Imagine stretches of barren, salty, marshy whiteness coming alive with sudden bursts of green. If the imagination seems too surreal to be true, it’s time you travel to the lands of unexpected oases and salt deserts – Gujarat. While I pondered over what all this state has to offer to tourists, the sheer number of its marvels baffled me.
Thus, I’ll slice it off in five layers, spreading it out for you and make another 5 Senses Story.
Photo Courtesy – Official website of Rann Utsav
So much to see that you’ll wish for an owl’s head!
Photo Courtesy – ronnie44052
Okay, that might read funny but I could not think of a better way to put it. There’s so much to see at Gujarat that you will really want your neck to rotate at 360 degrees. Choose from the fascinatingly white Little Rann, the Sun Temple at Modhera, the sky full of kites on Uttarayan, the ancient sites of Dholavira and Lothal (of the Indus Valley days), or the mysterious yet alluring Gir National Park that comes alive with roars. Literally. History and geography both seemed to have entered into nuptials for Gujarat. What else do I say for its legendary tales and breathtaking landscapes. Case rested.
So much to savour that you’ll wish for a Blue Whale’s belly!
With the blue whales’ reported ability to take in up to 1000 kg of food, I think Gujarat’s cuisine really calls for the same capability/capacity. I wonder if any food critic has yet succeeded in putting a number on the dishes that this cuisine has. To name a few, there’s khandvi, fafda, dhokla, basundi, farsans, shaaks, bajri na rotlo, biranj, chorafali, laapsi and more. If you, by some way, succeed in getting “the number”, let me know.
So much to listen to that you’ll wish for an African elephant’s ears!
Photo Courtesy – Sukanto Debnath
Those huge, flapping ears have always fascinated me, though I couldn’t understand the purpose of those. Apart from fanning oneself. But Gujarat will make you (and me) understand the reason. This is the land of the very legendary Faiyaz Khan. Meet the Chaaran, Deviputra or Ghadhvi folks and watch them recite epics blended with the finest of folk music. Other than that, the bhajans (devotional songs) from Gujarat had even Lord Krishna wooed. Time to flap those ears I say.
So deep a touch that you’ll feel as light as a butterfly!
Photo Courtesy – Bharath12345
Spend an evening at Somnath or in the courtyard of Dwarkadhish Temple, and you’ll find the meaning of faith. Walking the city that was, supposedly, the kingdom of Lord Krishna is one of those rare “once in a lifetime experiences”. For the hikers in search of a spiritual experience, there’s the Girnar trek too. Atheists, too, can walk in for the fascinating spectacle that takes place here during the aarti rituals and the lively lights that make the structures at Somnath come alive in the evenings. Plus, there’s the very fascinating tale of the submerged city of Dwarka that the priests are too happy to recite for you.
So alluring are the aromas that you might gallop like a hound chasing rabbits!
Photo Courtesy – andrew_j_w
Thinking of Gujarat’s aromas, it can make for one of the most giddy cocktail that you can think of. There is the sweet and sharp one of sunflowers blending with the refreshing one of salt and sea, while almost every house’s kitchen will lure you too. The rich, thick smell of ghee, homemade butter, freshly ground grams and more comes wafting from almost every house here. As for a homemade food experience, my pick is The Green House or Agashiye.
Leaving you with this tale of the land of plenty, I’ll now sign off and fix my itinerary for Rann and beyond.
About the Author
Shikha Gautam loves to play with steering wheels, roads, words, flute and guitar among other things. Not necessarily in that order!