The state is well-watered, except for the arid Kachchh area in the north; rice, wheat, and cotton are grown. Salt, limestone, manganese, calcite, and bauxite are mined. Hydroelectric power is generated. Heavily industrialized, Gujarat produces textiles, electrical goods, automobiles, chemicals, and building materials; it is the center of the Indian cotton-textile industry. The coastal city of Alang has an immense yard for dismantling and scrapping old ships. Gir National Park, located in the state, is home to the last surviving Asiatic lions.
Archaeological discoveries have linked Gujarat with the Indus valley civilization (c.3,000-1,500 B.C.) and have suggested that it was a part of the Mauryan empire (c.320-185 B.C.). The Gujarat region was the center of Jainism under the Rajput Caulukya dynasty (11th-12th cent.), which fell (1298) to the Delhi Sultanate. In 1390, Gujarat became an independent sultanate. Its immense wealth invited attack, and in 1509 the Portuguese wrested from it the colony of Diu (see Daman and Diu). In 1572 the sultanate was annexed to the Mughal empire. The Marathas were powerful in the area in the first half of the 18th cent. The British East India Company took over control of the region in 1818. Under the British much of the region retained its local princely rulers. In 1947 the region was organized into the state of Bombay. Bombay state was divided into the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1956. W Gujarat was devastated by a strong earthquake in 2001, and the state was the scene of brutal anti-Muslim riots, in which perhaps as many as 2,000 died, in 2002.
State (pop., 2008 est.: 56,408,000) and historic region, western India. Lying on the Arabian Sea and with a coastline of 992 mi (1,596 km) that includes the union territory enclaves of Daman and Diu, it is bordered by Pakistan; the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra; and Dadra and Nagar Haveli union territory. It has an area of 75,685 sq mi (196,024 sq km), and the capital is Gandhinagar. During the 4th and 5th centuries CE, it was ruled by the Gupta dynasty; it derived its name from the Gurjaras, who ruled the area in the 8th and 9th centuries. After a period of economic and cultural achievement, it fell successively under Arab Muslim, Mughal, and Maratha rule. In 1818 it came under British control, and after 1857 it was a province of British India. Following Indian independence in 1947, most of Gujarat was included in the state of Bombay, which was divided into Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1960. Gujarat is a leading industrialized state of India and a petroleum producer. It is also famous for its arts and crafts.
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Gujarat (ગુજરાત , IPA ) is a state in western India. Gujarat borders Pakistan to the north west and the state of Rajasthan to the north and northeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, Maharashtra and the 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 international border with Pakistan is to the north-west. The Arabian Sea makes up the state's western coast. Its capital, Gandhinagar is a planned city and is located near Ahmedabad, the commercial center of Gujarat. An area of 75,686 sq mi (196,077 km²),
|Gujarat state symbols||Animal||Asiatic lion||Bird||Greater flamingo||Dance||Garba||Flower||Language||Gujarati||Song||Jai Jai Garavi Gujarat||Sport||Tree|
The name of the state is derived from anshua (ansus Rāshtra), which means anshua nation. Anshuas were an old clan that was present even during the Mahabharata period, according to another theory, they are one of the Central Asian tribes, called the Gurjs or modern day country of Georgia (anciently referred to as Gurjistan). These Gurjs migrated to India beginning from around the first century BC. From around 35-405AD it was settled and ruled by the Iranian Sakas. Gujarat was part of the Indo-greek kingdoms. Gujarat's coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch, served as ports and trading centres for the Maurya and Gupta empires. After the collapse of the Gupta empire in the sixth century, Gujarat flourished as an independent Hindu kingdom. The Maitraka dynasty, descended from a Gupta general, ruled from the sixth to the eighth centuries from their capital at Vallabhi, although they were ruled briefly by Harsha during the seventh century. In 775 the first Parsi (Zoroastrian) refugees arrived in Gujarat from Iran. The Arab rulers of Sind sacked Vallabhi in 770, bringing the Maitraka dynasty to an end. A branch of the Pratihara clan ruled Gujarat after the eighth century. From the ninth century it was ruled by the Solanki dynasty and saw many invasions by Muslim rulers from Central Asia. Solanki rule continued until Gujarat was incorporated by the Muslim rulers of Delhi in the late thirteenth century. History of the Gujarat state of India is very ancient. Evidence comes from the prehistoric trading centre - Lothal in Gujarat; situated at head of the Gulf of Cambay; which marks the south-western site of the old Indus Civilization, radiocarbon dated to c. 2500–1900 BCE by the archaeologists (Cited in John R. Hinnells (Ed.) In "A Handbook of Ancient Religions", Cambridge University Press, NY,USA, 2007).
