INTRODUCTION TO THE LAND OF ART, CULTURE, AND LEGENDS - GUJARAT
The state of Gujarat is a fusion of authenticity, beauty, flavors, and affection. The more you discover it, the more you will love it.
Gujarat, a state on the western coast of India, embraces the most beautiful places, delicious food, fascinating history, joyful population, and a wide range of flora and fauna. Gujarat is the state where you do not want to miss anything.
Gujjar was a community of people who ruled the state in the 8th and 9th centuries. The official name of the state ensued from them. Gujarat stands on the Kathiawar Peninsula. Its vast area makes it the fifth largest state of India, and its diversity makes it ineffable.
Gujarat Ministries: https://gad.gujarat.gov.in/Personnel/council-of-ministers-new.htm
Dadra and Nagar Haveli borders Gujarat from the northeast side while Daman and Diu borders from the south, Maharashtra from the southeast, Madhya Pradesh from the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh from the west.
Gujarat allows the flow of three rivers, namely, Sabarmati (the longest river in Gujarat), Tapi (the second longest river after Sabarmati), and Narmada.
Gandhinagar is the capital city of Gujarat whereas, Ahmedabad is its chief city. Gujarat, also known as a manufacturing hub, is the fifth-largest economy of India. Among all other states of India, Gujarat ranks 21st in the human development index. No wonder why it is the most industrially advanced state.
Gujarat is one of the four states of India that prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol. Gujarat's natural setting includes Rann (deserts), forests, and hill stations. The Gir National Park in the southwest region of Gujarat is the only state in the world where the Asiatic lions find their home. The Rann of Kutch is a desert with white sand and bordered to Pakistan.
Gujarat marked its population at 60,439,692, according to the 2011 Indian census. 86% of the total population of Gujarat speaks Gujarati, its official language.
This land gave us some iconic legends. Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were great contributors to India's Independence Movement. Morarji Desai(4th Prime Minister of India) and Narendra Modi (14th and the current Prime Minister of India) were born here.
Gujarati food is the most diverse cuisine with a myriad of food items. Bhakhri, thepla, fafda, dhokla, and chhundo are some of the most delicious Gujarati food items. Not only food, but the Gujarati culture embraces its diversity in its folk traditions, including Gujarati folk music and folk dance, called Raas-Garba.
THE FASCINATING HISTORY:
The valleys of Sabarmati and Mahi, in the eastern part of the state, traced the first settlement thousand hundred years ago. The historical information of the state springs with the expansion of Indus Valley Civilisation.
The state's history originates with the rise of the Mauryan Empire, with Ashoka as the Emperor, which is carved on the Girnar hills and the Kathiawar Peninsula.
Shakas ruled Gujarat after the Mauryan Empire vanished. Mahakshatrapa Rudradaman, the Shaka king, spread his authority over the entire Saurashtra and the Kutch region. Later, the Gupta dynasty took over Gujarat, and then the Gupta dynasty was succeeded by the Maitraka dynasty.
After the Maitraka dynasty, Gujarat was under the rule of the Gurjara-Pratiharas. Later came the Solanki dynasty, when Gujarat flourished. The Solanki dynasty extended the boundaries of Gujarat to the farthest and bought a remarkable improvement in the cultural and economic fields.
Karnadev Vaghela, the emperor of the Vaghela dynasty, was defeated by the Sultan of Delhi and made Gujarat a Muslim-dominated state till the 18th century. The name 'Ahmedabad' comes after a sultan of Gujarat, Ahamad Shah.
In the late 18th century, the Marathas took control over Gujarat, and just after that, the East India Company took control over Gujarat from the Marthas.
Gujarat was politically dominated by the Bombay Presidency, except for the state of Baroda. Although Gujarat was divided into princely states, some of the southern and central parts of Gujarat were under the rule of the Britishers. To make not only Gujarat but India free from British colonial rule, Mahatma Gandhi fought for freedom against the Britishers. The state of Gujarat was officially formed by splitting Bombay from Gujarat in 1960.
Leaders like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Morarji Desai, K.M. Munshi, Narhari Parikh, Mahadev Desai, Mohanlal Pandya, and Bhulabhai Desai all of whom hailed from Gujarat, brought a fresh era. Satyagraha and the Salt Satyagraha are some of the most popular events that took place in Gujarat.
