Gujarat- The Jewel of Western India
Gujarat- The Jewel of Western India

Gujarat: The Jewel of Western India

Gujarat lies on India’s western coast on the Arabian Sea. The state comprises the entire Saurashtra region while it shares its borders with Pakistan and Rajasthan in the north-east; Madhya Pradesh in the east; Maharashtra and the union territories of Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli in the south. 

Brief History

  • The state traces its history to the Indus Valley Civilisation as is proven by relics found around Sabarmati and in Indus Valley settlements of Lothal and Dholavira. 
  • Ancient Gujarat was ruled by the Mauryan Dynasty however after Ashoka’s death, the empire became weak.
  • The Mauryas were succeeded by the Sakas who reigned from AD 130 to 390.
  • The Guptas controlled the region from AD 300-400 who were succeeded by the Maitraka dynasty, followed by the Hindu rulers of Chawra, Solanki, and Baghilah races. 
  • In 1297, Alauddin Khilji expanded his rule up to Gujarat thus making it a Muslim state. 
  • Gujarat’s Muslim governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar established the first Muslim Sultanate in Gujarat.
  • Gujarat came under the Mughals when Akbar conquered it in 1576. 
  • Throughout the 1600s, the Dutch, French, English, and Portuguese established their bases along the coast of the region.
  • The British East India Company established its factory in Surat in 1614. However, later they began paying more attention to Bombay.
  • After Independence, Gujarat was combined with Maharashtra under the name of Bombay State.
  • Gujarat was created as a separate independent state in 1960.

State/District/Capital 

The westernmost state of India- Gujarat comprises 33 districts. The smallest district is Dang while the largest district is Kutch. The capital of the state is Gandhinagar while the commercial capital is Ahmedabad.

How to Reach Gujurat?

Being one of the fast-developing states, Gujarat has an efficient transport network.

By Road

  •  The state consists of 300 state highways covering 19,761 km and 13 national highways covering 3245 km.
  • The Golden Quadrilateral North-south-east-west axis of the National Highway Development Program adds to the efficiency of the National Highway network of Gujarat.
  • The state also comprises numerous expressways, 6 Lane projects, and PPP roads. 

By Train

  • Gujarat comes under the Western Railways network. 
  • The major railway stations of the state are Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot railway station. 
  • The Vadodara railway station is the busiest in the state and the 4th busiest in the country.  It connects Delhi and Mumbai. 
  • All the main cities of the state are well-connected to the metropolitan in India. 

By Air

  • The state houses a total of 17 airports.
  • The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has control over 9 airports, 3 fall under I.A.F, 2 are private airports while the remaining 2 belong to Daman and Diu, which is frequently used by people from Gujarat. 
  • The state is connected efficiently to the country as well as to a few international cities as well. 

By Water

  • Gujarat has one of the longest coastlines in India. 
  • The total length of the waterways is 324 km.
  • Waterways is the least used medium to travel but it’s efficient in transporting goods to other parts of the country as well as importing goods to other countries.

When to visit Gujurat?

  • The best time to visit Gujarat is from November to February.
  • The pleasant winter of Gujarat makes sightseeing more enjoyable and convenient than the blazing summer. 
  • The places like Gir National Park and Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park can be best explored in winters.
  • The famous Rann Utsav which reflects the rich culture of Gujarat is also observed during this time.
  • The International kite festival which attracts tourists from all over the world is also celebrated in January.

Official Language

The official language of the state is Gujarati. It is also the official language of the union territories Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and, Daman and Diu. 

Weather

  • Summer season: March to June
  • Temperature range: 49°c to 30°c 
  • Monsoon season: July to September
  • Temperature range: 35°c to 27°c 
  • Winter season: November to February
  • Temperature range:  29°c to 12°c

Fairs and Festivals of Gujarat

  • Gujarat has a rich and vibrant culture which is well reflected in its festivities.
  • Every day is like a celebration in this state. 
  • Approximately 12,365 fairs are celebrated  in the state annually.
  • The Rann Utsav, the longest-running festival in India, is observed every year in winter. This festival is a celebration of life. 
  • The International kite Festival is celebrated every year in January on the auspices day of Makar Sankranti.
  • The Modhera Dance Festival is also observed in January.
  • Many other festivals and fairs like the Polo cycle race, Bhavnath Fair, Dangs Darbar, shamlaji fair, and Kavant fair are also celebrated in the state.
  • The nine day festival of Navratri is best celebrated in Gujarat and attracts a lot of people from around the world.

Getting Around in Gujarat

  • Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) handles the passenger transport and provides buses within the state as well as the neighbouring states.
  • The GSTRC also provides other services such as intercity, interstate as well as city bus services. It also offers parcel services to transport goods.
  • Cities like Surat, Ahmedabad, and Rajkot have BRTS bus services which are rapid metro buses. These buses are cheap and very convenient.
  • Auto Rickshaws and Taxis are also available on a big scale in the state.

Top Places to visit in Gujarat 

History & Heritage

  1.  Junagadh
  2. Champaner
  3. Dholavira
  4. Dandi Beach 
  5. Statue of Unity

Spiritual

  1. Somnath temple, Somnath 
  2. Dwarkadhish temple, Dwarka
  3. Ambaji 
  4. Modhera sun temple, Modhera 
  5. Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple, Ahmedabad

Nature & Wildlife

  1. Saputara Hill station 
  2. Diu
  3. Zarwani waterfalls
  4. Wilson hills
  5. Sardar Sarovar dam 
  6. Sardar Patel zoological park
  7. Gir National Park

Cuisines to taste in Gujarat

  • The state has its traditional cuisine which is one of the oldest cuisines of India. 
  • The Gujarati food involves a unique and ingenious combination of common vegetables and spices. 
  • The speciality of Gujarati cuisine is its unique taste where sweet flavour is present is almost all dishes. 
  • Gujarati cuisine is mostly vegetarian.

Popular Foods of Gujarat

  1. Dal Dhokli
  2. Bardoli ki khichdi
  3. Aam Shrikhand with mango salad
  4. Dhokla
  5. Khandvi
  6. Undhiyu
  7. Gujarati samosa
  8. Methi ka thepla
  9. Handvo 
  10. Fafda Jalebi 
  11. Patra 
  12. Lilva kachori 
  13. Dabeli 
  14. Gujarati kadhi 
  15. Chorafali 

Things to do in Gujarat

  1. Trekking at Bhujia hill in Bhuj
  2. Enjoy the beautiful sunset at sunset point, Saputara
  3. Play water sports at Reyt Island
  4. Explore the ruins of Lothal and Dholavira
  5. Cable ride at ropeway and paragliding at Saputara
  6. Birdwatching at Vadla
  7. Stepwell in Rani ki vav in Patan
  8. Explore Buddhist caves and the edicts of Ashoka at Junagadh
  9. Visit the historical Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad
  10. Watch Asiatic lions at Gir National Park

Souvenirs to Buy In Gujarat 

A trip to Gujarat is incomplete without purchasing traditional souvenirs. The state has a variety of things to look out for. Here are some of the best souvenirs to buy in the state.

  1. Silk Patola Sarees
  2. Bandhanis and traditional Ghagra Choli 
  3. Embroidered quilts 
  4. Clothes and handicrafts with mirrored work
  5. Articles of Woodcraft
  6. Handicrafts including antiques, wall hangings, wood carvings, rosewood and ivory work knives. 

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About Riya Sharma

Content writer Literature student at Delhi University

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