Gujarat - The Land of the Legends, stands bordered by Pakistan and Rajasthan in the north east, Madhya Pradesh in the east, and Maharashtra and the Union territories of Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli in the south. The Arabian Sea borders the state both to the west and the south west.
The State took it's name from the Gujjars, who ruled the area during the 700's and 800's. Stone Age settlements around Sabarmati and Mahi rivers indicate the same time as that of the Indus Valley Civilization while Harappan centres are also found at Lothal, Rampur, Amri and other places.
Rock Inscriptions in the Girnar Hills show that the Maurya Emperor Ashoka, extended his domain into Gujarat in about 250 BC. With it's fall, the control of the region came under the Sakas or Scythians.
During the 900's the Solanki Dynasty came to power and Gujarat reached it's greatest extent.
Then followed a long period of Muslim rule. Ahmed I, the first independent Muslim ruler of Gujarat, found Ahmedabad in 1411. The Mughal Emperor Akbar conquered Malwa and Gujarat in 1570s.
The British East India Company set its first footsteps in Surat in 1818 and the State came in control of their rule. In 1600's, the Dutch, French, English and Portuguese had all established bases along the coast of the region.
Gujarat was divided into princely states. After the Indian Independence in 1947, all of Gujarat except Saurashtra and Kutchh became part of Bombay State until May 1, 1960, when the Government split Bombay state into the States of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Ahmedabad became the chief city of the new State and housed the State Government Offices. They remained there until they were transferred to Gandhinagar in 1970.
|Area||196,024 sq km|
|Official Languages||Gujarati and Hindi|
Boundary: Gujrat Share the border with Pakistan and Rajasthan in the north east, Madhya Pradesh in the east, and Maharashtra and the Union territories of Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli in the south. The Arabian Sea borders the state both to the west and the south west.
Gujarat Is One Of The Diverse And Most Beautiful State In India. Thousand Of Small And Big Fairs And Festivals Are Celebrated In Different Parts Of Gujarat Every Year. The Festivals Are Based On The Lunar Or Solar Calendar. These Festivals Are Observed With Great Enthusiasm And Fun In Which The People Of All Caste And Religion Participate. Today, These Festivals Are Perhaps The Only Occasion That Represents The True Tradition And Culture Of Gujarat. Some Of The Fairs And Festivals Which Are Celebrated In Gujarat Throughout The Year Are International Kite Festival, Diwali, Holi, Janmashtami, Kutch Mahotsava, Navratri, Shamlaji Fair, Modhera Dance Festival, Tarnetar Fair, Bhadra Purnima And Vautha Fair.
The International Kite Festival Is Celebrated On 14th January, That Coincide With The Festival Of Uttarayan Or Makar Sankranti. The Festival Is Celebrated To Mark The End Of Winter. On This Day, The Kites Flew All Over Gujarat, Including Ahmedabad And Baroda. The People Eat The Special Food On This Day In The Open Field Or In The Park Or In The Garden Of One's Home. This Festival Marks The Movement Of The Sun Into The Northern Hemisphere. The Gods Who Are Believed To Have Gone In A Long Sleep For Six Long Months Awake And The Portals Of Heaven Are Thrown Open. The Visitors Visit The Temples And Alms Are Distributed Freely. The Kite Flying Starts At Dawn And Continues Without A Pause Throughout The Day. Friends, Neighbours And Total Strangers Battle One Another For Supremacy And Cries Of Triumph Fill The Air When They Cut Each Other Kites. The Thread Which Is Used To Fly The Kites Are Specially Prepared By Experts Before The Final Day. Special Mixtures Of Glue And Ground Glass Cover The Thread Which Is Dried And Then Rolled Onto Reels Known As Firkees. In The Night, Various Illuminated Box Kites, Known As Tukkals, Fly In The Sky. Today, The International Kite Festival Is Famous All Over The World. This Festival Enables The People Of Ahmedabad To See The Unusual Kites Brought By The Visitors, Some Of Which Are Truly Works Of Art.
