Welcome to gujarat
Area :- 196,024 square kms.
Capital :- Gandhinagar
Language :- Gujarati
Districts :- 25
Population :- 55,696,629
Literacy :- 69.97%
Best time to Visit : October to March
Gujarat is one of the most diverse states in India. Gujarat derives its name from the word 'Gujaratta'. Gujaratta means the land of gurjars. The gurjars were a sub-tribe of the Huns who ruled the area
The history of Gujarat that dates back to 3500 years can be known from the archaeological findings at Lothal near Dhandauka in Ahmedabad district and Razdi in Saurashtra. The earliest stone age settlements in Gujarat are situated on the margins of the South Asian zone. Some of these settlements are located at Rojadi near Rajkot and Adamgarh, near the Gujarat-Madhya Pradesh border, Sabarmati and Mahi rivers in the south. The Indus Valley and Harappa civilization has been discovered at Lothal, Rangpur, Amri, Lakhabaval and Rozdi. In 1954, these sites were discovered as one of the most remarkable Indus Valley sites in India. It seemed probably that they came by sea, occupying a settlement that was already well-established before they colonized it. The main Harappan occupation lasted from 2450 BC to 1900 BC, followed by a 300 year period of decline. In 1988, an exciting new Harappa civilization was discovered at Kuntasi, the head of the Gulf of Kutch, 30 km from Morvi in Rajkot district. Kuntasi was a port, and had a “factory” associated with it. It seems that this site hold more clues to the Harappan religious beliefs and practice. A copper ring and a spiral motif was discovered at Kuntasi, which describes about the importance of the site as a port for trade. The unusual double fortification belongs to two separate periods, the first from 2200 BC and the second from between 1900 and 1700 BC. The Rock edicts in the Girnar Hills also indicated that the Mauryan emperor Ashoka extended his domain into Gujarat. The Sakas or Scynthias (130-390 AD) controlled it after the fall of the Mauryan Empire and under Rudradaman, their empire contained Malwa, Saurashtra, Kutch and Rajasthan. During the 4th and 5th centuries it formed part of the Gupta Empire which was succeeded by the Maitraka dynasty. The Gurjara-Pratiharas ruled during the 8th and 9th centuries and were replaced by the Solanki dynasty, under whom Gujarat extended its territorial area. This was later ruled by the Vaghela dynasty before defeated by the Ala-ud-din Khalji, and the Muslim rule followed after this. Ahmad I, the first independent Muslim ruler of Gujarat founded Ahmedabad in 1411.
If you are planning a vacation in Gujarat, you must also be wondering how to reach Gujarat via the most economical as well as fast route possible. Since the state is such a charmer and a major tourist destination for people from all over the world, it is very well connected to all the major cities of the country as well as a few international locations. The strong transportation links mean that you can easily reach the state via air, rail or road, whatever suits you best. Local transportation options are also easily available, such as taxis and buses. One of the most beautiful states of India, Gujarat is a land of many marvels and if you really want to explore it to the fullest make sure to come over for a long vacation.
