If you are planning to tour the western side of the country, Anand is a city you cannot afford to miss. Anand gained national importance when it became the epicenter for the milk revolution in the 1970s. Post the revolution the city that was once known as the capital of Hindu culture and heritage, it came to be known as the ‘White Capital.’
Located in the southern part of Gujarat, the quaint town of Anand resonates happiness, much like its name. The streets of Anand are flowing with milk, cheese, and chocolate, making it an ideal spot for the food lovers. Besides that, the museums and monuments bespoke the deep-rooted culture and traditions of the city, making it a perfect vacation destination for travelers of all ages. Here are all the places to visit near Anand that deserve a spot on your itinerary:
One can never go to Anand and not visit the Amul Dairy Museum. It is the most popular tourist site in the city. Surrounded by water, the museum made with red stones is a sight to behold. Just from the entrance, the gallery has photographs depicting the journey of the museum from where it started and to where it is today. The gallery leads to a museum, that can seat 100 people at once, and showcases documentaries about the infamous milk movement of our country. You can walk through the factory and learn about the processing of milk, or if you are lucky enough to be around the time, you can indulge in the workshops going on.
Spanning over an area of 7 acres, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial is like walking back in time. The memorial houses a main hall or Bhavan, that becomes the venue for cultural programs and public interactions. To get a close look at the lives of Vallabhbhai Patel and Veer Vithalbhai. It also includes a library where one can get to read the books of religious and historical significance. A large, lush green garden makes it a perfect spot for a day out with children.
The tourist spot Air Manzil is as unique as its name. It is a grand tourist spot, housing a series of things for you to see. Head to the three gates, namely Delhi Gate, Halol gate, and Godhra Gate. Among the many mosques present here, the Jama Masjid towering to a height of 30 meters, has 172 exquisite pillars and is a sight for your eyes. There is also a garden, custom house, and water channels, making it the right spot for a sunny day out.
The Iskcon Temple is a popular tourist attraction, depicting the Vaishnava culture. As per the Vedic learning of our country, the temple is home to one of Lord Krishna and Radha. The temple is the perfect place to delve deeper not just into religion, but also spirituality. Amid thousands of pilgrims, from India and abroad, the temple gives an opportunity to find peace and tranquillity.
The Swaminarayan Temple is an amalgamation of 6 different shrines, each worshipping a different lord. The first shrine pays tribute to Harikrishna Maharaj, Narayan Lakshmi, Shri Akshar Purshotam Maharaj, Ghanshyam Maharaj, Bhrahmaswarup Bhagatji, Shastriji, Yogiji and then lastly Swami Maharaj. What makes it the most famous temple of the country is the intricate designing and years of dedication and hard work that went into making it.
The Rancchodrai Dakor Temple is not just a temple, but a huge complex. A fort-like wall encloses the shrine, near the banks of the river Gomti. Being constructed in the year 1772 century, the temple is an imminent example of the Maharashtrian culture. It features 24 turrets and 8 domes, with the central done reaching a height of 27m. If you are there, so see the grand image of Rancchodrai or Lord Krishna as you know it, which is made entirely with a black touchstone. The live performances that take place every evening is a mesmerizing experience and give you peace and happiness.
While heading to the base of Machi, taking a pit stop at Khapra Zaveri Palace can give you an experience you will never forget. Visit the Atak Gate, which is popular for its grandeur. Khapra Zaveri Palace is also a renowned pilgrim site, for the site has the prestigious Kalika Mata Temple and the Lakulish Temple. Such is the pristine and mesmerizing beauty of this place that it pulls thousands of tourists each year, who come here to offer their prayers.
Lord Hanuman has devotees all over the country, but it is not just Indians that come here to seek their blessings. Rather, tourists from all over the globe come flocking each year to worship Lord Hanuman. Kali Chaudash is a yearly festival that takes place in the temple, in the months of October or November. The temple is brimming with devotees also the learnings and blessings make it worth the while.