Navratri, That Means 'nine Nights' Is An Ancient, Colourful And Religious Festival Of Gujarat. This Festival Is Celebrated To Honour The One Divine Shakti Or Force Which Supports The Entire Universe And Is Personified As The Mother Goddess. The Mother Goddess Protects Her Worshippers, Destroys Evil And Grants Boons To Her Children. Navratri Is Celebrated With Joy And Enthusiasm Throughout The Gujarat, But In Ahmedabad And Baroda, Garba And Dandia Dances Are Performed. This Festival Is Celebrated With True Devotion In The Various Temples Which Are Dedicated To The Mother Goddess. In This Festival, The Women Perform The Garba Dance Or The Circular Dance Around An Earthenware Pot Called A Garbo Which Is Filled With Water. A Betel Nut And A Silver Coin Are Placed Within The Pot, On The Top Of Which A Coconut Is Placed. As The Dancers Whirl Around The Pot, A Singer And A Drummer Also Accompanies Them. The Participants Clap In A Steady Rhythm. The Dance Usually Starts Slowly And Gets Fast With The Music. In Large Public Areas, Group Of Musicians Sing The Traditional Garba Songs. The Dandia Ras Or 'stick' Dance Is Also Performed During Navratri. Both The Men And Women Perform The Dance In Circle, Holding Small Polished Sticks Or Dandies. As Per The Rhythm Of The Dance, Men And Women Strike The Dandies Together, Adding To The Joyous Atmosphere. These Dances Are So Popular That Sometimes Competitions Are Held And Prizes Are Given To The Best Dancer. The Dancers Worn The Traditional Costumes, Alive With Colour. The Dances Usually Commence Late In The Night And Continue Until Early Morning. A Bhavai Dance Is Also Performed In The Ambaji Temple At Baroda, During Navratri.
The Modhera Dance Festival Is Held During The Third Week Of January Every Year, After The Festival Of Uttarayan. This Festival Is Celebrated At The Sun Temple In Modhera. The Style In Which The Temple Was Built Bears A Strong Resemblance To That Of The Jain Temples At Mount Abu. The Decision To Celebrate The Annual Festival Of Indian Classical Dances Was Taken By The Department Of Culture, Gujarat, And The West Zone Cultural Centre At The Sun Temple. The Idea Was To Present Classical Dances In An Atmosphere Similar To That In Which These Were Originally Presented.
The Kutch Mahotsava Is Usually Organized During February And March Each Year. This Mahotsava Is Organized By The Tourism Corporation Of Gujarat Limited In Order To Promote Tourism In Kutch. In This Festival, The Visitors Are Taken On A Six Day Tour Of Kutch. This Tour Is Known As A Mahotsava, Or Great Festival, Because Of The Great Variety Of Sights And Scenes That Are Offered To Visitors. Kutch Has Everything To Offer To Its Visitors Like The Colourful People, Historic Towns And Remarkable Handicrafts.
The Bhavnath Mahadev Fair Is Held For Five Days During Mahashivratri In The Month Of February. This Fair Is Held At The Bhavnath Mahadev Temple, Located At The Foot Of Girnar Hill In Junagadh. The Events Which Are Associated With The Fair Are Very Colourful. The Mahapuja Of Lord Shiva Is Held In This Temple At Midnight, On The 14th Day Of The Dark Half Of The Month Of Magh. When The Puja Starts, Naga Bavas (naked Sages) Living Nearby Move Towards The Fair On Elephants, Holding Flags And Blow Conch Shells, That Sound Tungis And Turis. It Is Also Believed That Lord Shiva Himself Visits The Shrine On This Occasion. During This Fair, The Visitors Are Served Free Meals By The Organizers. In The Fair There Are Special Stalls That Sell Idols, Sarees Brought By Vendors From Ayodhya And Mathura, Utensils Of Brass And Copper, Sweets And Fruits.
The Shamlaji Fair, Also Known As The Kartik Purnima Fair Is Held During The Month Of November, Every Year. This Fair Is Held In Shamlaji, About 80 Kms From Ahmedabad. The Shamlaji Temple Is A Renowned Vaishnav Shrine, And The Deity Housed Therein Is Known By Various Names As Gadadhar, Bearer Of The Mace And Shaksi Gopal. The Shamlaji Fair Is Celebrated For About Two Weeks. About 200,000 People Of All Communities And Castes Including The Garasia And Bhil Tribes Visit The Fair. The Visitors Come Here From The Adjoining Districts And From Rajasthan. Besides Visiting The Deity In The Temple, They Also Take A Bath In The River Meshwo. The Visitors Usually Come In Groups, And Sing Devotional Songs, Carrying Religious Banners.