If you are planning to fly in to the state, read on to find out how to reach Gujarat by air. Aviation connectivity is not a problem in Gujarat since the state boasts of the highest number of domestic airports in the entire country. There are 17 airports here in total, of which the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport offers international flights. The others offer connectivity to all major cities of the country. The main domestic airports of the state include the Vadodara airport, Surat airport, Keshod airport, Porbandar airport, Rajkot airport,
If you are wondering how to reach Gujarat by train, then you would be glad to know that there are several options. All of the state is well connected to the rest of the country, and there are internal rail connections also available even when going to the most interior parts of Gujarat such as Kutch or Saurasthra. Coming under the Western Railway Zone, Gujarat is home to many railways stations, the most important and frequently used ones including the Ahmedabad Railway Station, the Vadodara Railway Station, the Rajkot Railway Station and the Surat Railway Station. There are super-fast trains available from places such as Delhi and Mumbai. Make sure that you have your
If you love road trips then you must be wondering how to reach Gujarat by road, and there are several ways for you to choose from. Thanks to some of the best maintained roads of the country, Gujarat is well connected to several locations across the country. Indeed, some of these roads are major 2 lane or 4 lane highways, which are an absolute delight to drive on. Depending on where you are coming from, you can hire a taxi to take you to Gujarat or buy a bus ticket. From the air conditioned super luxury private buses with a bathroom on board to the simply functional state run buses, the choice is yours to make based on your requirements and budget. You could also opt
The prosperous state of Gujarat is inhabited by natives commonly referred to as ‘Gujaratis’. Richness of cultural traditions, moneyed inheritance characterizes the population of Gujarat. Civilizing traits, socialization and adherence to cultural norms are also additional traits and attributes characterizing the Gujarati people. The Gujaratis are a part of an Indo-Aryan ethnic group of the country. At present the population of the state of Gujarat consists of both native Guajarati and refugees from other states. The Gujaratis communicate in 3 Indian languages such as Gujarati, Sindhi, and Urdu. There are 11 sub-linguistic variants to the non-standard Gujarati speech. Several environmental factors influence this linguistic distinction.
Origin of the People Inhabiting Gujarat
The people of Gujarat owe their lineage to the Gujaratis. The Gujaratis are believed to have accompanied the Huns when they migrated to India and finally got settled in Gujarat as the ancestral Gujarati tribe. Apart from the main Gujarati tribe, the state is inhabited by several ethnic tribes/groups such as Kolis, Bhils, Naikda, Dhubla, and Macchi-Kharwa. According to historical records Aryans encroached upon Gujarat by conquering the Bhils who were living in the state originally. The Bhils are said to be Gujarat’s traditional inhabitants. In the medieval era, immigration took place in the state bringing forth Zoroastrianism and Islam into Gujarat and that paved the way for a multi-religious and multi-lingual society within the state
Gujarat is one of the diverse and most beautiful state in India. Thousand of small and big fairs and festivals are celebrated in different parts of Gujarat every year. The festivals are based on the lunar or solar calendar. These festivals are observed with great enthusiasm and fun in which the people of all caste and religion participate. Today, these festivals are perhaps the only occasion that represents the true tradition and culture of Gujarat. Some of the fairs and festivals which are celebrated in Gujarat throughout the year are International Kite Festival, Diwali, Holi, Janmashtami, Kutch Mahotsava, Navratri, Shamlaji Fair, Modhera Dance Festival, Tarnetar Fair, Bhadra Purnima and Vautha Fair.
International Kite Festival
The International Kite Festival is celebrated on 14th January, that coincide with the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. The festival is celebrated to mark the end of winter. On this day, the kites flew all over Gujarat, including Ahmedabad and Baroda. The people eat the special food on this day in the open field or in the park or in the garden of one’s home. This festival marks the movement of the sun into the northern hemisphere. The gods who are believed to have gone in a long sleep for six long months awake and the portals of heaven are thrown open. The visitors visit the temples and alms are distributed freely. The kite flying starts at dawn and continues without a pause throughout the day. Friends, neighbours and total strangers battle one another for supremacy and cries of triumph fill the air when they cut each other kites. The thread which is used to fly the kites are specially prepared by experts before the final day. Special mixtures of glue and ground glass cover the thread which is dried and then rolled onto reels known as firkees. In the night, various illuminated box kites, known as tukkals, fly in the sky. Today, the International Kite Festival is famous all over the world. This festival enables the people of Ahmedabad to see the unusual kites brought by the visitors, some of which are truly works of art.
Modhera Dance Festival
The Modhera Dance Festival is held during the third week of January every year, after the festival of Uttarayan. This festival is celebrated at the Sun Temple in Modhera. The style in which the temple was built bears a strong resemblance to that of the Jain temples at Mount Abu. The decision to celebrate the annual festival of Indian classical dances was taken by the Department of Culture, Gujarat, and the West Zone Cultural Centre at the Sun Temple. The idea was to present classical dances in an atmosphere similar to that in which these were originally presented.
