The state of Gujarat is on the West Coast of India. This area is well known for its beaches, temples, cities of historical importance, rich architectural wealth and wild life Sanctuaries. The state has derived its name from Gurjars who were the inhabitants of the land once. Its inhabitants are an amalgam of different races today. The state has four national parks. It spreads over 19.66 Lakh hectares of forestry with 11 sanctuaries. The Gir forest is famous lions in the whole of Asia. The life style of gypcies in color and Gay at Rann of Kutch are equally famous. The sea beaches are very lovely. The state still remains neglected in the tourism map.
Gujaratis are generally known to be successful business men. They have set up their establishments all over the world by Sheer hard work. Among non- resident Indians, Gujarati people share most all over the globe on service and business for generations together. One of the richest families in the world today is the Ambani family which belongs to the state. Paris also belongs to the state where they landed at a place called Saijan in 745 AD from Persia to avoid being converted to Islam.
Gujarat has Pakistan in the North and Rajasthan in the North East, Madhya Pradesh in the East, Maharashtra in the South-East and Arabian Sea in the West.
The area of this land is about 196024 Sq. km.
The language spoken by the people are Gujarati.
Ahemadabad, Baroda, Jamnagar, Bhuj, Rajkot, Kandla, Bhavnagar, Surat and Keshod.
Kandla is a major port besides 40 other ports.
Important Museums in Gujarat
Gandhi Memorial, Sabarmathi Ashram, Calico Museum of textiles, Shreyals Folk museum, Tribal Resarch and Training Institute Museum, Vechaar Utensilf museum, N.C.Nehta collection of rare miniatures in Ahmedabad, Maharaja Fatch singh Museum, Laxmi Vilas Palace Museum and Somnath Temple Museum.
Major Hill Stations
It is one of the Jyotirlings Temple. Dehotsarga is the place where Lord Krishna shed his earthly body is nearby.
It is one of the four Dhamas of Hindus.
Jain marble Shrines are present on Grinar hill.
It is a Jain centre.
This is a temple of Goddess Shakthi Durga
Original idol of Lord Krishna from Dwarika is here.
The holy flame that Paris bought from Persia in the 8th century still burns here.
Jain Community has contributed a lot to the trade and commerce and the state’s development. It was due to the entrepreneurial acumen ship of Paris and Jain community that has pushed Gujarat state to become the foremost industrially developed one in the country. It could boast of over 1300 textile units at one time. It despite a set back to the textile sector, Gujarat is still the leading state in the said sector. A large quantity of oil is lifted up at Kambey. This state has a number of rivers Sabarmathi, Mahi, Narmadha and Tapti. It helps in the production of Tobacco leaves, groundnut and cotton. It is also rich in the production of milk products and salt.
The state’s contribution in the nation’s struggle for freedom and after independence is no mean. It produced the father of the Nation, the Mahatma Gandhi, he was the apostle of Non-violence. Sardar Vallabai Patel, a part from his freedom struggle, made the 100 of states to fall in line with the union of India.
Jains are very important community in the state. They belong to the effluent class owning mills. They spent a lot in building temples, schools, hospitals and religious trusts. The state is well connected with important cities of the country by air and rail. It has a smooth road ways net work. It looks after the comfort of tourists by providing good accommodation and transport facilities. Winter months are the proper time to visit the state.
The people of this state are vegetarian in majority of cases. But non-vegetarian dishes patronized by Muslims are also available in big hotels. European, Chinese and American dishes are also available here. There is a system of half meal and full meal. The popular dishes are Kadhi, Undhyoo along with ice-creams like SriKand. Thali is available here. Meal is taken sitting cross ledged on the floor in average hotels. Food is served on the leaves. Breads are made of millet and other flours. Rice is also served. Chutneys and salads accompany the meal. Ice-cream available in Gujarat compares well with that available in the US market.
Shopping for fabrics, handicrafts and embroidery
The state government has done a lot to revive the traditional handicrafts that had suffered a setback in the British reign. The goods prepared here are sold in Gujarat emporia in cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. It excels in high quality weaving and hand block printing. Dyed fabrics are synonymous with Ahmedabad. Patola silk sarees are a speciality of master craftsmen of Patan.
