Gujarat is considered to be a land of myriad of opportunities. Though the impression about Gujarat is only that of land of ‘Industrious people’, the state also offers a lot to an avid traveler. Apart from housing the only naturally occurring habitat for Asiatic lion, Gujarat offers everything in the tourism landscape including Heritage, Archaeology, Religion, Wildlife / Ecotourism and Handicrafts.
Gujarat offers high concentration of heritage / archaeological sites with proven 4500 year old history. India’s most substantial remains of Harappan civilization (Indus valley civilization), one of the world’s oldest, are present at Dholavira and Lothal. Apart from many existing heritage hotels, Gujarat has many heritage sites including the places like Jamnagar, Junagadh, Vadodara, Wankaner etc. Ahmedabad’s heritage walk is country’s only daily departure heritage walk. On the religious front, Gujarat has offerings for all religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Islam.
Gujarat is bestowed with longest coastline in India (~1600 km) and thus has a lot to offer on the front of beach / coastal tourism and water sports. It is a little known fact that Gujarat has 22 Sanctuaries and 4 National Parks. The typical fauna of Gujarat spread across these forests are Asiatic Lion, Blackbuck, Dugong, Wild Ass and the migratory birds such as Greater Flamingo & Rosy Pelican.
The Tarnetar Fair (11th September to 13th September 2010)
Tarnetar Fair is one of the most happening events in Gujarat and is held at the Temple of Shiva or Trinetreshwar (three-eyed god), popularly known as Tarnetar. Popular belief associates the village with the Swayamwar (marriage) of Draupadi after Arjun performed the Mastsyavedh, an unparalleled feat of archery. Villagers from all over the state, dressed in their brilliant traditional costumes and exquisite jewellery, flock to Tarnetar. A veritable feast for the eyes is the Rasada, the captivating folk dance performed by hundreds of women moving gracefully in a single circle, dancing gaily to the accompaniment of four drums and jodja pava (double flutes). Folk music and folk dances like Hudo, Ras and Garba played by the Kodi and Maldhari dancers is the major Attraction of the fair. Tribal folks dressed in their typical, embroidered garments, perfectly dance to the tune of the drumbeats, which further raises the spirit of the religious fair. Men and women sway to the soul stirring rhythms of the folk music depicting a glimpse of the rich Saurashtra culture. The Tarnetar Mela covers a large part of the Tarnetar village with a huge number of stalls put up selling beautiful local handicrafts unavailable elsewhere along with ethnic jewellerys, statues of deities and traditional mirror work attires.
Navratri Festival (08th October to 16th October 2010)
Navratri meaning ‘nine nights’, is one of the most popular and widely celebrated Hindu festivals in many parts of India. Gujarat, however, is the only state that erupts into a nine- night dance festival, perhaps the longest in the world. Each night, all over the state, villages and cities alike, people gather in open spaces to celebrate feminine divinity, referred to as Shakti. After the puja begins the music; it is unmistakable to those who are familiar with the style and irresistible to many. People begin to dance in a circle, whirling away till late into the night. It is not uncommon to find dancers with swords or lit flames and other spectacles. The sight of people decked in their best, and the intense zest and festive spirit is such that one cannot forget it easily
The Rann Utsav (19th December to 21st December 2010)
The Kutch region in Gujarat abounds with splendid beaches, fascinating wildlife and beautiful palaces and monuments. A plethora of varied hues, profusion of design, superfluity of culture, cornucopia of music and dance, all together in the arid lands of Kutch creates a mosaic of exquisiteness which reflects the identity and spirit of the region. Kutch, one of the most ecologically and ethnically diverse district of the state is a celebratory land of art, crafts, music, dance, people and nature. During the full moon night of the winters amid the awe-inspiring and contrasting landscape each year a three day festive extravaganza brimming with hospitality, vigor and traditional flavor of the area is hosted and known as the Kutch or Rann Utsav.
This three to four day carnival organized at the various locales within Kutch takes one around the natural grandiose while introducing the visitor to the indigenous cultural and ethnical flavor of the people. Semi parched Grasslands of the Banni hosts the most magnificent display of vernacular architecture as the exhibition platform for the varied range of arts and crafts of the region. While an array of folk music and dance performances organized in the shimmering moonlit landscape provides the most enchanting experience. The colorful fairs held near the beach or the banks of a lake swings one with the spirit of festivity, fervor and flamboyancy while the organized tour around Kutch is an ideal occasion to be part of the region and experience the zeal and uniqueness of the people through a celebration of life.
TCGL organizes The Rann Utsav every year and apart from Tented Accommodation – AC & Non AC at Dhorodo near white rann (white desert) provides various activities for the tourists like:
- Rann Safari
- Kutch Carnival
- Cultural Programme
- Optional Tours
- Visit a Typical Kutchhi Village
- Traditional Fair
- Indo Pak Border
- Mandvi Beach, Mandvi Vijay Vilas Mahal, Tunda Vandh a handicraft village
- Narayan Sarovar,Koteshwar
- Chhari Dhandh (Lake), Fossil Park, Monestary, Dhinodhar
International Kite Festival (12th January to 14th January 2010)
This festival is generally held on the 14th of February to coincide with the Festival of Uttarayan. The people of Gujarat celebrate Uttarayan with a lot of enthusiasm and all business comes to a grinding halt for 3 to 4 days. People of all ages gather on the terraces or the roof and engage in kite flying. There is music in the air (courtesy of numerous decks and stereo players) and all sorts of delicious food. The vast panorama of the sky dotted with thousand of kites is a wonderful sight to see. The Gujarat Tourism organises an International Kite Festival every year. This festival attracts International Kite Flyers and Local Champions as well, who demonstrate their skills in flying exotic kites. Visitors come from around India for the celebration, many Gujaratis who live outside the state choose this time to make their trip home, and international visitors have come from countless countries, including Japan, Italy, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, the USA, Malaysia, Singapore, France, China, and many more.
Vibrant Gujarat 2011
The Mega Business Event
The last four summits, being conducted biennially since 2003, have been a major success and has attracted investment proposals of over US$ 385 bn. On January 12-13, 2011 the immensely popular Vibrant Gujarat is scheduled to take place at the Mahatma Mandir, in the State capital at Gandhinagar.
Vibrant Gujarat 2011- the 5th Summit aims to facilitate investment alliances for the participating countries. The biennial Summit will be the ideal platform to discuss and deliberate business opportunities in the new age world.
The Summit, attended by leading global economies and a galaxy of international for a of business, policy makers, business and political delegations will host extensive B2B interactions, mega exhibition, sectoral seminars and conventions, will provide a very friendly ambience to the business community.
As a part of the Vibrant Gujarat 2011 a Tourism conference is scheduled to be held in the 1st week of December 2010.
Investment opportunities under each of these themes is available e.g. Religious tourism (Rs.10-15 crore each); Beach tourism (Rs.100-150 crore each) and Rural tourism (Rs.40-50 crore each). Apart from these, Gujarat being one of the states attracting investments is a sure case for development of Business and Leisure tourism.
2010 being the Golden Jubilee year of the state formation, government has declared the year as Tourism Year. To achieve its vision in tourism development, Government of Gujarat has created a company in association with IL&FS namely Gujarat Tourism Project Development Company Ltd. GTPDCL aims at undertaking project development for about 50 projects in the range of Rs.10-200 crore each. As per the BIG Vision 2020 prepared by Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board, the total potential for investment in tourism assets in Gujarat is to the tune of Rs.48000 crore. About 45000 crore out of this is expected from private sector. Of the total Rs.48000 crore investments, about Rs.18000 crore investments is expected in next 2-3 years.