Gujarat


Gujarat
Gujarat
ગુજરાત
—  State  —
Clockwise from top: Gujarat High Court, Dwarka Beach, Laxmi Vilas Palace, Kankaria Lakefront, Gandhi Ashram, Salt Desert of Kutch

Seal
Location of Gujarat in India
Map of Gujarat
Coordinates (Gandhinagar): 23°13′00″N 72°41′00″E / 23.2167°N 72.6833°E / 23.2167; 72.6833Coordinates: 23°13′00″N 72°41′00″E / 23.2167°N 72.6833°E / 23.2167; 72.6833
Country  India
Established 1 May 1960
Capital Gandhinagar
Largest city Ahmedabad Metro by population, Surat Metro by area
Districts 26 total
Government
 – Governor Dr. Kamla Beniwal
 – Chief Minister Narendra Modi (BJP)
 – Legislature Unicameral (182 seats)
 – Parliamentary constituency 26
 – High Court Gujarat High Court
Area
 – Total 196,077 km2 (75,705.8 sq mi)
Area rank 7th
Population (2011)
 – Total 60,383,628
 – Rank 10th
 – Density 308/km2 (797.6/sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-GJ
HDI increase 0.621 (medium)
HDI rank 14th (2005)
Literacy 69.8% (6th)
Official languages Gujarati, Hindi, English
Website Gujarat, India

Gujarat (Gujarati: ગુજરાત, Hindi: गुजरात, Gujǎrāt, [ɡudʒ(ə)ɾat] ( listen)) is a state in western India. It has an area of 75,686 sq mi (196,030 km2) with a coastline of 1,600 km, 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 on the west. Its capital 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 ports. Gujarat's coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch, served as ports and trading centers in the Maurya and Gupta empires. Mahatma Gandhi, considered India's "father of the nation", was a Gujarati who led the Indian Independence Movement against the British colonial rule.[1]

Gujarat played an important role in the economic history of India throughout the history of India.[2] The state has the fastest growing economy in India.[3][4][5] It is also one of the most industrialized states of India, and has a per capita GDP almost twice that of the national average.[6]

Contents

Etymology

Modern-day Gujarat is derived from Gurjaratra that is the land protected or ruled by the Gurjars, or from Gurjar-Rashtra, the Gujjar nation.[7][8][9] The origins of the Gujjars are uncertain. The Gujjar clan appeared in northern India about the time of the Huna invasions of northern India. The name of the tribe was Sanskritized to "Gurjara".[10] The Gurjars/Gujjars believe to have descended from Suryavanshi Kshatriyas (Sun Dynasty).[11] Historically, the Gurjars were Sun-worshipers and their copper-plate grants and seals also bear an emblem of the Sun.[12]

History

Ancient history

The docks of ancient Lothal as they are today.

Historically, the state of Gujarat has been one of the main centers of the Indus Valley Civilization. It contains major ancient metropolitan cities from the Indus Valley such as Lothal, Dholavira, and Gola Dhoro. The ancient city of Lothal was where India's first port was established. Also, Dholavira, the ancient city, is one of the largest and most prominent archaeological sites in India, belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. The most recent discovery was Gola Dhoro. All together, about 50 Indus Valley settlement ruins have been discovered in Gujarat.[13]

The ancient history of Gujarat was enriched by their commercial activities. There is a clear historical evidence of trade and commerce ties with Sumer in the Persian Gulf during the time period of 1000 to 750 BC.[13] There was a succession of Hindu/Buddhist states such as the Gupta Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, Pala Empire and Gurjara-Pratihara Empire as well as local dynasties such as the Maitrakas and then the Solankis. The 11th century history of Gujarat saw the emergence of the Muslims in the political arena of the state. The first Muslim conqueror was Mahmud of Ghazni whose conquest of Somnath effectively ended the rule of the Solankis.[13]

1297–1614 AD

1573-Akbar receiving his sons at Fathpur-Akbarnama after the victorious campaign in Gujarat from the Akbarnama

From 1297 to 1300, Allauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, destroyed Anhilwara and incorporated Gujarat into the Delhi Sultanate. After Timur's sacking of Delhi at the end of the fourteenth century weakened the Sultanate, Gujarat's Muslim Rajput governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar asserted his independence, and his son, Sultan Ishaan Shah (ruled 1411 to 1442), restructured Ahmedabad as the capital. Cambay eclipsed Bharuch as Gujarat's most important trade port. The Sultanate of Gujarat remained independent until 1576, when the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great conquered it and annexed it to the Mughal Empire. The port of Surat become the prominent and main port of India during Mughal rule. Gujarat remained a province of the Mughal empire until the Marathas occupied eastern and central Gujarat in the eighteenth century; Western Gujarat (Kathiawar and Kutch) were divided among numerous local rulers.

Bombay Presidency in 1909, northern portion
Bombay Presidency in 1909, southern portion

There were several important encounters between Islamic armies and Hindu armies. One story goes that the first patron of the Vala rulers of Wadhwan was a staunch defender of his domain and an inscription reads[14]:

At Wadhwan resides Ebhal,
Who can withstand the onset 200,000 men;
He defeated the Iranis with his spear
Of which the Sun is witness

1614–1947 AD

In 16 th century Ambliara State Is the Capital of erstwhile Princely State of Songara Chauhan of Jalore descended of Rani Popadevi Of Jalore Present Day Ambliara In Gujarat In Sabarkantha Agency....

Portugal was the first European power to arrive in Gujarat, acquiring several enclaves along the Gujarati coast, including Daman and Diu as well as Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The British East India Company established a factory in Surat in 1614, which formed their first base in India, but it was eclipsed by Bombay after the English acquired it from Portugal in 1668. In late 17th century Chatrapati Shivaji the great Maratha leader attacked Surat between 1664 to 1679 and looted the city 3 times. This is marked as entry of Marathas in Gujarat.

Later in 18th century, Gujarat came under control of the Maratha Empire who dominated the politics of India. Pilaji Gaekwad, first ruler of Gaekwad dynasty, established the control over Baroda and much of Gujarat. After Battle of Panipat 1761, all Maratha general established them self as autonomous government while keeping nominal authority of Peshwas of Pune and Chatrapati from Satara. The British East India Company wrested control of much of Gujarat from the Marathas during the Second Anglo-Maratha War. Many local rulers, notably the Maratha Gaekwads of Baroda (Vadodara), made a separate peace with the British and acknowledged British sovereignty in return for retaining local self-rule. Gujarat was placed under the political authority of the Bombay Presidency, with the exception of Baroda state, which had a direct relationship with the Governor-General of India. From 1818 to 1947, most of present-day Gujarat, including Kathiawar, Kutch, and northern and eastern Gujarat were divided into hundreds of princely states, but several districts in central and southern Gujarat, namely Ahmedabad, Broach (Bharuch), Kaira (Kheda), Panchmahal, and Surat, were ruled directly by British officials.

Indian independence movement

Mahadev Desai (left) reading out a letter to Mahatma Gandhi from the viceroy at Birla House, Bombay, 7 April 1939.

Leaders like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Morarji Desai, K.M. Munshi, Narhari Parikh, Mahadev Desai, Mohanlal Pandya, Bhulabhai Desai and Ravi Shankar Vyas all hailed from Gujarat. Also, Gujarati-speaking Mohammed Ali Jinnah's (Pakistan's first Governor-General) father was from an area which later became Gujarat. Gujarat was also the site of some of the most popular revolts, including the Satyagrahas in Kheda, Bardoli, Borsad and the Salt Satyagraha.

Post independence

After Indian independence and the partition of India in 1947, the new Indian government grouped the former princely states of Gujarat into three larger units; Saurashtra, which included the former princely states on the Kathiawad peninsula, Kutch, and Bombay state, which included the former British districts of Bombay Presidency together with most of Baroda state and the other former princely states of eastern Gujarat. Bombay state was enlarged to include Kutch, Saurashtra, and parts of Hyderabad state and Madhya Pradesh in central India. The new state had a mostly Gujarati-speaking north and a Marathi-speaking south. Agitation by both Gujarati and Marathi nationalists for their own states led to the split of Bombay state on linguistic lines; on 1 May 1960, it became the new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The first capital of Gujarat was Ahmedabad; the capital was moved to Gandhinagar in 1970.

