I can say that without an iota of qualm that Gujarat is the safest destination in India for women solo travellers. Although I don’t usually categorise any destination as safe or unsafe – I like to be cautious in any given place, I found Gujarat to be a really safe destination for solo female travellers. I’m happy to add it to my list of ‘top solo travel destinations in India’.
As soon as I boarded the train from Secunderabad, the vivid images of Gujarati women, garbed in colourful saris and kurtas hinted at what Gujarat would turn out to be – a happy and genial haven of lovely people. Besides, I met a very nice family on the train, who very graciously helped me with my luggage when I reached Ahmedabad.
Also read Kutch Guide - Top 5 Experiences
Since I had researched about Ahmedabad that it’s one of the safest cities in India, I already had positive feelings about it. I was happy to find Ahmedabad as safe as it’s reputed to be. I didn’t find anything odd or unfamiliar about it. Since my main destination was Bhuj (Kutch) and I had a few hours to kill in Ahmedabad, I roamed around with my luggage everywhere. I went to Sabarmati Ashram and Kankaria Lake. I liked the fact that the auto guys were helpful, too. I’d say it’s pretty easy to get around in Ahmedabad.
If I had to list my reasons for travelling alone in Gujarat, I’d say the below mentioned experiences should really nudge you to plan a solo trip to Gujarat –
Gujaratis are amiable folks.
The people of Gujarat are not just friendly, but full of life, too. It doesn’t take very long to build conversations with them. It’s an easy-going feeling to be in Gujarat. You can talk to anyone on impulse. There’s no need to be too reserved or guarded.
After so much of noise over crime against women in India, walking alone on the streets of Ahmedabad, in the late evening, was kind of a welcome break – I dragged my luggage everywhere looking for a cyber café where I could take an important photo copy. That’s when a shop-owner came to usher me to a café. Much to my dismay, as I began to walk with him, I realised that the place looked dreary – it barely looked like there could be any shop, let alone a cyber café. At first, I refused to go forward, but comprehending my caution and concern, my usher assured me that there was nothing to be scared of. And, as I walked a few steps ahead, I saw a little cyber café tucked away in a corner.
Kutch is even better.
Although Kutch is part of Gujarat, it seems more like a world of its own. The people of Kutch are simple, traditional and hospitable to the core. I travelled to Bhuj on an overnight bus from Ahmedabad. To be honest, I was a bit wary of doing so until I hopped on the bus and settled in my seat. The journey was smooth and I woke up to a beautiful morning in Bhuj. The bus conductor dropped me at a point where I could find transport to reach where I needed to go.
The village folks extend genuine hospitality.
‘Hospitality’ is said to be the backbone of travel industry. But, it’s mostly sold than offered freely. There is a difference between a sugar-coated hospitality and genuine graciousness. I found the village folks in Kutch to be genuinely hospitable. They smiled, greeted, waved goodbyes and showed concern out of sheer cordiality. What I valued more was when a local helped me find an appropriate conveyance for my day jaunts, when a young damsel escorted me to my homestay in the late evening, and when I didn’t have to worry about my safety, because people around me (who were strangers) were happy to have me in their midst.
Culture is the soul of Gujarat.
I believe any corner of the world is safe for both men and women if it’s culturally rooted. The people of Gujarat and Kutch are still clenched to their traditions, and that reflects in their attitudes. They dress, eat and live traditionally. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to neutralize cultures, but being ingrained to your roots has its own rewards.
Being a solo woman traveller in Gujarat was easy – not just because I could take care of myself, but because the people of Gujarat made it an easy experience for me.
Do you have a special solo travel memory that you’d like to talk about today? Please share it in the comments!
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