No trip is complete unless you take a little shopping detour. The Flo Art Gallery is an exquisite and quirky gallery displaying the handicrafts belonging to the rich heritage of Gujarat. Housing the largest terracotta artwork, the gallery has international acclaim. Being an art gallery, the outside is as aesthetic as the interior. Upon walking inside, you will find a craftily created landscape, complete with a stream and thatched huts. You can shop for sculptures, pots, tables, murals, and even wedding gifts.
The chocolate lovers find the city of Anand to be a paradise. Amul Chocolate Factory is a gigantic structure, with stunning interiors. While taking a tour, the corridor with crystal glass mosaics can leave you enthralled. The art of chocolate making is an extensive one, and you can understand it by taking a walk through the massive equipment, including the tanks full of delicious chocolate. What makes it deserving of a spot on your itinerary is that you get to try the sample chocolates. If you are in Anand with kids, take them to this factory, and they will forever cherish their vacation. The entry is open to all, but make sure to book a tour in advance.
Among the places to visit near Anand, Pavagadh stands out. Pavagadh is a city of serene and tall hills, that takes you away from the hustle of cities. In the laps of Pavagadh hills lies the Champaner-Pavagadh Archeological Park. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage, owing to the seamless blend of Hindu and Islamic culture and architecture which is evident in the temples built there. Palaces and forts of Pavagadh dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries
Danta-Ambaji is a pilgrim spot having a large and iconic temple of the goddess. It takes an hour’s drive to reach the village of Ambaji, making a perfect spot for a weekend getaway. The aarti takes place at 6 am each morning, which can take you in a spiritual zone.
Although the places to visit near Anand are plenty, the Gir National Park is a paradise for nature lovers. Spanning over a whopping area of 1,412 km, the Gir Forest is home to the Asiatic lion, Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopard, and Black Buck. Taking a safari through the forest can be an adventurous experience. One can book the safari online before the trip, and take the first-hand experience in a jeep.
Anand is a major city of Gujarat and is well-connected to the rest of the state, as well as the country.
By road: Anand lies on the National Highway Number 8, which is a Golden Quadrilateral and offers connectivity to all prominent cities of Gujarat. Both state-owned and private buses ply on this route and take one to even the farthest towns.
By train: Anand has a centrally located railway station, which makes it easier for tourists to reach the city by train. Besides that, it is a major junction on the Ahemadabad-Vadodara link. One can take direct trains to Delhi and Mumbai.
By air: The city lacks its own airport. If you wish to travel through the air, you can take a flight from the nearest airport which is in Vadodara, at a distance of around 42 km. Taxis and buses are available to reach Anand.
To travel within the city, one can take auto-rickshaws or avail a cab. Buses are another good option to move inside Anand, for they offer excellent connectivity to all crucial places to visit near Anand.
The ideal time to visit Anand is from October to March. Anand lies on the southern side of Gujarat, which gives it a pleasant weather during the winter months. The summer months, on the contrary, are harsh. During the winter, the temperature varies between 28 degrees and 15 degrees Celsius, making it ideal for traveling. You can visit during the monsoon too, although sightseeing can be a little tricky amid the heavy rains.
Anand is a dream come true for every food enthusiast. The city is brimming with options to eat, and one can always find something to suit their palate. The food scene of Anand is greatly under the influence of Gujarati traditions. You can find delicacies like Khakra, Fafda, and Khadi. Some authentic restaurants will even offer the native Kathiyawadi cuisine, that the tourists love. Try Sev Tamatar or Lassan Aloo at the nearest restaurant to enjoy the real taste of Anand. Being in the Milk Capital, the culinary journey is never over without trying the pure milk and cheese from Amul Milk Factory.
If you are someone who cannot head back home without buying souvenirs, Anand has a lot to offer. You can pick up a lot of handlooms and handicrafts from the local galleries and street markets. From Kutch embroidery scarves to terracotta home décor, from photo frames to duffel bags, there is a lot you can buy from the markets of Anand.
Anand is the right blend of the old and the new. While people are still in touch with the roots of Hindu culture and heritage, the city is as modern as it can get. It is home to historical sites, temples, and with a UNESCO World Heritage Site around, Anand is a top spot for all tourists. Whether you are coming here for the first time, or have traveled to Anand before, the city can always leave you enthralled.
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