Geography

Geography of Gujarat. Courtesy: NASA Earth Observatory

Gujarat borders with Pakistan to the north-west, bounded by the Arabian Sea to the southwest, the state of Rajasthan to the northeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and by Maharashtra, Union territories of Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the south. Historically, the North was known as Anarta, the Kathiawad peninsula, "Saurastra", and the South as "Lata".[15] Gujarat was also known as Pratichya and Varuna.[16] The Arabian Sea makes up the state's western coast. The capital, Gandhinagar is a planned city. Gujarat has an area of 75,686 sq mi (196,030 km2) with the longest coast line 1600 km, dotted with 41 ports; 1 major, 11 intermediate and 29 minor ports.

Forests and wildlife

Gir National Park

As per the India State Of Forest Report 2009, Gujarat has 7.46 % of its total geographical area under forest cover. As per the districts, The Dangs has the largest area under forest cover. Gujarat has 4 National parks and 21 sanctuaries. Gujarat is the only home of Asiatic Lions. Outside Africa, Gujarat is the only present natural habitat of lions. Gir Forest National Park in the south-west part of the state covers only part of the lions' habitat. Besides lions, the other big cat that can be found in the state is the leopard. Leopards are spread across large plains of Saurashtra and mountains of South Gujarat.

Other National parks include Vansda National Park, Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar and Marine National Park, Gulf of Kutch. Wildlife sanctuaries include: Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary, Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Porbandar Bird Sanctuary, Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, Kutch Bustard Sanctuary, Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary, Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Anjal, Balaram-Ambaji, Barda, Jambughoda, Khavda, Paniya, Purna, Rampura, Ratanmahal, and Surpaneshwar.

Gujarat is one state where you can find major mountain-ranges of India. Aravalli, Sahyadri, Vindhya and Satpura are having their presence in Gujarat. Apart from this Gir hills, Barda, Jessore, Chotila etc. are situated in different parts of the Gujarat. Girnar is the tallest hill of Gujarat. Saputara is the only hill-station of the state.

Major rivers

Narmada is the biggest river of Gujarat followed by Tapi, although Sabarmati covers the longest area in the state. Sardar Sarovar Project is built on Narmada river. Narmada is one of the major rivers of peninsular India with a length of around 1312 km. It is one of only three rivers in peninsular India that run from east to west – the others being the Tapi River and the Mahi River.

Sardar Sarovar Project, Gujarat, partially completed (up to E.L.121.92 m)

Alphabetically sorted list of other rivers are as follows:-

  1. Aji
  2. Ambika
  3. Banas
  4. Bhadar
  5. Bhikda
  6. Bhogavo
  7. Daman Ganga
  8. Dhadhar
  9. Gautami
  10. Ghelo
  11. Hathmati
  12. Kalubhar
  13. Keri
  14. Khari
  15. Lilka
  16. Lindio
  17. Meshwo
  18. Mazum
  19. Narmada
  20. Ootavali
  21. Purna
  22. Rangholi
  23. Sabarmati
  24. Sanosari
  25. Shedhi
  26. Shetrunji
  27. Sonpari
  28. Talaji
  29. Tapi
  30. Vatrak
  31. Vishvamitra

Economy

Gujarat has some of the largest businesses in India. Major agricultural produce of the state include cotton, groundnuts (peanuts), dates, sugar cane, milk and milk products. Industrial products include cement and petrol.

Gandhinagar, the Capital of Gujarat State

Gujarat's Contribution to India

  • 35% of Petrochemical production
  • 23% of Crude Oil (Onshore)
  • 41% of Chemical products
  • 27% of Groundnut production
  • 15% of Cargo Handling
  • 11% of Cotton production
  • 30% of Natural Gas (Onshore)
  • 18% of Mineral production
  • 25% of Textile production
  • 26% of Pharmaceutical products

Reliance Industries Limited founded by Dhirubhai Ambani, operates the oil refinery at Jamnagar, which is the world's largest grass-roots refineries. The world's largest shipbreaking yard is in Gujarat near Bhavnagar at Alang. India’s only Liquid Chemical Port Terminal at Dahej, developed by Gujarat Chemical Port Terminal Co Ltd. Gujarat has two of the three Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals in the country (Dahej and Hazira). Two more LNG Terminals are proposed, at Pipavav and Mundra. Gujarat is the only state in India to have State Wide Gas Grid of 2,200 km. 87.9% of the total roads in the state are asphalt surfaced. 98.86% village connectivity with all‐weather roads, the highest in India. 100% of Gujarat's 18,000 villages have electricity connection for 24hr power through the Jyotigram Yojana. Gujarat ranks first nationwide in gas-based thermal electricity generation with national market share of over 8% and second nationwide in nuclear electricity generation with national market share of over 1%.

Gujarat has largest OFC network of more than 50,000 km. The state owned Wide Area Network is the largest IP-based ICT network in Asia Pacific Region and second largest in the world, connecting 26 districts and 225 talukas through 12,000 nodes. There are more than 900,000 internet users and all villages are connected with broadband internet. The state registered 12.8% agriculture growth in the last five years against the national average of 2%.[17]

Gujarat records highest decadal agricultural growth rate of 10.97%

Over 20% of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Gujarat.[18]

As per RBI report, in year 2006–07, 26% out of total bank finance in India was in Gujarat.

In a July 2011 report, The Economist noted that Gujarat's infrastructure competes with Guangdong - the economic engine of China. With double digit growth rates, Gujarat continues to outpace growth in other Indian states. Beyond better road networks, The Economist article claims the state government of Gujarat has kept red tape to a minimum, does not ask for bribes, and does not interfere with entrepreneurial corporations. The state, the article claims has less onerous labour laws, reliable electricity and effective bureaucracy. This has led to a booming entrepreneurial economy in Gujarat.[19]

Industrial growth

Gujarat's major cities include Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar. In year 2010, Forbes list of world's fastest growing cities included Ahmedabad at number 3 after Chengdu and Chongqing from China. Surat is also one of the fastest growing city in India.Vadodara being the cultural city of gujarat is fastly growing area wise and is industrialized to a large extenet.It is the number 4th city in india in growing fastly. Major resources produced by the state include cotton, groundnut, dates, sugarcane, and petrochemical products. The state is rich in calcite, gypsum, manganese, lignite, bauxite, limestone, agate, feldspar and quartz sand, and successful mining of these minerals is done in their specified areas. Gujarat produces about 98% of India's required amount of Soda Ash and gives the country about 78% of its national requirement of salt. It is one of India's most prosperous states, having a per-capita GDP significantly above India's average. Kalol, Khambhat and Ankleshwar are today known for their oil and natural gas production. Dhuvaran has a thermal power station, which uses coal, oil and gas. Also, on the Gulf of Khambhat, 50 kilometres (31 mi) southeast of Bhavnagar, is the Alang Ship Recycling Yard (the world's largest).General Motors manufactures its cars at Halol near Vadodara, Tata manufactures Nano from Sanand near Ahmedabad and AMW trucks are made near Bhuj. Surat, a city by the Gulf of Khambhat, is a hub of the global diamond trade. In 2003, 92% of the world's diamonds were cut and polished in Surat.[20]

Gujarat passed an act for the SIRs and set up the first such hub—Petroleum Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) spread across 453,000 square hectares—in Bharuch 2009. SIRs are special regions spread over a minimum 50,000 hectares where industries can buy lands directly from local owners. They are not offered concessions like tax benefits as in SEZs. However, the main benefit of SIRs is that they provide quality infrastructure and development even before units become operational. In every SIR, 55 per cent area is to be set aside for residential townships and other non-processing units.[21]

During the period of 1960–90, Gujarat established itself as a leader in various industrial sectors including textiles, engineering, chemicals, petrochemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, dairy, cement and ceramics, and gems and jewellery, amongst others. A post-liberalization period saw Gujarat's State Domestic Product (SDP) rising at an average growth rate of 14% per annum in real terms (from 1994–2002). Gujarat achieved as much as 35% of augmentation in its power generation capacity during the periods 1995–96 and 2000–01. The producers (IPPs) have contributed significantly in this addition. Gujarat is one of the first few states in India to have encouraged private sector investment, some of which are already in operation. In addition, the liquid cargo (chemicals) handling port at Dahej is also set up in joint sector and made operational. At an investor's summit entitled "Vibrant Gujarat," arranged between 10 January 2007 to 13 January 2007, at Science City, Ahmedabad, the state government signed 104 Memoranda of Understandings for Special Economic Zones worth a total of INR 2.5 lakh crore.[22] However, most of the investment was from domestic industry.[23] In the fourth Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit held at Science City, Ahmedabad, in January 2009, there were 600 foreign delegates. In all, 8668 MOUs worth INR 12.5 lakh cr were signed, estimated to create 25 lakh new job opportunities in the state.[24] In 2011, Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit MOUs worth INR 21 trillion (US$ 463 billion) were signed.