The Tarnetar Fair, Also Known As The Trinetreshwar Mahadev Fair Is Held At Tarnetar, Near The Industrial Town Of Thangadh, Saurashtra. This Fair Is One Of The Most Important Fair Of Gujarat. The Local As Well As The Tribal People Gather From All Over Gujarat To Participate In The Various Activities That Take Place At The Fair. It Is Believed That The Fair Is Held On This Ancient Site Since Antiquity. The Fair Is Also One Of The Most Important Matchmaking Melas As The Tribal Youths Visit Tarnetar To Find A Suitable Match. Its Association With The Mahabharat Is Underlined By The Fact That The Area Was Known As Panchal Pradesh, The Land To Which Draupadi Belonged. The Fair Is Linked With The Story Of Draupadi's Swayamvar And It Is Said That It Was At This Place That The Great Archer Arjuna Performed The Difficult Task That Won Him His Bride. Over 300 Stalls Are Set Up In The Fair, That Sell Numerous Objects And Offer Various Types Of Food And Refreshments. There Are Exhibitions Of Embroidery, A Cattle Show, Competitive Sports, Family Planning Stall, Merry-go-rounds And Photographer's Stall. The Folk Music And Dances Like The Garba Ras And Hodo Are The Main Features Of The Fair.
Gujarat Is A Flourishing State With Cultural Diversity. It Is Vibrant With Its True Colors Of Rich Heritage And Cultural Traditions. Dating Back To History With The Harappan Civilization, The State Becomes A Confluence Of Many Religions - Hinduism, Islam, Jainism And Buddhism. The Gujarati Culture Blends In Arts, Beliefs, Customs, Traditions, Institutions, Inventions, Language, Technology And Values. Gujarat Has An Ancient History And Origin To Boast Of. It Was Earlier Known As Gujarata (gurjar Rashtra), Which Means Gurjar Nation. Gurjars Was On Old Clan, Which Inhabited The Area During The Mahabharat Period. Another Opinion Regarding Gurjars Is That They Belonged To Central Asia And Came To India During The First Century. Gujarat Was Also Inhabited By The Citizens Of The Indus Valley And Harappan Civilizations. This Was Fortified By T
While Gujarat Has A Long Coastline And An Almost Endless Supply Of Fish And Shellfish, Strict Jainism In The Past And Orthodox Hinduism Today Have Encouraged The Widespread Adoption Of A Vegetarian Diet. The Gujarati Food Is Mostly Vegetarian. The Dishes Of Gujarat Are Not Very Spicy And Sweet Than Those Of The Neighboring States. The Gujarati Cuisine Is Delightfully Delicious With A Combination Of Leafy Vegetables And Pulses Subtly Flavoured With Spices To The Accompaniment Of Rice And A Variety Of Breads. The Typical Gujarati Meal Is Served Traditionally On Large Silver Or Stainless Steel Platters Or Thali That Consists Of One Variety Of Dal, Kadhi-a Curd Preparation, Two To Three Vegetables, Wide Variety Of Beans And Pulses, Salad Savories, Sweets, Puri Or Chappati, Rice, Coconut, Chutneys, Pickles, Papad And Sweetened Yoghurt. There Are Slight Differences In The Modes Of Preparation And Eating Habits In The Main Three Geographical Regions Of Kutch, Saurashtra (kathiawad) And Surat. Some Of The Popular Dishes Of Gujarat Are 'khaman Dhokla', A Salty Steamed Cake, 'oondhiya' A Vegetarian Dish With Potato, Brinjal, Green Beans And Other Vegetables Cooked In An Earthenware Pot In The Fire, 'khichdi' A Mixture Of Lentil And Rice, 'kadhi' A Savoury Yoghurt Curry With Chopped Vegetables And Variety Of Spices, 'debra' Flour Mixed With Spinach And Yoghurt Etc. Surat Paunk Is Made With Tender Kernels Of Millet, Sugar Balls, Savoury Twists And Garlic Chutney. Gujarati 'farsans' Or Crunchy Fried Snacks Like Chakli, Sev Ganthia Prepared From Chick-pea And Wheat Flour Is A Speciality Of The State. Eating Freshly Prepared Vegetable Snacks From Street Vendors Is Popular. Sweets And Desserts Like Doodh Pak, Gharis, Nankhatais Etc. Are Also Delicious. Surat Is Known For The Gharis Made With Butter, Dried Fruits And Thickened Milk And Rich Halwa. In Contrast To The Majority Of Hindus Who Are Pure Vegetarians, The Bohras, A Community Of Muslim Traders, Are Famous For Their Beef Preparations And A Variety Of Soups.
