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Saurashtra: The Treasured Visit

Saurashtra: A Treasured Visit to the Land With a Glorious Past

"Saurashtra" means "The nation for all". If as a tourist you want to reach out to ancient places of Gujarat and looking for more culture output - Warm welcome to Saurashtra!
Vacayholics Staff
Last Updated: Aug 12, 2017
Gujarat is one of India's most industrialized states, in western India, covering an area of 196,024 sq km (75,685 sq mi). It has a fertile plain land in the south cut by several rivers, low hills in the west, and broad mudflats in the north that adjoin the Thar (Great Indian) Desert. On the basis of physiology and culture, Gujarat can be divided into several regions like Kutch, Saurashtra, Kathiawad, and Northeast Gujarat.

Kutch is situated on the northwestern border of the state bordering Pakistan with a maximum altitude of 300 meters and almost desert-like topography. The ridge of Jurassic sandstone in the central part of the region breaks into the landscape at several places. In the north is Rann of Kutch, a salt marsh and in the south is Little Rann of Kutch.

Between Saurashtra and Khambhat is Kathiawad with a maximum altitude of 180 meters and if is flanked by sandstones in the north. It is a region made up of Deccan lavas and cut across by the lava dykes.

The Central Kutch region extends to Northeast Gujarat and the region has low hills and small plains. Southeast Gujarat is an extension of the Western Ghats and receives the highest rain in the state.

A Sight towards Saurashtra ...

Saurashtra literally means a region of a hundred kingdoms. Boasting of a glorious past, this region of Gujarat still retains the charms of yesteryear..

History & People

The history of the early 56 countries tells us how Sourashtrians have made themselves a glorious community. The "Sourashtrians Raga" has a unique place among the "Mangala Ragas" of Carnatic Music. The names of Sourashtram and Somanathapuram find a distinct place in the history textbooks of schools, especially in the political maps of the regions of Ashoka, Kanishka, Gupta Harsha, Gajini Mohammed etc.

Sourashtrians are mostly silk weavers and silk thread merchants, originated in the Saurashtra region (present day Gujarat, and parts of Maharashtra) in Northern India and later settled in Madurai and surrounding regions of Tamilnadu, few centuries ago. The origin is certain, and research has proved the current day Sourashtra spoken by them is a modern form of pre-Gujarati spoken thousands of years ago.

The glory of this kingdom was marked by sheer wealth, not only financial but also architectural. Today, famous as the most picturesque regions of Gujarat, the region is known for its warm people who surpass all in hospitality.

Saurashtra has played an important role in the technological development of the state of Gujarat. It finds mention in ancient Indian epics and treatises, as well as in the writings of early travelers such as Ptolemy and Hieun Tsang

A Pilgrimage Tour

Somnath
The Somnath Temple stands magnificently by the Arabian Sea, one of the 12 most sacred Jyotirlingas or Shiva shrines in India. Ransacked and destroyed by invaders in the medieval ages, phoenix-like it resurrected from the ashes. The Somnath temple has been successively re-built, its splendor only suffering in the material used : from gold to silver, wood and, now, finally stone.

Dwarka
Known in Puranic days as Kushasthali or Dwaravati, Dwarka on the west coast of Gujarat lies by the Arabian Sea and is the cradle of the Krishna legends. It is here that Lord Krishna is supposed to have ruled, and excavations have revealed that the present settlement is the sixth here, five others having been obliterated by the sea.

Palitana
This is one of India's most picturesque pilgrim center. Located on Shetrunjaya hill are 863 temples built over an impressive span of nine hundred years. The temples are exquisitely carved in marble, veritable prayers in stone. To an observer, these appear to be ivory miniatures when seen from a distance.

Destinations of Saurashtra

Rajkot
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.

Jamnagar
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.

Bhavnagar
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. Alang is a second largest ship bracking yard nearby Bhavnagar. 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.

Junagadh
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. 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.

Porbandar
Further west of Junagadh, situated along the coast is Porbandar -the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.

Veraval
Situated in Junagadh, near the port town of Veraval, Somnath is probably one of the best-known pilgrimage centers of Gujarat.

Dwarka
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.

Palitana
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.

Patan
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.

Sasan Gir
Sasan Gir is now the only home in the world of the beleaguered Asiatic Lion. It covers an area of 1412 square kms and has witnessed a successful conservation effort despite numerous hurdles. The lion population had gone below 200 and has steadily increased to the present figure of around 300. However, conservationists are having to fight an upward battle against problems such as bad land management, indifference, political interference, poaching.

The Sanctuary is also home to the leopard, hyena, jungle cat, cheetal (spotted deer), sambhar, nilgai (blue bull), chousingha (four-horned antelope) and wild boar. The forest also boasts of 200 species of birds that include the crested serpent eagles, white-eyed buzzard, hawk eagles and sparrow hawks. It is therefore a bird watchers delight. There is also a center where crocodiles are being reared.

Way to Saurashtra

Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Porbandar are well-connected cities by air, rail and roads. A traveler can land at Ahmedabad too to reach these destinations.

Welcome to the Saurashtra where people consider visitors as guest, don't forget to enjoy sanctuaries, flora and fawns, ports and seas.

Happy Journey!
Indian Sarees