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Missing image

Date of formation May 1, 1960
Capital Gandhinagar
Governor Nawal Kishore Sharma (since July 24, 2004)
Chief Minister Narendra Modi (since October 7, 2001)
Area 196,024 km
 - Total (2001)
 - Density

Population growth
 - 1991-2001

Literacy 70% (2001)

Gujarat (ગુજરાત in Gujarati) is the most industrialized state in India after Maharashtra and is located in western India, bordered by Pakistan to the northwest and Rajasthan to the north. Its capital is Gandhinagar, a planned city close to Ahmedabad, the former state capital and the commercial center of Gujarat.

The state of Gujarat was created on May 1, 1960, out of the northern, predominantly Gujarati-speaking portion of the state of Bombay. The southern, predominantly Marathi-speaking portion of Bombay state became Maharashtra.

Gujarat has become one of the fastest-growing states in the country; as of 2002, Gujarat had an average per capita income of 7500 Rs (Current 1992 prices), compared to 6400 Rs, the average for all Indian states.

Gujarat has gave India two of the most prominent leaders in the independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Though his birthplace is disputed, it is certain that the Gujarati language was also the mother-tongue of the "father of Pakistan", Quaid-e Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Gujaratis have also been active in the arts and the sciences; Vikram Sarabhai, a Gujarati, was the father of India's space program. They are, however, mostly noted for their entrepreneurial spirit.


Administrative divisions of Gujarat

See article, Districts of Gujarat

Gujarat comprises of 25 districts. The districts are :

Ahmedabad | Amreli | Anand | Banaskantha | Bharuch | Bhavnagar | Dahod | Dang | Gandhinagar | Jamnagar | Junagadh | Kheda | Kutch | Mehsana | Narmada | Navsari | Panchmahal | Patan | Porbandar | Rajkot | Sabarkantha | Surat | Surendranagar | Vadodara | Valsad
The State of Gujarat
The State of Gujarat


Gujarat is the westernmost state of India. It is bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west, by the state of Rajasthan to the north and northeast, by Madhya Pradesh to the east, and by Maharashtra to the south and southeast.

The relief is low in the most part of the state. The climate is mostly dry, and even desertic in the north-west.

Gujarat has about 1600 km of coastline, which a third of India's coast line and the longest coastline of all Indian states. This coastline includes of Gulf of Kutch and Gulf of Cambay.


The major cities in Gujarat are Ahmedabad, Vadodara (Baroda), Surat, and Rajkot. Ahmedabad is the largest city in the state and the sixth largest in India. Other important cities in the south of Gujarat are Nadiad, Jamnagar, Ankleshwar, Bharuch, Navsari, Vapi, and Valsad; in the north are Bhuj and Dwarka.

Natural Areas

Gujarat is home to several National Parks, including Gir National Park (Girnar), near Junagadh, Velavadar National Park in Bhavnagar District, Vandsa National Park in Bulser District, and Marine National Park on the Gulf of Kutch in Jamnagar District. The last remaining Asian lions, famous for their dark black manes, live in Girnar.

There are also a number of wildlife sanctuaries and nature preserves, including Anjal, Balaram-Ambaji, Barda, Jambughoda, Jessore, Kachchh Desert, Khavda, Nal Sarovar, Narayan Sarovar, Paniya, Purna, Rampura, Ratanmahal, and Schoolpaneshwar.


Pre-Colonial History

Situated on the western coast of India, the name of the state is derived from Gujjaratta, which means the land of the Gujjars. It is believed that a tribe of Gujjars migrated to India around the 5th century. The real cultural history of these people, however, is believed to have begun much earlier. Sites of the Indus valley civilization and Harappan civilization have been found in the area now known as Gujarat. Gujarat has always been known for its coastline. Its cities, chiefly Bharuch, served as ports and trading centres in the Maurya and Gupta empires.

After the fall of the Gupta empire in the 6th century, Gujarat flourished as an independent Hindu kingdom. 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 Sind sacked Vallabhi in 770, bringing the Maitraka dynasty to an end. A branch of the Pratihara clan ruled Gujarat after the eighth century. In 775 the first Parsi (Zoroastrian) refugees arrived in Gujarat from Iran.

The Solanki clan of Rajputs ruled Gujarat from c. 960 to 1243. Gujarat was a major center of Indian Ocean trade, and their capital at Anhilwara (Patan) was one of the largest cities in India, with population estimated at 100,000 in the year 1000. In 1026, the famous Somnath temple in Gujarat was destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni. After 1243, the Solkanis lost control of Gujarat to their feudatories, of whom the Vaghela chiefs of Dholka came to dominate Gujarat. In 1292 the Vaghelas became tributaries of the Yadava dynasty of Devagiri in the Deccan.

In 1297-8 Ala ud din Khilji, 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 Muslim governor Zafar Khan Muzaffar asserted his independence, and his son, Sultan Ahmed Shah (ruled 1411-42), established 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 conquered it and annexed it to the Mughal empire. It remained a province of the Mughal empire until the Marathas conquered eastern and central Gujarat in the 18th century; Western Gujarat (Kathiawar and Kutch) were divided among numerous local rulers.

Colonial Gujarat

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Bombay Presidency in 1909, northern portion
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Bombay Presidency in 1909, southern portion

Portugal was the first European power to arrive in Gujarat, acquiring several enclaves along the Gujarati coast, including Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The British East India Company established a factory in Surat in 1614, which formed their first base in India, but it was eclipsed by Mumbai after the British acquired it from Portugal in 1668. The 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 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 dozens of princely states, but several districts in central and southern Gujarat, namely Ahmedabad, Broach (Bharuch), Kaira, Panch Mahals, and Surat, were ruled directly by British officials.

