Gujarat (West india state)

somnath temple gujarat

The state of Gujarat which is on the west coast of India, has a long and varied history and a number of places of tourist interest. Legend has it that along the south coast are places where events in Lord Krishna's life took place and that the temple of Somnath existed even at that time. History has it that over four thousand years ago, Lotha in Gujarat, was the site of the Harappan or Indus Valley Civilization. One of the rock edicts of the great Emperor Ashoka stands even today at Junagarh.

Gujarat suffered invasions from Ghazni Mohammed and witnessed fierce battles between Moghuls and Marathas.

Daman and Diu on the coastline of Gujarat were Portuguese enclaves from about early sixteen century till as recently as 1961 though India became a Sovereign Democratic Republic in 1950. Surat, which is on the coastline of Gujarat, was an early trading point for the British. Gujarat is the birth place of the Father of modern India, Mahatma Gandhi. Gujarat is bordered on the north by Pakistan and Rajasthan, on the east by Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and on the west and south by the Arabian Sea.

Gujarat comprises an area of 19,984 sq kms and the main language spoken is Gujarati. The capital of Gujarat is Gandhinagar.

About ten percent of the total area of this state is covered by forests. The main crops grown are Jowar, Paddy, Bajra and Wheat. The others are cotton, tobacco, groundnut etc. Gujarat stands first in the production of salt. Manufacture of infant milk food and milk powder is another important industry in the state.

The Jains, by sheer dint of their business acumen and hard work, are an influential group. They have made Gujarat one of the wealthiest states in India. It has a number of textile industries. It is a shoppers' paradise for textiles. Patola silk sarees are manufactured by master craftsmen in Patan. These saris are of fine quality and very expensive.

Strict Jain vegetarianism has resulted in varied and salubrious cuisines like Kadhi (made of savoury curry of yoghurt and fine puffs flavoured with spices and finely chopped vegetables), Undhyoo (made of sweet potatoes, broad beans and aubergines), Khaman Dhokla (a salty, steamed chickpea flour cake), Doodhpak (a thick, sweetened, milk based dessert with nuts), Srikhand (a dessert made of yoghurt, saffron, cardamom, nuts and candied fruits) and Gharis (a rich sweet made of milk, clarified butter and dry fruits).

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