Gujarat is only state with surplus electricity. Recently Gujarat Government has upgraded its installed capacity of 13,258 megawatts (MW) by adding another 3,488 MW. According to the official sources, against demand of 40,793 million units during the nine months since April 2010, Gujarat produced 43,848 million units. Gujarat sold surplus power to 12 States. The 12 states are Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.[25]

Gujarat government has a front runner in development of solar energy in the state. It has alloted 716 MW of Solar Power capacity to 34 national and international solar project developers in 2009; against the planned 500 MW capacity under its Solar Power Policy.[26] This is expected to bring in investments of INR 12000 crore and generate employment for 5,000 people. It's a also biggest industrial is ceramic business around Morbi, Himatanagar.

Vapi pronunciation (help·info) (IAST: vāpī, Gujarati: વાપી, is a city and a municipality in Valsad district in the Indian state of Gujarat. Vapi falls under the taluka administration of Pardi. It is the largest city in the Valsad district. The industrial township of Vapi holds its place of importance on the "industrial" map and it is the largest industrial area in Asia in terms of small-scale industries, dominated by chemical industry plants, along with their unfortunate hazards. It has been ranked as the 4th most polluted place in the world.

Agriculture

Gujarat is the main producer of tobacco, cotton, and groundnuts in India. Other major food crops produced are rice, wheat, jowar, bajra, maize, Tur, and gram. Gujarat has an agricultural economy; the total crop area amounts to more than one-half of the total land area.[27]

Animal husbandry and dairying have played a vital role in the rural economy of Gujarat. Dairy farming, primarily concerned with milk production, functions on a cooperative basis and has more than a million members. Gujarat is the largest producer of milk in India. Amul - Anand milk co-operative federation products are well known all over India, and it is Asia's biggest dairy.[28] Among livestock raised are buffalo and other cattle, sheep, and goats. As per the results of livestock census 1997, there were 209.70 lakh livestock in Gujarat State. As per the estimates of the survey of major livestock products, during the year 2002–03, the Gujarat produced 6.09 million tonnes of milk, 385 million eggs and 2.71 million kg of wool. Gujarat also contributes inputs to industries like textiles, oil, and soap.

As in much of India, since the 1960s farmers in Gujarat have increasingly relied on extensive groundwater irrigation to maintain production. In recent years, however, experts have become increasingly alarmed at the rate of water depletion in the state. The water table in Gujarat has been falling steadily for the last 15–20 years, leading to a risk of catastrophic, irreversible salt-water intrusion into the groundwater.[29] The problem is exacerbated by the fact that electricity for farmers is subsidized, leaving little incentive to conserve water. To address this issue, the government of Gujarat has begun working with NGOs and universities to create new incentives for water conservation and to promote the adoption of water-saving technologies.[30][31]

Demographics

The population of the Gujarat State was 60,383,628 as per the 2011 census data. The density of population is 308/km2 (797.6/sq mi), a lower density compared to other states of the country.

About 89.1% of the population of Gujarat are Hindu.[33] Muslims account for 9.1%, Jain 1.0% and Sikh 0.1% of the population.[33] Amongst Hindus, the deity of Krishna is famously worshiped in His form of Shrinathji throughout Gujarat.

Gujarat, as a heavily industrialized state of India, attracts lots of outsiders from various parts of India.

Language

Gujarati (ગુજરાતી Gujǎrātī?) is an Indo-Aryan language evolved from Sanskrit, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is native to the Indian state of Gujarat, and is its chief language, as well as of the adjacent union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

There are about 46.1 million speakers of Gujarati worldwide, making it the 26th most spoken native language in the world. Along with Romani, Kutchi and Sindhi, it is among the most western of Indo-Aryan languages. Gujarati was the first language of Mohandas K. Gandhi, the "father of India", Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was popularly known as "Iron Man of India". and Owing to its apparent youth with respect to its written history, the Gujarati script follows the Nagari writing system. Nagari is a derivative of the Devanagari script, with one notable difference being that the horizontal line is not utilised. Gujarati script also has a few other variations in terms of certain consonants and employs a slightly different set of symbols for numbers. Gujarati has also been the language spoken by two of South Asia`s most prominent leaders: the India's Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi and the Founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The majority of the population in state speak Gujarati, while people from Kutch region of Gujarat also speak in Kutchi language. Other native languages spoken in low proportions are Bhili and Gamit. As per 2001 Census a total of 84.5% of population reported Gujarati as their first language,5% were speakers of native tribal languages, 4.7 % Hindi, 2% Sindhi, 1.5% Marathi and 1% were speakers of Urdu language. Religion-wise, 90% of Hindus in Gujarat speak Gujarati while the other 10% speak Hindi and other languages.[34] Almost 88% of the Muslims speak Gujarati while the other 12% speak Urdu. Almost all of the Jains speak Gujarati, a few speak Marwari as well. Parsi Zoroastrians also speak Gujarati as their native language. Marathi is spoken by a large number of people in Vadodara and Surat. Apart from this, English, Sindhi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Oriya, Malayalam, etc. is also spoken by a lower proportion.

Government and politics

Gujarat state symbols
Animal Lion
Bird Greater Flamingo
Dance Garba
Flower Galgota
Language Gujarati
Song Jai Jai Garavi Gujarat
Sport Cricket, Kabaddi
Tree Mango (Gujarati: કેરી)

Gujarat is governed by a Legislative Assembly of 182 members. Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) are elected on the basis of adult suffrage from one of 182 constituencies, of which 13 are reserved for scheduled castes and 26 for scheduled tribes. The term of office for a member of the Legislative Assembly is five years. The Legislative Assembly elects a speaker who presides over the meetings of the legislature. A governor is appointed by the President of India, and is to address the state legislature after every general election and the commencement of each year's first session of the Legislative Assembly. The leader of the majority party or coalition in the legislature (Chief Minister) or his or her designee acts as the Leader of the Legislative Assembly. The administration of the state is led by the Chief Minister.

After gaining independence in 1947, the Indian National Congress party (INC) ruled the Bombay state (which included present-day Gujarat and Maharashtra). Congress continued to govern Gujarat after the state's creation in 1960. During and after India's State of Emergency of 1975–1977, public support for the Congress Party eroded, but it continued to hold government until 1995. In the 1995 Assembly elections, the Congress lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Keshubhai Patel came to power. His government lasted only two years. The fall of that government was provoked by a split in the BJP led by Shankersinh Vaghela, who has won most of the subsequent polls. In 2001, following the loss of two assembly seats in by-elections, Keshubhai Patel resigned and yielded power to Narendra Modi. Political instability followed major riots in which rioters raided the homes of thousands of Hindus and Muslims, killing around one thousand people. The BJP retained a majority in the 2002 election, and Narendra Modi has since served as Chief Minister of the state. Modi has been denied visas to the United States for his alleged involvement in the ethnic cleansing in Gujarat.[35] On 1 June 2007, Narendra Modi became the longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat.[36][37] On 23 December 2007, the BJP won the state elections in Gujarat and Narendra Modi became the chief minister for the third time in a row and has completed 10 years of governance on 7th Oct.2011.

Revenues of government

This is a chart of trend of own tax revenues (excluding the shares from Union tax pool) of the Government of Gujarat assessed by the Finance Commissions from time to time with figures in millions of Indian rupees.

Year Own tax revenues
2000 104,818
2005 138,964

Districts

Districts of Gujarat

On 1960-05-01, Gujarat was created out of the 17 northern districts of former State of Bombay. These districts were further subdivided later on. There are 26 administrative districts in the state (as of 2007).