The Kutch Mahotsava is usually organized during February and March each year. This mahotsava is organized by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited in order to promote tourism in Kutch. In this festival, the visitors are taken on a six day tour of Kutch. This tour is known as a mahotsava, or great festival, because of the great variety of sights and scenes that are offered to visitors. Kutch has everything to offer to its visitors like the colourful people, historic towns and remarkable handicrafts.
Bhavnath Mahadev Fair
The Bhavnath Mahadev Fair is held for five days during Mahashivratri in the month of February. This fair is held at the Bhavnath Mahadev Temple, located at the foot of Girnar hill in Junagadh. The events which are associated with the fair are very colourful. The Mahapuja of Lord Shiva is held in this temple at midnight, on the 14th day of the dark half of the month of Magh. When the puja starts, naga bavas (naked sages) living nearby move towards the fair on elephants, holding flags and blow conch shells, that sound tungis and turis. It is also believed that Lord Shiva himself visits the shrine on this occasion. During this fair, the visitors are served free meals by the organizers. In the fair there are special stalls that sell idols, sarees brought by vendors from Ayodhya and Mathura, utensils of brass and copper, sweets and fruits.
The spring festival of Holi is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna. While Diwali marks the end of the monsoon and therefore the agricultural season of the Kharif crop, Holi marks the agricultural season of the Rabi crop. The next day after Holi is celebrated as Dhuleti (Dhuli Padvo) when people throw colour powder at each other and make merry.
On the festival of Balev or Raksha Bandhan, the Brahmins change their sacred threads. On the same day sisters tie Rakhi on their brother's wrist wishing them a happy life. The day is also celebrated as Nariyeli Poonam in the coastal areas of the State, where people worship the sea offering coconuts.
Saptak Music Festival
Saptak Music Festival of Indian classical music is usually conducted on the first week of January in Ahmedabad every year. This festival was inaugurated by Pandit Ravi Shankar in 1980. The musical event is organised by a public charitable trust which runs the Saptak School of Music. This festival which spans the first 11 days of January, showcases the best talent of more than hundred musicians.
Janmashtami, the birthday of Shri Krishna, is celebrated with great splendour in Dwaraka. The main deity of Dwaraka is Shri Krishna. During the festival, the pilgrims visit the temple in Dwaraka from all parts of India and abroad. In this festival, the rows of lights are lit everywhere, kirtans and bhajans are sung, sermons are delivered and Krishna is worshipped in his infant form. After visiting the main temple, devotees visit the Shankhoddhar Beyt.
Bhadra Purnima Fair
The Bhadra Purnima Fair is held for three days in the month of September, every year. This fair is held on the full moon of Bhadrapad at the temple of the goddess Ambaji in Ambaji. Ambaji is the principal shrine of the goddess Ambaji in Gujarat. The deity is represented by a triangular Vishwa yantra, inscribed with figures and the syllable ‘Shree’ in the centre and there is no idol. This fact testifies the temple’s antiquity that the tourists visit the temple during the fair as an essential part of their lives. On this day, the various agriculturists and general public visit the temple. In the evening the Bhavai and garba dances are performed. The devotee attend readings of the Sapatashati, the seven hundred verses in praise of the goddess, and visit the temple for an auspicious view of the deity.
The Shamlaji Fair, also known as the Kartik Purnima Fair is held during the month of November, every year. This fair is held in Shamlaji, about 80 kms from Ahmedabad. The Shamlaji Temple is a renowned Vaishnav shrine, and the deity housed therein is known by various names as Gadadhar, bearer of the mace and Shaksi Gopal. The Shamlaji Fair is celebrated for about two weeks. About 200,000 people of all communities and castes including the Garasia and Bhil tribes visit the fair. The visitors come here from the adjoining districts and from Rajasthan. Besides visiting the deity in the temple, they also take a bath in the river Meshwo. The visitors usually come in groups, and sing devotional songs, carrying religious banners.
