Gujarat has a long
historical and cultural tradition dating back to the days of the Indus
valley civilization established by relics found at Lothal.
Situated in the western part of the Indian sub-continent, Gujarat
derives its name from the "Gurjars" who passed through Punjab
and settLed in some parts of Western India.
According to the Hindu epics, Lord Krishna and his elder brother
Balarama, evacuated Mathura and established their kingdom Kushasthali,
now known as Dwarka and started what is known as the Yadava dynasty.
Dwarka subsequently became one of the four seats (mathas) set up by
The Parsees when they fLed from Iran in the eighth century first
landed at Sanjan on the shores of Gujarat with the holy flame, which
still burns in Udwada in Valsad. The Muslim influence left its lasting
imprints on the local art and architecture and it came to be known as
the Indo-Saracenic style.
Among the earliest Europeans in Gujarat were the Portuguese who
settled in Diu, a small island off the southern coast of Saurashtra.
After that came the British who set up warehouses in Surat in 1612.
Gujarat was a part of the erstwhile Mumbai state during the British
Rule. However, in 1960, the 'Gujarati' population decided to
secede from that union, which resulted in the formation of two new
states, namely Gujarat and Maharashtra. The new State of Gujarat came
into existence on May 01, 1960.
Gujarat is the birthplace of many leaders who played an important role
in shaping modern India. Prominent among them are Shri Dadabhai
Navroji, the grand old man of India's independence struggle, Sardar
Vallabhbhai Patel, the architect of a united India and Mahatma Gandhi,
the father of the Nation. These men carried the torch of national
freedom and integration infusing the qualities of tolerance,
brotherhood, non-violence and patriotism amongst Indians.
Gujarat has been a field of
conquering races, which settled down here from time to time. From
ancient times western gateway of India has been a place where lot of
action, reaction and interaction between various ethnic and linguistic
forces has taken place, which in turn resulted in the synthesis of
many races and culture. Different races brought with them different
political institutions, unique social customs, varied cultures and
The Aryans came by land, Persians, Arabs and Africans came by sea
through Saurashtra ports for shelter, trade and at times, conquest.
Then just before and after Chinese era, lords of Kunanas, Hunas and
other tribes descended on Gujarat. The coming of these foreigners
resulted in the fusion of various cultures and traditions.
The cultural diversity of Gujarat
The people of Kachha, a low and arid region with less than 15 inches
of annual rainfall are hardy and endowed with a rare spirit of
enterprise and a wonderful gift for business organization.
The people of peninsular Saurashtra are artistic and have a wealth of
romantic and devotional literature.
The people of North Gujarat are simple, sober and more practical in
In contrast, the people of Southern Gujarat are soft, pleasure loving,
sophisticated and vivacious in their outlook.
The population of the highlands and the borderlands is wholly tribal
but hardy and simple