  1. Ahmedabad
  2. Amreli
  3. Anand
  4. Banaskantha
  5. Bharuch
  6. Bhavnagar
  7. Dahod
  1. Dang
  2. Gandhinagar
  3. Jamnagar
  4. Junagadh
  5. Kheda
  6. Kutch
  7. Mehsana
  1. Narmada
  2. Navsari
  3. Panchmahal
  4. Patan
  5. Porbandar
  6. Rajkot
  7. Sabarkantha
  1. Surat
  2. Surendranagar
  3. Tapi
  4. Vadodara
  5. Valsad

"Vallabhbhai Patel" was independent India's first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister; played a key role in political integration of India; conferred Bharat Ratna in 1991.

Culture of Gujarat

In Gujarat, there have been several great religious figures. Sant Dadu Dayal (1554–1603), a saint-poet and a major Bhakti figure from Ahmedabad treated equally both Rama and Allah as names of God and became popular in Northern India. He wrote, "The illusion of Allah and Rama has been dispelled by my mind; since I see Thee in all"[38] A Marathi poet named Bapusaheb Gaekwad (1779–1843) composed several Gujarati religious poems and in some called on Hindus and Muslims to not quarrel. He wrote, "That "Rama and Rehman were one, O brothers! that Krishna and Karim were one and the same, that between Vishnu and Allah there was no difference; that Allah and Alakh were one."[39]

The Bhakti movement was very popular in Gujarat where devotees of both Islam and Hinduism focused worship of God, trying to rid any separations based on faith in God.

Gujarat is also the home of Mahatma Gandhi, who preached the unity between all religions and became a worldwide figure for peaceful struggle against tyranny.

Hinduism

Gujarat is home to Hindu saints of all castes. Sant Dhudhalinath and Sant Girnari Velnathji were Adivasis, Sant Akho and Sant Madhavagar were Sudras, Mahatma Gandhi, Sant Bhojo Nachabkha and Lala Bhagat were Vaish, Sant Kilha[40] and Jalarama Bapa were Kshatriya, and Lakulisa and Chakradhara were Brahmins.Also the Patel is the caste which is in majority in Gujarat.

Many Hindu religious Sects developed in Gujarat.

Swaminarayan Sampraday

Swaminarayan Sampraday (Gujarati: સ્વામિનારાયણ, Devanagari: स्वामीनारायण, IAST: Svāmīnārāyaṇa) (2 April 1781 – 1 June 1830), also known as Sahajanand Swami, is the central figure in a modern sect of Hinduism known as the Swaminarayan Faith, a form of Vaishnavism. Sahajanand Swami or Bhagwan Swaminarayan had followers not only from Hindu denominations, but also from Islam and Zoroastrianism and the Muslims and Zoroastrians were not encouraged to change their religion but Bhagwan Swaminarayan had taught them to be vegetarians.[41] He built six temples in his lifetime and appointed 500 paramhansas to spread his philosophy. In 1826, Swaminarayan wrote the Shikshapatri, a book of social principles. He died on 1 June 1830 and was cremated according to Hindu rites in Gadhada, Gujarat.

Pasupata Saivism

Pasupata Saivism was established in Gujarat. Gujarat is the birth-place of Lord Shiva's Avatar, Lakulisa (Staff-God). He established the Pasupata Shaivite tradition (one of the six major schools of Shaivism) in 2 or 3 AD. According to some traditions, he was born in Kayarohana or Kayavatara in Saurashtra while other traditions hold that it was Karavana, in the modern-day town of Dabhoi Taluka near Baroda,[42] another that it was Ulkapuri (modern Avakhal)[43] and another that it was in Braoch or Bharuch.[44] From Gujarat it spread north to Kashmir,[45] South to Tamil Nadu,[46] East to Nepal[47] (where the Pashupatinath Temple stills exists popularly.)

Bhakti movement

Swami Chakradhara was a major figure in the Bhakti movement, born in Gujarat in 1194,[48] and he is believed to be the avatar of Vishnu. Chakradhara Maharaja established the Manhubhava Vaishnavite sect, which spread to Maharashtra as well. The sect still exists today in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Sant Kilha was another Vaishnavite saint of Gujarat born to a Subedar (army man) father.[40] He was the disciple of Krishnasdas (of Jaipur) and became his successor at the seat of Galta — Kilha's branch became known as the "Tapasa branch."[49] Besides Ram Bhakti (devotion to Lord Rama), he was also inclined towards yog-saghana and this is why he was made acharya of the Galta Gaddi.[50] He is said to be the founder of the Khati sect.[51] Jalaram, a devotee of Lord Rama is another popular figure. Jalaram's birthday is still celebrated by Gujarati people (in Gujarat and abroad) as Jalaram Jayanti.

Other saints include Nasi Mehta, Prafulbhai Shukla, and Gairibai.

Jainism

Gujarat is a stronghold for the Jain community. Jainism preaches non-violence to all living creatures and vegetarianism. There are a large number of beautiful Jain temples in Gujarat. The Palitana temple near Bhavnagar is the largest Jain temple. Jains have heavily influenced the cuisine of Gujarat with the famous Gujarati thali containing small vegetarian dishes. Morality in business is an important feature of Jain culture. The Bania caste, predominant in Gujarat, comprises followers from both the Jain and Vaishnava traditions.

Buddhism

Parts and ancient Vedic kingdoms of Gujarat have been a great centers and seat of learning of Buddhism. Buddhism flourished and spread from this region from Maurya Empire, Gupta Empire periods through Maitraka dynasty. Significance and dominance of Vallabhi, with Sinhapur, Vallabhi, Barigaza, Girinagar, Vadnagar and Devnimori in Sabarkantha district provide insights into practice, prevalence and spread of Buddhism across the Indian sub-continent during a flourished secular vedic period. Hiuen Tsang the famous Chinese Buddhist Monk of 7th century and a scholar, traveler, and translator has described from his visits in great detail about Buddhism in Vallabhi and Gujarat.

Sihor still carrying the feel and some remnants of antiquity, and the town of Vala on the periphery of present day Vallabhipur, both these regions are considered to be covering ancient civilization and footprints of flourishing era and culture, several feet under the earth. Apparently, research works, archaeological finds and historical references suggest Sihor, Vallabhi, Vadnagar, Devnimori, Barigaza to be prominent Buddhist centers in ancient times, along with caves in the districts of Kutch, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Junagadh, hinting at further archaeological - historical exploration while spread of Buddhism and Aryan colonization taken place far up to Sri Lanka in 543BCE upon exiled Prince Vijay from Sinhapur (Sihor) introduced Buddhism in Sri Lanka and became first king of Sri Lanka thereupon.

Islam

Gujarat, with a shoreline on the Arabian Sea, was one of the first regions in India where the Muslims migrated to after the founding of Islam. King Arjun of Gujarat permitted Muslim traders from Ormuz to build a mosque within his realm.

The Sufi saints are very popular in Gujarat. Shaykh Makhu was a Sufi saint of the Shattari lineage.[52] "Since Gujarat is situated on the western border of India, there was a direct interaction with people of Arabia and Persia. Many Gujarati Saints and Sufis became famous. Among them names of Sheikh Ganjul Lim (1381), Syed Burhanuddin (1411) and Sheikh Wajihuddin Gujarati are well known."[53]

The 'Khojas', Muslims of the Shi'a Nizari Ismaili Satpanth tradition are historically rooted in Gujarat since the 14th century, though the first Ismaili Muslim community in Gujarat dates back to the missionaries of the Fatimid Empire in 1067.

Zoroastrianism

Following the fall of the Sassanid Empire in 651, many Zoroastrians migrated, including several groups who settled in Gujarat. The descendants of those refugees are today known as the Parsis and Irani. The year of arrival on the subcontinent cannot be precisely established, and Parsi legend and tradition assigns various dates to the event.

They originally settled along coastal Gujarat in villages like Sanjan in Valsad district, along the Gujarat-Maharashtra border. The Qissa-i Sanjan is a poem discussing the Zoroastrians' landing in Sanjan through the generosity of Rana Jada and being allowed to practice their customs.

