It's not one of India's most visited regions, but Gujarat was good enough for Krishna and Gandhi to hang out there, and has long been an important centre for Jains. Today, Gujarat is one of India's wealthiest states, supporting modern industrial complexes as well as thriving village handicrafts. The last Asiatic lions are here, and the pleasant beaches are just perfect for plonking down with a scoop of wonderful Gujarati ice cream.

Gujarat has endured the longing gaze of many conquerors: Moghuls, Marathas, the Portuguese and the British have all rubbed their acquisitive hands while peering at the area's enticing perch on the Arabian Sea. Two hundred years of Muslim rule from the 13th century was initially marred by destructive impulses but later led to a fruitful amalgamation of Muslim, Jain and Hindu architecture, giving rise to the unique building styles still apparent in the area today. Surprisingly, the British were the least successful interlopers, the eastern portion of Gujarat surviving British rule as a collection of princely states right up to Independence. In 1960 the current borders of Gujarat were established, creating today's linguistically unified state.

Gujarat is a key state in Western India. It is the home of over 41 million people (to be precise 42,232,000), known as Gujaratis. The state of Gujarat comprises of 19 districts or "Jillas ". It lies to the North east of the Gulf of Cambay. On its western and southwestern boundaries lies the Arabian sea. To the northwest lies the country of Pakistan. Northeast of the state borders with Rajasthan, east of the state borders with the state of Madhya Pradesh. To the southeast is the state of Maharashtra. Gandhinagar is the capital of the state.

Gujarat is an ancient land whose access to the sea has helped develop it into a thriving economic state. The boundaries of the state of gujarat has gone through many changes. Gujarat became an autonomous state in India on May 1, 1960. The present day area of gujarat was ruled by the Gurjars, hence the name Gujarat, who most likely descended from the Shaka tribe which entered India in the fifth Century A.D. Gujarat has been known in the past as Gurjaratra, Gujjaratta and Gjrjar Desha. Travelers and traders from the Arab countries pronounced Gurjar as "Guzra" from which came Guzrat and later turned into Gujarat.

The modern state of Gujarat, was created in 1960 to preserve the Gujarati Culture. It was a part of the erstwhile Bombay State. After 1960 it split into two states namely - Gujarat and Maharashtra. Gujarat is the industrial hub of India. It leads all other states in India in terms of industrial investment. On the other hand, it is also very rich agriculturally. The state's prime agricultural produce include Cotton, Groundnut and tobacco. From the Charotar region, where tobacco grows in abundance hail the DOLLAR PATELS, now an integral part of the USA. The state has prospered throughout the history because of it's proximity with the Indian ocean and neighboring countries.


Getting There & Getting Around

Ahmedabad is the hub of Gujarat's transport network. There is an international airport here with direct flights to the UK and the USA, as well as frequent flights to Delhi, Goa, Madras and Mumbai (Bombay). Plenty of buses operate around Gujarat and to neighbouring states, ranging from standard-issue battered meat wagons to luxury air-con private fleets. Ahmedabad is not on the main broad-gauge railway line between Delhi and Mumbai, but there are frequent connections to both of these cities as well as to Palitana, Kutch and Jamnagar, and elsewhere within Gujarat.

The people

In the ancient times "Gurjars" a caste of people came to this part of India and settled down and hence the land was called "Gurjari". Later in modern times this changed to Gujarat by which it is currently known. Gujarat is the birth place of many who played an important role is shaping modern India. The list of illuminaries is endless. Dayanand Saraswati the founder of the Arya Samaj belongs to this state and so does the Ironman of India - Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. But in modern times no Indian so completely captured the Indian masses and had such a deep effect on so many throughout the world as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948). The state will always be remembered as the birthplace of the FATHER OF THE NATION - Mahatma Gandhi.

The people of Gujarat are found in almost every nook and corner of the globe. In general "Gujaratis " are very courageous and enterprising entrepreneaurs. Mainly involved in trade and professional services, Gujaratis are very peaceful and hard working.Gujaratis are found in almost any country from Fiji to Finalnd! Gujaratis' are mainly vegetarians and also by law no alcohol can be sold in the state in order to revere the Father of the Nation - however sadly enough this is not so true and enforcement of the law is very weak.

The literature

People of Gujarat speak Gujarati, which like many Indian languages is derived from Sanskrit, the mother of almost all languages in India. The literature of Gujarat is rich in poetry. Narsinh Mehta is considered to be the pioneer of Gujarati poetry. The great poet is believed to have lived in the town of Junagadh on the west coast of Gujarat in the earlier part of the 15th century. Even today in Gujarat his poems are in integral part of the curriculum in Gujarati. Much work in the Gujarati literature has its origins mainly in 15th through 19th century. Zaverchand Meghani a great patriotic poet once said "the literature of any language reflects the culture of its people." The words are as true today as they were then.

Even in the modern times, after independence, the quality of literature has not dwindled even though the contexts in which literature is written have changed. While being very contemporary it has been able to blend the traditional in it remarkably well. It has also benefitted from a new breed of people I term as thinkers - the most noteworthy being none other than Chandrakant Bakshi. Although my favorite author till date is the well known humorist Tarak Mehta.

Information has been compiled using a variety of sources including: