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|Area||1,96,024 sq. km|
History and Geography
The history of Gujarat goes back to 2000 B.C. It is believed that Lord Krishna left Mathura to settle on the west coast of Saurashtra, which later came to be known as Dwarka, the gateway. Later, it saw various kingdoms: Mauryas, Guptas, Pratiharas and others. It was with Chalukya (Solankis) that Gujarat witnessed progress and prosperity. In spite of the plundering of Mahmud Ghazni, the Chalukya kings were able to maintain general prosperity and well-being of the State. After this glorious respite, Gujarat faced troubled times under the Muslims, Marathas and the British rule. Before Independence, the present territories of Gujarat used to be in two parts, the British and the Princely territories. With the re-organisation of the States, the Union of the States of Saurashtra and the Union Territory of Kachchh along with the former British, Gujarat became a part of the biggest bilingual State of Bombay. The present State of Gujarat came into being on May, 1960. It is situated on the west coast of India. The state is bounded by the Arabian Sea on the west, Pakistan and Rajasthan in the north and north-east respectively, Madhya Pradesh in the south-east and Maharashtra in the south.
Gujarat is the main producer of tobacco, cotton and groundnut in the country and provides inputs for important industries like textiles, oil and soap. Other important cash crops are isabgol, paddy, wheat and bajra. Forest species available in Gujarat are teak, khair, sadad, haldariyo and manual bamboos.
The industrial structure in the State has been gradually diversifying with the development of industries like chemicals, petrochemicals, fertilizers, engineering, electronics, etc. The number of registered working factories in the State were 21,536 (Provisional) at the end of 2004 with the average daily employment to 9.27 lakh. The number of Small-Scale industrial units in the State was 2.99 lakh at the end of March 2005. GIDC has been assigned the role of developing industrial estates with infrastructure facilities. At the end of December 2005 GIDC had set up 237 industrial estates.
Irrigation and Power
The total irrigation potential through surface water as well as ground water has been assessed at 64.88 lakh hectares including 17.92 lakh hectares through Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) Project. The total irrigation potential created up to June 2007 is worked out to 42.26 lakh hectares. The maximum utilisation has been estimated at 37.33 lakh hectares up to June 2007.
Roads: The total length of roads (except Non-plan, Community, Urban and Project roads) was 74,038 km by the end of 2005-06.
Aviation: The main airport of Gujarat at Ahmedabad is connected with Mumbai, Delhi and other cities by daily services. Ahmedabad airport has now got the status of an International Airport. Other airports are Vadodara, Bhavnagar, Bhuj, Surat, Jamnagar, Kandla, Keshod, Porbandar and Rajkot.
Ports: Gujarat has 40 ports of which Kandla is a major port. The intermediate and minor ports of Gujarat handled a total cargo of 971.28 lakh tonnes whereas Kandla port handled cargo of 415.51 lakh tonnes during 2004-05.
Tarnetar fair is held at village Tarnetar in the honour of Lord Shiva on the 4th, 5th and 6th days of the bright half of the month of Bhadrapada (August/September). Madhavrai fair at Madhavpur near Porbandar is, held to celebrate the marriage by elopement of Lord Krishna and Rukmani, on the ninth day of the bright half of the month of Chaitra (March/April). Ambaji fair dedicated to Amba, mother goddess is held in Banaskantha district. The biggest annual fair, Janmashtami the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated at Dwarka and Dakor with great enthusiasm. Other festivals are Makar-Sankranti, Navratri, Dangi darbar, Shamlaji fair, Bhavnath fair, etc.
Lion Sanctuary of Gir Forest
Religious spots like Dwarka, Somnath, Palitana, Pavagadh, Ambaji, Bhadreshwar, Shamlaji, Taranga and Girnar; Porbandar, birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, places of memorable monuments of architectural and, archaeological surprises like Patan, Siddhpur Ghurnli, Dabhoi, Vadnagar, Modhera, Lothal and Ahmedabad; beautiful beaches like Ahmadpur-Mandvi, Chorwad, Ubharat and Tithal; the hill station Saputara; lion sanctuary of Gir Forest and wild ass sanctuary in Kachchh area are major tourist attractions in the State.