Shopping in Gujarat.... ○ ◘ ○


Exquisite embroideries and colourful prints make up the fabric of life in Gujarat, but there are many other delightful things to buy.

The best one...!!

Bandhani of Jamnagar -- Bandhani is an intricate n time consuming process of tie n dyeing fabrics. This process take six months to a year for some saris, n even the simplest patterns can take more than a month. Although Kutch n Wadhwan also produce striking Bandhani fabrics, Jamnagar is the best known for it. It is said, and not without truth, that the richness n color-fastness of the fabrics dyed in the city are without compare.

The term "Bandhani" derives its name from the Hindi word Bandhan which means tying up. mostly the workers take a cloth and tyed them with seed of lentils like Channa Dal n dyed the clothes in different bright colours. Bandhani is an ancient art practiced by people mainly of Rajasthan and Gujarat.

If you want best designs in Bandhani art, visit Vanza Bandhani shop in Inderaprasth Market near Pancheshwar tower Road in Jamnagar.

Patalo of Patan -- The pride of the small town of Patan, the Patola silk saree is the result of a precious, n increasingly race, art that has evolved over many centuries. The sarees are woven using an elaborate process, lasting many months, known as the double ikat technique. This painstaking exercise involves type-n-dyeing the threads according to the patterns of the saree, before setting them on the loom. Both the wrap n weft threads are tye n dyed in the final colour, giving the Patola its brocade like richness n  also making the saree reversible.

Depending on the intricacy of the pattern, Patolas can cost anything from Rs- 50,000 to more than two lacs. Although purists would agree that they are well worth the price, single ikat versions made in Sayla, Somassar n Rajkot are available at much lower rates. 

Before World War II, Indonesia was major buyer of Patolas. Historically, the art of double ikat Patola weaving dates back to centuries. Paintings in Ajanta caves resemble the tie-dye technique of Patola. For best Patola Saree>>visit the fascinating Patola workshop near the Anhilwara citadel, Patan.

Embroidery of Kutch -- The district of Kutch is renowned for the variety n quality of its embroidery. Head to the town of Bhuj to shop for these exquisitely worked fabrics n to appreciate the range of techniques and stitches used by the various tribes in the region. Pick up bags, table cloths, bed spreads n wall hangings, choose from geometric n floral motifs of Ahirs, the delicate mirror-studded chain stitch of the Jats, the bold mirror work creations of the Rabari cameleers n much more.

To watch the skilled craftspeople at work, head to the village of Sumrassar Sheikh, less than hour's drive from Bhuj. It is the home to the Sodha Rajput weavers, who specialist in soof embroidery, characterized by bold abstract designs, realized in the most delicate stitch. It is also worth to spend a day or two touring the villages of the Banni region--Hodka. About 60 km from Bhuj is specially well known. Here, you can purchase gorgeous silk floss embroidery, embellished with beads n mirrors.

You can buy best type of Kutch embroidery from the retail outlet of the NGO in Sumrassar Sheikh.

Pataras of Kutch -- Among the most handy souvenirs you can pick up in Gujarat are Patras, brass - covered boxes in various sizes, ranging from dainty jewellery cases to huge chests that once carried trousseau's of utensils, n even bedding. Also worth buying shaped brass nutcrackers, reminiscent of decadent royalty polishing off mountains of Pistachios n Walnuts. 

brass nutcracker

Terracotta n Silver crafts of Poshina village -- Poshina village, 180km from Ahmedabad, near Ambaji in northern Gujarat is famous as being home to Gujarat's best terracotta artisans. With a huge tribal area stretching along its borders with Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh n Maharashtra, it is little wonder that Gujarat is known for its Beautifully crafted terracotta handicrafts, an art form perfected by tribes across west India. The most unique items are Terracotta horses n other animistic figures made for tribal shrines. Terracotta utensils and decorative items can also be areas called Kumbharwadas in all the cities n towns of Gujarat. Just ask around.

Gujarat is the leading center for Silver items, including ornate Jewellery, Sindoor boxes, Utensils n even Furniture. Anjar, Bhuj, Deshalpur n Mandvi in Kutch district are good places to shop for silverware, as are the markets of Rajkot, Gondal n Wadhwan. 

For tribal silver ornaments, n even arrows n daggers, nothing can equal Poshina.

Lacquered Furniture -- Synonymous with the village of Sankheda, about a two hour drive from Baroda, the lacquered Furniture of Gujarat is made from rounded wood n painted in brilliant maroon, vermilion, green n brown, with a dash of silver n gold enhancing their enchanting luster. Brighten up your spece with distinctive Jharokas, settees n beautiful Swings. Besides Sankheda, the villages of Kutch n Saurashtra also produce beautiful Lacquered Furniture.


