had paid through booking.com and since this would be same-day cancellation, we would lose some money if we cancelled the booking. So we decided to leave and fight the battle with booking.com instead. In parallel, we made another booking for another hotel through booking.com and called up and confirmed that we were indeed booked there. Then we raised the case with booking.com. After some to and fro, booking.com cancelled our previous booking without any charges and also reimbursed us for the new booking that we had had to make. 


Local transport:  In Ahmedabad, you can rely on Ola and Uber for local transport; and auto-rickshaws in old Ahmedabad. In fact, even for our day excursions, we tried Ola Outstation. The experience was hassle-free. While we were not delighted by the experience, there were no serious complaints as well. Here's our review of OLA outstation.


Local transport:


In Ahmedabad, you can rely on Ola and Uber for local transport; and auto-rickshaws in old Ahmedabad. In fact, even for our day excursions, we tried Ola Outstation. The experience was hassle-free. While we were not delighted by the experience, there were no serious complaints as well. Here's our review of OLA outstation.


Food:  We tried Gujarati breakfast on our first day in Gujarat. We had khakhra and kadhi, and poori bhaji. Both Kadhi and Bhaji were slightly sweet (as expected). Khakhra was light and crunchy and poori was as usual. We also bought thumbs-up with it, which was really refreshing because of the heat. The breakfast was okay but not something we thought we would want to repeat. We also had fruit shots from one of the hawkers in the Manek Chowk Food Market. We had Jamun shot and it was absolutely awesome.


Food:


We tried Gujarati breakfast on our first day in Gujarat. We had khakhra and kadhi, and poori bhaji. Both Kadhi and Bhaji were slightly sweet (as expected). Khakhra was light and crunchy and poori was as usual. We also bought thumbs-up with it, which was really refreshing because of the heat. The breakfast was okay but not something we thought we would want to repeat. We also had fruit shots from one of the hawkers in the Manek Chowk Food Market. We had Jamun shot and it was absolutely awesome. 


The other local food that we tasted were the Golgappas in Vadodara. They were good too. In non-veg, we had Chicken curry in Ahmedabad with tandoori roti. It was absolutely delicious. However, two food items Gujaratis absolutely seem to adore were sandwiches and Pizzas. You find hawkers selling these at every corner. There are small kiosk-like shops that specialize in these. You cannot be too far away from a sandwich or Pizza shop anywhere you go. We didn't try these though. We didn't try Gujarati Thali. This is a bit of a regret for this trip. If you plan a trip to Gujarat, try a Gujarati thali from a good restaurant at least once. You can even try the kathiawadi variant.


The other local food that we tasted were the Golgappas in Vadodara. They were good too. In non-veg, we had Chicken curry in Ahmedabad with tandoori roti. It was absolutely delicious. However, two food items Gujaratis absolutely seem to adore were sandwiches and Pizzas. You find hawkers selling these at every corner. There are small kiosk-like shops that specialize in these. You cannot be too far away from a sandwich or Pizza shop anywhere you go. We didn't try these though. We didn't try Gujarati Thali. This is a bit of a regret for this trip. If you plan a trip to Gujarat, try a Gujarati thali from a good restaurant at least once. You can even try the kathiawadi variant. 




Overall, while we cannot say that the trip was a complete success, we can definitely say that we managed to make the most of our time in Gujarat. We explored on foot, tried local stuff, experienced local transport, and were also able to witness one of the largest gatherings for Garba. From our point of view, the trip, with its highs and lows, was a success. As about Gir, we will surely plan some other time.


Overall, while we cannot say that the trip was a complete success, we can definitely say that we managed to make the most of our time in Gujarat. We explored on foot, tried local stuff, experienced local transport, and were also able to witness one of the largest gatherings for Garba. From our point of view, the trip, with its highs and lows, was a success. As about Gir, we will surely plan some other time.  

Overall, while we cannot say that the trip was a complete success, we can definitely say that we managed to make the most of our time in Gujarat. We explored on foot, tried local stuff, experienced local transport, and were also able to witness one of the largest gatherings for Garba. From our point of view, the trip, with its highs and lows, was a success. As about Gir, we will surely plan some other time.

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