VIBRANT GUJARAT

Gujarat is a state on the western coast of India with a coastline of 1,600 km – most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula – and a population of 60.4 million. It is the fifth-largest Indian state by area and the ninth-largest state by population. Gujarat is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to the south, Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west. Its capital city is Gandhinagar, while its largest city is Ahmedabad. The Gujarati people of India are indigenous to the state, and their language Gujarati, is the state’s official language. The economy of Gujarat is the fifth-largest in India, with a gross state domestic product GSDP of ₹18.5 trillion and has the country’s 11th-highest GSDP per capita of ₹216,000 . Gujarat ranks 21st among Indian states in human development index. The state traditionally has low unemployment and is widely considered one of the most industrially developed states of India and a manufacturing hub.

The state encompasses some sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, such as Lothal, Dholavira and Gola Dhoro. Lothal is believed to be one of the world’s first seaports. Gujarat’s coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch and Khambhat, served as ports and trading centres in the Maurya and Gupta empires, and during the succession of royal Saka dynasties from the Western Satraps era.[citation needed] Along with Bihar, Mizoram and Nagaland, Gujarat is one of four Indian states to prohibit the sale of alcohol. The Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat is home to the only wild population of the Asiatic lion in the world

Gujarati food is primarily vegetarian. The typical Gujarati thali consists of rotli or bhakhari or thepala or rotlo, dal or kadhi, khichdi, Bhat and shak. Athanu (Indian pickle) and chhundo are used as condiments. The four major regions of Gujarat all bring their own styles to Gujarati food. Many Gujarati dishes are distinctively sweet, salty, and spicy at the same time. In the Saurashtra region, chhash (buttermilk) is believed to be a must-have in their daily food.

Gujarati folk music, known as Sugam Sangeet, is a hereditary profession of the Barot, Gadhvi and Charan communities. The omnipresent instruments in Gujarati folk music include wind instruments, such as turi, bungal, and pava, string instruments, such as the ravan hattho, ektaro, and jantar and percussion instruments, such as the manjira and zanz pot drum.

The folk traditions of Gujarat include bhavai and raas-garba. Bhavai is a folk theatre; it is partly entertainment and partly ritual, and is dedicated to Amba. The raas-garba is a folk dance done as a celebration of Navratri by Gujarati people. The folk costume of this dance is chaniya choli for women and kedia for men. Different styles and steps of garba include dodhiyu, simple five, simple seven, popatiyu, trikoniya (hand movement which forms an imagery triangle), lehree, tran taali, butterfly, hudo, two claps and many more. Sheri garba is one of the oldest form of garba where all the women wear red patola sari and sing along while dancing. It is a very graceful form of garba. Makar Sankranti is a festival where people of Gujarat fly kites. In Gujarat, from December through to Makar Sankranti, people start enjoying kite flying. Undhiyu, a special dish made of various vegetables, is a must-have of Gujarati people on Makar Sankranti. Surat is especially well known for the strong string which is made by applying glass powder on the row thread to provide it a cutting edge.

Gujarat’s natural environment includes the Great Rann of Kutch and the hills of Saputara, and it is the sole home of pure Asiatic lions in the world. During the historic reigns of the sultans, Hindu craftsmanship blended with Islamic architecture, giving rise to the Indo-Saracenic style. Many structures in the state are built in this fashion. It is also the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, great iconic figures of India’s Independence movement. Amitabh Bachchan is currently the brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism.

Gujarat has a variety of museums on different genres that are run by the state’s Department of Museums located at the principal state museum, Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery in Vadodara, which is also the location of the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum. The Kirti Mandir, Porbandar, Sabarmati Ashram, and Kaba Gandhi No Delo are museums related to Mahatma Gandhi, the former being the place of his birth and the latter two where he lived in his lifetime. Kaba Gandhi No Delo in Rajkot exhibits part of a rare collection of photographs relating to the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Sabarmati Ashram is the place where Gandhi initiated the Dandi March. On 12 March 1930 he vowed that he would not return to the Ashram until India won independence.