Handicrafts of Kutch n Champaner - Timeless Wonder....


Gujarat has a rich tradition of producing fine handicrafts such as textiles, furniture and jewellery, but nowhere is this impressive heritage more evident than in Kutch, a land occupied by nomadic tribes who have refined their crafts, especially embroidery, into fine arts. A full day around Bhuj is a good way to shop for embroidered fabrics, as you can watch the craftsman at work, get pieces customized, n ensure that the benefits are going to needed artisans. There are various techniques of embroidery that exist in the district, including those of Hindu groups like the Ahirs n Rabaris, Islamic groups like Jaths, Halepotras n Mutwas, the Sodha Rajputs who migrated from the Thar Parkar region of Sindh, n the Meghwal Harijans. 

Each tribes developed its on signature style n this is most apparent in the case of embroidery. If u preffer simple needlework, you r sure to like Bavalia embroidery, which employes the button - hole or cross-stitch method. But if brilliant colours n mirror work appeal to what u should go for.


Festivals of Gujarat


The average Gujarati is an enthusiastic participant in over 2,000 festivals every year, but nothing brings out the best in him as do two specially cherished celebrations - The Kite festival during Uttarayan and delirious elation of Navratri.

The Kite Festival :: In Gujarat, Uttarayan is celebrated in the middle of January, and signifies the end of winter and the coming of spring. For a week, people from all walks of life, and age be damned, fly kites with abandon, creating patches of every imaginable colour in the blue skies above. Not even night can stop the Kite-flying craze. As soon as the sun sets, illuminated box Kites dot the night sky. Known as tukkals, these kites are often strung together in a line, adding to the beauty of the festivities.

Crowded on rooftops and open fields, people indulge in friendly rivalry to show off their kite - flying skills. The festival also draws kite flying enthusiasts from around the world, who bring their own distinctive kites with them and add to the vibrancy of the festival. The epicenter of kite flying during Uttarayan is definitely the capital Ahmedabad, n this is the place to be if you want to soak in the atmosphere of the festival. The city's Patang bazaar - kite market, sees brisk business as kites are bought in bulk, n the market remains open all day to satisfy the thousands who just can't get enough of the sport.

Taking a break from kite flying is equally rewarding, for waiting in the wings is a whole spread of delectable savouries and sweets.

Navratri Utsav :: In october, the streets of Ahmedabad, whole Gujarat, are filled once again with people heading out to different venues to dance the night away. The occasion is Navratri, which celebrates the victory of good over evil, and is a time of dancing as much as of worship.

Held over nine nights, Navratri celebrations in Gujarat see young men and women looking their best. The women go to great lengths to find that perfect ghagra choli, while the men fuss over their colourfull turbans n stached kurtas. In the idst of all the excitement, revellers hold on to the most important accessory during Navratri, the Dandiya - The dandiya is a more popular Navratri dance from than garba, n it is easy to see why. It celebrates community spirit n togetherness, as dancers move in a circle constantly interacting with their neighbours through the striking of the dandiya. The tempo of the dance increases with time.

The Garba, on the other hand is an equally fascinating. Although a little more complex dance. Women who participate in Garba, balanced a decorated pot on their heads n dance to the song sung by fellow women to the beat of a dholak. Although the Navratri Utsav, are spectacular all over Gujarat, Ahmedabad, Vadodra, Ambaji n Poshina are some areas where celebrations are particularly grand.

So have fun in these two most famous fest of Gujarat....


Sabarmati Aashram n Akshardham Temple..... :)


Ahmedabad is the largest city in the state of Gujarat, n seventh largest city of India. It is located in western India on the banks of River Sabarmati. The city has been the homes to most important n popular leaders of India - Mahatma Gandhi n Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel during the Indian Independence movement.
The city has been under different rulers since its creation.

Gujarat was conquered by the Sultanate of Delhi at the end of 13th century. In 1487 Mahumad Begada, the grandson of Ahmed shah, fortified the city with an outer city wall six miles in circumference and consisting of 12 gates, 189 bastions and 6,000 battlements to protect it from outside invaders. The last sultan of Ahmedabad was Muzaffar II.

In 1573, Gujarat was again conquered by the Mughal emperor Akbar. In 1753, the armies of the Maratha generals Raghunath Rao and Damaji Gaekwad captured the city and ended Mughal rule in Ahmedabad. The british east India company took over the city in 1818. A military cantonment was established in 1824, a municipal government in 1958, and a railway link b/w Ahmedabad and Mumbai in 1864. the Ahmedabad grew rapidly, becoming an important center of trade and textile manufacturing.

