|— State —|
|Coordinates (Gandhinagar): Coordinates:|
|Established||1 May 1960|
|• Governor||Kamla Beniwal|
|• Chief Minister||Narendra Modi (BJP)|
|• Legislature||Unicameral (182 seats)|
|• High Court||Gujarat High Court|
|• Total||196,024 km2 (75,685 sq mi)|
|• Density||310/km2 (800/sq mi)|
|• Spoken languages||Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu Kutchi, Memoni, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+05:30)|
|ISO 3166 code||IN-GJ|
|HDI rank||11th (2011)|
Gujarat // (Gujǎrāt [ɡudʒ(ə)ɾat]( listen)) is a state in northwestern India. It has an area of 78,687 sq mi (203,800 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 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 centers in the Maurya and Gupta empires, and during the succession of royal Saka dynasties from advent of the Western Satraps era, whose geographical territories included Saurashtra and Malwa: modern Gujarat, Southern Sindh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Mahatma Gandhi, who led the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule, was a Gujarati. Muhammmad Ali Jinnah, Founding father and first Governor general of Pakistan was from a Gujarati Muslim family in Rajkot. "Iron Man of India" Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, independent India's first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, was from Nadiad, Gujarat. Vikram Sarabhai, "Father of the Indian space program" originated from an affluent family of Jain industrialists from Ahmedabad. Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of Reliance industries was from Chorvad, Gujarat. Azim Premji, software magnate and chairman of Wipro Limited is ethnically Gujarati, while pioneer industrialist Jamsetji Tata, who founded the famous Tata Group, India's biggest and best-known multinational conglomerate, hailed from a Parsi Zoroastrian family in Navsari, and today is regarded as the legendary "Father of Indian Industry".
Modern-day Gujarat is derived from Gujjar-ratra (Shauraseni form derived from Sanskrit Gurjar-Rashtra), the Gurjar nation. The origins of the Gujjars are uncertain. The Gujjar (or Gujar clan appeared in northern India about the time of the Huna invasions of northern India. The name of the tribe was Sanskritized to "Gurjara". The Gurjars/Gujjars are descended from Suryavanshi Kshatriyas (Sun Dynasty). Historically, the Gurjars were sun-worshipers and their copper-plate grants and seals also bear an emblem of the Sun.
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.
The ancient history of Gujarat was enriched by their commercial activities. There is a clear historical evidence of trade and commerce ties with Egypt, Bahrain and Sumer in the Persian Gulf during the time period of 1000 to 750 BC.  There was a succession of Hindu and Buddhist states such as the Western Satraps, Gupta Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, Pala Empire and Gurjara-Pratihara Empire as well as local dynasties such as the Maitrakas and then the Solankis.
Persian influence in Gujarat since AntiquityEdit
Coming from the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea, Gujarat is the maritime gateway to India. In consequence, Persia’s links with Gujarat by sea are very ancient. The Parsis, whose name means "Persians", are descended from Persian Zoroastrians from Iran who emigrated to India to avoid religious persecution by the Muslims. According to the Qissa-i Sanjan tradition, the Parsis initially settled at Hormuz on the Persian Gulf, but finding themselves still persecuted they set sail for Gujarat, arriving in the 8th century onward. They settled first at Diu Island in Kathiawar but soon moved to south Gujarat, where, due to historic Silk route contact between Central Asia and this part of the region, an Iranian merchant diaspora had long been established. The Parsis adopted the customs and manners of the locals and lived in peace about 800 years as a prosperous agricultural community.
The 11th century history of Gujarat saw the emergence of the Muslims in the political arena of the state. The first Muslim conqueror was Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni from Medieval Khorasan (in what is now south-eastern Afghanistan) whose conquest of Somnath effectively ended the rule of the Solankis.
Destruction of Somnath TempleEdit
The Somnath Temple (Gujarati: સોમનાથ મંદિર Sanskrit: सोमनाथ मन्दिर) 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 them 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. 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. Among 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 honor among 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 become Muhammadans. 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." 
From 1297 to 1300, Allauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, destroyed the Hindu metropolis of 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 (Muzaffar Shah I) 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. Mirza Humayun too had briefly occupied the province in 1536. The port of Surat (the only Indian port facing westwards) then became the prominent and principal port of India during Mughal rule, gaining international repute. The eminent city of Surat, famous for its cargo export of silk and diamonds, earned the title Bab-al-Makkah (Gateway to Makkah). Muslim pilgrims, both local and foreign, from as far as Hejaz, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Russia assembled, under the royal patronage of the Mughals, to come and go for the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca from the ports of Surat, Veraval and Mandvi.  
