Sandwiched between Maharashtra and the Arabian Sea, the seldom-visited southeastern corner of Gujarat harbours few attractions to entice you off the beaten path to or from Mumbai. Vadodara (Baroda), former capital of the Gaekwad rajas, is most appealing for its proximity to the old Muslim town of Champaner and the ruined forts and exotic Jain and Hindu temples crowning 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, while in the far south of the state is the dreary former Portuguese territory of Daman.

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