Gujarat is an Indian state in the western portion of the country. It has a coastline of 1600 kilometers and covers an area of 75686 sq. meters. Gandhinagar is its capital city and the language spoken is Gujarati. The state has a population of more than 60 million. India’s father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, belonged to Gujarat and his Sabarmati Ashram lies here. He was a key figure in the Indian Independence struggle during the British Raj.
Gujarat has been the economic backbone of India throughout the history of India. The state is dotted with industries and its GDP is double of that of the national average. The Mauryan and Gupta dynasties were prominent in the state’s history and used the ports of Bharuch for trading. Gujarat dedicated many freedom fighters during the British rule and played an important role in shaping the freedom struggle.
Why Visit Gujarat
Gujarat houses many ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization, such as Dholavira and Lothal. Dholavira is also known as Kotada Timba and is one among the largest architectural sites present in the country. It is located in the district of Kutch. Gola Dhoro was excavated recently, and this site dates back to 2500 BC.
The famous religious sites in Gujarat include the Dwarkadheesh Temple in Dwarka, the Palitana Temple, the Somnath Temple, Sun Temple, Shankheshwar Jain Temples, the Patan, Girnar, Ambaji, Dakor, and Becharaji temples, the Sidi Saiyyed Mosque and Chotila.
Exploring the Culture of Gujarat
The state is famous for its Bhakti movement which emphasizes on dispelling the hatred between Hindus and Muslims and advocates the presence of a single God. Mahatma Gandhi focused on this particular idea throughout his freedom struggle. Hinduism is a prominent religion in the state. The various sects developed in the state are Swaminarayan Sampraday, Pasumata Shaivism, and the Bhakti Movement. The other religions that are practiced in the state are Jainism, which is a major religion after Hinduism, Islam and Zoroastrianism.
Gujarat is famous for its festivals and more than one thousand festivals are celebrated in the state. The Nasiad Santaram Mandir Mela and the Bhavnath Mahadev Mela are celebrated in the month of February. The Bhavnath Mahadev Temple is situated in the district of Junagadh; Lord Shiva is worshipped here at midnight. The Dangs Darbar and the Chitra Vichitra Mela are celebrated in the month of March. The Chita Vichitra Mela is attended by more than 60,000 to 70,000 Adivasis each year after Holi. The sight of this Mela is a captivating one as it overlooks the Akul, Vyakul and Sabarmati rivers.
Gujarati literature can be traced to 1000 AD. Some of the famous Gujarati literature laureates are Shamal Bhatt, Mirabai, Premanand Bhatt, Dalpatram, Dayaram, Narmad, Gandhiji, Suresh Joshi and more.
Facts for Tourists
Most of the museums in the state are closed on Mondays and archeological sites on Fridays; so run a primary check before arriving at the place. Women are advised not to wear revealing clothes when they visit temples and other sites. The use of narcotic substances and alcohol is prohibited in the state and is punishable by law.