The sixth largest Indian state by area and ninth largest by population, Gujarat is a state known for its rich heritage, vibrant culture and delicious cuisines. Located on the west coast of India, Gujarat shares it borders with Maharashtra and Rajasthan in India and with the Pakistani province of Sindh. Besides being the birth state of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, this land of lions and legends has many other hidden gems.
So let’s explore and enlighten ourselves about these interesting facts about Gujarat:
1. Ancient History Of Gujarat
Gujarat was an important part of the Indus Valley Civilisation, having many ancient metropolitan cities like Lothal, Dholavira and Gola Dhoro. Chandragupta Maurya and then his grandson Ashoka ruled many states of what is now Gujarat, between 322B.C. and 232 B.C.. Subsequently, many other powerful rulers, including the Mughal emperor Akbar have also reigned in Gujarat.
2. First Port Of India
The first sea port in India was established in the city of Lothal. The ancient inhabitants of Gujarat had trading and commercial ties with Egypt, Bahrain and Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) between the period 1000 B.C to 750 B.C.
3. Lord Krishna’s Abode – Dwarka
Founded by Lord Krishna, Dwarka is said to have existed more than 10,000 years ago and is believed to be the first capital of Gujarat. Today this coastal city is one of the ‘Char Dhams’ (four religious seats) as per Hindu beliefs. Badrinath, Puri and Rameshwaram are the other three. The Dwarkadish temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna was originally built around 2500 years back, but was destroyed by Mahmud Shah. It was later rebuilt in the 16th century.
4. Gujarat is derived from a Sanskrit word
Originating from the Sanskrit word ‘Gurjaratra’, it means the “Land of Gurjaras”. The Gurjara tribe ruled the region between 8th and 9th centuries C.E.
5. Non Alcoholic and a Vegan State
First Indian state to impose a complete ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages, Gujarat also has the most number of vegetarian people in the country.
6. World’s Largest Salt Desert
‘Raan of Kutch’ is a large salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in Gujarat’s Kutch District. Spread over an area of 7500 km2, it is considered to be one of the largest salt desert in the world. With an area of 45674 km2, Kutch is the largest district in India. Kutch means ‘something that becomes wet and dry intermittently’.
7. First ever Pure vegetarian outlets of popular fast food
Global restaurant chains like Subway and Pizza Hut have opened their pure vegetarian outlets in Ahmedabad. These are their first completely vegetarian restaurants in the world.
8. Gujarat – A World Record Holder In Many Ways
Gujarat has some of the world’s largest entities. The Jamnagar Oil Refinery, owned by the Reliance Industries is the biggest oil refinery on the planet. The Alang shipyard in Gujarat, is the world’s biggest ship breaking yard, recycling almost half of all ships salvaged around the world.
9. World’s Tallest Statue Of Unity
Dedicated to the Indian Independence movement leader, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Statue of Unity stands tall at 182 metres. The statue is located on the river island Sadhu Bet in Narmada district, Gujarat.
10. Home to Asiatic Lions
The Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary was setup in 1965 with a total area of 1412 km2. It is the only area in Asia where Asiatic lions can be found. The last Asiatic Lion census in 2015 revealed the lion population to be at 523.
11. Gandhinagar- The Greenest Capital City In Asia
The capital of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, is considered to be the greenest capital city in Asia, with almost 50% of its land covered with greenery. Till 1970, Ahmedabad was the capital city of Gujarat.
12. Safest State in India
The crime rate in Gujarat is lowest as compared to all the states in India. After Goa, Gujarat has the least crime rate against women in India.
13. AMUL and The White Revolution
Anand Milk Union Limited, better known as AMUL is based out of Anand in Gujarat. An Indian dairy cooperative, AMUL is managed by the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd., which is the largest food products marketing organisation in India and is jointly owned by 3.6 million milk producers in Gujarat. AMUL started the White Revolution in the country and today India is the world’s largest producer of milk and milk products.
14. All too sweet in Gujarat!
Consumption of sugar is highest in Gujarat as compared to any other state in India. Use of sugar in most of the Gujarati recipes explains this fact!
15. Surat, The Diamond City Of India
Surat is a major world hub for diamond cutting and polishing and is considered to be one of the richest cities in India in terms of per capita income. Almost 8 out 10 diamonds sold in the world are polished in Surat. It is also the third cleanest city in India after Chandigarh and Mysore.
16. The Magnificent Somnath Temple
Located in the town of Prabhas Patan on the western coast of Gujarat, Somnath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. From ancient times, the site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage spot and the temple is believed to the first among twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva in India.
17. Longest Seashore In India
Stretching 1600 km, Gujarat has the longest coastline among all the States in India.
18. Best Management School in India
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, has been ranked first among business schools in India by National Institute Ranking Framework and many other B-School ranking surveys. IIM (A) is also among the top 50 premier B-Schools in the world.
19. Highest number of Airports
Gujarat has 14 airports, 2 international and rest domestic, making it the state with highest number of operating airports in India.
20. Hill having more than 850 Jain temples
The Shatrunjaya hill in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, is the world’s only mountain having more than 850 marble carved temples. The site is considered to be sacred by the Svetambara Jains. The Digambara Jains have only one temple on the hill.
21. The Majestic Lakshmi Vilas Palace of Vadodra
Built by Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III in 1890, the palace is spread over 500 acres of land. Reputed to be the largest private residence built in India, it is four times bigger than the Buckingham Palace of London.
Hope these facts gave you some insights about Gujarat that you were not aware about earlier!