Gujarat is a state in western India. It has an area of 75,686 sq mi (196,030 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.
The state encompasses major sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, such as Lothal and Dholavira. Lothal is believed to be one of the world's first ports. Gujarat's coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch and Khambhat, served as ports and trading centers in theMaurya and Gupta empires. Mahatma Gandhi, who led the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule, was aGujarati. Muhammmad Ali Jinnah, Founding father and first Governor general of Pakistan was from an Gujrati Muslim family.Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, independent India's first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, was also from Gujarat.
Gujarat played an important role in the economic history of India throughout the history of India. It is one of the most industrialized states of India, and has a per capita GDP above the national average.
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 ofMahatma 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.
The Kirti Mandir, Porbandar, Sabarmati Ashram, and Kaba Gandhi No Delo are museums related to Mahatma Gandhi. The former being the [Place of birth] of him and the latter being two of the places where he lived in his lifetime. All of them are now transformed into museums. Kaba Gandhi No Delo in Rajkot exhibits some of a rare collection of photographs relating to the life of Mahatma Gandhi.Sabarmati Ashram is the place where Gandhiji initiated Dandi March. On 12 March 1930 he vowed that he would not return to the Ashram until India won independence.
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.
The Lakhota Museum or the Lakota Museum is a palace transformed into museum, was residence of the Jhala Rajputs. The collection of the museum includes artifacts spanning from 9th to 18th century, pottery from medieval villages nearby and the skeleton of a whale.
Other famous museums in state include Kutch Museum in Bhuj being the oldest museum in Gujarat founded in 1877, Watson Museum of human history and culture in Rajkot,Gujarat Science City and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Memorial in Ahmedabad.
Religious sites are major part of tourism in Gujarat. Somnath is the first among twelveJyotirlingas, and has been mentioned in Rigveda.The Palitana temples of Jainism on Mount Satrunjaya, Palitana are considered the holiest of all pilgrimage places by theSvetambara and Digambara Jain community. The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque and Jama Masjidare holymosques for Gujarati Muslims. The Sun Temple, Modhera is a ticketed monument, handled by the Archaeological Survey of India. Dwarakadheesh Temple and Dakor holy pilgrimage sites for devotees of Lord Krishna. Other religious sites in state include Mahudi, Shankheshwar, Ambaji, Dakor, Shamlaji, Chotila etc.
A five day festival is held during Maha Shivaratri at the fort of Girnar, Junagadh known as Bhavanth Mahadev Fair . The Kutch Festival or Rann Festival is a festival celebrated at Kutch during Mahashivratri. The Modhra Dance Festival is a festival for classical dance, organized by Government of Gujarat's Cultural Department, to promote tourism in state and to keep traditions and culture alive.
The Ambaji Fair is held in the Hindu month of Bhadrapad (around August-September) at Ambaji, during a time which is particularly suitable for farmers, when the busy monsoon season is about to end The Bhabrapad fair is held at Ambaji which is in the Danta Taluka of Banaskantha district, near the Gujarat-Rajasthan border. The walk from the bus station to the temple is less than one kilometer, under a roofed walkway. Direct buses are available from many places, including Mount Abu (45 kms away), Palanpur (65 kms away), Ahmedabad and Idar. The Bhadrapad fair is held in the center of the Ambaji village just outside the temple premises. The village is visited by the largest number of sanghas [pilgrim groups] during the fair. Many of them go there on foot, which is particularly enriching as it happens immediately after the monsoon, when the landscape is rich with greenery, streams are full of sparkling water and the air is fresh. About 15 lakh devotees are known to attend this fair each year from all over the world. Not only Hindus, but some devout Jains and Parsis also attend the functions, while some Muslims attend the fair for trade.