Parsis are generally more affluent than other Indians and are stereotypically viewed as among the most Anglicised and "Westernised" of the various minority groups.[54] 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.

Similarities with Hinduism is seen in Zoroastrianism in beliefs that the cow is very sacred. In the 9th chapter of the Vendidad of the Avesta, the purificatory power of cow urine is dilated upon.[55] It is declared to be a panacea for all bodily and moral evils. It is drunk as well as applied externally.[55] Urine of the bull, called "nirang" is brought to the house of an orthodox Parsi every morning and is (like cow milk) applied to the face, hands, and feet.[55]

There were several Zoroastrian organizations formed to educate the Parsis on their heritage. Rahnumai Maznayasnam Sabha was established in 1851 by English-educated Parsis like Naoroji Furdunji with funds supplied by K.N.Kama. Much attention focused on the improvement of the condition of women in society; the purdah was abolished, the age of marriage raised, and education promoted.[54]

Religious sites

Modhera Sun Temple
Somnath Temple
Dwarkadheesh temple

Dwarakadheesh Temple in Dwarka is one of the important temples dedicated to Krishna. On the tip of the Arabian Sea, it was home to Krishna. The Great Rann of Kutch covers a large portion of western Gujarat, and is world-famous for its rare ecosystem, fossils, wildlife and terrain.

The Palitana temples are a complex of Jain temples situated 51 km south west of Bhavnagar. There are 863 temples from the base to the peak of the Shatrunjaya hill, where the Palitana temples are located.

Akshardham is one of the largest temples in the Indian state of Gujarat. Akshardham is a predecessor to the Akshardham at Delhi, built by the same religious organisation, Bochasanwasi Akshar-Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) led by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. It was inaugurated on November 2, 1992, during the centenary celebrations of Yogiji Maharaj. The complex is very popular among tourists visiting Gujarat.The monument enshrining the 7-foot-high (2.1 m), gold-leafed Murti of Lord Swaminarayan is the focal point of the complex.

Somnath Temple located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India, is one of the twelve Jyotirlings (golden lingas) or symbols of the God Shiva. It is mentioned in the Rig Veda. Somnath means "The Protector of Moon God". The Somnath Temple is known as 'the Shrine Eternal', as the temple has been destroyed six times, but was rebuilt on each occasion.

The Sun Temple is famous for its rare position as specifically and uniquely designed for the worship of the Sun, Surya. While the main temple is beautifully and intricately designed with complex architecture, painting, and sculptures, there is a central pond. Surrounding it stand 108 small temples for each of the Sun God's 108 names.

Shankheshwar Jain Temples are dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankara, Parshva. It is believed that this idol was revealed by Krishna by the teachings of Neminath, 22nd Tirthankara. It is near Ahmedabad.

Patan houses 84 magnificent Jain Temples built by Kumarpal, who was a staunch disciple of Acharya Hemachandra, a monk and scholar.

Girnar is an epitome of communal harmony and amicable relations among Jains and Hindus. This high-rising steep hill houses shrines of both major religions, one dedicated to Tirthankara Neminath, where he is believed to attain nirvana, and another dedicated to Guru Dattatreya, a Hindu deity.

Ambaji: This temple is dedicated to goddess Ambaji. It is situated on the Arasur Hill and can be approached by road from Abu Road in Rajasthan, as well as from all other important places in Gujarat. A folk drama called 'Bhavai' is performed in the courtyards of the temple. It is connected by bus services from all other major cities of Gujarat state.

Dakor: This temple town dedicated to Lord Krishna is situated about 90 km from Ahmedabad. The temple of Ranchodrai has the idol of Lord Krishna, which is believed to have been brought from Dwarka by a devotee named Bodana.

Becharaji Temple: This temple is another important seat of Mother Goddess at Becharaji in Mehsana district. This temple is thronged by Hindu devotees, especially childless women.

Chotila : This place is in Surendranagar district where there is a famous temple of Goddess Chamunda situated.

Sidi Saiyyed Mosque: The Sidi Sayed Mosque in Ahmedabad is a famous and ancient mosque of the city. The mosque was built in the year 1411. The elegant mosque was built by Sidi Sayed, a slave of Sultan Ahmed Shah. The mosque is famous all over the country because of its fantastic architecture and exquisite jali work (perforated stone lattices).

Rani Rupmati's Mosque: Rani Rupmati was the Hindu wife of Sultan Mehmed Beghara. Rani Rupmati mosque was built between 1430 to 1440, having three domes supported by pillars, with the central dome slightly elevated. It is located at Ahmedabad. The mosque has richly carved minarets, balcony windows, and jali. Its three domes are linked together by a flat roof. Muuk-Khana is a special attraction of this mosque.

Kutbi Mazar: A colossal monument raised in the memory of Qutubuddin Shaheed, the high priest of the Dawoodi Bohra community.

Shah Alam Roza: Shah Alam Roza is the mosque and tomb of Saint Shah Alam. Here the brass doors are set in carved marble frames. The floor is tiled of black and white marble. Its dome and minars shows great architectural work of the sultanate era.

Pavagadh : Pavagadh is the place of worship for goddess Kalika. It is located on Pavagadh hills, near by Baroda. There is a rope way facility available for the visitors of the temple.

Shamlaji : This temple is situated in Sabarkantha district. It is dedicated to Krishna.

Virpur : Virpur is devoted to Jalaram bapa. Followers and even non-followers of Jalaram bapa visit this place often in Gujarat state.

Diffusion of Culture

Gujaratis spread to many places outside of Gujarat with the success of the Maratha Dynasty (as the dynasty was spread over much of India.) Even today Saurashtrians who migrated during the Maratha Dynasty's time can be found in Tamil Nadu.

Many Indians had migrated to Indonesia, some of them being Gujaratis. It is said that King Aji Saka who came to Indonesia in year 1 of the Saka calender and he is believed by some to be a king o Gujarat.[56] It is also believed that the first Indian settlements in Java Island of Indonesia was established with the coming of Prince Dhruvavijaya of Gujarat with 5000 traders.[56]

Historic sites

Dholavira's sophisticated water reservoir.

Lothal is the site of the ancient ruins of the first Indian port, dating from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization. Dholavira, the ancient city, locally known as Kotada Timba, is one of the largest and most prominent archaeological sites in India belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. It is located on the Khadir island in the Kutch district of Gujarat — the island is surrounded by water in the monsoon season. The site was occupied from about 3000 BC for about a millennium, declining slowly after about 2100, briefly abandoned and then reoccupied, finally, by villagers among its ruins, until about 1450. Gola Dhoro, dating from 2500–2000 BCE, was recently discovered near the village of Bagasra. Shell bangles, copper, and beads were found there.[57]

Fairs and festivals

Fairs

Around more than 1000 festivals are celebrated in Gujarat—the state is known as the land of fairs and festivals. Some of these fairs and festivals are as follows:

NADIAD SANTRAM MANDIR MELA (February)

Bhavnath Mahadev Mela (February)

The Bhavnath Mahadev Temple, situated at the foot of Mount Girnar in the city of Junagadh, is the site of the Bhavnath Mahadev fair held for five days in February, during the festival of Mahashivratri. The Mahapuja of Lord Shiva takes place at midnight in this temple on the 14th day of the dark half of the month of Magh. When the puja (prayer ceremony) starts, Naga Bavas (naked sages) living nearby move towards the fair seated on elephants, holding flags and blowing conch shells. It is firmly believed that Lord Shiva himself visits the shrine on this occasion. Visitors are served free meals by the organizers. Special stalls sell idols, rosaries, or holy beads (brought by vendors from Ayodhya and Mathura), utensils of brass and copper, sweets and fruits. The Bhavnath Mahadev Temple is surrounded by many equally ancient and holy places.

Dangs Darbar (March)

Dangs Darbar is the name of the annual fair held every year in Ahwa, the most important town in the Dangs a few days before Holi. The Dangs is one of the most delightful districts of Gujarat and is located high in the Saputara hills, the original home of the adivasis, the tribal population of Gujarat. The name "Darbar" dates back to the time of the British, when a darbar of Rajas and Naiks of neighbouring area used to assemble there. Today it is called Jamabandi Darbar, and the District Collector officiates at it. Thousands of tribal people flock to Ahwa from all over the district, dressed in bright colours, sounding the Shehnai, and beating their drums. Folk dances, dramas, and songs enliven the air during the festival.

