May 1 1960, as a result of the Bombay reorganization act,
1960, the state of Gujarat was formed from the north and west
portion of Bombay.
has always been a field for conquering and colonizing races.
Ethnic and linguistic movements from the northern plains and
ocean brought with them their own languages, arts and craft,
poetry, thought forms, social practices, historical
traditions, religious practices and philosophy.
spread itself into the regions of Kutch, Saurashtra and the
verdant territories between the rivers Banas and Damanganga.
These are fertile land of wheat, cotton, groundnut and banana
plantations. A large part of southern border of Gujarat is
covered with hills, which are extensions of the Western Ghats
lying outside the state.
Gir Forest, the only place where Asian Lions are found, its
recent association with Mahatma Gandhi, its fine Jain temples
at Girnar and Patitana, Ahmedabad's rich and elaborate
Indo-Serene architecture and colorful cultural scenario, make
Gujarat an interesting state from tourists' point of view.
Per Sq. km
Fair and Festivals
Dwarka, the abode of Shri Krishna. The temple, towering over
the surrounding buildings was built 1400 years ago. It has
several floors and is built of sandstone. The interior is
simple while the exterior is covered with elaborate carvings.
Janmashtami, the birthday of Shri Krishna, is celebrated with
great splendour. Rows of lights are lit everywhere, kirtans
and bhajans are sung, sermons are delivered and Krishna is
worshipped in his infant form. Thousands of people go to
Dwarka to visit the temple and participate in the fair. After
visiting the main temple, devotees go to Shankhoddhar Beyt.
There are some other important temples, both old and new.
Among these is the temple of Shank-Narayan, dedicated to the
Matsyavatar, the incarnation of Vishnu as a fish. This was
constructed over 200 years ago.
Kite Festival is always held at Ahmedabad on January 14, to
coincide with the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. It
is a joyous day, with a bright sun, clear skies and breezes
strong enough to lift innumerable kites aloft. It is in fact a
celebration to mark the end of winter, when the heat of summer
is still to come. Kites are flown all over Gujarat, and
Ahmedabad and Baroda become cities of kite-flyers, when all
other work is forgotten and cares are put aside for the
starts at dawn and continues without a pause throughout the
day. Friends, neighbors and total strangers battle one another
for supremacy and cries of triumph rend the air when someone
cuts the line of a rival. A tremendous variety of kites is
seen and the connoisseur can choose precisely what he wants.
Sun Temple, Modhera & Dance Festival
The ruins of the 11th
century Sun Temple at Modhera in North Gujarat, are an
impressive sight. It stands on a knoll in the village of
Modhera, eighteen miles south of Anhilvad, the former Hindu
capital of Gujarat.
Modhera was evidently a site of great importance at one time.
The style in which the temple was built bears a strong
resemblance to that of the Jain temples at Mount Abu. The
outer walls of the temple are covered with sculptures in which
figures of Lord Surya are naturally prominent. The idea of the
festival is to present classical dance forms in an atmosphere
similar to that in which these were originally presented. The
Dance Festival is held during the third week of January every
year, after the festival of Uttarayan.
One of the most delightful districts of Gujarat is the area
known as The Dangs. Located high in the Satpurs hills,
adjoining the borders of Maharashtra State.
The Dangs Darbar is the name of the annual fair held in Ahwa
(2000 ft from sea level) every year, a few days before Holi.
The name 'Darbar' dates back to the time of the British, when
a darbar of Rajas and Naiks of neighboring areas used to
assemble there. Today it is also called the Jamabandi Darbar,
and the District Collector officiates at it. Thousands of
tribal people flock to Ahwa from all over the district, gaily
dressed in lively colors, sounding the shehnai and beating
Darbar today attracts merchants front as far away as Nasik,
Surat and West Khandesh. Folk dances enliven the fair during
the few days it lasts. The Education Department organizes folk
dances, ras and garba program, songs and dramas.
On full moon days there is a virtual festival at Ambaji, but
the full moon of Bhadrapad is one of the four most important
festival days of the year, when agriculturists go to the
temple in their thousands, along with members of the general
public. There is a large fair on this occasion, while in the
evening performances of Bhavai are held, and garba programs
are organized. The devout attend readings of the Saptashati,
the seven hundred verses in praise of the goddess, and
visit the temple for an auspicious view, darshan, of her.
Melo (Kartik Purnima Fair)
The Shamlaji Temple is a renowned Vaishnav shrine, and the
deity housed therein is known by various names including
Gadadhar - bearer of the mace - and Shaksi Gopal.
Archaeologically, the temple is of importance, as it was built
in the 11th century. This is also called the Kartik Purnima
Fair and is held during the month of November, every year. It
lasts for about two weeks. During this period, nearly 200,000
people of all communities and castes including the Garasias
& Bhils, visit the fair.
The Trinetreshwer Mahadev
Fair at Tarnetar,
near the industrial town of Thangadh, Saurashtra, is one such
fair. It is believed that the fair has been held on this
ancient site since antiquity. 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. A pole was erected in
the center of the kund and a fish was kept rotating at the top
of the pole, at top speed.
The contestant was supposed to climb up, balance himself with
one foot on each of the two scales suspended there and looking
at the reflection of the fish in the kund, pierce its eye with
300 stalls are set up on the fair site, selling numerous
objects and offering various types of food and refreshments.
There are exhibitions of embroidery, a cattle show, and
competitive sports. The famous ras, garba and hudo are
features of the fair.
The fair during Mahashivaratri is held for five days and takes
place during February, and the events associated with it are
colorful indeed. The mahapuja of Lord Shiva takes place at
midnight, in this temple, 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 seated on
elephants, holding flags, and blowing conch shells, sounding
tungis and turis. It is firmly believed that Lord Shiva
himself visits the shrine on this occasion. Girnar is said to
be the abode of the nine Nathas, who are immortal, and
eighty-four siddhas or spiritually elevated souls all of whom
also visit the temple, in their invisible spiritual bodies.
The silver craft is a specialty of Katch, in which light
embossing is done on thin silver plates and is enhanced by
etching and scrapping. Attardanis (Perfume pots), gulabdanis
(Rose pots), flower-vases, trays, jewelry boxes, powder-boxes,
ashtrays and cigarette-boxes are some of the articles of
The folk jewelry of excellent designs, characteristic of each
village and each community is a typical art of Gujarat. Silver
jewelry is always in great demand with Rajkot and Ahmedabad
being centers for silver ornaments. For classic chunky tribal
jewelry, you should visit Poshina, en route from Ahmedabad to
Mt. Abu, where silver and imitation silver ornaments can be
brought from the tribal and native artisans for very low
& Brass Works
other paramount craft is Brass and iron works, found nowhere
better than in the former princely state of Saurashtra and
Katch where descendants of the original court swordsmiths and
jewelers, now make fine beetle nut crackers, copper coated
iron bells, knives and cutlery.
The brass industry of Jamnagar is one of the largest in India
and from Katch and Rajkot come the famous silver engravings
and ornaments that are considered so typical of Gujarat. Anjar
is a good place to buy brass and iron utensils, cutlery,
knives and scissors. You can also watch arrows being crafted
here, and pick up knives and daggers with beautiful sheaths