Gujarat after Indian Independence

After Indian independence and the partition of India in 1947, the new Indian government grouped the former princely states of Gujarat into three larger units; Saurashtra, which included the former princely states on the Kathiawar peninsula, Kutch, and Bombay state, which included the former British districts of Bombay Presidency together with most of Baroda state and the other former princely states of eastern Gujarat. In 1956, Bombay state was enlarged to include Kutch, Saurashtra, and parts of Hyderabad state and Madhya Pradesh in central India. The new state had a mostly Gujarati-speaking north and a Marathi-speaking south. Agitation by Marathi nationalists for their own state led to the split of Bombay state on linguistic lines; on 1 May 1960, it became the new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The first capital of Gujarat was Ahmedabad; the capital was moved to Gandhinagar in 1970.

Gujarat was hit with a devastating earthquake on January 26, 2001 at 9:00am claiming a staggering 20,000 lives, injuring another 200,000 people and severely affecting the lives of 40 million Gujaratis. The economic and financial loss to Gujarat and India was deeply felt for years to come.


Gujarat is governed by a Legislative Assembly of 182 members. Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) are elected on the basis of adult suffrage from one of 182 constituencies, of which 13 are reserved for scheduled castes and 26 for scheduled tribes. The term of office for a member of the Legislative Assembly is five years.

The Legislative Assembly elects a speaker, who presides over the meetings of the legislature. A governor is appointed by the President of India, and is empowered to summon, prorogue, and dissolve the Legislative Assembly, and to address the House after every general election and the commencement of each year's first session of the Legislative Assembly. The Leader of the Legislative Assembly is the leader of the majority party or coalition in the legislature (Chief Minister), or his or her designee. The Leader sets the dates of the legislative sessions, and decides what business is to be transacted in the legislature and what order it is taken up.

The administration of the state is led by the Chief Minister.

After independence in 1947, the Indian National Congress party (INC) ruled the Bombay state (which included present-day Gujarat and Maharashtra). Congress continued to govern Gujarat after the state's creation in 1960. During and after India's State of Emergency of 1975-1977, public support for the Congress Party eroded, but it continued to hold government until 1995. In the 1995 Assembly Polls, the Congress lost to the BJP and Keshubhai Patel came to power. His Government lasted only 2 years. The fall of that government was provoked by a split in the BJP led by Shankersinh Vaghela. BJP returned to power in 1998 state assembly polls and has won most of the subsequent polls. In 2001, following the loss of 2 assembly seats in by-elections, Keshubhai Patel resigned and handed over power to Narendra Modi. The BJP retained a majority in the 2002 election, and Narendra Modi has since served as Chief Minister of the state.

As of 2004, key figures in Gujarat politics are:

  1. Narendra Modi, Chief Minister (BJP)
  2. Shankersinh Vaghela, MIP representing Kapadvanj constituency; Indian Government Textile Minister (INC).
  3. Keshubhai Patel (BJP)
  4. Sureshbhai Mehta (BJP)

Chief Ministers

Main article: Chief Ministers of Gujarat

Following are the Chief Ministers of Gujarat. (They are ordered by the date from which they took office for the first time)

  • Dr. Shri Jivraj Narayan Mehta
  • Balwantray Mehta
  • Hitendra K Desai
  • Ghanshyambhai C. Oza
  • Chimanbhai J Patel
  • Babubhai J Patel
  • Madhavsinh F. Solanki
  • Amarsinh Chaudhary
  • Chhabildas Mehta
  • Keshubhai S. Patel
  • Sureshchandra R. Mehta
  • Shankersinhji L. Vaghela
  • Dilipbhai Ramanbhai Parikh
  • Narendra Modi


It is one of India's most prosperous states, having a per-capita GDP significantly above India's average. Major resources produced by the state include cotton, peanuts, dates, sugarcane, and petrol.

Surat, a city by the Gulf of Khambat, is a hub of global diamond trade. Much of its diamond trade is controlled by a handful of families professing the Jain faith.

Also on the Gulf of Khambat, 50 kilometers southeast of Bhavnagar, is the Alang Ship Recycling Yard, the world's largest.

Anand is host to Amul dairy, one of the largest milk product producers of the world. Gujarat is the largest producer of milk in India.

Reliance Industries Limited was founded by one of Gujarat's most respected industrialists, the late Dhirubhai Ambani.

Educational institutions

Gujarat is home to an Indian Institute of Management, located in the city of Ahmedabad. The institute has been rated as the best in Asia by Asiaweek and one of the best in the world. Its graduates work in high positions for Fortune 500 companies and other major companies throughout the world.


Its primary language is Gujarati. The majority of its residents are Hindus, with significant percentages following Islam, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

As Gujarat is a heavily industrialized state of India, it attracts lots of outsiders, mostly from North India, Bihar, and South India. Thousands of non-Gujarati workers live in Gujarat.

Communal Harmony

Gujarat witnessed sectarian riots between Hindus and Muslims in February and March of 2002. As per the information presented in Parliament by junior Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal of the Congress Party, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus perished in the riots; 223 more were reported missing. [1] ([2] ( Amnesty International claims the figure is considerably higher, reporting "about 2000 dead, mainly Muslim". [3] ( The Gujarat government led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi was heavily criticized by Human Rights groups for its inability to protect the Muslim minority in the state. As per the NHRC mandated reports, the state incurred Rs. 204.62 crore towards relief and rehabilatation measures. (See also 2002 Gujarat violence)


Its main tourist sites include Palitana, Diu, Kutch, Jamnagar, Junagadh, and Rajkot.

See also


External links

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