AMAZING FACTS OF GUJARAT:
1. India's first seaport.
Gujarat was the first state to establish the first seaport in India. The seaport was established in Lothal, where trading and commercial activities took place between India, Egypt, and Mesopotamia in ancient times.
2. The alcohol-banned state.
Gujarat is the only state where the majority of the population is vegetarian. It was the first state to restrict the consumption and sale of alcohol as a homage to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
In 2009, alcohol poisoning occurred in Gujarat which resulted in the death of 136 people.
3. World's tallest statue.
The world's tallest statue is in Gujarat in the Narmad district. It is a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who was a freedom fighter and the first Home Minister of India. The statue stands on Sadhu island on the Narmada, 3.2 km downstream of Sardar Sarovar Dam, with a height of 182 meters.
4. Safest State.
The crime rate against women in Gujarat is the second-lowest after Goa. The two main reasons behind safety are good law and order and the cultural values of the state.
One of the country's largest milk-producing brands, AMUL, originated in Gujarat. It is based in Anand which is known as the Milk Capital of India, because of its revolutionary work in dairy products.
6. Longest Coastline.
Gujarat has the longest coastline, which adds to numerous beaches in its geography. The length of the coastline is around 1214.7 kilometers. It has 40 ports, including Kandla, 11 intermediate ports, and 29 minor ports.
7. Largest salt desert.
Rann of Kutch which is one of the largest salt deserts is located in the Thar desert in the Kutch district. The Ranns, which cover some 10,800 square miles remain dry all winters and are flooded in the summers.
8. Greenest City.
Gandhinagar, which was the former capital of Gujarat, is the greenest city in Asia. It has a balanced environment, with 50% of the land covered with greenery. Gandhinagar is on the banks of the River Sabarmati and was named after Mahatma Gandhi.
9. World's most extensive grass root refinery.
Reliance Jamnagar is the world's largest grassroots refinery. It refines almost 33 3 million tons per year. It is a crude oil refinery owned by Reliance Limited.
10. Diamond Center.
Surat, a state in the western Indian state of Gujarat, is famous for its diamond cutting and polishing. It is also called the Diamond city of India.
11. Sole home to the Asiatic Lions.
The rare species of Asiatic lions are found only in Gujarat. The Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, with a total area of around 1400 kilometers, is the only home for the Asiatic lion. The lion population here was around 523, according to the 2015 Indian census.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about Gujarat:
Its geographical and cultural features contribute most to this state. The Rann of Kutch and the Forest of Gir (only home to the rare Asiatic lions) are the epicenter of tourist interest. Its exceptional cuisine and folk culture makes it stand out.
Gujarat comes under a geographical location where the seasons are varying every 3-4 months. If you are planning to visit western India, November-February would be an ideal time to visit.
The land of Gujarat encountered successive rule, invasion, wars, and divisions. It gave us some gripping stories which remarked the toughness of the sons born on this land. From the emperors of the Mughal Empire to the Prime Minister of India, the most iconic personalities who served the Indian nation come from this land.
- Navratri, the most celebrated and loved festival of Gujarat, is a 9-day celebration in which people praise and hail Goddess Ambe by performing their cultural folk dance, Raas-Garba, on the Gujarati folk music while wearing the folk dress. Where there is Garba, dodhiya, and loud music, there is extreme fun.
- Rann Utsav, a festival celebrated in the Rann of Kutch, reflects the purest form of Gujarat's folk culture. There is music, handcrafted items, traditional ornaments, and delicious cuisine in the tents of Rann.
- Uttarayan is a festival celebrated on the 14th of January every year. It is a kite festival that originated in Gujarat. It is an informal 'bye-bye' to the winters and a hearty welcome to the summers. The sky is bountiful and filled with colors with vibrant kites, and people just love screaming 'Kai Po Che!'.
As Gujarat is called a 'Land of Legends', there is a list of some remarkable people:
- The greatest freedom fighter of all time, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi(Mahatma Gandhi or Bapu), was an activist, a lawyer, politician, philosopher, and above all, The Father Of The Nation.
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, also known as the 'The Iron Man of India', was a politician, a freedom fighter, and the first Home Minister of India.
- Morarji Desai was a politician and was awarded Bharat Ratna in public affairs.
- Narendra Modi, who leads Bharatiya Janata Party, is a politician and the 14th Prime Minister of India. He was the Former Chief Minister of Gujarat.
- Azim Premji is a businessman, industrialist, and Chairman of Wipro.