Chitra — Vichitra Mela (March)

This fair, one of the largest purely Adivasi (tribal) fairs, is attended by around 60,000 to 70,000 tribal people. It takes place every year in the village of Gunbhakhari in Sabarkantha district, very near the borders of Rajasthan. It is held a fortnight after Holi, the festival of colours. The site of the fair is attractive as the temple overlooks the rivers Sabarmati, Akul, and Vyakul. The name of the fair is derived from Chitravirya and Vichitraviraya, the sons of King Shantanu, who are believed to have lived there and been cured of diseases which afflicted them. The fair attracts large numbers of Bhils (tribals) who come from all the surrounding districts using every imaginable form of transport. The Garasis and Bhil tribals dress in their customary colourful costumes. The costume of the men generally consists of a blue shirt, dhoti, and a red or saffron turban. Women don ghaghras (embroidered skirts), which have a circumference of as much as 20 yards (18 m), and are covered from head to foot with ornate and heavy silver jewellery. They use liquid kumkum (vermilion) to colour their cheeks and lips a brilliant red, while their eyes are outlined with kajal (kohl). Every group that comes to the fair carries its own drum making the atmosphere come alive with the incessant beat of numerous drums. The women sing folk songs, and everyone dances. The dancing and drumming continue for hours until everyone is exhausted. Over a hundred stalls hold food and drink and sweets of various kinds. Silver ornaments can be bought, and household articles, as well. Here, as in other fairs, there is a giant wheel and a merry-go-round which never ceases to spin.

Tarnetar Fair(Aug.-Sept.)

The fair is held for three days every year during the Hindu calendar dates of Bhadarva Sud - 4th, 5th and 6th (during the Gregorian calendar months Aug.-Sept).The Tarnetar fair is held 8 km from the town of Thangadh, in Surendranagar District. The most important fair of Saurashtra, Tarnetar is attended by more than 50,000 people. With its growing reputation, visitors from rest of India and many different parts of the world are also seen here.

Sanskruti kunj Fair

The Sanskruti kunj Festival shows the different cultures of the states of India. It is organised in the winter sesion in the capital city, Gandhinagar. All the competitors of India come during this fair and show their state's culture & dance.

Festivals

Other than those festivals observed throughout India, there are festivities specific to Gujarat.

Navaratri celebrations in Ahmedabad.

Makar Sankranti and Kite Flying Festival (14 January)

The Kite Flying Festival takes place in mid January and marks the time when the Sun’s direct rays reach the Tropic of Capricorn after the winter solstice. It is celebrated with lots of folk music and dance as well as kite flying. People of Gujarat gather on terraces to fly kites of various colours to celebrate Makar Sankranti or Uttrayana, the welcome to the sun after the cold winter months. Glass strengthened threads of the Indian fighter kites are matched against each other in the air — the kite fighter who cuts the other thread is the victor. At night, kites with Chinese lanterns are flown and held aloft. Food such as Undhiya, sugar cane juice and local sweets is typically served to celebrate the day.

Dance Festival — Modhera (January)

Resting on a knoll in the village of Modhera are the ruins of the 11th century Sun Temple. The outer walls of the temple are covered with sculptures in which the figures of Surya, the sun god, are prominent. The Sun Temple is the site of an annual festival of Indian classical dances organized by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat. The idea is to present classical dance forms in an atmosphere they were originally presented in.

The Kutch Mahotsav (February–March)

The ‘Kutch Festival’ or the ‘Rann festival’ is celebrated at the time of the Shiv Ratri in February/ March. The centre of the festival is Bhuj in Kutch. It has crafts, fairs and folk dances and music and cultural shows, all organized by the Gujarat Tourism. Tours are also conducted out to the ruins of Dhola Vera, a city that was once a part of the Indus Valley civilization.

Bhadra Purnima (September)

The full moon of Bhadrapad is one of the four most important festival days of the year when farmers and agriculturists come to Ambaji, a place that derives its name from Goddess Ambaji, whose shrine is located there. On this occasion, a large fair is organized on full moon days. In the evening, performances of Bhavai, the folk drama of the state, is held and Garba programmes are organized. The devout attend readings of the Saptashati, the seven hundred verses in praise of the goddess, and visit the temple for a darshan (worship) of her. The Ambaji shrine is the principal shrine of the goddess in Gujarat, and its origins are still unknown. The Temple of Ambaji is recognized as one of the original Shakti Pithas (religious texts) where, according to the ancient Scriptures, the heart of the goddess Ambaji fell to earth when her body was dismembered. A triangular Vishwa Yantra, inscribed with figures and the syllable 'Shree' in the centre, represents the deity. There is no idol, which testifies the temple's antiquity. Idol worship became popular much later.

Navratri Festival (September-October)

Navratri, meaning 'nine nights', is one of the most popular and widely celebrated Hindu festivals in many parts of India. Gujarat, however, is the only state that erupts into a nine-night dance festival, perhaps the longest in the world. Each night, all over the state, villages and cities alike, people gather in open spaces to celebrate feminine divinity, referred to as Shakti.

The dance form known as ras garba (also joined sometimes by dandiya, which uses small wooden sticks), comes from Lord Krishna's worship rather than Goddess worship, from the Gop culture of Saurashtra and Kutch. Stories of relationships between Krishna and the Gopis, and their emotions, also often make their way into the ras garba music. Nevertheless, the focal point of every garba circle is the small Goddess shrine erected by each community to mark the beginning of the festival, on the first day of the Hindu month of Ashwin. The shrine includes a garbo, an earthenware pot, in which a betel nut, coconut, and silver coin are placed.

Each night the village or urban neighborhood gathers to perform a puja to one of the nine forms of Goddess. The nine nights are also broken up into sections of three; the first is for Durga, the goddess who destroyed an evil force represented by the demon Mahishasura, and who destroys human impurities; the second is for Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity; the third is for Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and art. It is a time to celebrate fertility and the monsoon harvest, represented by a mound of fresh soil in which grains are sown. After the puja begins the music; it is unmistakable to those who are familiar with the style and irresistible to many. People begin to dance in a circle, whirling away till late into the night. It is not uncommon to find dancers with swords or lit flames and other spectacles.

The traditional dance steps are simple, though over the years people have been inventing more complex steps. Similarly, the music was traditionally acoustic, principally composed of drums and singing, but most people now use amplified sound systems or a blend in the form of a live band with modern instruments. Vadodara is a good place to find the full range of these styles, traditional to modern, acoustic to amplified, simple to complicated, each one represented in its extreme somewhere in the city. The tenth day, Dashera, also known as Vijayadashami in South India, is celebrated by doing a puja to bless one's vehicle, and is also the day to buy new vehicles, if necessary. It 's also celebrated, probably after getting up far later than usual, by unabashedly eating lots of fafda, a salty fried crunchy snack and jalebi, a sweet fried sticky snack.

Religion and tradition aside, a garba circle can take on a surprising spiritual power. Women often give up certain eatables during these nights, which can be quite a purifying experience, if done right. It is a time for even the most traditional and housebound women to be out of the house and whirling, uninhibited, towards the divinity that hides within her own body. Many of the songs begin slow and gradually speed up, sending the dancers into a trance, especially when the music and dance is in its rawest form. When you come to a garba, wherever in Gujarat you may find yourself for Navratri, imagine this: A circle, or concentric circles, moving around the central representation of a universal creative force, the source of life; everybody performing the same step; a mandala of energetic potential; the Mother Goddess unleashed.

Major cities

Ahmedabad Clockwise from top: Skyline at Ashram Road, Sidi Saiyyed ni Jali, Kankaria Lakefront, Ellis Bridge, Dilli Darwaja, Hatheesing Temple

Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot and Bhavnagar are major cities of the Gujarat. Ahmedabad (Gujarati: અમદાવાદ Amdāvād, Hindi: अहमदाबाद ) is the sixth largest metropolitan city in India and largest in Gujarat, with a population of approximately 6.2 million.[58] Located on the banks of the River Sabarmati, the city is the administrative centre of Ahmedabad district and was the capital of Gujarat from 1960 to 1970; the capital was shifted to Gandhinagar thereafter. In colloquial Gujarati, the city is commonly called Amdavad.