There are many place to explore in Ahmedabad, first I reached to Sabarmati Ashram ::

SabarMati Ashram - Mahatma Gandhi's Home.....

In tribute to Gandhi, Nehru said ::
“Wherever he trod became hallowed land, wherever he sat became temples.” 

The Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, named after the holy river - Sabarmati, is situated on the Sabarmati river's bank. This place is now converted into museum n institution, for them, whose aim to propagate the legacy of the Mahatma Gandhi. Thousand of visitors, both local n foreigners arrive here everyday with oddity n  feeling of veneration n feel divine initiate.

The Sabarmati Ashram is the divine guidance for the present generation. So, Gandhi's nonpareil will serve as a beacon light for all generations.

You can see a note written by Mahatma Gandhi....

It may look like a humble dwelling, but Mahatma Gandhi's activities here, between 1917 - 1930, shook the very foundation of the British empire. See the moving memorial designed by Charles Correa, Hriday Kunj, which contains his belongings and the prayer area facing the Sabarmati.

 The Most Hot Attraction of Ahmedabad is Akshardham Temple dedicated to Lord Swami Narayana.

It is said that there are three types of art, 1- Painting, to look at. 2- Sculpture, you can walk around. 3- Architecture - you can walk through. 

While you walk down the streets of Ahmedabad, this is the one place where you feel the gem of Gujarat architecture. A uniwue building celebrating the teachings of Swami Narayana faith is an awesome example of great workmanship n sandstone carvings.
The Akshardham Temple is a unequaled ethnic complex that celebrates the past, addresses the present, n hallow the future. It maintain the universal values of the Humanity n sign of the glory of Indian culture. Akshardham is a place that combine art, architecture, education, exhibition, research n devotion at one place. Over 2 million visitors reached here every year.

Total Akshardham complex area - 1,004,349 sq.ft - 23 acres....

The major attraction in Akshardham Temple are......

The Monument ::

The grand 10 storey high monument is made of intricately carved, 6000 tons of pink sandstone from Rajasthan, with no cement n steel used at all. It is 32.92m tall, 73.15m long, 39.93m wide. Created by the volunteers of Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha.
 Awesome Craftsmanship - the 6000 tons of pink sandstone patched together with unbelievable accuracy. More than 10 million of man hours a 900 skilled craftsman have created this brilliant monument of 93 sculpted pillars, 40 windows carved from both side n fiesta of forms n filigrees. Build inch to inch according to the ancient Sthaapatya shastras of India - no steel has been used. Supported beams are of 22 ft. The austerity of every carving, design is breathtaking. The patterns are peaceful while the dome resonate with vibrations divine. Its because Akshardham is more than an architectural masterpiece, it is the living devotion of devotees to create Heaven on Earth.

The monument is overflowing with silence n peace, which one spontaneously experiences in the three floors ::

1- Hari Mandap - The main floor :: is the most sacred par of Akshardham. Its a center of the faith. Its shrines the idol of Lord swami Narayana with his heir. People come here to pray, n return with faith. The feeling is unique. Here devouts starts their day with meditation, prayer, study honestly or work...  n spend hours in serving other visitors. In this sanctum place, the five rules are followed - 1- No adultery, 2- No alcohol, 3- No stealing, 4- No meat, 5- No impurity of mind n body

Hari Mandap

The monument is spiritually sacred, philosophically perfect n aesthetically special. there are three Idols in Hari Mandap :: 1- Lord Swami Narayana sits in center, 2- Aksharbrahman: Gunatitanand Swami, God’s divine abode, stand in eternal service, 3- Aksharmuktas - Gopalanand Swami also stands in eternal service. Akshardham is fulfill with divine light.

Gunatitanand Swami n Gopalanand Swami

Lord Swami Narayana

Lord Swami Narayana

7 ft. Gold-leafed Idol of Lord Swaminarayan.
The Monument exudes warmth and peace, and serves as a fountain of peace.
Floor area :: 1,207.9 sq.m...

In Swaminarayan philosophy it is believed that creation begins by the gaze of Lord Swaminarayan and salvation is also granted by the grace of His gaze. And hence, the Lord always keeps His devotees under His divine vision.By moral purity, n spirituality, you can add a deeper blaze to your life.

The Ground floor - Prasadi Mandap :: When you enter in this Mandap, you will see the articles, garments and other holy relics used by Swami Narayana. The scientifically restored n honorably displayed holy relics satisfy the  spiritual thirst of the devotees who visit the temple.