In 1514, the Portuguese traveller Duarte Barbosa wrote about the cosmopolitan town of Rander known as City of Mosques in Surat district, which gained the fame and reputation of illustrious Islamic scholars, saints, merchants and intellectuals from all over the world:
- "Ranel (Rander) is a good town of the Moors, built of very pretty houses and squares. It is a rich and agreeable place... the Moors of the town trade with Malacca, Bengal, Tawasery (Tannasserim) , Pegu, Martaban, and Sumatra in all sort of spices, drugs, silks, musk, benzoin and porcelain. They possess very large and fine ships and those who wish Chinese articles will find them there very completely. The Moors of this place are white and well dressed and very rich they have pretty wives, and in the furniture of these houses have china vases of many kinds, kept in glass cupboards well arranged. Their women are not secluded like other Moors, but go about the city in the day time, attending to their business with their faces uncovered as in other parts."
The conquest of the Kingdom of Gujarat marked a significant event of Akbar's reign. Being the major trade gateway and departure harbour of pilgrim ships to Mecca, it gave the Mughal Empire free access to the Arabian sea and control over the rich commerce that passed through its ports. The territory and income of the empire were vastly increased.
The Sultanate of Gujarat and Persian cultureEdit
For the best part of two centuries, the independent sultanate of Gujarat was the cynosure of its neighbors on account of its wealth and prosperity, which had long made the Gujarati merchant a familiar figure in the ports of the Indian Ocean. As Tome Pires, a Portuguese official at Malacca, writing of conditions during the reigns of Mahmud I and Mozaffar II, expressed it: “Cambay stretches out two arms; with her right arm she reaches toward Aden and with the other towards Malacca” (Pires, I, p. 41). His contemporary, Duarte Barbosa, describing Gujarat’s maritime trade, recorded the import of horses from the Middle East and elephants from Malabar, and lists exports which included muslins, chintzes and silks, carnelian, ginger, and other spices, aromatics, opium, indigo, and other substances for dyeing, cereals, and legumes (Barbosa, I, pp. 108–58). Persia was the destination for many of these commodities, and they were partly paid for in horses and pearls taken from Hormuz (Barbosa, I, p. 82). It was the latter item, in particular, which led Sultan Sikandar Lodi of Delhi, according to ʿAli-Moḥammad Khan, author of the Merʾāt-e aḥmadi, to complain that the “support of the throne of Delhi is wheat and barley but the foundation of the realm of Gujarat is coral and pearls” (apud Bayley, p. 20). Hence, the sultans of Gujarat possessed ample means to sustain lavish patronage of religion and the arts, and to build madrasas, and ḵānaqāhs, and to provide douceurs for the literati, mainly poets and historians, whose presence and praise enhanced the fame of the dynasty.
Gujarat and the Mughal EmpireEdit
Aurangzeb, who was better known by his imperial title Alamgir ("world-seizer"), was born at Dahod, Gujarat, and was the sixth Mughal Emperor ruling with an iron fist over most of the Indian subcontinent. He was the third son and sixth child of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. During the auspicious time of his birth, His father, Shah Jahan, was then the Subedar (governor) of Gujarat while his (Shah Jahan's) father, Jehangir, was the Mughal Emperor. Before he became emperor, Aurangzeb was made Subedar of Gujarat as part of his training and was stationed at Ahmedabad. Aurangzeb was a notable expansionist and was among the wealthiest of the Mughal rulers with an annual yearly tribute of £38,624,680 (in 1690). During his lifetime, victories in the south expanded the Mughal Empire to more than 3.2 million square kilometres and he ruled over a population estimated as being in the range of 100-150 million subjects.
Aurangzeb had great love for his place of birth. In 1704, he wrote a letter to his eldest son, Muhammad Azam Shah, asking him to be kind and considerate to the people of Dahod as it was his birthplace. Muhammad Azam was then the Subedar (governor) of Gujarat.
In his letter, Aurangzeb wrote: "My son of exalted rank, the town of Dohad, one of the dependencies of Gujarat, is the birthplace of this sinner. Please consider a regard for the inhabitants of that town as incumbent on you". Eminent historian Manekshah Commissariat has quoted from this letter in his book, 'A History of Gujarat: Mughal period, from 1573 to 1758'.
Gujarat remained a vitally rich and important province of the Mughal Empire.
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. The state was an early point of contact with the west, and the first British commercial outpost in India was in Gujarat.
Later in the 17th 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 parts of Gujarat. The British East India Company wrested control of much of Gujarat from the Marathas during the Second Anglo-Maratha War in 1802-1803. 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.