The Tarnetar Fair, also known as the Trinetreshwar Mahadev Fair is held at Tarnetar, near the industrial town of Thangadh, Saurashtra. This fair is one of the most important fair of Gujarat. The local as well as the tribal people gather from all over Gujarat to participate in the various activities that take place at the fair. It is believed that the fair is held on this ancient site since antiquity. The fair is also one of the most important matchmaking melas as the tribal youths visit Tarnetar to find a suitable match. Its association with the Mahabharat is underlined by the fact that the area was known as Panchal Pradesh, the land to which Draupadi belonged. The fair is linked with the story of Draupadi’s Swayamvar and it is said that it was at this place that the great archer Arjuna performed the difficult task that won him his bride. Over 300 stalls are set up in the fair, that sell numerous objects and offer various types of food and refreshments. There are exhibitions of embroidery, a cattle show, competitive sports, family planning stall, merry-go-rounds and photographer’s stall. The folk music and dances like the Garba ras and hodo are the main features of the fair.
Navratri, that means ‘nine nights’ is an ancient, colourful and religious festival of Gujarat. This festival is celebrated to honour the one Divine Shakti or Force which supports the entire universe and is personified as the Mother Goddess. The Mother Goddess protects her worshippers, destroys evil and grants boons to her children. Navratri is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm throughout the Gujarat, but in Ahmedabad and Baroda, Garba and Dandia dances are performed. This festival is celebrated with true devotion in the various temples which are dedicated to the Mother Goddess. In this festival, the women perform the Garba dance or the circular dance around an earthenware pot called a garbo which is filled with water. A betel nut and a silver coin are placed within the pot, on the top of which a coconut is placed. As the dancers whirl around the pot, a singer and a drummer also accompanies them. The participants clap in a steady rhythm. The dance usually starts slowly and gets fast with the music. In large public areas, group of musicians sing the traditional garba songs. The Dandia ras or ‘stick’ dance is also performed during Navratri. Both the men and women perform the dance in circle, holding small polished sticks or dandies. As per the rhythm of the dance, men and women strike the dandies together, adding to the joyous atmosphere. These dances are so popular that sometimes competitions are held and prizes are given to the best dancer. The dancers worn the traditional costumes, alive with colour. The dances usually commence late in the night and continue until early morning. A Bhavai dance is also performed in the Ambaji temple at Baroda, during Navratri.
Vautha Fair is a magnificent fair that is held every year at Vautha, where two rivers, Sabarmati and Vatrak meet. This fair is considered to be one of the largest fairs in Gujarat. According to the legends the Kartik Swami or Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva, visited the site. This fair is held during Kartika Purnima, the full moon night of the month of Kartik, corresponding to the month of November for 2 to 3 days. The pilgrims who visit Vautha during the fair come from several communities and include farmers, laborers and people belonging to several castes. This fair is visited by Hindus and Muslims in very large numbers. This fair is also one of the major animal trading fair in Gujarat. In this fair, about 4000 donkeys are brought every year for sale, usually by Banjara traders.
Madhavrai Fair at Madhavpur near Porbandar is held to celebrate the marriage of Lord Krishna and Rukmini, on the 9th day of the bright half of the month of Chaitra (March/April).
The Urs at Shah Alam Roza in Ahmedabad and at Miran Datar in the Mehsana district are most important fairs for Muslims.
Diwali, the festival of lights is a four-day festival celebrated in the month of Asvina, which marks the end of the harvesting season. The first day of the festival starts with the Lakshmi Puja. The second day is considered as the day of casting off evils. The third day is the main Diwali day. On this day every home is illuminated with earthen lamps and the courtyards are decorated with Rangoli designs. The fourth and the last day is the New year day for the Gujarati's when people visit temples in colourful costumes and greet each other. The day following the new year day is called the Bhai bij day when brothers are invited by their sisters to partake of sweets with them. The full moon day of the Kartika month, with its preceding eleventh (ekadashi) day is called the Dev-Diwali. On these days the marriage of the Tulsi plant with the Shaligram, symbolising Lord Vishnu, is celebrated in every Hindu home in Gujarat. It also marks the end of the fast, observed for the four months of rainy season, during which Hindus, mostly ladies, miss a meal on every Ekadashi day.