States of India
Gujarat State Information
Capital : Gandhinagar
Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, English
Introduction to Gujarat
Gujarat has seen a succession of races, settlers as well as conquerors, and
amalgamated their cultures into its own. The result has been a wonderful fusion
of new ideas and old world traditions. Rich in crafts, history and natural
beauty, this home state of Mahatma Gandhi continues to attract artists,
scholars, intellectuals and businessmen from the world over.
Geography of Gujarat
Gujarat is situated on the western coast of the Indian Peninsula. The state is
bound by the Arabian Sea on the west, Pakistan and Rajasthan in the north and
northeast, Madhya Pradesh in the southeast and Maharashtra in the south. Based
on physiology and culture, Gujarat can be divided into several regions like
Kutch, Saurashtra, Kathiawad, and Northeast Gujarat.
Kutch is situated on the northwestern border of the state bordering Pakistan
with a maximum altitude of 300 meters and almost desert-like topography. The
ridge of Jurassic sandstone in the central part of the region breaks into the
landscape at several places. In the north is Rann of Kutch, a salt marsh and in
the south is Little Rann of Kutch. Between Saurashtra and Khambhat is Kathiawad
with a maximum altitude of 180 meters and it is flanked by sandstones in the
north. It is a region made up of Deccan lavas and cut across by the lava dykes.
The Central Kutch region extends to Northeast Gujarat and the region has low
hills and small plains. Southeast Gujarat is an extension of the Western Ghats
and receives the highest rain in the state. The forest cover in Gujarat is
relatively little with 9.61% area covered with forest, it still supports more
than 40 species of animals including the rare Asiatic Lion, wild ass and
blackbuck. An assortment of birds and reptiles completes the tally of wildlife
this state supports.
Brief History of Gujarat
The name of the Gujarat state is derived from Gujjaratta, which means the land
of the Gujjars. It is believed that a tribe of Gujjars migrated to India around
the 5th century AD. The real cultural history of these people, however, is
believed to have begun much earlier. Many Indus Valley and Harappan centers have
been discovered in the state like Lothal, Dholavira, Rangpur, Lakhabaval, Amri,
and Rozdi and established the earliest known history of Gujarat to around 3000
BC to 2200 BC. At that point of time, Lothal was the main port of this
civilization. With the advent of the Yadava tribe led by Lord Krishna, some
3,500 years ago, came the glorious days for Gujarat. It was followed by 100
years of Lord Krishna's rule. It is believed that Ashoka, the Mauryan king
extended his kingdom to Gujarat. The fall of the Maurya Empire led the small
kingdoms to establish their power in this state from time to time.
The state achieved a high level of prosperity during the time of Solankis from
the 9th century. In the 12th century AD, Allauddin Khilji, the Sultan of Delhi
defeated the Waghela king of Gujarat and a long era of Muslim rule over Gujarat
started. The Marathas ended the Muslim rule in the 18th century only to be
handed over to the British in the early 19th century. Surat was the center of
the first factory of the East India Company in India and after the First War of
Independence in 1857, the region came under the British monarchy along with the
rest of the country. Gujarat was a part of the erstwhile Mumbai state till 1960,
when the people of Gujarat decided to have their own state on the basis of their
distinct language and culture. This led to formation of the two new states of
Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Government of Gujarat
Narendra Damodardas Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujarat on October 7,
2001. He is member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and became Gujarat's Chief when
his predecessor Keshubhai Patel resigned, following the defeat of the BJP in
by-elections. He won re-election in December 2002 as chief minister with 126
seats in the 182-member assembly.
Districts of Gujarat
Gujrat has 25 districts: Ahmedabad, Amelia, Banskantha, Bharuch, Narmada,
Bhavnagar, Gandhinagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Porbandar, Kuchchh, Kheda, Anand,
Mehsana, Patan, Panchmahal, Dahod, Rajkot, Sabarkantha, Surat, Surendranagar,
Valsad, Navsari, Vadodara and Dang
Economy of Gujarat
Gujarat is the most industrialized states in India. It attracts the cream of
domestic and multinational investment in the leading sectors of the economy. The
important minerals produced into the state are agate, bauxite, dolomite,
fireclay, fluorite, fuller's earth, kaolin, lignite, limestone, chalk,
calcareous sea sand, perlite, petroleum and natural gas, and silica sand.
The state is the main producer of tobacco, cotton, and groundnut in the country.
Gujarat also contributes inputs to industries like textiles, oil and soap.
Agriculture in Gujarat forms a vital sector of the state's economy. It has to
provide the required food grains for the state's population and raw materials
for most of the agro-based industries. Unsuitable climatic conditions in some
parts and rocky terrain with thin or no soils in others, have limited the area
suitable for cultivation. The difficulty of drainage in coastal areas and in the
two Ranns has made a large part of the state agriculturally unproductive. The
state produces a large variety of crops and its cropping pattern reflects the
spatial variations in climate and topography. Groundnut (highest production in
the country), cotton, Tobacco (second highest production in the country),
isabgul, cumin sugarcane, Jawar, Bajra, Rice, Wheat, Pulses, Tur and Gram are
the important crops of Gujarat. Another cash crop, which has recently entered
the field though in a few selected localities, is banana. Plenty of mangoes for
export as well as home consumption are part of cash crops.