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 Gujarati nationalists, the Mahagujarat Movement, and Marathi nationalists, the Samyukta Maharashtra, 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.
Nav Nirman Andolan was a socio-political movement that occurred in 1974 in Gujarat. It was students and middle-class people's movement against economic crisis and corruption in public life. This was the first and last successful agitation after Independence of India that ousted an elected government.
In 2001 Gujarat faced a Magnitude 7.7 earthquake whose epicentre was about 9 km south-southwest of the village of Chobari in Bhachau Taluka of Kutch District. The quake killed around 20,000 people (including at least 18 in South eastern Pakistan), injured another 167,000 and destroyed nearly 400,000 homes.
The Gujarat religious riots of 2002 left over 1,000 people dead. In February 2002, Godhra Train attack lead to state-wide riots, resulting in deaths of 1044 people – 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus, and hundreds missing still unaccounted for.
Gujarat borders with Pakistan's province of Sindh to the northwest, 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". Gujarat was also known as Pratichya and Varuna. 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: one major, 11 intermediate and 29 minor ports.
Sabarmati is the biggest river of Gujarat followed by Tapi, although Narmada covers the longest area in the state. The Sardar Sarovar Project is built on the 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. A riverfront project has been built on Sabarmati River. The other rivers are:
Rann of KutchEdit
The Rann of Kutch is a seasonally marshy saline clay desert located in the Thar Desert biogeographic region in between the province of Sindh and the state of Gujarat. Situated 8 km away from village Kharaghoda located in the Surendranagar District of northwestern India and the Sindh province of Pakistan. The name "Rann" comes from the Hindi word ran (रण) meaning "salt marsh".
Gujarat was created out of the 17 northern districts of former State of Bombay on 1 May 1960. These districts were further subdivided later on. As of 2007, there are 26 administrative districts in the state.
|Source:Census of India|
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. As per the census of 2011, the state has a sex ratio of 918 girls for every 1000 boys, one of the lowest (ranked 24) among the 29 states in India.
About 89.1% of the population of Gujarat are Hindu. Muslims account for 9.1%, Jains 1.0%, Sikhs 0.1%, and Christians 0.5% of the population. Amongst Hindus, the deity of Krishna is famously worshiped in His form of Shrinathji throughout Gujarat.
Gujarati people form the majority of Ahmedabadi population: Marwaris and Biharis compose large minorities. In Ahmedabad state, smaller communities are Portuguese, South Koreans, Tamils, Nepalis, Oriyas, Telugus, Assamese, Bengali, Anglo-Indians, Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Tibetans, Maharashtrians, Konkanis, Malayalees, Punjabis, and Parsis. The South Korean community traditionally worked in the local tanning industry and ran restaurants. Sindhi presence is important here.
Government and administration Edit
|Anthem||Jay jay garvi gujarat|
|Tree||Banyan (Gujarati: 'વડ')|
|Land animal||Asiatic Lion|
Gujarat is governed by a Legislative Assembly of 182 members. Members of the Legislative Assembly 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 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 the 2002 Gujarat riots in which rioters raided the homes of thousands of Muslims, killing over 1000 people. The BJP retained a majority in the 2002 election, and Narendra Modi has since served as Chief Minister of the state. . On 1 June 2007, Narendra Modi became the longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat. 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 7 October 2011. On 20 December 2012, the BJP retained power in the state by winning the state assembly elections for the fifth time in a row and Narendra Modi again returned to power by achieving a hat-trick.
The Government of Gujarat bans alcohol.
Gujarat government bags Best State Award for ‘Citizen Security’ by IBN7 Diamond States on 24 December 2012.
Gujarat consists of people following Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism, making it a religiously diverse state. Hinduism is major religion of the state, as 89.09% population of the state is Hindu. Major part of Hindu population follows Swaminarayan Hinduism and Vaishnavism. Muslims are the biggest minority in the state. Gujarat is where Jains have the largest population outside 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.
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 state universities and four agricultural universities.
The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara, is a premier university of Gujarat and has been ranked amongst the top ten universities by India Today and Hindustan Times in their surveys. It is one of the oldest universities of Guajrat and is known worldwide for its Faculty of Fine Arts, Engineering, Arts, Journalism, Education, Law, Social Work, Medicine, Science and Performing Arts. It is Gujarat's only fully English Medium State University. Originally known as the Baroda College of Science (established 1881), it became a university in 1949 after the independence of the country and later renamed after its benefactor Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, the former ruler of Baroda State. Gujarat University, Sardar Patel University, Ahmedabad University, Saurashtra University, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, and Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University are also amongst reputed universities, affiliating many reputed colleges.
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.
Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute has been established under Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Government 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.
Gujarat also has some of the best engineering institutes in India like Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT), Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT), IIT Gandhinagar and G H Patel College Of Engineering & Technology. Gujarat Science City, 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.
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. Centre for Environmental Planning & Technology University, popularly known as (CEPT) is one of the best planning and architectural school not in India, but across the world; providing various technical and professional courses. 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.
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.
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.
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, Jay Vasavada, Makarand Dave, Gunvant Shah and Varsha Adalja have influenced Gujarati thinkers.
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.
Flora and faunaEdit
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 four national parks and 21 sanctuaries.
Gujarat is the only home of Asiatic lions and outside Africa, Gujarat is the only present natural habitat of lions. Gir Forest National Park in the southwest part of the state covers part of the lions' habitat. Apart from lions, leopards are also found in state. They are spread across the large plains of Saurashtra and the 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 has some of major mountain ranges of India, including Aravalli, Sahyadri (Western Ghats), Vindhya and Saputara. Apart from this Gir hills, Barda, Jessore, Chotila, etc. are situated in different parts of Gujarat. Girnar is the tallest peak and Saputara is the only hill-station in the state.
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. The state has an agricultural economy; the total crop area amounts to more than one-half of the total land area.
Animal husbandry and dairying have played vital roles in the rural economy of Gujarat. Dairy farming, primarily concerned with milk production, functions on a co-operative basis and has more than a million members. Gujarat is the largest producer of milk in India. The Amul milk co-operative federation is well known all over India, and it is Asia's biggest dairy. Among livestock raised are buffalo and other cattle, sheep, and goats. As per the results of livestock census 1997, there were 20.97 million head of livestock in Gujarat State. In 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 the textiles, oil, and soap industries, among others.
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 saltwater intrusion into the groundwater. The problem is exacerbated because 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.
Dinosaur Park Balasinor Edit
In the early 1980s, palaeontologists stumbled upon dinosaur bones and fossils during a regular geological survey of Balasinor in Kheda District. The find sent ripples of excitement through neighbouring villages and many residents picked up fossilised eggs, brought them home and worshipped them. Since then excavations have thrown up a veritable trove of dinosaur remains - eggs, bones, a skeleton which is now kept in a Calcutta (Kolkata) museum - bringing hordes of scientists and tourists to the place.
Piecing together the evidence in Balasinor, researchers now believe that Gujarat is home to one of the largest clutch of dinosaur hatcheries in the world. At least 13 species of dinosaurs lived here, possibly for more than 100 million years until their extinction some 65 million years ago. The soft soil made hatching and protecting eggs easier for the animals. So well-protected are the fossilised eggs found here that many researchers call them the best-preserved eggs in the world after the ones found in Aix-en-Provence in France.
These fossilised dinosaur remains have begun triggering off what tourism officials of the Gujarat state call "Dinosaur Tourism".
Tourism in Gujarat is promoted by Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited. It is one of the most popular state in the country for tourists with annual footfall of 19.81 million tourists in 2010-11. Gujarat offers scenic beauty from Great Rann of Kutch to the hills of Saputara. Gujarat is the sole home of the pure Asiatic Lions in world. During the Sultanate reign, Hindu craftsmanship mix 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 Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the great iconic figures during India's Independence movement. Amitabh Bachchan is currently the brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism. ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki' campaign by megastar Amitabh Bachchan has enhanced tourism in Gujarat by 14 per cent, twice that of national growth rate.
Gujarat has a variety of museums on different genres. These museums are run by the state's Department of Museums located at the principal state museum, Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery. The Kirti Mandir, Porbandar, Sabarmati Ashram, and Kaba Gandhi No Delo are museums related to Mahatma Gandhi. The former being the [Place of birth] of him and the latter being two of the places where he lived in his lifetime. All of them are now transformed into museums. Kaba Gandhi No Delo in Rajkot exhibits some of a rare collection of photographs relating to the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Sabarmati Ashram is the place where Gandhiji initiated Dandi March. On 12 March 1930 he vowed that he would not return to the Ashram until India won independence.
Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery and Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum are located in Vadodara. Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery is where state's Department of Museums is located. While the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum is housed within Lakshmi Vilas Palace. It's the palace where Maharaja lived, and now has been turned into a museum. Located in Ahmedabad the Calico Museum of Textiles is managed by the Sarabhai Foundation and is one of the most popular tourist spots in Ahmedabad.
The Lakhota Museum or the Lakota Museum is a palace transformed into museum, was residence of the Jhala Rajputs. The collection of the museum includes artifacts spanning from 9th to 18th century, pottery from medieval villages nearby and the skeleton of a whale.