Surat is well known for gold thread embroidery work on silk sarees. Slightly less expensive with beautiful hand printed cloths are in black, red, maroon and ochre colors. Jamnagar is known for its Woolen Shawls, blankets and rugs and also wooden furniture’s.
History of Gujarat
According to archaeologists in Gujarat civilization was in the existence of 5000 years ago. Gujarat was a part of the Mauryan Empire during the 3rd century BC. Rock inscription ordered by Emperor Ashok in Junagarh bears testimony to it. It is a legend that Lord Krishna had left Mathura and settled at the West coast of Saurashtra which later came to be known as Dwarika. The Maurian Empire fell around the 5th century BC after the invasion of Huns and Gurjars intruded from the northern side. The Gupta dynasty ruled over the Gujarat during the 4th and 5th century. The Solanki dynasty rulers were at the saddle of the state in the 9th century. Its modernization was started in the 10th century under the Chalukya King Mulraj Solanka.
Gujarat had trade links with Greece and Rome by being the Coast line state. The excavation at Lothal near Dhandauka in Ahmedabad district and Razdi in Saurashtra takes us back to 3500 years during the times of Harappa and Mohenjadaro. The Aryans from the central Asia made the way to India and established many kingdoms later. They are the Maurians Guptas and Prathiharas. After the Gupta Empire the state came successively under the Rajput kings, the Muslim sultans, the Mughal emperor and finally the British.
The British excluded Saurashtra and some 200 princely states from it. During the British rule and after independence it remained apart of Bombay presidency. On May 1 1960, as a result of the Bombay Re Organization act, the present state of Gujarat was formed by taking away the North and West prominently Gujarati speaking portions of Bombay state.
Gujarat is rich in tobacco, cotton and ground nut production besides maize, rice, isabgol, sugarcane, bananas, mangoes, wheat and jawar. Its leading industries are textiles, inorganic chemicals like soda ash, caustic soda, petro chemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, electronics and electrical goods, cement, sugar oil and natural gas.
Kite flying festival
This festival is celebrated on January 14 at Ahmedabad on Makara Sankaranthi Day. The sun begins its northerly journey at this time. Beautiful kites of different shapes and sizes are flown here and in the night kites with lamps fill the sky
Rural men and women gather in their colorful dresses for 2 days and sing and dance with lovely September. It is a legend that this is the occasion to celebrate the wedding of Arjuna with Subadhra.
It is a three day festival. It is celebrated in February when men folk under take journey to places and eat, sing and dance.
The idols of Lord Krishna, Balram and Subhadra are taken out in a procession from Jagannath temple.
It is a nine day festival celebrated during the months of September – October in dedication to Goddess Durga. Women stage Garba and Dandiya Ras till late in to the night.
One may drive from Jamnagar to Veraval for a sight of the Asiastic lions. Prior arrangement foe lodging and jeeps to take us around the forest has to be made with the regional manager of Tourism Development Corporation of Gujarat at Junagarh or through an agent in Delhi or Mumbai prior to arrival.
Sasan Gir National Park is one of the finest wild life Sanctuaries with an area of 1295 Sq.km of deciduous forests. It is the only place for the rare variety of the ancient Asian lion. The winter months are suitable period to view the lions in the Sanctuary. This forest will be open from mid-October to Mid- May. Its timings are from 6.30Am-11.00Am and from 3.00Pm- 5.00Pm. The lions roam about during the winter season and they retreat to the interior of the forest during the summer.
Few years the Rajas, the Maharajas and their patrons, the British big wigs used to spend their holidays in shooting of lions and considered it as a privilege. In 1960 the Government of India banned the shooting of lions.
The forest also houses wild boar, bears, panthers, antelope, hyena, leopard and the four horned antelopes. Hundred types of birds are also found here during monsoon months. The forest department organizes ‘lion shows’ to enable the visitors to see lions at close quarters by tempting them with live baits. Jeeps are available here to move around the place.