Ahmedabad is a sought after tourist destination. A huge influx of tourists visits the city each year. Apart from its majestic buildings and varied tourist attractions, there is a lot more to the city. There are a number of places around the city which will add onto your experience. The excursions around Ahmedabad will give a glimpse of the natural and historical heritage of India. These places of interest are delightful to be explored. Your trip to Gujarat is incomplete without visiting these exotic locations.
The Sun temple of Gujarat is situated at Modhera. It is akin to the Sun Temple at Konark and is dedicated to the Sun God, Lord Surya. Though the temple has lost its glory of the yore, it is still an architectural and art master piece. The temple serves as the venue for the Dance Festival held in January each year. It was built in 1026 AD by the Solanki King Bhimdev I of Patan. The Solankis were Suryavanshis, the descendents of Sun God and therefore built this temple in the honor of Lord Surya. However, the temple was plundered by Mahmud Ghazni.
One of the most striking features of the Modhera Sun temple is that the first ray of the sun falls on the deity at the time of the equinoxes. The temple has a unique architecture and consists of a number of other magnificent buildings in the vicinity. The main buildings are the Surya Kund, the Sabha Mandap and the Guda Mandap (Sanctum Sanctorum). Apart from this, there is a beautiful hall in between the Sabha Mandapa and the Sanctum Sanctorum. It has remarkable pillars and arches and shows the different aspects of the Sun God in each month.
It is a huge rectangular tank flanked by a series of steps and is said to be once filled with pure water. The devotees bathed in the tank before entering the temple to worship the Lord. There are 108 small shrines surrounding the tank.
It is a huge hall, where once religious meetings used to be held. It is open on all sides and contains around 52 pillars, all of them being intricately carved. The carvings depict scenes from the Hindu epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Krishna Lila (i.e. story of lord Krishna).
Sanctum Sanctorum is the main chamber of the temple. It rests on a lotus shaped platform and contains the bejeweled idol of Lord Surya. The chamber was plundered by Mahmud Gazni.Akshardham is situated in the capital city of Gandhinagar, which lies near Ahmedabad. The magnificent temple is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan. It was constructed on the directions of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual leader of BAPS Sanstha. The complex of this temple is the largest in Gujarat. Akshardham temple was inaugurated in the year 1992 and has become a major tourist attraction in India, during the last decade. It has a sprawling 23 acre area and is chiseled out in pink sandstone.
Sahajanand Van is a garden around the temple. It has a lake, a waterfall, a children's park, rides and games and an herbal garden. You can enjoy and relax here. It also contains a marble statue of Lord Swaminarayan.
Ranchhodraiji Temple is situated in Dakor that comes under the Kheda district of Gujarat. Earlier Dakor was a small village, but with time it has grown into a major commercial center. The small shrine of the initial Ranchhodraiji Temple has now been enclosed in a huge complex. It was built by Shri Gopalrao Jagannath Tambwekar in 1772 A.D. It has brick walls and stones pillars, constructed at the cost of one lakh rupees. The complex is square in shape and has four gates on the outer walls, placed significantly.
Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary
Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is a bird watcher's paradise. It is situated just 65 km southwest of Ahmedabad. The delightful bird sanctuary of Nalsarovar is located around the Nal Lake. It was established in 1969 AD and is spread over an area of 11,500 hectares. Nal Sarovar houses over 250 species of wetland birds. There are also a number of species that migrate here from north, mainly Rosy Pelicans, Flamingoes, White Storks, Brahminy Ducks and Herons. You can also enjoy the serene sunsets or sunrises, while ferrying in the lake.
Shanku Water Park
Shanku Water Park is an amusement park situated near Ahmedabad. The park is a famous picnic spot, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are around 37 rides in the park, which provide unbound pleasure for adventure seekers. It was established in 1993, with a view to provide pure entertainment to the people. The park offers crystal clear treated water, beautifully landscaped environment, food courts and lounges. It is a perfect retreat in the summer months.