Ahmedabad was founded in 1411 by Sultan Ahmed Shah to serve as the capital of the Gujarat Sultanate, and was named after him. Under the British rule, a military cantonment was established and the city infrastructure was modernized and expanded. Though incorporated into the Bombay Presidency during British rule, Ahmedabad remained the most important city in the Gujarat region. The city established itself as the home of a booming textile industry, which earned it the nickname the "Manchester of the East."[59][60] The city was at the forefront of the Indian independence movement in the first half of the 20th century.[61] It was the centre of many campaigns of civil disobedience to promote workers' rights civil rights and political independence.

With the creation of the state of Gujarat in 1960, Ahmedabad gained prominence as commercial capital of the state. The city is witnessing a major construction boom and population increase. A rising centre of education, information technology and scientific industries, Ahmedabad remains the cultural and commercial heart of Gujarat and much of western India.

Surat (Gujarati: સુરત, Hindi: सूरत) formerly known as Suryapur, is the Commercial Capital City of Gujarat, also India's ninth largest metropolitan city. The city proper is one of the most populous cities in the world. Surat is the administrative capital of Surat district and Surat Metropolitan Region.

The city is situated on the left bank of the Tapti River, 14 miles (23 km) from its mouth. The Population of Surat with its twin city Navsari is above 6.2 million as of 2010. A moat divides the older parts of the city, with its narrow streets and handsome houses, and the newer suburbs. The city is largely recognized for its textile and diamond businesses. It is also known as the diamond capital of the world and the textile capital of India.[62] 92% of the world's diamonds are cut and polished in Surat.[62] Surat is also the Third cleanest city in India after Chandigarh and Mysore. Surat was once the largest city in India.[62] It has one of the highest GDP growth rates in India at 11.5% as of 2008.[62] Surat was the primary port of India during the Mughal period, a distinction it lost to Bombay during the British Raj.[62]

Vadodara (Gujarati: About this sound વડોદરા Vaḍodǎrā), formerly Baroda (Gujarati: બરોડા Baroḍā), is the third most-populated city in the Indian state of Gujarat after Ahmedabad and Surat. It is one of four cities in the state with a population of over 1 million,[63] the other being Rajkot and the two cities listed above, although it has a massive population of over 3 million. It is also known as the Sayaji Nagari (Sayaji's City after its famous ruler, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III) or Sanskari Nagari (The City of Culture, a reference to its status as the Cultural Capital of Gujarat). Vadodara or Baroda, formerly the capital city of the Gaekwar State, is situated on the banks of the Vishwamitri, a river whose name derived from the great saint Rishi Vishwamitra. It is located southeast of Ahmedabad. It is the administrative headquarters of Vadodara District.

Laxmi Vilas Palace at Vadodara

Vadodara is home to almost 1.6 million people[58] (as of 2005), the beautiful Lakshmi Vilas Palace and the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (M.S.U.) which is the largest university in Gujarat. Its famous for various faculties and departments, including the Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Technology, Management, Psychology, Social Work, Law and Medicine streams. It has a high literacy rate by Indian standards of 78% (2001). Major industries include petrochemicals, engineering, pharmaceuticals, plastics and Forex. Famous companies such as ABB, Reliance Industries, Larsen and Toubro, IPCL, ONGC and Sun Pharmaceuticals all have a strong presence in this city, also it has presence of IT multi-national companies.

Rajkot (Gujarati: રાજકોટ Rājkot About this sound (listen) ) is the 4th largest city in the state of Gujarat, India. Rajkot is the 28th urban agglomeration in India, with a population more than 1.43 million as on 2008.[64][65] Rajkot is ranked 22nd in The world's fastest growing cities and urban areas from 2006 to 2020.[66]

Rajkot is a city of Gujarat state in India and administrative headquarters of the Rajkot District, located on the banks of the Aji River and Niari River. Rajkot was the capital of the then Saurashtra state from 15 April 1948 to 31 October 1956 before merging in bilingual Bombay State on 1 November 1956. Rajkot was merged into Gujarat State from bilingual Bombay state on 1 May 1960.

Apart from this, Bhavnagar, Bhuj, Junagadh, Jamnagar are also cities with big urban population.

Education

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) are in charge of the schools run by the Government of Gujarat. However, most of the private schools in Gujarat are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) board. Gujarat has 13 universities and four agricultural universities.

Gujarat is also known for many national level institutions. The Space Applications Centre (SAC) is an institution for space research and satellite communication in Ahmedabad, India, under the aegis of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, a renowned scientist, industrialist, and visionary Gujarati, played an important role in it. He also founded Physical Research Laboratory, a research institute encompasses Astrophysics, Solar System, and cosmic radiation. He also envisioned Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, one of the internationally reputed management research institute that is located in Gujarat's commercial capital Ahmedabad and is the top ranked management institutes in the country.[citation needed]

The clock tower in Gujarat University, Ahmedabad

Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute has been established under Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Govt. of India at Bhavnagar. It was inaugurated by Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India on 10 April 1954, with a view to carry out research on marine salt, and salt from inland lakes and sub-soil brine. It is working on reverse osmosis, electro membrane process, salt and marine chemicals, analytical science, marine biotechnology, and other related fields.

B.K. School of Business Management is ranked 6th in terms of financial Management. K. S. School of Business Management is also an MBA College in Gujarat University providing a unique five year's integrated MBA Cource. The National Institute of Design (NID) in Gandhinagar is internationally acclaimed as one of the foremost multi-disciplinary institutions in the field of design education and research. In addition, Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) is one of the leading sectoral institution in rural management. IRMA is a unique institution in the sense that it provides professional education to train managers for rural management. It is the only one of its kind in all Asia.

Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology located in Surat is one of the best engineering colleges in India. It is one of the 20 National Institutes of Technology created by the central government and is a deemed university. It has students from all over India and some foreign students as well. Also, there is Nirma University ranked 14th in self-financed engineering colleges in India. Gujarat Science City,[67] is a government initiative to draw more students towards education in science, which hosts India's first IMAX 3D theatre, an energy park, a hall of science, an amphitheatre, and dancing musical fountains among others.

Apart from that, Mudra Institute of Communication Ahmedabad (MICA) is one of the most famous institutes for mass communication and is well-renowned across India. IIT Indian institute of technology was established at Gandhinagar in the year 2008. IIT Gandhinagar is mentored by IIT Bombay. IIT'S first batch started on 1 August 2008, at a temporary building of government college, Chandkheda, Gandhinagar.The Institute of Seismological Research (ISR) has been established by the Science and Technology Department, Government of Gujarat in 2003 and is registered as a Society.ISR campus is at Raisan, Gandhinagar in a sprawling and picturesque area on the banks of Sabarmati river. Aims and objectives include assigning optimum seismic factors for buildings in different regions and long-term assessment of earthquake potential. The ISR is the only institute in India fully dedicated to seismological research and is planned to be developed into a premier International institute in few years time.

Literature

Gujarati literature's history may be traced to 1000 AD.Since then literature has flourished till date. Well known laureates of Gujarati literature are Hemchandracharya, Narsinh Mehta, Mirabai, Akho, Premanand Bhatt, Shamal Bhatt, Dayaram, Dalpatram, Narmad, Govardhanram Tripathi, Gandhiji, K. M. Munshi, Umashankar Joshi, Suresh Joshi, Pannalal Patel and Rajendra Shah .[68]

Kavi Kant, Zaverchand Meghani and Kalapi are famous Gujarati poets.

Gujarat Vidhya Sabha, Gujarat Sahitya Sabha, and Gujarati Sahitya Parishad are Ahmedabad based literary institutions promoting the spread of Gujarati literature. Saraswatichandra is a landmark novel by Govardhanram Tripathi. Writers like Kavi Nanalal, Sundaram, Aanand Shankar Dhruv, Khabardar, Balwantray Thakore, Suresh Dalal, Harindra Dave, Jyotindra Dave, Tarak Mehta, Harkisan Mehta, Chandrakant Bakshi, Ashvini Bhatt, Vinod Bhatt, Kanti Bhatt, Makarand Dave, Gunvant Shah and Varsha Adalja have influenced Gujarati thinkers.

