Gujarati people

Gujarati people (Gujarati: ગુજરાતી લોકો Gujǎrātī loko?), or Gujaratis, is an umbrella term used to describe traditionally Gujarati-speaking Indo-Aryan people who can trace their ancestry to the state of Gujarat in India.


Gujarati people are primarily located in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, specifically in the state of Gujarat. A large number of Gujaratis also inhabit the states Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh of India as well as the former Portuguese-ruled territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Additionally, the Gujarati language has been adopted by communities such as the Kacchis, who use it as their literary language, and the Parsis, who had made the Gujarat region of the Indian subcontinent their home. Ahmedabad and Vadodara are largely considered to be the cultural capitals of Gujarat.

Significant migrant Gujarati communities are found around the world. The largest expatriate Gujarati population is the former migrant-worker community in the United Kingdom. Other major Gujarati communities are found mainly in South and East Africa (most notably Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Mozambique - a substantial number of Gujaratis from this former Portuguese colony settled in Portugal after its independence) and South-East Asia (Myanmar, Malaysia). A large number of Gujaratis also live in the United States. There is also a significant community of Gujaratis in parts of Pakistan, many of whome have been settled in Sindh for generations and a sizable number which migrated after the Partition of India and subsequent creation of independent Pakistan in 1947. These Pakistani Gujaratis belong mainly to the Khoja Bohra, Charotar Sunni Vohra and Memon groups; however, many gujaratis are also a part of Pakistan's small but vibrant Hindu community . Many Gujaratis in Pakistan still have ties to relatives in Gujarat and have preserved Gurjarati as their native language, while a growing number have adopted Urdu as theirs.


The majority of Hindu and Jain Gujaratis are vegetarian. Gujarati cuisine follows the traditional Indian full meal structure of rice, cooked vegetables (curry-like in texture, lentil curry or daal and roti. The different types of rotli (breads) that a Gujarati cooks are rotli or chapati, bhakhri, thepla or dhebara, puri, maal purah and puran-pohli. Ghari and Khakhra are also eaten as rotli, but they are usually eaten as a snack. Khaman, Dhokla, dhokli, dal-dhokli, undhiyu, fafda, chevdoh, papdi, muthia, bhajia, patra, bhusu and Sev mamra are traditional Gujarati dishes savoured by many communities across the world.

Khichdi - a mix of rice and toor daal, a type of lentil, cooked with little spices in a pressure cooker - is a very favorite Gujarati meal. It is found very satisfying by most Gujaratis, and cooked very regularly in most homes, typically on a busy day due to its ease of cooking. It can also become an elaborate meal when served with several side dishes such as a vegetable curry, yogurt, papad, mango pickle, and onions. It is found to be served in Gujarati immigrant families settled abroad even after decades of being outside India.

Use of Ghee in meals is very common. For example, rice or khichdi on rotli. The meal is usually accompanied with a sweet and a salty snack (farsaan) like Vada. Gujarati cookbook writers like Tarla Dalal are famous internationally.

Gujaratis are more comfortable cooking with peanut oil (shing tel). However, while living abroad they adjust their cooking method with available canola or sunflower oil. The making of masala is traditionally done on grinding stones. Nowadays, people use a blender or grinder to make masala. Each person makes masala differently, hence cooking tastes differ depending on the household. People from north Gujarat use dry red chili powder, whereas people from south Gujarat prefer using green chili and coriander in their cooking. Gujarati Jains (and many Hindus) avoid using garlic and onions in their cooking. Traditionally Gujaratis eat Mukhwas or paan at the end of a meal. In many parts of Gujarat, having Chhass butter milk or soda after lunch or dinner is quite common. Gujarati families celebrate Sharad Purnima by having dinner with doodh-pauva under moonlight.


Indian jewelry like mangalsutras, necklaces, nose rings, earrings, bangles and rings, toe rings, bracelets are all part of the Gujarati attire. Most of this jewelry is made in 22 carat gold but with incidence of theft rising, cheaper costume jewelry is becoming more common. During weddings, Gujarati brides wear a lot of jewelry. It is common to see a Gujarati (Hindu) male wearing a gold chain and a ring.

Years ago, only married Gujarati (Hindu) women wore a red bindi (red powder worn in a round shape on the forehead also found in the form of stickers). These days, most women, married or not, wear 'bindi' as a fashion accessory when they wear traditional Indian outfits. Modern Bindis are like stickers, and are available in various shapes, sizes, colors and designs. Only married women however , wear red powder, called 'sindoor', in a short straight line on the scalp, starting near the hairline and covers the area where the hair is generally parted(middle). During a traditional Hindu wedding, the groom applies 'sindoor' on the bride for the very first time. This act can be compared to a ring ceremony in western weddings.

There are several different outfits that are worn by both men and women depending on the occasion. Generally, men wear pants and shirts or t-shirts and younger women wear normal western outfits like skirts, dresses, jeans, etc. Older women usually wear saris or salwar kamiz.

Arts, literature, and entertainment

Fabric designs involve use of Batik. The embedding of mirrors (called abhla) in fabric is a favourite among art lovers. Wall hangings demonstrate use of knitting and embedding of mirrors. Gujarati pottery includes different kinds of deeva (lamps) and pots. During the festival of Navratri, youngsters wear traditional dress and go out to play dandia and sing garbas.Typically men wear Kedia and women wear Ghaghra Cholee to dance in Navratri

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

Gujarati literature has come a long way since being pioneered by Narmad. Saraswatichandra is a landmark novel by Govardhanram Tripathi. Writers like K. M. Munshi, Suresh Dalal, Jyotindra Dave, Tarak Mehta, Harkisan Mehta, Chandrakant Bakshi, Pannalal Patel, Prahlad Brahmabhatt, Vinod Bhatt, Kanti Bhatt, Makarand Dave, Kalapi, and Varsha Adalja have influenced Gujarati thinkers.

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

Gujarati films have made artists like Upendra Trivedi, Snehlata, Raajeev, Mahesh Kumar Kanodia, Naresh Kanodia, Aruna Irani and Asrani popular in the entertainment industry. In the U.S., Bali Brahmbhatt came up with the hit song "Patel Rap", referring to changing values of Gujarati culture.

There are dedicated television channels airing Gujarati programs.

Prominent Gujarati people

Prominent personalities of Gujarati ancestry include Freddy Mercury (a Parsi), Yashvi Patel, and Ben Kingsley(Ismali Muslim father of Khoja Gujarati descent) Jiten Shukla, Prime Minister

See also


Further reading

Search another word or see Gujarati_peopleon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature