The highlight in Gujarat was definitely the sacred mountain of the Jains in Palitana. Also the colonial period Diu is beautiful and definitely worth a stop for 2-3 days. Also, the Rann of Kutch on the border with Pakistan was very special. There are still many original villages in this area, stunning temples and a salt desert.
Above the business center of Ahmedabad, a strong sun broke in the sky. The city has the highest density of two-wheeled vehicles in South Asia. Cars and colorful trucks also crowd along the streets, along with cows and elephants. We realize that we are in the middle of a completely strange world.
After an informative tour of the city center, we visited the Jama Masjid Mosque. It is one of the most beautiful mosques in India.
In a shaded and quiet open-air restaurant, we then process our first impressions with Chai. We have nice conversations with the fellow travelers. The majority were not on the road for the first time. And so everyone had the most exciting and exciting adventure stories in stock.
We made a fresh start with the TukTuk. The three-wheeled motor-driven vehicle sounds like a lawnmower. We go to the Sabarmati Ashram, where Mahatma Gandhi lived from 1917 to 1930.
Once there, we find ourselves again in a plethora of cheerful uniformed schoolchildren. Everyone wanted a photo. The beautiful Gandhi Ashram for a moment is in the background. We enjoy the indispensable life.
The dusk is slow and the wind transports the sounds of drums and trumpets to our overnight place. There was a loud noise and a splendid firework sparks up in the sky. Opposite our hotel is a wedding ceremony of superlatives. We go over to watch the colorful activity.
Immediately we get pushed in the middle of the procession towards the wedding venue. The women dance in a circle and make adorable oriental hand movements. Towards the rear, a splendid horse-drawn carriage approaches the bride and groom. In this breathtaking performance, the two seem almost like King and Queen.
The ceremony is complex in the preparations and in the execution and often takes up to three days. Part of the ceremony is ascetic exercises, cleansing, smoke, fire, and blessings.
The people of Gujarat have a very curious nature and do not feel shy, so they get used to many interviews. "Where are you from?", "What is your name?" To name but a few examples of the hospitable Gujaratis.
The next morning we have a rich breakfast with fruits, eggs and a rich selection of local delicacies. After two days in the city, we are now ready for departure in the bus. The only way to get out of the car with this eye-catching vehicle is a show of its own accord. We visit the Laxmi Villas Palace in Vadodara. The palace is gigantic and you can hardly grasp its dimensions, let alone photograph. We drive past an interesting archaeological excavation to our next great destination, Palitana.
Beyond the garden rises the Shatrunjaya, one of the four holiest mountains of Jain. In the morning, when the valleys are still filled with fog, we set out on the way through the villages. We take advantage of the dawn to avoid the tropical heat.
After a two-hour climb, we find ourselves in the middle of the temple city. We get amazed by the glory of this mystical place, which was of marble. The followers of the Jain religion are very friendly and peaceful people. We get into the conversation who are willing to explain the different customs. Many Jains live today in Mumbai and, if possible, once a month visit the holy mountain Shatrunjaya.
Jains feed in such a way that neither animals nor plants have to die for it. There is also not a question of jobs in agriculture or even army. Due to these principles, Gujarat has the most varied and tasty vegetarian cuisine.
Our next stop was the island of Diu, a former Portuguese enclave. It has impressive water castles and cannon pipes. The beautiful sandy beaches invite us to bathe in the surf of the Arabian Sea. The island is also one of the few places to buy alcohol and drink in public since Gujarat is otherwise a dry state.
We stroll through the town with its small streets and charming colonial buildings. We then continue to Sasan Gir National Park.
On the way, we stop at the picturesque Shiva temple at Somnath. There are plenty of small restaurants to go for a snack. Also, camel rides along the sea is a popular recreation for tourists as well as locals.
Before the dawn of dawn, we head to the Sasan Gir National Park, which is the last retreat of the extinct Asian Lions. In fact, three times we have the chance for watching lions in this very scenic park.
We continue to a short city visit with leisure time to stroll around the small town of Junagadh. This place surprises us, as we do not imagine much of it. There is exceptional architecture, such as the Mahabat Maqbara Mausoleum. Life in the streets is much more authentic here than in other cities.
We drive into the depths of the white salt desert of the Rann of Kutch. We take a time travel into the 18th century during a visit of the Janana Mahal ruins in Bhuj. The showpiece was the snow-white temple of Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. A very impressive place.
The next morning we went to some villages in the desert to get to know the rare and unique craftsmanship. For the ladies, there was finally the opportunity for shopping high-quality, handmade souvenirs.
In the white salt desert, we can only drive with decorated camel wagons. Every other vehicle would sink immediately. It is an impressive view in the middle of this very special natural phenomenon. If the sun would not burn from the sky, you might think you are in the midst of a glittering snow landscape.
During a second safari in the Little Rann of Kutch, we experienced a special encounter. Endemic wild ass live here. But not only these rare animals are waiting for us. Flamingos, pelicans and other birds also wait.
On the way back to Ahmedabad we visit the impressive sun temple in Modhera. Sun Temple and Rani Ki Vav and two impressive fountains were waiting for us.
After an extensive tour of the city on the last day, we packed our bags. We got invited once again to a splendid wedding, which is right next to our hotel.