 1 - The Hall of Holy Remains :: Prayer and Silence are the sign of this hall. Entirely treated in red and white, represent the two good holy colour of abil and gulal, the hall has a profoundly spiritual atmosphere. The hall preserve the Holy Remains of  Swami Narayana's personal body - all parts.

2 - The Hall of Garments :: The interior is saintly and valued. Textiles used by Lord Swami Narayan have been treated, restored and displayed artistically n scientifically.  The garments the Lord wore in the region of Kutch, have been glass-framed on a wall with Kutch designs. 

In the hall of Garments ::

The Hall of Garments

A traditional roof-tiled entrance invites you into 18th century Chhapiya.
Enlighten yourself on the traditional garments worn by Lord Swami Narayan:
 1 - Pagh :: A Pagh is finely woven, similar to Turban - very light cloth traditionally tied round the head as a head-dress. Normally, Lord Swami Narayan wore a white Pagh on his head. But during festivals, He sometimes wore colorful and ornate clothes, like this Pagh of purple silk embroidered in gold. It was given by the Lord to Ram Raja and then kept in the temple at Muli.

 2 - Jamo :: Jamo is a upper garment worn like a long coat. It is tied with strings instead of buttons, with full sleeves n no collar. Although, Swami Narayan preferred only white colour, but the devotees offered rich clothes on festivals, to satisfy their love, he accepted their gifts by wearing them for the occasion.


 3 - Surwal ::The Surwal is the traditional trouser worn from the hips down to the ankles. 

 4 - Doriyani Khes :: Khes is the upper garment. Doriyani Khes, often worn by Lord Swami Narayan was handwoven in the typical Doriya texture.
Doriyani Khes
 5 - Moka Khachar's Khes :: Once Lord Swami Narayan was traveling to Vankiya. Moka Khachar went to received the Lord but discovered that the river was flooded. He risked his life n carried the Lord on his shoulder, into the town of Vankiya. Pleased with him, the Lord gave this Khes upper garment to Moka Khachar.

Moka Khachar's Khes

 6 - Jariyani Khes :: Once while walking to the village Vadtal, the Lord was pleased with Pitamber Lavji Thakkar of Budhej n the sign of grace, gave him his  Jariyani Khes which was beautifully handwoven with golden threads.

Jariyani Khes

7 - Shawl :: One of the most important holy articles, this shawl was placed round the shoulders of Neelkanth Varni - Lord Swami Narayan. When he was appointed the head of the fellowship by Ramanand Swami. On 16 November 1801 CE, during the ceremony,in village of Jetpur, he placed this woollen shawl round the young Lord's shoulders. Lord was only 20yrs old that time.


8 - Coarse Shawl :: A poor devotee gave Lord Swami Narayan a very coarse, bristly shawl. Despite the discomfort and His skin being grazed, the Lord refused to part ith the shawl. Then Gunatitanand Swami, His favorite sadhu, reasoned that he felt cold and needed a shawl. The Lord gave it to him saying, "He is my Jadbharat" meaning that Gunatitanand Swami cares little for the comforts of his own body. A piece of that historic shawl is on display.     

Coarse Shawl

9 - Gal Masuriyu ::  Padded with cotton wool, this small round pillow-like 'Gal Masuriyu' was placed under His chin and cheek by the Lord when He retired for rest.

Gal Masuriyu

10 - Miraculous Khes :: The couple Jagrup Barot and Sajuba of Sinjiwada were childless. In 1816 CE, shortly after Lord Swami Narayan blessed their house, they got a son. Unfortunately, his arms and legs were short and gravely deformed. On His next visit, the Lord placed the child in His lap, gently covered him with His Khes. Instantly, the child became normal and beautiful. That very Khes is carefully exhibited in this Hall of Garments.    
Miraculous Khes

11 - Dhoti :: The dhoti is a fine textured cloth worn around the waist as a garment for the lower part of the body.


12 - Topi of Kutch :: Topi means a cap. The yellow cap displayed in Akshardham was worn by Lord Swami Narayan before and during the disastrous famine of 1869 VS.

Topi of Kutch

13 - Gaumukhi :: Gaumukhi is a cloth bag worn round the hand while turning the mala. During the yagna at Dabhan on Posh sud 15, 1866 VS Lord Swami Narayan chanted the holy mantra along with thousands of Brahmins.

14 - Angarkhu :: Lord Swami Narayan often dressed in simple white which smoothly blended with the common village clothing. On display is the Angarkhu of the Lord made of white muslin cloth.


