Gujarat: A State of Heritage, Industry and Festivity

Gujarat is a multifaceted state or rather a state of mind. The geography of Gujarat is spread across only 196,024 sq km, but in reality a microcosm of Gujarat lies inside the minds and hearts of millions of Gujaratis, settled outside their state in India or abroad. They are never far from their own Gujarat.

Gujarat cherishes its yesterdays and tackles the challenges of its tomorrows with an easy panache; that is symbolic of the spirit of entrepreneurship of the Gujarati people at large. On the one hand, the dynamic state has the distinction of being the most industrialized state of India, on the other hand it preserves its customs and traditions with rare dignity, and celebrates its age-old festivities with uncommon exuberance, as it has been doing since thousands of years…Gujarat changes everyday, and yet keeps its essential socio-cultural fabric intact, thereby inducing the people to explore.

The business and economy of Gujarat is thriving with the energy of entrepreneurship, and it comes as no wonder that the state accounts for 19.8 percent of the country's industrial output, and 20 percent of the country's exports. But besides Dhirubhai Ambani, it is also the state of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, and strangely the essential traits of these two great men are infused to a lesser degree among its sundry populace. They are not only outward looking with a global view, but also inward probing, and this reflects in the predominance of religious climate across the state. A temple tour of this state can help you easily gauge that the state has had a track record of taking its spiritualism seriously.

Navaratri is the most important religious festival of Gujarat, which is characterized by Garba and Ras Dandiya dances. They are social dances with religious flavours and are among the most important dances of Gujarat. They are also an occasion to showcase the colourful costumes of Gujarat. When Gujarat dances, it really dresses well and loud. These dance forms are essential part or rather exports of the culture of Gujarat as are the state's folk dances like Bhavai, and the exquisite handicrafts of Gujarat.

Without having a glimpse of the artisans working on Patola silk sarees and zari embroidery works, your visit to Gujarat wouldn't be complete; and neither it would be without tasting srikhand and dhokla. The latter two are among the many delectable cuisines of Gujarat. In fact, the tourism of Gujarat is not only about temples and festivals, but also about its forts, palaces, wildlife, handicrafts and cuisines, all of which together can afford a fascinating experience.

The history of Gujarat has been subjected to influences of various civilizations, which have shaped its pluralistic culture. Though Gujarat, as a modern state of the Indian Union, took its birth only in 1960, but at the same time it is an ancient land, whose history reaches the Indus Valley Civilization. The ruined city of Lothal was an important port-town during the Harappan age. The languages of Gujarat include Hindi, Sindi and English, but the predominant language is of course Gujarati. Across the state, various dialects of Gujarati are also spoken, which have been enriched after borrowing from Arabian, Persian, Portuguese, Hindi and English.

The politics of Gujarat had a dominance of Indian National Congress till the middle of the last decade, but for more than a decade or so, the right-centric party of BJP is holding political power in the state. The Gujarat carnage of 2002 has left a scar in the socio-political environment of Gujarat, which the present establishment in Gujarat would find mighty hard to erase.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/04

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