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Gujarat is a state in Western India, sometimes referred to as the Jewel of Western India.It has an area of 196,024 km2 (75,685 sq mi) with a coastline of 1,600 km (990 mi), most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula, and a population in excess of 60 million. The state is bordered by Rajasthan to the north, Maharashtra to the south, 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. Gujarat is home to the Gujarati-speaking people of India.The state encompasses some sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, such as Lothal and Dholavira. 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, whose geographic territories included Saurashtra and Malwa: modern Gujarat, South Sindh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh states.

The earliest human settlements in Gujarat belong to the Indus Valley Civilization. With the discovery of a large Harappan site of Dholavira in Kutchh District, the history of Gujarat dates back to 5000 BC. Lothal(early Harappan town dating back to 3000 BC) has been established as the oldest known port of the world. Gujarat’s coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch, served as ports and trading centers in the Nanda, Maurya, Satavahana and Gupta empires as well as Western Kshatrapas period. After the fall of the Gupta empire in the 6th century, Gujarat flourished as an independent Hindu/Buddhist states. The Maitraka dynasty, descended from a Gupta general, ruled from the 6th to the 8th centuries from their capital at Vallabhi, although they were ruled briefly by Harsha during the 7th century. The Arab rulers of Sindh sacked Vallabhi in 770, bringing the Maitraka dynasty to an end. The Gurjara-Pratihara Empire ruled Gujarat after from the 8th to 10th centuries. As well as, for some periods the region came under the control of Rashtrakuta Empire and Pala Empire.During the 10th century, the native Solanki dynasty came to power. Under the Solanki dynasty, Gujarat reached to its greatest extent. The Solankis are believed to be descended from the ancient Chalukya dynasty.The Solanki Dynasty ruled Gujarat until the 13th century.From 1297 to 1300, Allauddin Khilji, the Turkic Sultan of Delhi, destroyed Anhilwara and incorporated Gujarat into the Delhi Sultanate. After Timur’s sacking of Delhi at the end of the 14th century weakened the Sultanate, Gujarat’s Rajput Muslim governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar asserted his independence, and his son, Sultan Ahmed Shah (ruled 1411 to 1442), restructured Ahmedabad as the capital. Cambay eclipsed Bharuch as Gujarat’s most important trade port. The Sultanate of Gujarat remained independent until 1576, when the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great conquered it and annexed it to the Mughal Empire. The port of Surat become the prominent and main port of India during Mughal rule. Gujarat remained a province of the Mughal empire until the Marathas occupied eastern and central Gujarat in the 18th century; Western Gujarat (Kathiawar and Kutch) were divided among numerous local rulers.
Later in the 18th century, Gujarat came under control of the Maratha Empire who dominated the politics of India. Pilaji Gaekwad, first ruler of Gaekwad dynasty, established the control over Baroda and much of Gujarat. After the Battle of Panipat in 1761, all Maratha generals established themselves as an autonomous government while keeping the nominal authority of the Peshwas of Pune and the Chhatrapati in Satara. The British East India Company wrested control of much of Gujarat from the Marathas during the Second Anglo-Maratha War. Many local rulers, notably the Maratha Gaekwads of Baroda (Vadodara), made a separate peace with the British and acknowledged British sovereignty in return for retaining local self-rule. Gujarat was placed under the political authority of the Bombay Presidency, with the exception of Baroda state, which had a direct relationship with the Governor-General of India. From 1818 to 1947, most of present-day Gujarat, including Kathiawar, Kutch, and northern and eastern Gujarat were divided into hundreds of princely states, but several districts in central and southern Gujarat, namely Ahmedabad, Broach (Bharuch), Kaira (Kheda), Panchmahal, and Surat, were ruled directly by British officials. Mohandas Gandhi, considered India’s “father of the nation”, was a Gujarati who led the Indian Independence Movement against the British colonial rule.Gujarat was formed by splitting Bombay state in 1960 on linguistic lines. From 1960 to 1995, Indian National Congress retained power in Gujarat legislative assembly while other political parties ruled for incomplete terms in the 1970s and 1990. Bharatiya Janata Party has been in the power from 1998 to present times

Mango

The mango is a juicy stone fruit (drupe) belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees, cultivated mostly for edible fruit. The majority of these species are found in nature as wild mangoes. They all belong to the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to South Asia,from where it has been distributed worldwide to become one of the most cultivated fruits in the tropics. The center of diversity of the Mangifera genus is in India.While other Mangifera species (e.g. horse mango, Mangifera foetida) are also grown on a more localized basis, Mangifera indica—the “common mango” or “Indian mango”—is the only mango tree commonly cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions.It is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, and the national tree of Bangladesh.

Asiatic lion

The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), also known as the Indian lion or Persian lion,is a lion subspecies that exists as a single population in India’s Gujarat state. It is listed as Endangered by IUCN due to its small population size.Since 2010, the lion population in the Gir Forest National Park has steadily increased.In May 2015, the 14th Asiatic Lion Census was conducted over an area of about 20,000 km2 (7,700 sq mi); the lion population was estimated at 523 individuals, comprising 109 adult males, 201 adult females and 213 cubs.

