Gujarat is a state in western India. It has an area of 78,687 sq mi (203,800 km2) with a coastline of 1,600 km, 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 as well as the Pakistani province of Sindh on the west. Its capital city is Gandhinagar, while its largest city is Ahmedabad. Gujarat is home to the Gujarati-speaking people of India.
Tourism in Gujarat is promoted by Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited. It is one of the most popular state in the country for tourists with annual footfall of 19.81 million tourists in 2010-11. Gujarat offers scenic beauty from Great Rann Of Kutch to the hills of Saputara. Gujarat is the sole home of the pure Asiatic Lions in World. During the Sultanate reign, Hindu craftsmanship mix with Islamic architecture, giving rise to the Indo-Saracenic style.
Many structures in the state are built in this fashion. It is also the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the great iconic figures during India's Independence movement. Amitabh Bachchan is currently the brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism. ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki' campaign by megastar Amitabh Bachchan has grown tourism in Gujarat by 14 per cent, twice that of national growth rate.
Gujarat has a variety of museums on different genres. These museums are run by the state's Department of Museums located at the principal state museum, Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery. Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery and Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum are located in Vadodara. Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery is where state's Department of Museums is located. While the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum is housed within Lakshmi Vilas Palace. It's the palace where Maharaja lived, and now has been turned into museum. Located in Ahmedabad the Calico Museum Of Textiles is managed by the Sarabhai Foundation and is one of the most popular tourist spots in Ahmedabad.
Gujarat is home to Gujarati people. Notable populations of Marathi people and Marwaris currently reside in Gujarat. It is also the home of Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhbhai Patel, who preached the unity between all religions and became a worldwide figure for peaceful struggle against tyranny.
Gujarati folk music, known as Sugam Sangeet, is a hereditary profession of the Gadhvi and 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.
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.
Flora and fauna:
Gujarat is the only present natural habitat of lions. Gir Forest National Park in the southwest part of the state covers part of the lions' habitat. Apart from lions, leopards are also found in state. They are spread across the large plains of Saurashtra and the mountains of South Gujarat. Other National parks include Vansda National Park, Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar and Marine National Park, Gulf of Kutch.
Wildlife sanctuaries include: Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary, Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Porbandar Bird Sanctuary, Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, Kutch Bustard Sanctuary, Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary, Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Anjal, Balaram-Ambaji, Barda, Jambughoda, Khavda, Paniya, Purna, Rampura, Ratanmahal, and Surpaneshwar. Gujarat has some of major mountain ranges of India, including Aravalli, Sahyadri (Western Ghats), Vindhya and Saputara. Apart from this Gir hills, Barda, Jessore, Chotila, etc. are situated in different parts of Gujarat. Girnar is the tallest peak and Saputara is the only hill-station in the state.