Gujarat is a state in the western part of India known locally as Jewel of the Western part of India. It has an area of 196,204 km2 (75,755 sq mi) with a coastline of 1,600 km (990 mi), most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula, and a population in excess of 60 million. The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the north, Maharashtra to the south, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea, as well as the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west. Its capital city is Gandhinagar, while its largest city is Ahmedabad. Gujarat is home to the Gujarati-speaking people of India.
The state encompasses major sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, such as Lothal and Dholavira. Lothal is believed to be one of the world’s first seaports. Gujarat’s coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch and Khambhat, served as ports and trading centres in the Maurya and Gupta empires, and during the succession of royal Saka dynasties from the Western Satrapsera, whose geographic territories included Saurashtra and Malwa: modern Gujarat, South Sindh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh states.
Gujarat was known to the Ancient Greeks, and was familiar in other Western centers of civilization through the end of the European Middle Ages. The oldest written record of Gujarat’s 2,000-year maritime history is documented in a Greek book titled The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea: Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century.
Gujarat consists of people following Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Jainism,Buddhism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism, making it a religiously diverse state. Hinduism is major religion of the state, as 88.6% population of the state is Hindu. A major part of the Hindu population follow Vaishnavism ]Muslims are the biggest minority in the state accounting for 9.7% of the population. Gujarat has the third-largest population of Jains in India, following Maharashtra and Rajasthan.]
The Zoroastrians, also known in India as Parsi and Irani, are believed to have migrated to Gujarat to maintain their traditions. They have also played an instrumental role in economic development with several of the best-known business conglomerates of India run by Parsi-Zoroastrians, including the Tata,Godrej, and Wadia families.
Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language evolved from Sanskrit and local Prakrits, and is part of the greaterIndo-European language family. It is native to the Indian state of Gujarat, and is its main language, as well as of the adjacent union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
About 59 million people speak Gujarati, making it the 26th most-spoken native language in the world. Along with Romani,Kutchi and Sindhi, it is amongst the most western of Indo-Aryan languages.
The majority of the population in the state can speak Gujarati and Hindi, whilst people from the Kutch region of Gujarat also speak in the Kutchi mother tongue, and to a great extent appreciate Sindhi as well. Memoni is the mother tongue of Kathiawar and Sindhi Memons, most of them who are exclusively Muslims.
Almost 88% of the Gujarati Muslims speak Gujarati as their mother tongue, whilst the other 12% speak Urdu. A sizeable proportion of Gujarati Muslims are bilingual in both languages as Islamic academic institutions (Darul Uloom) place a high prestige on learning Urdu and Arabic, memorising the Quran and ahadith, and emphasising the oral and literary importance of mastering these rich languages as a compulsory rite of religion. Other native languages spoken in low proportions areBhili and Gamit, which are spoken exclusively among the tribals.
Marathi is spoken by a large number of people in Vadodara and Surat Apart from this, English, Marwari, Sindhi, Punjabi,Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Odia, Malayalam, and others are spoken by a considerable number of economic migrants that have flocked to the state in recent decades seeking employment and higher standards of living.
Gujarat is home to the Gujarati people. It was also the home of Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhbhai Patel, who preached unity between all religions and became a worldwide figure for peaceful struggle against tyranny.
Bhuj is a popular shopping destination for handicrafts and shares a common culture with Sindhprovince in Pakistan. Artisans in nearby villages bring their art work for sale in Bhuj.
Gujarati food is primarily vegetarian. It is believed to be one of the healthiest cuisines in India. It has been portrayed in eminent Bollywood films, including the 2009 feature film 3 Idiots. The typical Gujarati thali consists of rotior bhakri, dal or kadhi, rice and sabzi. Indian pickle and chhundo are used ascondiments. The four major regions of Gujarat all bring their own styles to Gujarati food. Many Gujarati dishes are distinctively sweet, salty, and spicy at the same time. In Saurashtra region, chass (buttermilk) is believed to be a must-have in their daily food.
The folk traditions of Gujarat include bhavaiand rass–garba. Bhavai is a folk theatre; it is partly entertainment and partly ritual, and is dedicated to Amba. The rass-garba is a folk dance done as a celebration of Navratri by Gujarati people. The folk costume of this dance is chaniya choli for women and kediafor men. Different styles and steps of garbainclude dodhiyu, simple five, simple seven,popatiyu, trikoniya (hand movement which forms an imagery triangle), lehree, tran taali, butterfly, hudo, two claps and many more. Makar Sankranti is a festival where people of Gujarat fly kites. In Gujarat, from December through to Makar Sankranti, people start enjoying kite flying. Undhiyu, a special dish made of various vegetables, is a must-have of Gujarati people on Makar Sankranti. Surat is especially well known for the strong string which is made by applying glass powder on the row thread to provide it a cutting edge. Apart from Navratri and Uttarayana,Diwali, Holi, Tazia and others are also celebrated.
Gujarat is one of the most popular states in India for tourism with an annual footfall of 19.81 million tourists in 2010–11.It offers scenic beauty from the Great Rann of Kutch to the hills of Saputara and is the sole home of pure Asiatic Lions in the world. During the historic reigns of the sultans, Hindu craftsmanship blended with Islamic architecture, giving rise to the Indo-Saracenic style. Many structures in the state are built in this fashion. It is also the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhiand Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, great iconic figures of India’s Independence movement. Amitabh Bachchan is currently the brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism. The ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ campaign by Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has enhanced tourism in Gujarat by 14 per cent, twice that of national growth rate.