Other famous museums in state include Kutch Museum in Bhuj being the oldest museum in Gujarat founded in 1877, Watson Museum of human history and culture in Rajkot, Gujarat Science City and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial in Ahmedabad.
- Religious sites
Religious sites are major part of tourism in Gujarat. Somnath is the first among twelve Jyotirlingas, and has been mentioned in Rigveda. The Palitana temples of Jainism on Mount Shatrunjaya, Palitana are considered the holiest of all pilgrimage places by the Svetambara and Digambara Jain community. The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque and Jama Masjid are holymosques for Gujarati Muslims. The Sun Temple, Modhera is a ticketed monument, handled by the Archaeological Survey of India. Dwarakadheesh Temple and Dakor holy pilgrimage sites for devotees of Lord Krishna. Other religious sites in state include Mahudi, Shankheshwar, Ambaji, Dakor, Shamlaji, Chotila etc.
A five day festival is held during Maha Shivaratri at the fort of Girnar, Junagadh known as Bhavanth Mahadev Fair (Gujarati: ભવનાથ નો મેળો). The Kutch Festival or Rann Festival (Gujarati: કચ્છ or રણ ઉત્સવ) is a festival celebrated at Kutch during Mahashivratri. The Modhra Dance Festival is a festival for classical dance, organized by Government of Gujarat's Cultural Department, to promote tourism in state and to keep traditions and culture alive.
The Ambaji Fair is held in the Hindu month of Bhadrapad (around August–September) at Ambaji, during a time which is particularly suitable for farmers, when the busy monsoon season is about to end. The Bhabrapad fair is held at Ambaji which is in the Danta Taluka of Banaskantha district, near the Gujarat-Rajasthan border. The walk from the bus station to the temple is less than one kilometer, under a roofed walkway. Direct buses are available from many places, including Mount Abu (45 km away), Palanpur (65 km away), Ahmedabad and Idar. The Bhadrapad fair is held in the center of the Ambaji village just outside the temple premises. The village is visited by the largest number of sanghas (pilgrim groups) during the fair. Many of them go there on foot, which is particularly enriching as it happens immediately after the monsoon, when the landscape is rich with greenery, streams are full of sparkling water and the air is fresh. About 15 lakh devotees are known to attend this fair each year from all over the world. Not only Hindus, but some devout Jains and Parsis also attend the functions, while some Muslims attend the fair for trade.
The Tarnetar Fair is held during the first week of Bhadrapad, (September–October according to Gregorian calendar), and mostly servesplace to find a suitable bride for tribal people from Gujarat. The region is believed to be the place where Arjuna took up the difficult task of piercing the eye of a fish, rotating at the end of a pole, by looking at its reflection in the pond water, in order to marry Draupadi. Other fairs in Gujarat include Dang Durbar, Shamlaji Fair,Chitra Vichitra Fair,Dhrang Fair and Vautha Fair.
Gujarat has seventeen airports. The Gujarat Civil Aviation Board (GUJCAB) has been formed to foster development of aviation infrastructure in Gujarat. The Board is headed by the Chief Minister.
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (Ahmedabad) — Many domestic as well as international flights operate from here.
Domestic airports under AAI
- Surat Airport — Located on Magdalla Road.
- Bhavnagar Airport — 9 km from the city of Bhavnagar.
- Deesa airport — 5 km from Deesa.
- 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.
- Vadodara Airport - Integrated Terminal Airport (Vadodara).
Airports under IAF
- Bhuj Airport — Bhuj Civil enclave airport has been recently been named Shyamji Krishna Verma Airport.
- Jamnagar Airport — Civil enclave, 10 km from the City of Jamnagar.
- Naliya Air Force Station — air force airport. For Military use only.
Airports under State Government
- Mehsana Airport — Meshana Airport is about 2 km from Mehsana city.
- Mandvi airport 
- Amreli airport — air strip (training airport)
- Zalawad Airport — Future airport for Surendranagar area.
- Fedara (Ahmedabad) — Proposed International Airport near Fedara village of Bhāl region.
- Ambaji (Danta) near Palanpur, Banaskantha
Gujarat comes under the Western Railway 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 Mumbai – Delhi 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 1.1 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.
Gujarat State has got the longest sea coast of 1600 km in India. 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 Pipavav, Port of Porbandar and the privately owned Mundra Port.
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.
- There are also city buses in cities like Ahmedabad (AMTS & Ahmedabad BRTS),Bhavnagar (VTCOS) Vadodara (VTCOS), Gandhinagar(VTCOS),Rajkot (VTCOS),Anand(VTCOS) etc.
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