|Type of Tourism||: Historical, Heritage|
|Population||: 166,388 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Altitude||: 27 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: August to April|
|Telephone Code||: India (02836), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 370201|
|Clothing recommended||: Light cotton in summer, light woolen in winter|
|Languages spoken||: Gujarati, Kutchi, Hindi, English|
|What to buy||: Handicrafts and Kutchi ‘Bandhani’ fabrics|
|Food Specialties||:Kutchi Dabeli, milk sweets|
|Local transportation||: Auto Rickshaw|
Gandhidham, a township located in the north-western division of the Indian state of Gujarat is a municipal council based in the Kutch District and widely reckoned for its proximity with the famous Kandla Port suspended on the Gulf of Kutch. Christened in the honor of Mahatma Gandhi; the Father of the Nation, the Gandhidham city was actualized by the Government of India with an aim of providing shelter to hundreds of refugees migrated from Sindh during the later years of Partition. Honored to be one of the few planned cities of the country, Gandhidham established in the year 1950 is applauded as a rapidly developing satellite city of Gujarat. Divided into several sectors and wards, the conurbation of Gandhidham is uniquely characterized with a cosmopolitan civilization with Sindhis comprising the major part of the population. Celebrated as a vital pilgrim destination of Jainism, Gandhidham suddenly came into limelight subsequent to the Kandla Cyclone of 1998 and the devastating earthquake of 2001. Speedily emerging as an industrial hub after 2001, the present day Gandhidham is a prospering home to a number of trade and manufacturing units. Not only that, Gandhidham is also flourishing as a leading tourism center of Gujarat owing to its neighboring Kandla Port, Hindu and Jain pilgrim destinations such as Purneshwar and Bhardeshwar Temples, the Samadhi memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, the enchanting Rann Utsav and the striking Bandhani textile.
History Of Gandhidham
Shortly after the legendary partition of 1947, hordes of refugees from Sindh province of Pakistan immigrated to India seeking shelter. On the recommendation of Mahatma Gandhi, the Maharaja of Kutch; His Highness Maharao Shri Vijayrajji Khengarji Jadeja gifted 15,000 acres of land to Bhai Pratap to establish a Sindhu Resettlement Corporation (SRC) for the rehabilitation of the Sindhi Hindus exiled from their homeland. SRC was run under the chairmanship of Acharaya Kriplani while Bhai Pratap Dayaldas functioned as the managing director who toiled for the reestablishment of the migrants by constructing a new town.
The venue of the new settlement was selected by the Government of India few miles away from the New Kandla Port and the foundation stone was laid with the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, christening the town as ‘Gandhidham’. The earliest plan of Gandhidham was outlined by a team operating under the leadership of Dr. O. H. Koenigsberger; the director of the division of housing - Government of India which was later modified by Adams Howard and Greeley Co. in 1952 AD. As per the anecdote related, Bhai Pratap had to pay 25 paisa to kill a scorpion and 50 paisa to kill a snake in this neighborhood as originally it was a barren land copious with these venomous animals.
The hugest challenge posing before the upcoming town was poverty as most of its residents were either refugees or laborers of port. Therefore, the earliest houses comprised just one room and a kitchen and a community tap per every 10 to 12 houses was provided. Owing to its spacious streets and rectangular neighborhoods the newly framed town looked beautiful and modern. The recreational areas were fashioned after the American standards and big open grounds were spared for facilitating Garba Festivals and other social gatherings. The town was divided into numerous sectors and wards and the economy of Gandhidham was chiefly supported by the Kandla Port.
The Kandla cyclone of 1998 and the Gujarat earthquake of 2001 affected Gandhidham to a large extent but following the earthquake Gandhidham underwent a swift progress. Innumerable large, medium and small scale industries and manufacturing plants mushroomed in and around the city and Gandhidham; primarily a Sindhi Community turned into a cosmopolitan urban that now receives thousands of people migrating from different parts of the country in the search of employment.
The Kutch Rann Utsav annually organized by Gujarat Tourism in the ‘Great Rann of Kutch’ is the Desert Festival that offers an exciting opportunity to witness Kutch at its glamorous and romantic best. Located just 60 kilometers away from Gandhidham, the Great Rann of Kutch welcomes roughly 7 to 8 thousand tourists every year to come and unwind amidst the far flung White Salt Desert and experience the rich and ethnic cultural heritage of the Desert of Kutch. The Kutch Rann Utsav grants exceptional prospects to the tourists to attend folk dance and music concerts, watch the Kutchi artisans at work, shop directly from the craftsmen and artists, pay a visit to the great Historical monuments in and around Kutch and enjoy the cool desert winds and moonlit nights in the middle of far reaching sand dunes. About 32 cultural troupes belonging to different districts of Gujarat participate in this carnival of music and dance. The Tourism Corporation of Gujarat arranges the package tours that provide transport, accommodation, food and guided sightseeing. A grand tent city consisting 400 tents; both air conditioned and non air conditioned has been setup close to the Dhorado Village where tourists are provided accommodation. A visit to the ‘Khara Dunger’ (salty hill), Ludia; the popular handicraft village and Hodko; an eco friendly village really yields an enchanting experience remembered for the lifetime.