GUJARAT TOURISM GUIDE
Map: Gujarat Tourism, India
Location: West Central India
Tourist Attractions: Sabarmati Aasram, Lian of Gir
Best Time To Visit: Any Time
Located on the country’s western coast, Gujarat is bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west and southwest and Pakistan to the northwest. Rajasthan neighbours it to the north, Madhya Pradesh to the east and Maharashtra to the southeast. Gujarat has a fertile plain land in the south cut by several rivers, low hills in the west, and broad mudflats in the north that adjoin the Thar (Great Indian) Desert. A varied climate characterised by a dry northwest, scorching summers, a cold winter have made this state a land of unexplainable contrasts.
Ahmedabad is the first place to stop in Gujarat. Some of its sights include some outstanding mosques, including the Jami Masjid, Siddi Bashir’s Shaking Minarets and Sabarmati Ashram. Gujarat’s loveliest beach – and the state is well endowed with them – is Ahmedpur Mandvi whose chief attraction is the ethnic beach resort. Situated on the Gujarat Coast, Dwarka is one of the holiest centres of Hindus.
Capital of Gujarat
Gandhinagar the capital of Gujarat, is in west-central India. It lies on the banks of the Sabarmati River, north of the former capital of Ahmedabad. Laid out in 30 residential sectors, in an ordered style influenced by the work of Le Corbusier, who designed Chandigarh, its near-symmetrical numbered streets are wide and strangely quiet, lined with a total of 16 lakh trees. An expressway connects Gandhinagar with Ahmedabad.
History of Gujarat
Signs of civilization in the region that is now Gujarat date back to the period from 3000 to 1500 BC. The region was part of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BC under King Ashoka. In 1818 AD, the British East India Company took control of Gujarat by administering the state through local princely rulers. With the independence of India in 1947, Gujarat became part of the state of Bombay . In 1960, Bombay state was split and Gujarat was formed from the northern and western portions, which were predominantly Gujarati-speaking areas. The remainder of Bombay state became Maharashtra state.
The Gujarati People
Gujarat’s population is overwhelmingly Hindu, with Muslim and Jain minorities. The diverse ethnic groups may be broadly categorized as Indic (i.e., northern-derived) or Dravidian (southern-derived). The former include the Nagar Brahman, Bhatia, Bhadela, Rabari, and Mina castes (the Parsis, originally from Persia, represent a much later northern influx); among the people of southern origin are the Bhangi, Koli, Dubla, Naikda, and Macchi-Kharwa tribes. The rest of the population, including the aboriginal Bhil tribe, exhibits mixed characteristics. Members of the scheduled castes and of the aboriginal tribes form nearly one-fifth of the state’s population. Gujarati and Hindi are the state’s official languages.
Culture of Gujarat
The folklore and folk culture of Gujarat can be traced to the mythology of Krishna, an incarnation of the god Vishnu. Dances in honour of Krishna have survived in the form of the popular folk dance, the ‘garba’. A folk drama, the ‘bhavai’, also has survived. Gujarat is also famous for its art and craft products. Among the most durable and effective of the Gujarat’s cultural institutions are the trade and craft guilds known as ‘mahajans’, which often solves disputes, acted as channels of philanthropy, and encouraged the arts.
Occupation in Gujarat
Gujarat has an agricultural economy; the total crop area amounts to more than one-half of the total land area. Dairy farming, primarily concerned with milk production, is also a job sector in Gujrat. The state’s textiles, petroleum, cement, vegetable oil, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries are also highly important. New industries include the production of fertilizers and petrochemicals.
Population in Gujarat
50,596,992 as per the provisional results of the Census of India 2001.
Festivals of Gujarat
Kite Festival in January; Modhera Dance Festival in January; Rann Festival in February/March; Bhavanath Fair at Junagadh in February-March; Chitra Vichitra Fair in March; Dang Durbar in March; Janmashthami in August at Dwarka; Bhadra Purnima at Ambaji in September; the three-day Tarnetar Fair in September; Navratri festival in September; Shamlaji Fair in November; Vautha Nomelo fair in November, near Ahmedabad; Somnath Fair in November/December.
CLIMATE OF GUJARAT
The northwestern part of the state is dry, with less than 500 mm rain a year. In the southern part of Gujarat, rainfall averages 2000 mm a year. In winter, temperature average between 12° and 27° C, although freezing levels have been recorded in the state. In the summer, temperatures average between 25° and 43° C and have been known to reach as high as 48° C. Best time to visit Gujrat is October to March.
Tourist Information Offices in Gujarat
Gujarat Tourism Office: located in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Surat Gujarat Tourism, off Ashram Road, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd., Airlines House, Lal Darwaja.
Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited, Dhanraj Mahal, Apollo Bunder, Mumbai- 400 039
Toran Tourist Dormitory, Near Govt. Guest House, Dwarka, Gujarat.
Office of the Administrator, Dwarka Devasthan Samiti, Dwarkadhish Temple Trust, Gujarat