The district has immense tourism potential because of the presence of pilgrimages like Ambaji & Kumbharia. Around 43.3% of the tourist inflow in Gujarat was for religious purposes and Ambaji has emerged as the second most popular tourist destination in Gujarat. Apart from Ambaji, Banaskantha has other interesting places like Kumbharia which is a religious place for Jains, Balarm-Ambaji Sanctuary, Balram Palace Resort at Balrampur, Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary and Kedarnath Mahadev Temple in Jessore (32 Km from Palanpur). Jessore also offer excellent trekking options through its hilly terrain and is famous for sloth bear sanctuary.
Ambaji, a famous pilgrimage place of Gujarat in India is situated on the border of States of Gujarat and Rajasthan near Abu Road, in the Danta Taluka of Banaskantha District, near the origin of the famous Vedic virgin river SARASWATI, on the hills of Arasur Parvat in Ambica forest , towards south-west side to old hills of Arvalli, at the altitude of about 480 meters, at about 1600 feet high from sea level, having at 8.33 sq km (5 sq. miles area ) area as a whole , is in fact one of the Fifty One (51) ancient Shakti Piths, the main Centre of Cosmic Power in India.
Balaram Palace Resort
The Lohani Nawab who reigned over the region of Palanpur or Banaskantha was believed to have utilized the Balaram Palace as his favourite resting place. Historical records claim that the Balaram Place was constructed between the years 1922 and 1936, by the 29th king of Palanpur. The interiors of this grand palace have been inspired by the neo-classical and baroque style of architecture. The total area occupied by this palace measures about 542 square kilometres. Lush green forests and gardens surround this magnificent palace. However, currently, this palace, which was once enjoyed by Nawabs and kings as a hunting retreat has now been transformed into a resort. It is situated at the topmost point of the area in northern Gujarat.
Seema Darshan at zero point of Nadabet
This Seema Darshan has begun on the basis of Wagah Border pattern with a view to observe bravery of BSF Jawans. Only a Wagah border is a border outpost across India-Pakistan borders where both the countries perform drill retreat and people can enjoy observing it. The attractions at the border viewing point will be a retreat ceremony by the BSF, fusion band performance, camel show and bird watching. Visitors will also be able to watch an exhibition of weapons, a photo gallery and a film on BSF at the newly developed border viewing point by Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL).
Gabbar (or Gabbargadh), a small hillock about four km to the west of Ambaji village, is believed to have been the original seat of the goddess, the site of Krishna’s tonsorial ceremony (ritual head-shaving), and the abode of the divine Mahishasur-Mardini.
The hill is very steep and difficult to climb. There are 300 stone steps at the foot of the hill after which the pilgrims have to climb through a narrow dangerous track. On the flat top of the hill there is a small niche facing the temple of Ambaji, in which a well-protected lamp is kept constantly burning, and can be seen from the main Ambaji temple at night. There are footprints of the Goddess under a pipal tree, which are worshipped.
Keerti Stambh(Victory Tower)
Saluting the glory of the Nawabs of Palanpur is the Kirti Stambh, a tall pillar constructed near the railway station in 1918 by Nawab Shri Taley Mohammed Khan to commemorate the gallantry of Shri Sher Mohammed Khan. It was constructed under the supervision of the then Public Works Officer Saiyed Gulab Miyan Abdumiyan, and the total cost was Rs.40,000.
Today it is a sturdy symbol of the city’s glory, and provides a record of Palanpur’s evolution, with the list of the rulers of Jhalore and Palanpur being engraved on it. The Kirti Stambh was inaugurated by the great General Sir Gangasinghji, the Maharaja of Bikaner.
Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Ambaji
The Sloth – Bear Sanctuary located in the Jessore hills of Aravalli range covers an area of 180 sq. kms of dry deciduous forest. Apart from sloth bear, other fauna reported in the sanctuary are leopard, blue bull, wild boar, porcupine and a variety of birds. Other endangered species harboured by the sanctuary are jungle cat, civet, caracal, wolf and hyena. The sanctuary has also identified 406 species of plants.
Located in the folds of Arravali hills. Jessore hill is the second highest peak in Gujarat. The other important faunal species are leopards, Rhesus macaque, Indian civet cat, porcupine, fox, striped, hyena, wild boar etc. The multistoried forest provides a suitable habitat for variety of birds ranging from land birds to water birds. As per the IUCN classification many rare and endangered species of birds are also found in this sanctuary. The reptiles include snakes, tortoises and lizards of various types. The rarest Indian Python is observed beyond Muni ji ki kutia.
The Dantiwada Dam has been constructed across the Banas River. The motive behind the construction of this dam was to control flood and provide water for the purpose of irrigation projects in Gujarat. The dam has a height of 61 metres and a length of 4832 metres. Several visitors from all over the country are drawn to this dam due to its scenic beauty. Visitors make sure that they visit the Balaram Ambaji Wild Life Sanctuary located near the dam. It is the dividing line between Dharoi Dam and Dantiwada Dam. The approximate distance from Palanpur to Dantiwada Dam is 23 km equivalent to 14 miles. During the summer months the temperature is around 23 to 44 degrees Celsius. During the winters you can expect something around 10 – 36 degrees Celsius. Tourists can choose to visit the dam during the months of October through March to experience the best of the weather. The peak season time is in the months of October to December.
Kamaxi Mandir , Ambaji
Kamakshi Mandir places itself in the Kamakshidevi Temple Complex, located 1 km away from Ambaji on Khedbrahma Highway. All the 51 Shakti Peethas and the centre of cosmic power are reconstructed and installed in this complex so as to provide the visitors and devotees with complete information about the great Shakti Sampraday and the various incarnations of Aditya Shaktimata.
Mangalya Van, Ambaji
Nestled atop a hillock i.e. Kailash tekri around a kilometer and half from the Ambaji Temple on the Khedbrahma Highway is Mangalya Van, a unique garden that is of late drawing hordes of tourists. One has to climb steps to reach Kailash tekri and Mangalya Van, which is also surrounded by water bodies. The van was developed by the forest department and its USP is a unique Rashi Van (astrological garden) within and a garden of plants, which astrologers say have the same effect as stones on one’s life.
All those who come to Mangalya Van invariably enquire about the effects of plants on sun signs and want to take back home a sapling that favors their zodiac sign. They grow it in their backyard or in the vicinity of their house. Around 700 to 800 people visit Mangalya Van every day and on holidays, the number crosses 1,000. Its popularity is picking up fast. Each of the 12 zodiac signs have been given three plants and are planted in 18×18 meter in this garden.