While planning a trip to India, turn your gaze to the gold mine of history, heritage, wildlife, beaches and temples in the state of Gujarat. The vast state sits on the western most edge of India, and is a treasure trove of experiences. We’ve mine the top 5 for you, to ensure that you accommodate these in your itinerary.

The wonders of Rann of Kutch
The sprawling expanse of cracked earth and the endless white of the saltpans in the Rann of Kutch never get old.  It is a seasonal salt marsh that also houses the largest Wild Ass sanctuary of the country. Sunsets, wild ass spotting and being in the middle of nowhere amongst the bleached expanse are the highlights of this experience. Birding enthusiasts should arrive here in winters to see the flock of flamingoes, sand grouse, coursers, plovers, chats, warblers, babblers, shrikes and others.

Lion spotting at Gir
Asiatic lions, with their manes swaying in the soft wind, cubs scampering at the feet, is the picture that emerges when one speaks of Gir. Visit the sanctuary to see these majestic beasts at close quarters. This is the only place in India that one can see lions in the wild. The Gir National park is over 1300sq km and offers a chance to be in the middle of the wild, connecting with nature, apart from the thrill of spotting lions.

Museums of Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad is the inadvertent museum capital of India, with some of the best exhibits in the country. Right from the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram, to Sardar Patel National Museum, Calico, Dandi Kutir, Tribal Museum and many more, there is a treasure trove of museum lovers to rummage from. Keep at least 2-3 days aside to just go museum hopping. The use of technology is sure to be the highlight of your trip, especially in Dandi Kutir and the Sardar Patel National Museum. Also reserve some time for the magnificent 3D light and sound show every evening.

Exploring Somnath’s heritage wealth
The first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva in India, is the glorious Somnath temple that commemorates Lord Shiva.  One of the most popular pilgrimages for Hindus, the temple sees millions of visitors each year. The golden sand coloured temple rises from the Saurashtran topography, high above the rest of the single storeyed structures in the small town of Veraval. Karthik Purnima at Somnath Temple marks the killing of the demon Tripurasura at the hands of Lord Shiva. A massive colourful fair is arranged on this day and is the most vibrant time to visit the temple.

Living the royal life in Bhavnagar
It’s hard to imagine the industrial town of Bhavnagar be the lure for any traveller. But it makes for a great jumping point for the Shatrunjaya and Blackbuck National Park close by. The heritage of the city is kept intact by the vintage themed hotels that make one travel to the 19th century. Unwind at the erstwhile homes and palaces of the Gohil dynasty here.