Gujarat Travel Information
With the longest coastline in the country, Gujarat is renowned for its beaches,
holy temples, historic capitals replete with immense architectural assets,
wildlife sanctuaries and hill resorts. Religious spots include Dwaraka,
Somanath, Pawagadh, Ambaji, Bhadreswar, Shamlaji, the Jain temples at Taranga,
Girnar and Palitana with around 800 temples spread on the sacred Shetrunjaya
hill and the oldest fire temple of the Parsees at Udwada. The places of
memorable monuments of architectural and archeological splendour include the Sun
temple at Modhera, 5000 year old architectural finds at Lothal, and the
monuments at Ahmedabad, Patan, Siddhpur Ghumli, Dabhoi, Vadnagar etc; beautiful
beaches include the ones at Ahmadpur- Mandvi with its ethnic beach resort and at
Chorwad, Ubharat and Tithal; Porbander, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and his
national shrine at Sabarmathi, the hill station at Saputara and game sanctuary
at Gir, the last retreat of the Asiatic Lions and the Wild ass sanctuary in the
Kachch area are some of the major and varied attractions in the state.
Rivers of Gujarat
The major rivers flowing through the state include Narmada, Sabarmati, and Mahi
in central and northern Gujarat; Mithi, Khari, Bhadar, Shetrunji and Bhogavo in
Saurashtra and Tapi, Purna, Ambika, Auranga and Damanganga in the southern part
of the state.
Education in Gujarat
Gujarat had an overall literacy rate of 69.97% as per census 2001. The male
literacy rate is 80.50% while the female literacy rate is 58.60%. Gujarat
government is very serious about improving the education level in the state and
has started several programs to achieve full literacy such as universalisation
of elementary education, District Primary Education Program and compulsory
primary education. The state follows a uniform 10+2 system for school education.
Most schools in the state are affiliated to Gujarat state secondary and higher
secondary board, while there are also schools, which are affiliated with CBSE or
The status of higher education in the state is very good. Gujrat is home to many
premier educational institutes such as Indian Institute of Management,
Ahmedabad, Nirma Institue of Technology and Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of
Information and Communication Technology. The total number of universities in
the state including the deemed universities and institutes of national
importance is 15. The premier research institutes in the state include Institute
for Plasma Research, Physical Research Laboratory (PRL).
Food of Gujarat
Gujarati food is a vegetarian gourmand's dream come true. It is a vegetarian
wonder with complete nutrition derived from leafy vegetables prepared in
innumerable variations and subtly flavored with spices. Simple, practical,
down-to-earth and wholesome, Gujarati food truly reflects the heart of the
state. Gujarati food is primarily vegetarian, the main reason for which is the
Jain and Buddhist influences. However, the goodness of millet, yogurt,
buttermilk, coconut, groundnut, sesame seeds and jaggery makes sure that this
non-meat food is not lacking in proteins.
Arts & Culture of Gujarat
There are four groups of people who came to inhabit this land at different
points of time and now form the majority here. Jats came from a place in Iran
called Half (to be known latter as Jat) and they were herders by occupation.
Around five hundred years ago they came to Kutch and Sind in search of new
grazing pastures and settled there. Those who joined agriculture called
themselves Garasia Jats and those who continued their ancestral occupation were
known as Dhanetah Jats, and those who chose to study the Koran became Fakirani
The Harijan is the name given by Mahatma Gandhi to the
Meghwals, who originally came from Marwar in Rajasthan. They are the masters of
weaving cotton and wool as also embroidery and appliqué work. The Ahirs came
with Lord Krishna from Gokul in Uttar Pradesh.
Most of the communities of Ahirs began with selling ghee
and milk and are now spread all over the state.
Crafts in Gujarat are a way of life, a process that transforms even the most
mundane object of daily use into a thing of beauty. The skill of the Gujarati
craftsperson-be it a weaver or a metalworker, a woman who embroiders for herself
or a potter who creates pieces of art out of clay-is bound to leave one
Wood carving is another important craft in Gujarat,
evident in the many elaborately carved temples, havelis (mansions) and palaces
as well as objects of daily and ritual use. Utensils are another area where the
craftspersons of Gujarat have excelled.
Gujarat is also famous for its terracotta work, especially
votive terra-cotta figurines which one can find by the hundreds at small shrines
built in forests, along roads, outside villages, on lonely hill-tops and under
large trees, especially in south Gujarat.
Jewelry is yet another fascinating craft in Gujarat. Each
tribe or clan has different types of ornaments and each of them has retained the
uniqueness of these ornaments.
Dance & Music of Gujarat
Gujarat has a rich tradition of song, dance and drama. Ras,
Garba, and Bhavai that are popular Gujarati folk dance forms, have their origin
to the ancient period of Lord Krishna. The Ras dance is actually a form of Ras
Leela in which different childhood antics of Krishna at Gokul and Vrindavan are
enacted. Dandia Ras is performed during the Navratri Festival and men and women
both join in a dance circle with small sticks known as dandia. Usha, the
granddaughter of Lord Krishna, is considered as the first dancer of the form
called Lasya or Garba. This dance is performed by women around a pot called
Garbo, filled with water.
Festivals of Gujarat
Navratri is celebrated for the 10 days preceding the
festival of Dussehra usually in October. The most eagerly awaited festival of
the year, which celebrates harvest time, Navratri is an occasion when both rural
and urban Gujarat worship the nine incarnations of the Mother Goddess, Shakti,
denoting cosmic energy.
Closely following Dussehra is the famous festival of
lights, Diwali, which also has its genesis from the same epic-Ramayana.
Interestingly, it is the only Hindu celebration which falls on Amavasya, a
moon-less night in the lunar calendar.
Other festivals of Gujarat include the Bhavnath fair, Dang
Darbar, Saputara Summer Festival, Madhavrai fair, and Desert Festival.
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