Fabulous Monuments in Gujarat – Best Places to Visit for Architecture Enthusiasts

The vibrant state of Gujarat is dotted with architectural marvels, which make it one of the most rewarding tourist destinations in India. From age-old stepwells to opulent palaces, splendid mosques and mighty forts, India’s westernmost state has it all. The list of Gujarat best places has a plethora of options for those deeply interested in beautiful architecture. I was lucky to visit this state quite a few times, so I just thought it would be a good idea to share my findings with you. The list I’ve put together reflects my own experiences and personal preferences, and most probably I’ll keep adding to it as I travel more.

My architecture lover’s list of Gujarat best places 

Adalaj Stepwell 

Located 18 km from Ahmedabad, this five-storey stepwell is a wonderful introduction to the architecture of Gujarat for first-time visitors. Built in the 15th century by the Muslim conquerer Mahmud Begada in his attempt to win the local queen’s affections, the step well immediately sparks one’s interest in this architectural form.

Suggested read: Adalaj Stepwell near Ahmedabad – love at first step 

Adalaj Stepwell, Gujarat

Charmed by the intricacies of Adalaj Stepwell

Adalaj Stepwell - one of Gujarat best places to visit

Adalaj Stepwell – one of Gujarat best places to visit

Jama Masjid, Ahmedabad 

Constructed of yellow sandstone, Jama Mosque in Ahmedabad is a  prominent example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. A spacious courtyard with a basin for ablution, endless rows of beautiful columns, elegant domes, arches, and pillars will keep you mesmerized by their grandeur.  With huge Arabic calligraphy on the walls, stone latticework on the windows and ornate carvings on the facade, this mosque is an interesting place to explore

Recommended for you: One day in Ahmedabad – tips on things to do

Jama Mosque Gujarat best places

Elaborate stone carvings definitely make Jama Mosque in Ahmedabad one of Gujarat best places to enjoy the beautiful architecture

Jama Masjid, Ahmedabad

Jama Masjid, Ahmedabad

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque, Ahmedabad

Unlike the imposing Jama Mosque, the Sidi Saiyyed Masjid is rather plain and compact, but it doesn’t lessen its architectural significance. The attraction of this mosque lies within its exquisite stone latticework, widely known as “The Tree of life”. A series of jaali for the monument was designed in the 16th century by  Sidi Saiyyed, an Abyssinian by birth who served the local ruler. Armed with forty five sculptors, he created magnificent stone screens, one of which later became an unofficial symbol of Ahmedabad. And yes, I would go as far as saying no trip to the city is complete without seeing “The Tree of Life”.

You may also like: The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque in Ahmedabad and its Famous Jaali

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque Ahmedabad Gujart best places

“The Tree of Life”, Sidi Saiyyed Mosque

Modhera Sun Temple

The Sun Temple in the peaceful town of Modhera is one of the few shrines in India dedicated to Surya, the solar deity. It was built in the 11th century by Bhima I of the Solanki dynasty who believed himself to be the Sun god’s descendant, and its architectural patterns are nothing short of breathtaking. The complex consist of a stepwell, a shrine hall, and assembly hall, featuring intricate sculptures. The shrine is constructed in a way that the Sun god’s sculpture gets lit up by the first morning sunlight during the equinox.

Also read: The Sun Temple in Modhera, Gujarat

Sun Temple Modhera Gujarat

Kissed by the sun in the Sun Temple, Modhera, Gujarat

Modhera Sun Temple Gujarat best places

Fabulous ceiling of the Sun Temple in Modhera

Rani Ki Vav in Patan 

Constructed in the 11th century, the beautiful Rani ki Vav is often described as the queen of stepwells. Not only it’s one of Gujrat best places to visit for an inquisitive traveler, but it’s also rightfully included into the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The step well is 27 m deep, and every bit of it is covered with ornate stone designs and spectacular sculptures. Most of them depict Lord Vishnu in different avatars, but there are also sculptures of Parvati, Durga, Ganesha and less known deities.

Suggested for you: Rani ki Vav – the Stepwell of a Sorrowful Queen

Rani Ki Vav Patan Gujarat best places

One of 500 sculptures in Rani Ki Vav, Gujarat

Rani Ki Vav Patan Gujarat best places

Rani Ki Vav in Patan – what a sight to behold

Jama Mosque, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park 

An offbeat UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, the Champaner-Pavagadh archaeological park near Vadodara is home to 114 national monuments, including the spectacular Jama Mosque. From an opulent prayer hall to quaint porches, lovely arches, and ornate stone designs, the abandoned place of worship is a beautiful work of art.

