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India States - Gujarat
Guzarat is a Western phonetic corruption, and is not considered an official term. contained many of the former Princely states of India, and is the second-most industrialized state in the Republic of India after Maharashtra. Gujarat borders Pakistan, and the states of Rajasthan to the north-east, Madhya Pradesh to the east, Maharashtra and the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the south. The international border with Pakistan is to the north-west. The Arabian Sea makes up the state's western coast. Its capital is Gandhinagar, a planned city which is close to Ahmedabad, the former state capital and the current commercial center of Gujarat. Gujarat was hit with a devastating earthquake on January 26, 2001 at 9:00, which claimed a staggering 20,000 lives, injured another 200,000 people and severely affected the lives of 40 million of the population. The economic and financial loss to Gujarat and India is being felt even after almost half a decade.
Situated on the western coast of India, the name of the state is derived from Gujjaratta, which means the land of the Gujjars or khazars. It is believed that a tribe of Gujjars migrated to India around the 5th century. The history of Gujarat, however, began much earlier. Settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization, have been found in the area now known as Gujarat. Gujarat's coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch, served as ports and trading centres for the Maurya and Gupta empires. After the collapse 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 major rivers flowing through the state include the Narmada, Sabarmati, and Mahi in central and northern Gujarat; Mithi, Khari, and Bhogavo in Saurashtra; Tapi, Purna, Ambika, Auranga and Damanganga in the southern part of the state. Gujarat is home to four National Parks, including Gir Forest National Park, near Junagadh, Blackbuck National Park in Bhavnagar District, Vansda National Park in Navsari 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 the area surrounding Girnar. In addition to these, there are twenty one Wildlife sanctuaries.The major cities in Gujarat are Ahmedabad, Vadodara (Baroda), Surat, Rajkot and Jamnagar. Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of the state, is the sixth largest city of India. Other important cities include Nadiad, Anand and Ankleshwar in central Gujarat, Bharuch, Navsari, Vapi, and Valsad in the south; and Bhuj, and Dwarka in Saurastra in the west.
The Swaminarayan Temple in Kalupur, Ahmedabad is the first built Swaminarayan Temple in the world, this temple is know to be very popular with tourists. Lothal is the site of the ancient ruins of the first Indian port, dating from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization. The Modhera Sun Temple is famous for its rare position as specifically and uniquely designed for the worship of the Sun, Lord Surya. While the main temple is beautifully and intricately designed with complex architecture, painting and sculptures, there is a central pond and surrounding it stand 108 small temples for each of the Sun God's 108 names. Dwarka city on the tip of the Arabian Sea is famous for being the legendary home of Lord Krishna, the eighth Avatara of Vishnu, hero of the Mahabharata epic. Ancient ruins of a city and temple complex found underwater suggest a historical basis for the legend. The Rann of Kutchch covers a large portion of western Gujarat, and is world-famous for its rare ecosystem, fossils, wildlife and terrain. Only 500 years earlier, the area was the Arabian Sea.While the city of Ahmedabad is a large and fast-growing modern metropolis, it was also the home of the Indian Independence Movement, with the Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi a standing legacy. Other major tourist sites include Palitana, Diu, Kutch, Jamnagar, Junagadh, and Rajkot in the region of Saurastra; and Champaner and Pavagarh in the Panchmahal district. Gujarat has 4 national parks and 21 sanctuaries, which include: Nal Sarovar, Anjal, Balaram-Ambaji, Barda, Jambughoda, Jessore, Kachchh Desert, Khavda, Narayan Sarovar, Paniya, Purna, Rampura, Ratanmahal, and Surpaneshwar.