In February 2002, violence broke out across the state claiming around a thousand lives. An official estimate stated that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, 223 people were reported missing and 2,500 were injured. Independent estimates by rights groups and NGOs place the figure higher, nearer to 2000. More than one hundred and fifty thousand people were displaced. Organisations such as Human Rights Watch criticised the Indian government for failure to address the resulting humanitarian condition of people, "overwhelming majority of them Muslim," who fled their homes for refugee camps in the aftermath of the riots. The riots followed the Godhra Train Burning incident, where 58 Hindu Kar Sevak pilgrims were burned alive on a train that caught fire, allegedly set by a Muslim mob.
On 6 April 2006, an earthquake was reported at 11:29:16 p.m. IST in Gujarat, India's Kutch and Saurashtra region. Intensity of the earthquake was measured at 5.5 on the Richter Scale.
On 26 July 2008, there were 21 serial bomb blasts in Ahmedabad at various places including Civil Hospital (one of major government hospital). As of 1 August 2008, the death toll from the blasts was 55. The bombs were low-intensity and equipped with precised timing circuits. Soon after the Ahmedabad blasts, around 24 live bombs (explosive devices) were found in Surat which is currently one of the fastest growing cities of India. Most of the bombs were found in the area of Varacha, which is mainly dominated by the Hindu community. Unlike the events following the Godhra Train Burning in 2002, the bombings were not followed by inter-community rioting.
Gujarat is the westernmost state of India. It is bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west and southwest, and Pakistan to the northwest. The state of Rajasthan is to the northeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and Maharashtra and the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the south and southeast of Gujarat.
Chorwad Beach - Chorwad Beach of Gujarat is another splendid beach situated on the west coast of India. It is situated at a distance of 66 km from Junagadh. Chorwad has a high potential of attracting both domestic as well as international tourists. The beach constitutes of rocky hills and presents opportunity for thrilling boat rides. Diu Beach - Diu beach is situated off the Saurashtra coast and is connected to the state of Gujarat via a causeway. Diu is a secluded island and does not have much population. This makes it the place ideal for a serene vacation, away from the worries of daily life.
Gopnath Beach - Gopnath Beach is situated in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat. It is located on the coast of the Gulf of Kambhat, at a distance of 75 km from the city of Bhavnagar. Gopnath is a pristine beach known for its natural beauty.
Kutch Mandvi Beach - Kutch Mandvi is an important beach in Gujarat, situated at Mandvi. Mandvi is the historic port town of Maharao of Kutch, located at a distance of 75 km from Bhuj. Kutch Mandvi was once inhabited by the Maharao of Kutch and was an important seaport.
Umbergam Beach - Umargam is about 6 km from Umargam Road railway station on Mumbai-Surat rail section . This region was part of Thane district prior to creation of Gujarat in 1960.
Umargam is situated on the southern bank of Nargol creek. It was a small village about two centuries ago, serving as a transit point for exporting marine products from the fishing port Nargol on the Northern Bank of the creek.
TITHAL Beach (Valsad) tithal beach 5 km from Valsad.
The population of the Gujarat State was 50,671,017 as per the 2001 census data. The density of population is only 258 persons per km². and compares favourably with the other states of the country.
Its official and primary language is Gujarati. About 89.1% of the population of Gujarat are Hindu. Muslims account for 9.1%, Jain 1.0% and Sikh 0.1% of the population. Most of the Gujarati Hindus are strict vegetarians. Amongst Hindus the deity of Krishna is famously worshipped in His form of Shrinathji throughout Gujarat. Gujarat is the birthplace of Gandhi. Gujarat is also the birthplace of the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism.
91% of Hindus in Gujarat speak Gujarati while the rest speak Hindi, Marathi and other languages. Almost 88% of the Muslims speak Gujarati while the rest speak Urdu. Almost all of the Jains speak Gujarati (a few speak Marwari as well). Parsi Zoroastrians also speak Gujarati as their native language.
Gujarat as a heavily industrialized state of India, attracts lots of outsiders from various parts of India.
|District||# of Talukas||# of villages||Area (Square kilometers)||Population (As of 2001)|
|Tapi||0||not available||3,435||719,630 (7,19,630)|
Gujarat controls some of the largest businesses in India. Major Agricultural produce of the state include cotton, groundnuts, peanuts, dates, sugar cane, milk & milk products. Industrial products include cement, and petrol.
