Gujarat

Akshardham Temple Akshardham Temple
Capital : Gandhinagar
Largest city : Ahmedabad
District(s) : 26
Language(s) : Gujarati
Established : 1960-05-01

Gujarat is a state in the Republic of India. With 19.8% of the country's total industrial output, it is the most industrialized state in India. Gujarat borders Pakistan, and the states of Rajasthan to the north-east, 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". 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.

History
The name of the state is derived from Gujarata (Gurjar Rashtra), which means Gurjar nation. Gurjars were an old clan that was present even during the Mahabharata period, according to another theory, they are one of the Central Asian tribes that migrated to India beginning from around the first century BC. 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 until the invasion by the Muslim rulers of Delhi in the late thirteenth century, it was ruled by the Solanki dynasty.
Historically, the state of Gujarat has been one of the main centres 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 Hindi and Buddhist  states such as the Western Satrap, Gupta Dynasty, Satvahana Dynasty, Rashtrakuta Emoire, Chalukya Dynasty, Pala Empire and Guajra-Pratihara Empire as well as the Solankis and the Maitrakas.
1297 AD – 1850 AD
Dutch Garden Dutch Garden
In 1297 to 1298 Ala ud din Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, destroyed 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 governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar asserted his independence, and his son, Sultan Ahmed 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 conquered it and annexed it to the Mughal Empire. It remained a province of the Mughal empire until the Marathas sacked eastern and central Gujarat in the eighteenth century; Western Gujarat (Kathiawar and Kutch) were divided among numerous local rulers.



1614 AD - 1947 AD

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 British acquired it from Portugal in 1668. The Company wrested control of much of Gujarat from the Marathas during the Second Anglo-Maratha War. 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 dozens of princely states, but several districts in central and southern Gujarat, namely Ahmedabad, Broach (Bharuch), Kaira, Panch Mahals, and Surat, were ruled directly by British officials.

Geography
Gujarat is the westernmost state of India. It is bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west and southwest, and Pakistan to the north. 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. The capital Gandhi Nagar 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.

People
Somnath Temple Somnath Temple
Gujarat is home to number of groups that settled from outside including Huns, Sakas, Muslims (Turks, Persians, Arabs, Pashtuns). 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. Gujarat is divided mostly along Hindu caste lines. The largest Hindu caste is Koli or Koli Patel which makes up 20% of the population. The second largest Hindu caste is Patidar or Kanbi which makes up roughly 15% of the population. Other major Hindu caste groups are Brahmin, Vaishnava, Suthar,Luhar,Kadiya,Kumbhar,Adivasi, Rajput, Vaniya, Anavil, Harijan, Lohana, and number of other small sub-castes. The two largest Hindu caste, Koli and Kanbi, are distributed throughout Gujarat while other are found only in certain areas of Gujarat. e.g. Anavil are mainly found in South Gujarat while Lohanas are found in Saurashtra region.

Tourism
Gujarat has a wealth of tourist spots. It has several temples, sunny beaches, the rann of kachchh, historic sites, beautiful cities, national parks, and sanctuaries.

National parks and sanctuaries
Gujarat has 4 National parks and 21 sanctuaries which include: Balaram-Ambaji, Nal Sarovar, Anjal, Barda, Jessore, Jambughoda, Kachchh Desert, Khavda, Paniya, Narayan Sarovar, Purna, Rampura, Ratanmahal, and Surpaneshwar.

Gujarat is the only home of Asiatic Lions. Outside Africa, Gujarat is the only 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.

Historic sites
Lakhota Fort & Lake Lakhota Fort & Lake
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. Lothal is the site of the ancient ruins of the first Indian port, dating from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization.

While the city of Ahmedabad is a large and fast-growing modern metropolis, it was also the home of the Indian Independence Movement, with the Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi a standing legacy. Other major tourist sites include Palitana, Diu, Kutch, Jamnagar, Junagadh, and Rajkot in the region of Saurashtra; and Champaner and Pavagarh in the Panchmahal district.