Mumbai, the commercial and the entertainment capital of India, is the perfect base to explore the westernmost state of India, known as Gujarat. It is a lesser-known region of India but has a wealth of sites, art and architecture to mesmerize any visitor.
The Jain pilgrim center of Palaitahana, located close to the city of Bhavnagar. A steep climb of its 3000 odd steps will bring you to 800 active temples picturesquely situated on top of the Shaturanjaya Hill. In the evening, when the sun sets, everybody, including the temple caretakers, returns to the base of the hill leaving the temples to be dwelled by the divine. The rural villages of Kutch have impeccably decorated mud homes and are famous for their incredible embroidery. Sun temple at Modera is also a fabulous sight dating back to 10th Cent.
The state of Gujarat has a unique tradition of step wells. Rani ka Vav stepwell near Patan is an elaborate multi-story work of art. It is designed as an inverted temple, highlighting the sanctity of water. It is divided into seven levels with 500 artistic sculptural panels lining the walls with religious, mythological and secular imagery. The area is rich in the wildlife too. The only place to see the Asiatic Lion and has 220 birds species that are attracted to its saline marshes. Notably among them being the flamingoes, pelicans, spoonbill, and the rare Great Indian Bustard.