You Can Experience All These Constituents Of The Vegetarian Gujarati Meal By Having A Thali At Vishala, About 5 Kms. From Ahmedabad. It Is A Restaurant And Part Of A Complex Is Described As A Gujarati Village With A Small Museum, Local Crafts And Performing Arts. In The Village Complex, You Can Also See The Craftsmen Weaving And Making Earthen Pots, The Puppet Show, And Dances. The Food Is Served On Platters Of Leaves Stitched Together That Includes Various Vegetables, Pulses, Salads, Chutneys, Yoghurt, Rice And Wide Variety Of Breads Made Of Millet And Other Flours. In The End The Buttermilk And Rich Homemade Ice-creams Are Served. Besides Vishala, There Are Various Other Good Restaurants In Ahmedabad Which Offers The Gujarati Food. Chinese And Continental Cuisine Are Also Available In Major Hotels.
Gujarat Has A Very Rich Heritage Of Handicrafts. The Handicrafts Of Gujarat Are Very Unique. These Handicrafts Have Been Given A Fillip By The Government And Some Private Individuals. Craftsmen And Women Who Left Their Villages To Work As Stone Crushers For The Living Have Been Brought Back To Practise Their Traditional Arts. Their Products Can Be Seen And Purchased In Emporiums In Gujarat, Delhi And Mumbai. The Excavations At The Harappan Sites In Gujarat At Lothal, Rangpur, Rozdi Etc. Have Brought To Light Some Of The Very Ancient Handicraft Articles. Gujarat Also Has A Rich Tradition Of Embroidery, Leather Work, Bandhani And Hand-block Printing. Gujarat Is Also Known For The Famous And Unique Kutch Embroidery.
The Patola Of Patan Is A Unique Fabric Of Gujarat. This Special Variety Of Women's Wear Is Strikingly Attractive With Its Colourful Geometrical Patterns. This Lovely Silken Fabric, Which Resembles A Printed Saree Is Not An Apparel Printed By Blocks. Its Tie And Weave Method Result In Identical Patterns On Both Sides Of The Fabric, Involving Complicated Designs, And Is Entirely Based On The Geometry Of The Design. The Process Consists Of Dyeing The Warp And The Weft Threads In Conformity With The Proposed Design On The Fabric. Hand-woven And Silk Yarn Is Used For Weaving. The Patola Silk Sarees Are Extremely Fine And Quite Expensive And Made By Very Small Master Craftsmen At Patan.
The Zari Or Gold Thread Embroidery Work Of Surat Is One Of The Oldest Handicrafts Whose Origin Can Be Traced Back To The Mughal Period. Surat Is One Of The Biggest And Important Zari Manufacturing Centres In India. The Principal Types Of Products Are Real Gold And Silver Threads, Imitation Gold And Silver Threads, Embroidery Such As Chalak, Salama, Kangari, Tiki, Ring And Katori For Motifying In The Kinkhab And The Zari Border Weaving, Laces, Caps, Turbans, Sarees, And Blouse Pieces. The Tanchoi Or Silk Brocade Is Woven On Silk Cloth And Decorated With The Designs Of Birds, Animals, Leaves, Fruits Etc. The Cloth Is Used For Costly Sarees, Blouses And Tapestry. The Kinkhab Or The Indian Brocade Is Woven On The Silk With Gold And Silver Threads. Surat Is Also Known For The Kinkhab Gold Brocades.