To find out more, read this: Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park – my photo story of Gujarat’s UNESCO World Heritage Site

Jama Mosque Chamapaner-Pavagadh archaeological Park Gujarat Best Places

The ornate porch of Jama Mosque in Chamapaner, Gujarat Best Places

Jama Mosque Chamapaner-Pavagadh archaeological Park Gujarat

Mind-blowing carvings

Jama Mosque Chamapaner-Pavagadh archaeological Park Gujarat Best Places

 Kamani Mosque, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park 

The Kamani Mosque is another architectural gem within the premises of Chamapaner-Pavagadh archaeological park. The countless pillars and arches look absolutely surreal, especially if seen from above.

Kamani Masjid Champaner-Pavagadh, Gujarat best places

The surreal look of the Kamani Mosque undoubtedly makes it one of Gujarat best places to visit

Kamani Masjid Champaner-Pavagadh, Gujarat

Kamani Masjid in Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park – it’s all about columns and arches!

Mahabat Maqbara, Junagadh 

Junagadh isn’t big on the tourist map, but it does have a few tricks up its sleeves.One of them is Mahabat Maqbara – a striking 19th century mausoleum complex. It consists of two structures – mausoleums of Nawab Mahabat Khan II and his vazir Bahauddin Bhar, and it’s hard to say which one is more astounding. Both of them represent a bold amalgam of architectural styles and feature lots of eye-catching details. Here you’ll find spiral staircases, encircling the minarets from top to bottom, clusters of domes of different sizes, French windows, elegant arches, beautiful Gothic columns and what not.

More on the subject: 25 photos to make you want to see the Mahabat Maqbara with your own eyes

Manabat Maqbara

Mahabat Maqbara – Mausoleum of Nawab Mahabat Khan II

Mahabat Maqbara Junagadh photo

Bahauddin Maqbara – Mausoleum of Vazir Bahauddin Bhar

Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara

Known as the largest private residence on the planet (4 times the size of Buckingham Palace), Laxmi Vilas Palace is undoubtedly an architectural centerpiece of Vadodara. The monument comprises numerous works of art and is an interesting fusion of Gothic Revival patterns, Hindu and Jain architectural traditions, Islamic motifs and self-expression of the talented designer Major Charles Man. Being a perfectionist, Mr. Man took his own life thinking his calculations were wrong and the palace would collapse shortly after completion. However, the awe-inspiring palace has been standing strong for more than 125 years, attracting visitors from all over India and other countries. And for the good reason!

Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara, Gujarat

Mosaic Mural

Adi-Kadi Vav, Junagadh 

Unlike the majority of stepwells in Gujarat, the Adi-Kadi Vav can hardly be called ornate. Carved out of solid rock, this massive structure features impressive geological strata along the walkway. It’s also believed to be one of the first step wells in India, dating back to the 10th century. The Adi-Kadi Vav is located in the Uparkot fort of Junagadh; apart from two stepwells, the fort is dotted with interesting monuments to explore.

Adi-Kadi-Vav-Junagadh-Gujarat

Adi-Kadi Vav – fantastic rock strata along the walkway

Adi-Kadi Vav junagadh Gujarat best places

Adi-Kadi Vav – admiring the uncommon geological formations of the stepwell

Travel tips 

~ Best time to visit Gujarat is from October to February. If you’re planning a trip in March to June, make sure to take sunblocks, lots of drinking water and a hat to protect your head and neck from the sun.

~ Many places in Gujarat offer the guided tours. Before hiring a guide, check in their identity card to make sure he or she is an authorized person. Also, make sure they speak English or another language you understand.

~ Gujarat is well connected by road, railway, and air with other states of India. Once in Gujarat, you can hire an autorickshaw or a cab to take you to desired destinations. I also used local buses a lot when traveling around the state.

~ To check out awesome activities and tours in Gujarat, click the picture below:


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15 thoughts on “Fabulous Monuments in Gujarat – Best Places to Visit for Architecture Enthusiasts

  1. Those stepwells are just unreal to behold. Ever since you first introduced them to me a while back I’ve been dying to go see them. Rani Ki Vav in Patan is so intricate and I love the natural look of Adi-Kadi Vav.

  2. wow so many beautiful photos! I love the simplicity yet intricacy of the tree of life. I hope I can visit just one of these places one day…

    • Yes, the Tree of Life is different from the majority of jaalis you’ll find in India – its design is absolutely unique. Thanks for stopping by, Anna.

  3. Amazing pictures from Gujrat . You have covered all the monuments of Ahemdabad very beautifully . If I ask , which place you like most in them 🙂

    • It’s a tough question to answer, Yogi! I’ve selected these monuments from a long list of remarkable structures I was lucky to see and explore. But if I have to choose only one, undoubtedly it would be Mahabat Maqbara – this elegant mausoleum has stolen my heart away!

  4. I don’t consider myself and architecture-enthusiast but I’d definitely visit Gujarat to soak in this amazing forms, shapes, materials, and feelings these beautiful buildings present! You look great in kurta, btw 🙂

  5. Hi, I love India so I loved your post so much. The architecture is amazing. I will be travelling full time soon and will be heading for India I really have to visit some of these incredible places.

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