3 - The Hall of Travel :: This hall is a combination of restoration and re-creation. Lord Swami Narayan traveled far and wide, mostly on horseback, and at times by cart and on foot. Here is an opportunity to see firsthand: the Chakhdi - the Lord's wooden sandals;  original bullock cart used by the Lord; and wooden bed.
The Hall of Travel

4 - The Hall of Festivals :: Lord Swami Narayan celebrated many festivals throughout the year. Here, life-like dioramas of festivals and festive moments have been modelled. The Kadai, the Pichkari and the Bag have been displayed in connection with special festive events. Other holy objects have been glass-framed on a wall with worshipful images, mythical designs and historical events of that time. The patterns have been painted with natural dyes on sagol plaster and it displays the objects like Hindola khat, Batak, Dabro, Thali, Vadhi, used in festivities.

The Hall of Festivals

Letter written by Swami Narayan

Vibhuti Mandap

 The Upper floor - Vibhuti Mandap :: The Vibhuti Mandap represents, the revelation of Lord Swami Narayan's divine personality ::The Vachnamrut.

To understand the Divine Personality of
Lord Swaminarayan, let us behold His
Personality through His own words.
What was the state of His mind? His vision
of Atman? His concept of Paramatman?
And how He still remains ever-present on
earth, long after He passed away

in 1830 AD?

State Of Mind :: The mind is the mirror of man's personality. He who has mastered his mind has attained great heights. Here, Lord Swami Narayan reveals the ease with which He controls and commands His mind.

Lord Swaminarayan says:

'Like a lion seizes a goat, I seize the mind;

while others cannot even see the mind.'

Vision of Atman :: The Atman is even more subtle and unfathomable than the mind.The Vedas and other scriptures glorify the vision of Atman.Here, Lord Swaminarayan speaks of His own vision of Atman. He reveals: 'From the beginning I have had the direct vision of the Atman. Even now, I see the Atman. In all my activities, the vision of the Atman is not forgotten even for a fraction of a moment.'

Concept of Paramatman :: Is Atman the Ultimate Reality? No. Beyond Atman is Paramatman. Paramatman is the All-doer, One and Unique. Is Paramatman with a form or formless? 'God is Sakaar, forever with a form. God is full of Divinity, free from all Evil and the reservoir of all Bliss. He is extremely radiant, extremely pleasant, extremely glorious and Divine...

Ever Present :: Even today, through the spiritual hierarchy of Brahmaswarup Saints, many are experiencing the divine presence of Lord Swaminarayan. In this hierarchy of Saints are: Akshar Brahman Gunatitanand Swami, Brahmaswarup Bhagatji Maharaj, Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj...Through this enlightened hierarchy, the mind is purified,the Atman is cleansed and
God-Realisation is attained.

At last - Bhagwan Swaminarayan, the founder of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya, was born on 2 April 1781, in the village of Chhapiya, near Ayodhya, North India. Having mastered the scriptures by the age of 7, He renounced home at 11 to embark upon a 7 year spiritual pilgrimage on foot across the length and breadth of India.In His own lifetime, He was worshipped as the supreme God by hundreds of thousands of devotees.

Other attraction of this temple are :: 

Research Center AARSH :: Situated in the peaceful surroundings of Akshardham Complex, Akhsardham Center for Applied Research in Social Harmony (AARSH) is a unique research center which houses a well-maintained library, study stations and archives. The research center is a seat of education, drawing inspiration from the past, studies the present and provides solutions for the future. You can’t visit the library of the research center as entry is restricted to enrolled scholars only.

Exhibitions : In Akshardham, three permanent exhibition halls have been set up to educate the visitors on various spiritual matters and also on the BAPS movement. These halls are Sahajanand, Sat Chitanand and Nityanand.

Sahajanand Hall : In Sahajanand hall, the life story of Lord Swaminarayan is exhibited through imaginative settings and shows. Other attractions of the exhibition hall include ‘travel in time’ video show, sound and light show, fiber-optics cosmos, miniature replica of Chhapiya village and a Journey through India.

Sat Chitanand Hall : Sat Chitanand Hall has a huge 14-screen multimedia presentation hall where an exposition of Vedic philosophy and man’s search for the eternal truth are presented through a wonderful imagery.

Nityanand Hall : Nityanand Hall houses dioramas and fiberglass images displaying the message of the popular mythologies, Upanishads, Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Gardens : Named as ‘Sahajanand Van’, the garden is an interesting blend of speculative garden and children's’ park. The garden covers an area of 7,625 sq. km and here you will see a single-piece marble statue of Lord Swaminarayan. The gardens boast of cultural spots, herbal garden, lakes, waterfalls, rock gardens and spray fountains. In brief, you can see nature at her best. A garden full of fun, frolic and fantasy.
Must visit this Temple.... awesome place to learn something, to fun n enjoy... :)