The worlds largest ship breaking yard is in Gujarat near Bhavnagar at Alang. Reliance Petroleum Limited, one of the group companies of Reliance Industries Limited founded by Dhirubhai Ambani operates the oil refinery at Jamnagar which is the world's largest grass-roots refineries. The company has also planned another SEZ(special economic zone), in Jamnagar.
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%.
Over 20% of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Gujarat.
As per RBI report, in year 2006-07, 26% out of total bank finance in India was in Gujarat.
During the period 1960-90, Gujarat established itself as a leader in various industrial sectors - Textiles, Engineering, Chemicals, Petrochemicals, Drugs & Pharmaceuticals, Dairy, Cement & Ceramics, Gems & Jewellery, etc. 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 period 1995-96 and 2000-01. The producers (IPPs) have contributed significantly in this addition. As a matter of fact Gujarat is one of the first few states in India to have encouraged private sector investment and 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 January 10, 2007 to January 13, 2007, at Science City, Ahmedabad, the state government signed 104 Memoranda of Understandings for Special Economic Zones totalling worth Rs 2.5 lakh crore.. However, most of the investment was from domestic industry.
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 milk co-operative federation products are well known all over India and 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 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.
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).
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 Assembly, and to address the House 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 Polls, the Congress lost to the BJP and Keshubhai Patel came to power. His Government lasted only 2 years. The fall of that government was provoked by a split in the BJP led by Shankersinh Vaghela and has won most of the subsequent polls. In 2001, following the loss of 2 assembly seats in by-elections, Keshubhai Patel resigned and yielded power to Narendra Modi. 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 Dec 23rd 2007, the BJP won the state elections in Gujarat and Narendra Modi became the chief minister for the third time in a row.
|Year||Own tax revenues|
This is a chart of trend of own non-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.
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.
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, one of the internationally reputed management research institute is located in Gujarat's commercial capital Ahmadabad and is the top ranked management institutes in the country B.K. School of Business Management is ranked 6th in terms of financial Management The National Institute of Design (NID) is internationally acclaimed as one of the foremost multi-disciplinary institutions in the field of design education and research. Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, Surat is one of the best engineering colleges in India. It is one of the 20 NITs created by the central govt. and is a deemed university. It has students from all over India and some foreign students as well.
Apart from that Mudra Institute of Communication Ahmedabad (MICA) is one of the famous institute for Mass communication and well renowned across India. In terms of professional development & job-readyness the pioneer institute is Careerguruindia.in which is a social service initative of Benchmark Hr Solutions (India) Private Limited (founded by national award winner & All India Best Cadet Jagdish Chaudhari ).They are much sought after for job-readyness and career enhancement training & have a social linkage also.
Dwarkanath 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 Rann of Kutchch covers a large portion of western Gujarat, and is world-famous for its rare ecosystem, fossils, wildlife and terrain.
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.
Modhera Sun Temple is famous for its rare position as specifically and uniquely designed for the worship of the Sun, Lord Surya. While the main temple is beautifully and intricately designed with complex architecture, painting and sculptures, there is a central pond and surrounding it stand 108 small temples for each of the Sun God's 108 names.
Shankheshwar Jain Temples are dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankar, Lord Parshvanath. It is believed that this idol was revealed by Lord Krishna himself, by the teachings of Arisht Nemi the 22nd Tirthanakra. It is near Ahmedabad.
Girnar is an epitome of communal harmony & amicable relations among Jains & Hindus. This high-rising steep hill houses shrines of both major religions. One dedicated to Neminath or Arisht Nemi, the 22nd tirthankara, 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.
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.
Becharaji This temple is another important seat of Mother Goddess in Mehsana district. This temple is thronged by Hindu devotees, especially childless women.
Gujarat is also the home of Gandhi who preached the unity between all religions and became a world-wide figure for peaceful struggle against tyranny.
Many Hindu religious traditions developed 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 A.D. or 3 A.D. 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, another that it was Ulkapuri (modern Avakhal) and another that it was in Braoch or Bharuch. From Gujarat it spread north to Kashmir, South to Tamil Nadu, East to Nepal (where the Pashupatinath Temple stills exists popularly.)