Dyeing Is A Hereditary Art. In The Past Cloth Was Dyed In Colours Extracted From Trees And Flowers. The Sarkhei Suburb Of Ahmedabad Was One Of The Indigo Manufacturing And Exporting Centres. The Bandhani, Tie And Dye Variety Of Saree Is A Very Popular Women's Wear. It Involves An Intricate Process Of Tying Knots On The Fine White Fabric, Which Is Dipped In Colours. The Hues Of Deeper Shades Are Used Over The Previous Ones To Form The Coloured Background Of The Cloth.
Cloth Printing Is A Complicated And Specialised Job. It Is Done With Engraved Wooden Blocks And Screens. Certain Craftsman Are Doing The Work Of Printing Different Varieties Which Are Locally Called Chundadi, Patola, Plain Gala, Lehria, Bandhani, Pomcha, Nagaria. Household Utility And Decorative Materials Such As Table Cloths, Bed Covers, Curtains, Tapestries, Hand Bags And Carpets Are Also Prepared By This Type Of Printing Process. The Hand-painted Cloth Is Available In Traditional Black, Red, Maroon And Ochre Colors And Is Also Inexpensive. The Tie-and-dye Fabrics Are Known All Over The World For Their Variety And Excellent Colors. Temple Curtains Popularly Known As Mat-no-chandarvo Is Another Type Of Printing Work. The Vahari-harijan Families Of Ahmedabad Were Engaged In This Type Of Printing. It Is Prepared In The Old Process And Depicts Goddess Durga Seated On The Throne Or On The Back Of A Tiger And Surrounded By Her Devotees.
Wood Carving Is An Ancient Art Of The State Which Has Attained Very High Standard Of Technical Skill. Some Of The Best Examples Of Wood-carvings Are Found In Temples And Houses In Many Parts Of Gujarat. The Wood Carvers Produce Life-like Figures Of Animals, Artistic Objects Of Every-day Use Such As Tea Pots, Table Lamps, Stools And Toys For Children. Mahuva And Idar Are Famous For Their Lacquer Toys. Sankheda In Baroda District Is Known For Its Lacquer Work. The Work Is Done On Country-wood Which Gives Darker Shades. The Coating Is Done With Fine Lac. Women Folk Of Saurashtra Prepare Idols, Toys, Ash-trays, Toilet-boxes, Lamp-stands And Flower-pots From The Pulp Of Rags, Banana Stumps And Bamboos. Artistic Jars, Water-pots And Other Utility Articled Are Prepared From Clay.
Embroidery Has Been A Craft For Women. Banni, A Small Village In The Rann Of Kutch Is Known For Its Artistic Embroidery Work. Small Mirrors Are Interspersed To Lend Glitter And Charm. The Finest Type Of Such Embroidery Work With Small Mirrors Is Called Abhla-bharat. When A Bride Is Sent To Her Husband's House, She Carries With Her Some Pieces Of Skirts And Cholis Exquisitely Embroidered With Minute Details.
Ivory In Gujarat Is Mostly Used In Inlay Work. Bangles And Sandal Wood Articles Are Inlaid With It.
Bead-work Is A Speciality Of Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar And Junagadh. Decorative Pieces Like Torans, Chopat, Carpets, Caps, And Belts Are Some Of The Fine Articles Of Bead-work.
The Art Of Making Jewellery And Precious Stone-cutting And Processing Is A Traditional Handicraft Of Gujarat. Gold Smithy Includes Filigree-work, Open- Wire-work, Carving Etc. The Folk Jewellery Of Excellent Designs, Characteristic Of Each Village And Each Community Is A Typical Art Of Gujarat. The Silver Craft Is A Specialty Of Kutch, In Which Light Embossing Is Done On Thin Silver Plates And Is Enhanced By Etching And Scrapping. Attardanis, Gulsbdanis, Flower-vases, Trays, Jewellery Boxes, Powder Boxes, Ash Trays And Cigarette Boxes Are Some Of The Articles Of Silver Craft. Agate Is A Semi-transparent Mineral Composed Of Quartz In Different Colours And Found In River Beds. The Raw Stones Are Processed By Heating, Chiselling, Surfacing, Polishing And Drilling Before They Are Turned Into Artistic Articles Such As Ear-rings, Necklaces, Studs, Bowls, And Trays. The Industry Is Located In Cambay.