The second best planned city of India and the largest city as well as the capital city of Gujarat – Gandhinagar is situated on the western bank of Sabarmati River. The city has earned its name from the name of father of our nation- Mahatma Gandhi Ji. Planned by Indian architects Prakash M. Apte and H.K. Mewada, Gandhinagar is the one of the most tranquil cities of Gujarat. Intelligently divided into thirty sectors, the city has a lot of space for green-lands, markets, recreational centers and lavish mansions.
Being the place of close association with Mahatma Gandhi, the city owns a rich cultural heritage and a lot of historical importance. This city has been a witness to many national movements during the struggle for Indian Independence. Besides the historical, industrial and cultural significance, the city is gaining immense attention from tourists as well. A place of delight for food lover’s, Gandhinagar has some really delectable dishes to offer, the most popular of them being dhokla, khandvi, shrikhand and khakra.
Major tourist attractions
The most significant tourist attractions of Gandhinagar are
- Akshardham Temple – The most prominent of tourist attractions of Gandhinagar, the charm and ambience of Akshardham temple is a source of immense pleasure to its visitors. Also known as Swaminarayan Temple, the entire grand structure is built with pink sandstone. At the center of the main hall of shrine is the idol of Lord Shri Swaminarayan Ji which is completely covered with gold leaf. The magnificent temple has a podium, several balconies, seventeen domes and 100 lavishly carved pillars. One of the renowned architectural wonders of our country, Akshardham Temple of Gandhinagar is visited by thousands of tourists and devotees every year.
- Children’s Park – Situated at the heart of the city, Children’s Park is a center of attraction and amusement for the children and adults of the city alike. The lake and mini train are an added attraction in the park.
- Indroda Nature Park – Maintained by the Forest Department of Gujarat Government, this nature reserve is spread across an area of 428 hectares with River Sabarmati flowing through its contours. It also features a Dinosaur and Fossil Section which is of great interest to its visitors. Other prime highlights are a wide variety of flora and fauna.
- Sarita Udyan – The most popular and visited of all the gardens in Gandhinagar is the Sarita Udyan. Its location on the banks of Sabarmati River gives it an awesome feel. This park is also the favourite picnic spot among the residents of the capital city of Gujarat.
Other places that could be of interest for people travelling to Gandhinagar include
- Capital Complex
- Hanumanji Temple
- Blackbuck National Park
- Aalloa Hills Resort Golf Course
- Rani Roopmati Mosque
- Vithalbhai Patel Bhavan
- Craftmen’s Village
Festivals and Fairs
Gujarat being the land of festivals and colours, people of Gandhinagar specially celebrate all major Hindu festivals with full excitement and joy. People here reflect their cultural and traditional values in a beautiful form wrapped with Gujarati music, dance, colourful attires and delicious food. Let’s have a look on some of the major Hindu festivals celebrated here:
- Uttarayan – Uttarayan is celebrated on 14th January every year, also known as Makar Sakranti in other parts of North India. People celebrate this festival by flying kites as the entire market place, street and shops get decorated with beautiful kites of different shapes and sizes. A traditional dish kown as ‘Undhyu’ made of vegetables is very popular during this festival.
- Navratri – Gujarat is very well known for Navratri celebration. It is usually celebrated in the months of September-October and lasts for 9 nights. Navratri celebration is the biggest of all festivals celebrated here. The major sites of attraction includes various activities including Ras, dance parties, gatherings, garba groups performing mesmerizing performances all over. Food also plays an important role during Navratri in form of traditional and cultural delicacies.
- Janmashtami – Janmashtami usually celebrated in the month of August to rejoice the birth of Lord Krishna. Panchdev Mandir in Gandhinagar is famous for Krishna Janmashtami celebrations.
- Gujarati New Year – Diwali is one of the major Hindu festivals celebrated across world. The next day of Diwali marks the beginning of the Gujarati New Year on which Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of wealth) is worshipped in each and every household.
Apart from this, a special music festival known as ‘Saptak Music Festival’ is celebrated at Saptak School of Music located 20 Km from the main city of Gandhinagar. It was started by Pandit Shri Ravi Shankar Ji Maharaj as a path breaking step in the field of art and music. It lasts for 11 days in which talented musicians and artists take part and perform.
Gandhinagar also hosts some of the famous fairs which cater the visitors around the world that includes:
- The Vibrant Gujarat Global Manufacturing show
- Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show
- Gujarat Travel Mart
- Hyper Expo – Focusing on lifestyle and entertainment, this fair showcases the products on fashion & lifestyle, spas, recreational products under one roof.
- Vautha Fair – A very famous and popular fair celebrated at a distance of around 60 Km away from Gandhinagar on the day of Kartik Poornima, based on a myth that Lord Kartikey has once visited the place. This fair generally witnesses the crowd including labourers, farmers and artisans.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Gandhinagar is between October to March when the climate is pleasant and cool. One can explore and do all the sightseeing very comfortably. Temperature ranges from 12 0C to 36 0C during this time, hence it is advisable to carry woollens. During the months of April to May, Gandhinagar witnesses hottest summers with the maximum temperature touching 42 0C. Monsoon starts and generally remains between the months of June and September where people of Gandhinagar witnesses heavy rain falls.
How to Reach
By Air – The nearest airport (Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Airport, Ahmedabad) is 27 Km away from Gandhinagar which is very well connected with all major cities across India by way of regular flights.
By Rail – The nearest railway station is situated at a distance of 27 Km from Gandhinagar, in Ahmedabad which is also very well connected with all the major cities of the country.
By Road – Gandhinagar is strongly connected by the National Highway (NH8) with the important states and cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Udaipur, etc. It also very well connected by road with important cities of Gujarat like Ahmedabad, Vadodra and Rajkot. Many Transport buses, both govt. and private also ply on these routes.