Gujarat is home to Hindu saints of all castes. Sant Dhudhalinath and Sant Girnari Velnathji were Adivasis, Sant Bhojo Nachabkha and Madhavagar were Shudras, Mahatma Gandhi and Lala Bhagat were Vaish, Sant Kilha was a Kshatriya and Lakulisa and Chakradhara were Brahmins.
Swami Chakradhara was another major figure of the Bhakti movement, born in Gujarat in 1194 A.D. 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. 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. 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. He is said to be the founder of the Khati sect. Jalarama, a devotee of Lord Rama is another popular figure. Jalarama's birthday is still celebrated by Gujarati (in Gujarat and abroad) as Jalaram Jayanti.
Gujarat is a stronghold for the Jain community . Jainism preaches non-violence to all living creatures and vegetarianism. The Jains have heavily influenced the cuisine of Gujarat were the famous Gujarati thali containg small vegetarian dishes along with roti and chaas. The Jains are trusted businessmen with a high moral. The bania (traders ) caste which is big in Gujarat have followers from both the Jaina and Vaishnava traditions. Intermarriages are common.
The Sufi saints are very popular in Gujarat. Shaykh Makhu was a Sufi saint of the Shattari lineage. "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 Sheikj Wajihuddin Gujarati are well known.
They originally settled along coastal Gujarat in villages like Sanjan in Valsad district, along Gujarat-Maharashtra border. The Qissa-i Sanjan is a poem discussing the Zoroastrians landing in Sanjan by 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. 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 of the Vendidad of the Avesta, the purificatory power of cow urine is dilated upon. It is declared to be a panacea for all bodily and moral evils. It is drunk as well as applied externally . 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.
There were several Zoroastrian organizations formed to educate the Parsis on their heritage. Rahnumai Maznayasnam Sabha, established in 1851 by English-educated Parsis like Naoroji Furdunji, and funds supplied by K.N.Kama. Much attention focused on the improved of women in society; the purdah was abolished, age of marriage raised, and education promoted.
Around 3500 festivals are celebrated in Gujarat. - the state is known as the land of fairs and festivals. Some of these fairs and festivals are :
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 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 here 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 , 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 cease to spin.
Dhrang Fair (April)
Around 40 km from Bhuj, it is known for the samadhi of the famous saint Menkan Dada who served the community with great love and dedication and won their devotion. He was supposed to be the incarnation of Lakshmanji. A large fair is held on Magh Vad when a large number of Dada's followers from different parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan come to the Samadhi and participate in religious rituals.
Trinetreshwar Mahadev Fair (September-October)
The small hamlet of Tarnetar, about 75 kilometers from Rajkot, is the site for one of Gujarat's most well known annual fairs, held here during the first week of Bhadrapad (September-October). This fair is primarily a 'marriage mart' or 'Swayamvar' for the tribal youth of today who still visit Tarnetar, to find them a suitable bride. The tribal youth elegantly dressed in colourful dhotis, waistcoats and eye-catching turbans come to be chosen by village belles dressed in colourful finery. Like all-important tribal fairs, it is attended by tribes from the adjoining who indulge in dancing, competitive sports and other such forms of entertainment. There are over 300 stalls selling food, refreshments, exhibiting embroidery and cattle shows. The bachelors are usually identified by their large colourful embroidered umbrellas and their distinctive hairstyles. These umbrellas, which have become emblems of the fair, are embroidered by the tribal youth for over a year. The fair is held around the Trinetreshwar Temple dedicated to the three-eyed Lord Shiva, built at the beginning of the century. There is a kund (reservoir) here and it is popularly believed that a dip in its waters is as holy as a dip in the sacred River Ganges. The reservoir is also known as papanshu (the destroyer of sins).
Vautha Mela (November)
This fair is held every year at Vautha, where two rivers, the Sabarmati and the Vatrak meet. Like most fair sites in India, this also has both mythological and current religious associations. The Vautha Mela site is in area. Legends hold that Kartik Swami or Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva, visited the site. This is why the fair is held during Kartika Purnima, the full moon night of the month of Kartik, corresponding to November. The site, also known as Saptasangam, is at the confluence of seven rivers. The most important Shiva temple here is the temple of Siddhanath.
What is most significant about this fair is that it is the only major animal trading fair in Gujarat and is on par with the famous camel fair at Pushkar, Rajasthan. However the only animals traded here are donkeys. About 4,000 donkeys are brought every year for sale, usually by Vanjara (gypsy) traders. The pilgrims who visit Vautha during the fair are from several communities and include farmers, labourers and people belonging to several castes.