A huge contribution to Gujarati language literature came from the Swaminarayan paramhanso, like Bramhanand, Premanand, with prose like Vachanamrut and poetry in the form of bhajans.

Gujarati theatre owes a lot to Bhavai. Bhavai is a folk musical performance of stage plays. Ketan Mehta and Sanjay Leela Bhansali explored artistic use of bhavai in films such as Bhavni Bhavai, Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Dayro (gathering) involves singing and conversation reflecting on human nature.

Gujarati films

Gujarati cinema show times

Gujarati film industry is one of the largest regional and vernacular film industry of India. It all started in year 1932 when first Gujarati film "Narsinh Mehta" was released. "Bhavni Bhavai" released in the year 1980 was directed by Ketan Mehta. It boasted of superlative performances, fine camerawork and won awards like – National Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration, National Film Award for Best Art Direction for Meera Lakhia and another award at the Nantes festival in France. In 1992," Hun Hunshi Hunshilal", directed by Sanjiv Shah was sought to be post-modern. Other notable films are "Lohi Ni Sagai", "Manvini Bhavai", "Meru Malan", etc. Recently "Little Zizou", a 2009 film in Hindi, Gujarati, and English, written and directed by Sooni Taraporevala won "Silver Lotus Award" or "Rajat Kamal" in 'National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare' category at 56th National Film Awards.

Many famous actors have worked in Gujarati film industry like Sanjeev Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Bindu (actress), Asha Parekh, Kiran Kumar, PRASHANT Trivedi, Arvind Trivedi, Aruna Irani, Mallika Sarabhai, Asrani, Naresh Kanodia, Sneh Lata, Jayshree T., Paresh Rawal, Niraj Vora, Dilip Joshi, Ayesha jhulka, Himesh Reshmiya etc.

Museums

Gujarat's museums are run by the state's Department of Museums located at the principal state museum, Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery. Other famous museums include:

  • "The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya"

The Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya in Ahmedabad is run by a public trust established in 1951. The museum's new premises were built in 1963. The museum's main objective was to house the personal memorabilia of Mahatma Gandhi. Consequently, the exhibits on view depict the vivid and historic events of Gandhiji's life. There are books, manuscripts, and photostat copies of his correspondence, photographs of Gandhiji with his wife Kasturba and other ashram associates, life size oil paintings, and actual relics like his writing desk.

  • "Calico Museum of Textiles"

The Calico Museum of Textiles at Ahmedabad, India, is the premier textile museum of the country, and one of the most celebrated institutions of its kind in the world for its distinguished and comprehensive collection of textiles and artifacts. Ahmedabad Tourism

  • "The Vadodara Museum"

The Vadodara Museum in Vadodara, located in the popular Sayaji Bagh, the museum houses a collection which belonged to the former maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad. Indian rulers during the Raj often collected all kinds of European art and other knick knacks. Largely being the personal collection of the maharaja, the exhibits span across centuries and continents, as well as diverse art forms. There are Greek and Roman sculpture with European paintings of earlier periods. The Asian section has items from Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, and Japan made of wood, ivory, bronze and pottery.

  • "Maharaja Fatehsingh Museum"

The impressive Laxmi Vilas Palace, in the Indo Saracenic style of architecture, was once the residence of the Gaekwad family. Maharaja Fatehsingh Museum in Vadodara, located in the sprawling grounds of the palace complex, is a multi purpose museum and houses the Gaekwad family's rich collection of an treasures.

  • "The Gandhi Museum"

The Gandhi Museum in Bhavnagar showcases a rare collection of photographs relating to the life of Mahatma Gandhi are on view at the Gandhi Museum. These recreate the significant events of Gandhiji's life. Also displayed are documents, letters, and his personal relics. The collection of audio-visual material includes microfilms, a voice library, prayers, and lecture records.

  • "The Watson Museum"
The statue of Queen Victoria, unveiled by the Lord Curzon in 1897 AD at Watson Museum

The 'Watson Museum' in Rajkot, is a museum of human history and culture. Its collections precious objects of colonial period of India and History of Rajkot. It is amongst the largest and most comprehensive museum in State of Gujarat. Watson Museum is considered to be the finest amongst 7 such museums located across Saurashtra (region) and run by the State Government because it holds invaluable articles and state-of-the-art facilities like photography, guide service, reference library and sales counter of the museum's publication.

  • "The Lakhota museum"

The 'Lakhota Museum' in Jamnagar, is a museum of history and royalty of jamnagar. It was built in center of Lakhota Lake. It was built by Jam Ranjitsinh.

  • Other museums include:

Kite Museum in Ahmedabad,

The Lady Wilson Museums — Dharampur, Valsad.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Museum,Surat.

SardarVallabhbhai Patel MuseumKaramsad

Transportation

Air

Gujarat has ten airports. All are domestic airports except Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, which also offers international flights.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad

International airport

Domestic airports

  • Bhavnagar Airport — Bhavnagar Airport, 9 km from the city of Bhavnagar.
  • Bhuj Airport — In the Bhuj city of Gujarat. This airport has been recently been named Shyamji Krishna Verma, Bhuj Airport.
  • Jamnagar Airport — 10 km from the City of Jamnagar.
  • Kandla Airport (Gandhidham) — situated at Kandla, near Gandhidham, in Kutch district.
  • Keshod Airport (Junagadh) — Keshod Airport is found 3 km from Keshod city in Junagadh District.
  • Porbandar Airport — is situated 5 km from the city of Porbandar.
  • Rajkot Airport — 4 km from the city of Rajkot.
  • Surat Airport — Recently inaugurated on Magdalla Road.
  • Vadodara Airport — Integrated Terminal Building will be completed by 2010, enabling international fights to Vadodara.
  • Mehsana Airport — Meshana Airport is about 2 km from Meshsana city.
  • Deesa airport — 5 km from deesa
  • Naliya airport — airforce airport
  • Amreli airport — air strip ( trainning airport )
  • Talod airport — state security airport
  • Fedra airport — India's first cargo airport

Future airports

  • Zalawad Airport — Future airport for Surendranagar area.
  • Fedara (Ahmedabad) — Proposed International Airport near Fedara village of Bhāl region.
  • Ambaji (Danta) near Palanpur, Banaskantha

Rail

Gujarat comes under the Western Railways zone of the Indian Railways. Vadodara Railway Station is the busiest railway station in Gujarat and the fourth busiest railway station in India. It is situated on the MumbaiDelhi Western Railway Mainline. Other important railway stations are Surat Railway Station, Ahmedabad Railway Station and Rajkot Railway Station. Indian Railways is planning Delhi–Mumbai dedicated rail freight route passing through the state.

Work on Rs 1,100 crore (Rs 11 billion) first phase of the metro rail project in Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar will start by 2011 and the line is expected to be operational within 2–3 years. The first phase of the metro rail project will cover a distance of 32.65 kilometre in the north-south direction between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad and 10.90 kilometre east-west corridor between Kalupur and Thaltej.[21]

Sea

Kandla Port is one of the largest ports serving Western India. Other important ports in Gujarat are the Port of Navlakhi, Port of Magdalla, Port of Pipavav, Port of Porbandar and the privately owned Mundra Port.

Road

Local transportation

Bus

Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) is the primary body responsible for providing the bus services within the state of Gujarat and also with the neighboring states. It is a public transport corporation providing bus services and public transit within Gujarat and to the other states in India. Apart from this, there are a number of services provided by GSRTC.

  • Mofussil Services — It connects major cities, smaller towns and villages within Gujarat.
  • Intercity Bus Services — It also connects major cities — Ahmedabad, Vapi, Vadodara (Baroda) and Rajkot.
  • Interstate Bus Services — It connects various cities of Gujarat with the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
  • City Services — GSRTC also provides city bus services at Surat, Baroda, Vapi, Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, within the state of Gujarat.
  • Parcel Services — This service is used for transporting goods.

Apart from this, the GSRTC provides special bus services for festivals, industrial zones, schools, colleges and pilgrim places.

Auto rickshaws
Autorickshaw
  • Auto rickshaw is an important and frequently used mode of transport in Gujarat. The Government of Gujarat is promoting Bicycles to reduce pollution.

See also

References

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