How to Enjoy the Best of Gujarati Culture

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One of the things that I love about visiting Gujarat is experiencing the different art forms. From dance and music to craft and textiles, there are some amazing things to see and do in Gujarat. If you’re planning a holiday, here are few ways to enjoy the best of Gujarati culture.

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Explore the many gems of the beautiful state of Gujarat

The Colorful Crafts Of Gujarat

There is such a diverse variety of traditional arts and crafts produced in Gujarat that it is easy to spend weeks exploring all the different villages and learning about their trades. One of the more famous crafts is bandhani, the tie-dye technique that creates intricate designs and patterns through precision. You can find bandhani sarees and fabric in almost any color imaginable throughout Gujarat.


Gujarat is famous for its vibrant traditional craft

The needlework of Gujarat is also spectacular, producing detailed embroidered shawls and chaklas (embroidered squares for furniture) in a variety of unique styles. Abhala is the popular embroidery style where mirrors are stitched into the fabric, creating a glittery facade, or perhaps you prefer the applique work known as Ari Bharat. You can find these styles across Gujarat, with many of the finest examples in Kutch. For something a bit different, head to Patan to see the famous Patola, which is a unique weaving method that ties the fabric first, to create geometrical patterns.

Gujarat is also famous for its pottery, with many pieces of kitchenware turned into works of art by the village potters. But it isn’t just the way the clay is molded that makes them special; the terracotta is often painted and decorated with mirrors that make them a perfect gift to take home. The best examples of these can be found in the villages of Kutch. Lacquered furniture is another popular gift from Gujarat, and can be found particularly in Southern Gujarat and near Vadodara.

If it is gold that you prefer, then you must visit Surat to see zari, or gold embroidery, a craft that dates back to the Mughal period. Using real gold thread you can find intricately embroidered sarees, lace, and even turbans.

Do The Garba

Gujarat is famous for its music, with some of India’s best classical musicians haling from the state, but it is for its lively folk dancing that many remember Gujarat, particularly during the festival of Navratri. Communities come together to dance in unison during garba, a seemingly simple dance, where the crowd moves together in a synchronised circular movement. While it may look easy, don’t be fooled by just how energetic this dance is. Of course there is also the dandiya raas, where brightly decorated sticks are used to both create a rhythm and dance in tune with your partner. Even if you don’t get involved, just standing and watching a Gujarati garba or raas, with outfits of gold and silk is a sight to behold.


Don’t miss the excitement during the Navratri festival | Photo Credit: Yann Forget/ Wikimedia

Dhokla Anyone?

Gujarati cuisine is often criticised for being too sweet, but doesn’t everyone deserve a little sugar in their life? Personally I can’t go past a classic Gujarati thali with all the trimmings, dal, creamy kadhi, a variety of fresh and spicy sabzi, some crispy bhakri and of course mithai like sutarfeni, maisub, shrikhand and dudhpak. It really is the best way to explore the best of the cuisine. Nothing satisfies you more than homemade khichdi, kadhi and a glass of chaas.


Try the popular Gujarati snack, dhokla

Another highlight of Gujarati cuisine is farsan, eaten day or night, don’t miss trying the fluffy dhokla, kachori (fried dumpling filled with moong dal) or patra (taro leaves with gram flour). For something a little crunchier try chakri, chorafali and ghanthia.

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