Greater flamingo

The greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. It is found in Africa, Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and southern Europe.This is the largest species of flamingo, averaging 110–150 cm (43–59 in) tall and weighing 2–4 kg (4.4–8.8 lb). The largest male flamingos have been recorded at up to 187 cm (74 in) tall and 4.5 kg (9.9 lb).It is closely related to the American flamingo and Chilean flamingo, with which it has sometimes been considered conspecific.

Marigold

Tagetes is a genus of annual or perennial, mostly herbaceous plants in the sunflower family (Asteraceae or Compositae). It was described as a genus by Linnaeus in 1753.The genus is native to North and South America, but some species have become naturalized around the world. One species, T. minuta, is considered a noxious invasive plant in some areas.

Gujarat has seventeen airports. The Gujarat Civil Aviation Board (GUJCAB) has been formed to foster development of aviation infrastructure in Gujarat. The Board is headed by the Chief Minister.Gujarat comes under the Western Railway Zone of the Indian Railways. Vadodara Railway Station is the busiest railway station in Gujarat and the fourth busiest railway station in India. It is situated on the Mumbai – Delhi Western Railway Mainline. Other important railway stations are Surat railway station, Ahmedabad Railway Station and Rajkot Railway Station. Indian Railways is planning Delhi–Mumbai dedicated rail freight route passing through the state.

Work on Rs 1,100 crore (Rs 11 billion) first phase of the metro rail project in Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar started by 2011 and the line is expected to be operational within 2–3 years.[needs update] The first phase of the metro rail project will cover a distance of 32.65 kilometre in the north-south direction between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad and 10.90 kilometre east-west corridor between Kalupur and Thaltej.Gujarat State has the longest sea coast of 1600 km in India. Kandla Port is one of the largest ports serving Western India. Other important ports in Gujarat are the Port of Navlakhi, Port of Magdalla, Port Pipavav, Bedi Port, Port of Porbandar, Port of Veraval and the privately owned Mundra Port.Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) is the primary body responsible for providing the bus services within the state of Gujarat and also with the neighbouring states. It is a public transport corporation providing bus services and public transit within Gujarat and to the other states in India. Apart from this, there are a number of services provided by GSRTC.Auto rickshaws are common mode of transport in Gujarat. The Government of Gujarat is promoting bicycles to reduce pollution.

Cuisine

Gujarati food is primarily vegetarian. It is believed to be one of the healthiest cuisines in India.It has been portrayed in eminent Bollywood films, including the 2009 feature film 3 Idiots.The typical Gujarati thali consists of roti or bhakri, dal or kadhi, rice and sabzi. 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 Saurashtra region, chass (buttermilk) is believed to be a must-have in their daily food.

Literature

Gujarati literature’s history may be traced to 1000 AD. Since then literature has flourished till date. Well known laureates of Gujarati literature are Hemchandracharya, Narsinh Mehta, Mirabai, Akho, Premanand Bhatt, Shamal Bhatt, Dayaram, Dalpatram, Narmad, Govardhanram Tripathi, Mahatma Gandhi, K. M. Munshi, Umashankar Joshi, Suresh Joshi, Pannalal Patel and Rajendra Shah.Kavi Kant, Zaverchand Meghani and Kalapi are famous Gujarati poets.Gujarat Vidhya Sabha, Gujarat Sahitya Sabha, and Gujarati Sahitya Parishad are Ahmedabad based literary institutions promoting the spread of Gujarati literature. Saraswatichandra is a landmark novel by Govardhanram Tripathi. Writers like Kavi Nanalal, Sundaram, Aanand Shankar Dhruv, Khabardar, Balwantray Thakore, Ramesh Parekh, Suresh Dalal, Harindra Dave, Jyotindra Dave, Tarak Mehta, Harkisan Mehta, Chandrakant Bakshi, Ashvini Bhatt, Vinod Bhatt, Kanti Bhatt, Jay Vasavada, Makarand Dave, Gunvant Shah and Varsha Adalja have influenced Gujarati thinkers.

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Cinema

The Gujarati film industry is one of the largest regional film industries in India. The first ever Gujarati film, Narsinh Mehta, was produced in 1932.Bhavni Bhavai is one of most acclaimed Gujarati films, having won National Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration and National Film Award for Best Art Direction. Many famous actors have worked in Gujarati film industry, such as Sanjeev Kumar, Bindu, Asha Parekh, Kiran Kumar, Arvind Trivedi, Aruna Irani, Mallika Sarabhai, Asrani, Naresh Kanodia, Paresh Rawal, Neeraj Vora, Dilip Joshi, Ayesha Jhulka, Disha Vakani, Himesh Reshammiya, Salman Khan, Prachi Desai and one of the actors of Bollywood movie 3 idiots Sharman Joshi.

Music

Gujarati folk music, known as Sugam Sangeet, is a hereditary profession of the Gadhvi (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, rktaro, and jantar and percussion instruments, such as the manjira and zanz pot drum.

Festivals

The folk traditions of Gujarat include bhavai and rass-garba. Bhavai is a folk theatre; it is partly entertainment and partly ritual, and is dedicated to Amba. The rass-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.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.Apart from Navratri and Uttarayana, Diwali, Holi, Tazia and others are also celebrated.