India // Gujarat //

Southeastern Gujarat

The seldom-visited southeastern corner of Gujarat, sandwiched between Maharashtra and the Arabian Sea, harbours few attractions to entice you off the road or railway line to or from Mumbai. There’s little to recommend Vadodara (Baroda), former capital of the Gaekwad rajas, other than its proximity to the old Muslim town of Champaner and the ruined forts and exotic Jain and Hindu temples that encrust Pavagadh Hill. Further south, dairy pastures gradually give way to a swampy, malaria-infested coastal strip of banana plantations and shimmering saltpans cut by silty, sinuous rivers. The area’s largest city is modern, industrial Surat. The only place of real interest in the far south of the state is the former Portuguese territory of Daman, although it’s nowhere near as appealing as Goa or Diu.

The west coast’s main transport arteries, the NH-8 and Western Railway, run in tandem between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The train is always more comfortable, especially between Ahmedabad and Vadodara, where the undivided highway is one of the most nail-bitingly terrifying roads in India.

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  • Pavagadh and Champaner