Destruction of Somnath Temple
The Somnath Temple located in the Prabhas Patan near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India, is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of the God Shiva. Somnath means “The Protector of (the) Moon God”. The Somnath Temple is known as “the Shrine Eternal”, having been destroyed six times by Muslim invaders.
Mahmud of Ghazni conquered and destroyed thousands of Hindu temples during his raids including the famous Somnath Temple, which he destroyed in 1025 AD, killing over 50,000 people who tried to defend it. The defenders included the 90-year-old clan leader Ghogha Rana. Mahmud had the gilded lingam broken into pieces and had then made into steps for his mosque and palace.
The following extract is from “Wonders of Things Created, and marvels of Things Existing” by Zakariya al-Qazwini, a 13th-century Persian Arab geographer who visited Gujarat during the medieval era. It contains the description of Somnath temple and its destruction.
“Somnath: celebrated city of India, situated on the shore of the sea, and washed by its waves. Amongst the wonders of that place was the temple in which was placed the idol called Somnath. This idol was in the middle of the temple without anything to support it from below, or to suspend it from above. It was held in the highest honour amongst the Hindus, and whoever beheld it floating in the air was struck with amazement, whether he was a Musulman or an infidel. The Hindus used to go on pilgrimage to it whenever there was an eclipse of the moon, and would then assemble there to the number of more than a hundred thousand.
When the Sultan Yaminu-d Daula Mahmud Bin Subuktigin (Mahmud of Ghazni) went to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnath, in the hope that the Hindus would then becomeMuhammadans. As a result thousands of Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam. He arrived there in the middle of Zi-l k’ada, 416 A.H. (December 1025 A.D.). “The king looked upon the idol with wonder, and gave orders for the seizing of the spoil, and dinars.
Economic capital of Gujarat, Ahmedabad stretches on the banks of Sabarmati River from the 11th century. Sometimes known as “Manchester of the East” is the fifth largest city in India and also one of the cities which experienced the greatest economic growth in the previous decade, it is also a major academic center in India. But it is especially a city full of history where you can discover the exchanges between cultures in India. Especially architecture with the syncretic style between Indian and Persian architecture, eg
Mosque Sidi Saiyyed, and buildings created by Le Corbusier or Frank Wright Loydd. There City also offers a number of parks for those who wish more quiet as Victoria Park, after the English queen.
Tracing its history until the 13th century the political capital of Gujarat, Gandhinagar has reputation of being one of the greenest cities in India and is located only 30 kms from Ahmedabad. You can visit the Akshardam complex with its temple, its gardens, research center for social harmony and its exposure to religion and time. More usual festivals in India Gandhinagar also offers a kite festival in January Navrati a Gujarati dances festival in September-October.
Portuguese enclave for 450 years this city, and that of Diu, is back in India than 1961. Its cities still house an Indian Catholic community. One can even the Portuguese colonial architecture and visit the many churches and forts built by the Portuguese. The city also benefits always different regulations regarding importation of alcohol.
Twin Sister Daman this former Portuguese enclave Ottoman and offers beautiful beaches, it is a more restful stop during the journey from its most serene nature. As in Daman many churches and forts Portuguese attest to the importance of the city in trade with Europe and the spread of Christianity in Asia.
One of the most important holy places for Palitana Jain is a shrine whose temples and hills are of particular importance. For example with its Shatrunjaya 863 temples built over 900 years can only be achieved after having climbed a staircase 3200 steps is the most famous landmark. But the city is also home to the Muslim shrine Angor Pir, and other Jain temples come the Chaumukh, Kumar Pal, the Sampriti and Vimal Raj shah.
Formerly known as Sudama Puri town is the birth place of Gandhi. from Many attractions related to the life of the great man can find in town including a museum depicting his life.
Industrial city founded in 1743 it is an ancient center of cotton trading. Today the city it is converted in the diamond industry, plastic and ship dismantling. In addition to the old town you can visit the temple of Takhteshwar and a museum dedicated to Gandhi. La town offers a good base for visiting the national park known for Veladar Sees black antelopes whose horns have the shape recognizable spiral.
A quiet town the former capital of the principality of Gaekwad. You can visit palaces Indo-Saracenic such as Laxmi Vilas, a museum and Tambekar Wada which was the home of diwan. Smaller sites can also be seen as the Naulakhi well. it is also possible visit the archaeological sites of Champaner Pavagadh and and stop at the reserve Natural Jambughoda.
Town founded by the Paris in the nineteenth century there is a textile trading center and diamonds on the banks of the Tapti. The city dwindled with the rise of Mumbai but still offers many attractions for history buffs. Fort Surat example and the Dutch, English and Armenian tombs of colonial cemetery. A textile market still operates in the city you can buy fabrics for saris. Other points of interest generally related to the Parsi culture are visible in the vicinity such as the fire temple of Uvada and the city of Navsari.
Edicts of Ashoka attest to the antiquity of this small town that has the égalementl’un
the oldest forts of Gujarat, Uperkot fort, which is surrounded by numerous legends. The city
also has Hindu temples, a mosque and Buddhist caves as much evidence of the many cultures that lived in this city. Next to the sacred hill Junagadh Girnar also offers many temples to visit but be ready to climb the 10,000 steps that compose it. Since Junagadh can also easily reach Gondal Another
small green city with different museums and a workshop of Khadi.