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Gujarat India

Gujarat is a state on the western part of India, to the North. It is the fifth-largest Indian state by area and has the ninth-largest population in the country.The capital of Gujarat is Gandhinagar, and the state is surrounded by the states  Rajasthan (to its north),  Madhya Pradesh (to its right),  Maharashtra (to its south), and the Arabian Sea (to its west).

Home of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, Gujarat is the land of colorful festivals, exotic cuisines, several historical sites, religious pilgrimages dating back to thousands of years, museums, and an array of handicraft that attract visitors from across the globe.

History

Gujarat's coastal cities (incl. Bharuch), served as ports cum trading centres through the times when the state was under the rule of the Nanda, Maurya, Satavahana and Gupta empires between the 2nd to 6th centuries. It was only after the fall of the Gupta empire in the 6th century that Gujarat became an independent state.During the 10th century, the Chaulukya dynasty came to power and ruled the land. Later, between 1297 to 1300, Alauddin Khilji, (the Sultan of Delhi), incorporated Gujarat into the Delhi Sultanate.

At the end of 14th century, the Sultanate was weakened, and Gujarat's then governor, Zafar Khan Muzaffar his son, Sultan Ahmad Shah I asserted Gujarat’s independence again and re-structured Ahmedabad as its capital. Years later, after the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971, the capital of Gujarat moved from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar, which to this day is the state’s official capital city.

Mahatma Gandhi, who fought for India’s independence from the British rule in 1946-47) is from Gujarat and had led the Dandi march from Sabarmati Ashram which is situated in Gujarat (Ahmedabad).

People and Population

There are 6.48 crore (64.8 million) people in Gujarat, out of which 88.6% are Hindus, 9.7% are Muslims, 1.0% are Jains, and less than 1% are Christians, Sikhs, or Buddhists.

The people in Gujarat state are known as Gujaratis, and most of them are vegetarians.

Language

Gujarat’s official language is Gujarati, which is spoken widely across the state. There are about 30 dialects of Gujrati that is spoken in different parts of the state, based on the locations. Apart from Guajarati, Hindi is also spoken and understood in most places here.

Best Places to Visit in Gujarat

Gujarat has many temples and historical buildings with remarkable architecture, and some of these buildings have even been converted into hotels or museums.The state is also known for its handicrafts, wildlife and bird sanctuaries and sites.Some famous places in Gujarat that attract lot of visitors and tourists from other parts of the country and world include:

Historical Places:

  • Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad (the place which was home to Mahatma Gandhi for many years)
  • Dwarka said to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna)
  • Champaner - PavagadhArchaeological Park
  • Rani Ki Vav (Queen’s Stepwell), Patan
  • Aaina Mahal (“Palace of Mirrors” – an 18th century palace)
  • Sun Temple, Modhera
  • Laxmi Vilas Palace (residence of royal families in Vadodara)
  • Dholavira (A heritage site)
  • Prag Mahal Bhuj (a 19th century palace)

Temples of Gujarat:

  • Sun Temple, Modhera
  • Somnath Temple, Veraval
  • Dwarkadhish Temple, Dwarka
  • Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, Gandhinagar
  • Rukmini Temple, Dwarka
  • Shri Shatrunjaya Temples, Palitana
  • Jagannath Temple, Ahmedabad
  • Hutheesing Jain temple, Ahmedabad
Famous Food in Gujarat

Vegetarian cuisine is pre-dominant in Gujarat and people here barely eat meat, neither are these served at most restaurants and gatherings here. Also, Gujarat is a dry state - alcohol is not widely or freely available here.

People, especially visitors from other cities and countries will need to obtain liquor permits as this is required for anyone wanting to consume alcohol. Upscale hotels that have bars sometimes can help get a liquor permit sometimes for their customers.

Gujarati cuisine has a wide variety of delicious vegetarian foods and snacks which are usually served in the form of a Thali (arrangement of various dishes in a large plate with bowls, etc.). Some popular dishes and snacks of Gujarat include: Undhiyu, Dhokla, Khakhra, Thepla, Khichu, Shrikand, Kadhi, Bhakri, Kachori, Handvo

Most of these use a lot of vegetables, pulses, chickpea flour, spices, and sugar too! Almost all Guajarati dishes have a hint of sweetness (including snacks and main course dishes).

Gujarat Festivals

The colorful state of Gujarat has numerous eye-catching festivals that is the reason it is often termed as the Land of Festivities. The culture, tradition, and the beauty of the state is flawlessly presented through the vibrant festivals here. Some of the most famous festivals in Gujarat are:

  • Navaratri – One of the most significant and famous festivals of Gujarat, Navaratri is a nine-day festival where Goddess Durga is worshipped in different nine forms and on the tenth day, when the idol is submerged in holy water, garba, dandiya, food, and people with multi-colored clothes is witnessed on the streets which is quiet a spectacle.
  • Rann Utsav – Celebrated at the Great Runn of Kutchh, an expansive salt marsh in the Thar desert, Rann Utsav sees an enthralling exhibition of music, authentic handicraft, Bandini sarees, traditional accessories, delectable food, and colorful lights in the canvas of white sand.
  • Uttarayan – Also known as the Kite Festival, Uttarayan is celebrated to mark the beginning of spring season and a sign of harvest season for the farmers. People fly kites this day prepare cuisines at home to celebrate.
  • Shamlaji Melo – Celebrated during Kartik Purnima at the Shamlaji temple, devotees flock to this temple barefoot or on camels while singing devotional songs and carrying banners. They worship the deity and then bathe in the holy water of the Meshwo river.
  • Vautha Mela – Animals like donkeys and camels are painted and dressed in fancy clothes to attract buyers with stalls selling snacks and handicrafts.
  • Rath Yatra– Small chariots with idols of Lord Krishna, his brother Balarama, and their sister Subhadra are pulled throughout the state, mainly Ahmedabad, and devotees worship the deities.
  • Modhera Dance Festival – The festival celebrates dance, music, art, and culture to flaunt the golden age of the Solanki era where dance forms of Gujarat represent the ancient time. It is celebrated in the Sun Temple.
How to Reach Gujarat
  • By Air: Gujarat is well-equipped with over 17 domestic airports with Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport serving international flights. Cabs, buses, rickshaws, and taxis are available from out the airport.
  • By Train: Gujarat is home to several railway stations such as Ahmedabad Railway Station, Vadodara Railway Station, Rajkot Railway Station, which connect all the major cities of the country to the state.
  • By Road: Gujarat is connected to numerous locations via the well-managed highways with public and private buses.

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