The India Series #13: Gujarat

Featured Image: Rann of Kutch, Source: roamingclan.com

I am kind of sad about how little I have travelled inside of India, and I wonder how much I will be able to cover in my lifetime. But needless to say, writing this series gives me a whole new perspective to my country, and now I am able to make a separate bucket list only for India. For example, the Rann Utsav (Festival of the Rann of Kutch) that I talk about in this article has now joined my bucket list. Also look at the featured image above. How surreal is that?


After the very fun destination of Goa, we make a move to State #7: Gujarat. It is the westernmost state of the country, with Gandhinagar as the capital (named after Mahatma Gandhi, you guessed it right), and the official language is Gujarati, which we already had a look at in the article about Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

c9d7abae2a9cd1f77a40e6a78d903b76Source: mapsofindia.com

 

CULTURE:

  • Apart from Gujarati, many other languages like Marathi, Sindhi, Punjabi, Surti, Charotari, Kathiawai and Kutchi are spoken.
  • The folk music of Gujarat is known as Sugam Sangeet, and is played in accompaniment with many traditional instruments.
  • There are four major forms of traditional dance – Dandiya Raas, Garba, Padhar, and Garbi. Here’s a video I am sure you’ll enjoy:
  • Some fairs and festivals exclusive to Gujarat are Shamlaji Melo, Bhadra Purnima Fair, and Mahadev Fair.

shamlajiShamlaji Temple, Source: Gujarat Tourism

  • Dwarka in Gujarat is believed to have been the kingdom of Lord Krishna, one of the most revered gods of Hinduism.
  • The Rann Utsav is a very big ethnic and cultural festival that runs on full moon nights in winter at the Rann of Kutch, the white desert or salt marsh of India.

1517913671-him_2810Rann Utsav arena, Source: Gujarat Tourism

  • Gujarat is very well-known for its handicrafts, which include Bandhani, Block printing, Patola and Zari, to name only a few. See a more extensive list here.

block-printingBlock printing, Source: gaatha.com

CUISINE:

  • Most of Gujarati food is vegetarian in spite of being a coastal state with abundance availability of seafood.
  • Few of the most popular Gujarati snacks are Dhokla, Khakhra, Fafda and Khandvi.

khandvi-khaanakhazanaKhandvi, Source: Sanjeev Kapoor

  • Gujarati food also includes some special types of bread, for example, Bhakri and Thepla.

methithepla1Thepla, Source: somethingiscooking.com

  • Some of the typical vegetarian dishes eaten for lunch and dinner are Bardoli ki Khichdi, Undhiyu and Gujarati Kadhi.

oil-free-gujarati-undhiyu-recipe-no-onion-no-garlicUndhiyu, Source: Archana’s Kitchen

  • There are many types of sweet dishes such as Aam Shrikhand and Ghevar, and popular snacks like Handvo.

handvo-620Handvo, Source: NDTV Food

NDTV Food provides a list of 10 best Gujarati recipes.

TRADITIONAL ATTIRE:

  • Traditionally, men wear kediyu or kurta on the top and dhoti or chorno at the bottom, and a turban which is called phento.

garba-men-outfitActors Ranveer Kapoor and Deepika Padukone in traditional Gujarati outfits in the movie Ram Leela, Source: The Quint

  • Women wear saree or chaniya choli with a chunni.

benzer-bride-e1382468035498Gujarati bridal wear, Source: shaadi-bazaar.com

  • The people of the Kutch region of Gujarat have their own dressing style called Abha and Kanjari.

FAMOUS PERSONALITIES:

  • Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi): Also known as Father of the Nation, he was one of the leaders who led India to its independence from the British, and is known for his nonviolent methods of protest
  • Narendra Modi: Previously Chief Minister of Gujarat, and the current Prime Minister of India
  • Freddie Mercury: The very popular lead vocalist of the rock band Queen is originally from Gujarat, with the original name of Farrokh Bulsara

7040472-3x2-940x627Freddie Mercury, Source: abc.net.au

  • Vikram Sarabhai: Renowned physicist, known as the Father of Space Science in India
  • Jamshedji Tata: A pioneer industrialist, who founded India’s biggest conglomerate company, the Tata group of industries

411Jamshedji Tata on stamp, Source: powerfulindianss.blogspot.ch

  • Dhirubhai Ambani: Business tycoon who founded Reliance Industries, well-known for his revolutionary business strategies
  • Sunita Williams: Indian-American astronaut of Gujarati descent who held records for total number of spacewalks and longest spacewalk by a woman astronaut

sunita_williamsSunita Williams, Source: Wikipedia

  • Sir Ben Kingsley: Famous British actor whose original name is Krishna Pandit Bhanji, is of Gujarati descent

 

INTERESTING FACTS:

  • Gujarat has the longest coastline in India, approximately 1600 kilometers.
  • Gujarat is one of the main centres of Indus Valley Civilisation.
  • There are 19 airports in Gujarat, which is more than any other state.
  • The largest oil-refining hub in the world is in Jamnagar in Gujarat.
  • Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat, had the first completely vegetarian Subway and Dominos outlets in the world.
  • Many Gujaratis are involved in the multi-billion dollar industry of diamond export in the global market. Surat in Gujarat is one of the major diamond cutting and refining centers in the world, with around 80% of the world’s diamonds being processed here.
  • Gir forests in Gujarat provide natural habitats for Asiatic lions, and are the only natural home for lions outside Africa.

gir-np1_tiA lion at Gir Forest National Park, Source: Outlook India

  • The largest dairy in Asia, the Dudhsagar dairy, is based in Gujarat.
  • With a total area of about 7,505.22 square kilometers, the Great Rann of Kutch is considered one of the largest salt deserts in the world, and the Kutch district is the largest district in India with an area of 45,674 square kilometers.

g_4Rann of Kutch, Source: Thrillophilia

  • The first port city of India was in Lothal in Gujarat.
  • Gujarat is the first state in India to impose a ban on alcohol.
  •  The city Palitana in the Bhavnagar district has more than 900 Jain temples.

the-main-complexShatrunjaya Hill Temple, Palitana, Source: Tripadvisor

 

Let’s bid adieu to Gujarat with this beautifully edited timelapse of the city of Rajkot:


 

Next stop: Haryana

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