Shamlaji Melo (November)
The Shamlaji Melo, also called the Kartik Purnima fair is held in the month of November every year and lasts for about two weeks. It is attended by almost two hundred thousand people from adjoining districts and even from Rajasthan. Devotees belonging to various castes and communities including the Garasias and Bhils throng this festival. These pilgrims come in groups, singing devotional songs and carry religious banners to have a darshan (worship)of the deity at the Shamlaji Temple. The Shamlaji Temple is a renowned Vaishnav Shrine and the deity housed here is known by various names included Gadadhar (bearer of the mace) and Shaksi Gopal. The fair is also popular with the tribal people of the area, particularly the Bhils, who revere Shamlaji, the deity they refer to as 'Kalio Bavji', the dark divinity. The temple is of great archaeological significance as it was built in the 11th century. Apart from a darshan of the deity in the temple, the pilgrims consider a bath in the river Meshwo essential.
Makar Sankranti and Kite Flying Festival (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 Ahmedabad gather on terraces to fly kites of various colours to celebrate Makar Sanskranti 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 Undiya, 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 (Feb-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 here. 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 in fact testifies the temple's antiquity. Idol worship became popular much later.
The Tarnetar Fair is one of the most happening events in Gujarat and is held at the Temple of Shiva or Trinetreshwar (three-eyed god), popularly known as Tarnetar. Popular belief associates the village with the Swayamwar (marriage) of Draupadi after Arjun performed the Mastsyavedh, an unparalleled feat of archery. Villagers from all over the state, dressed in their brilliant traditional costumes and exquisite jewellery, flock to Tarnetar. A veritable feast for the eyes is the Rasada, the captivating folk dance performed by hundreds of women moving gracefully in a single circle, dancing gaily to the accompaniment of four drums and jodja pava (double flutes).
Kutch Utsav The Kutch Mahotsava, is usually organised during the end of February month and beginning of March. The Kutch region in Gujarat abounds with splendid beaches, fascinating wildlife and beautiful palaces and monuments. The TCGL i.e. Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd., organises the Tour of Kutch which is a six day Tour and the tour covers the Kutch Museum, Mata no Madh, Lakhpat, Narayan Sarovar,
The Shamlaji shrine and the site boast of an ancient and glorious heritage. Thousands of tribal people flock to the Shamlaji fair. Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd. offers a package tour including cultural events and catering services.
Chitra Vichitra Fair
Chitra- Vichitra means "Different" and this Fair it is held near the Border of Rajasthan, in Sabarkantha District, in the village named as Gunbhakhari. There is an interesting story behind the name of this fair. Folklore says that the two sons of Shantanu, Chitraveer and Vichitraveer, wished to repent for the sins they had committed. They were advised by a meditating saint to locate the confluence of three rivers where a Shiva shrine was located. During their quest the two came to this ancient spot, which is now known as Chitra Vichitra and immolated themselves. Since then the tribal folk celebrate the fair every year at the place where the Aakar, Vakar and Sabarmati rivers meet.
Vautha No Melo
Situated at the confluence of two rivers near Ahmedabad, the site attracts people of all communities. Animals, particularly donkeys and camels are sold in large numbers during this fair.
Gujarat has 4 National parks and 21 sanctuaries which include: Nal Sarovar, Anjal, Balaram-Ambaji, Barda, Jambughoda, Jessore, Kachchh Desert, Khavda, Narayan Sarovar, Paniya, Purna, Rampura, Ratanmahal, and Surpaneshwar.
Gujarat is the only home of Asiatic Lions. Outside Africa, Gujarat is the only present natural habitat of lions. Gir Forest National Park in south-west part of the state covers only the part of lion's habitat. Besides lions, the other big cat can be found in the state are Panthers. Panthers are spread across large plains of Saurashtra and mountains of South Gujarat.
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 2900 BC for about a millennium, declining slowly after about 2100, briefly abandoned and then reoccupied, finally by villagers among its ruins, until about 1450.
One of the most popular public transports in Gujarat is the City Bus. The only problem that can surface with the city buses is that the bus numbers and the route information is given in Gujarati. Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) is the primary body responsible for providing these services. 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.
Apart from this, the GSRTC provides special bus services for festivals, industrial zones, schools, colleges and pilgrim places.
Auto rickshaw is an important and frequently used mode of transport in Gujarat.