Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Gujarat /ˌɡʊəˈrɑːt/ is a state in northwestern India.It has an area of 78,687 sq mi 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 Rajasthanto 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.


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.

Kutch district

A pair of shoes in the Sindhi tradition from North East Kutch District, Gujarat, India
Bhuj is a famous destination for shopping of handicraft work and shares similar culture as Sindh. Artisans of nearby villages bring their art work for sale in Bhuj. Important landmarks for people wishing to study and know more about Kutchi embroidery are Shrujan, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan (KMVS), Kalaraksha and Women Artisans' Marketing Agency (WAMA, Bandhini).
Gujarati food is primarily vegetarian. It is believed to be one of the healthiest cuisines in India. It has been portrayed in eminent Bollywood films, including the 2009 feature film 3 Idiots. The typical Gujarati thali consists of roti or bhakridal or kadhirice and sabziIndian pickle and chhundo are used as condimentsNorth GujaratKathiawadKachchh, and Surti Gujarati, the four major regions of Gujarat all bring their own styles to Gujarati food. Many Gujarati dishes are distinctively sweet, salty, and spicy at the same time. In Saurashtra regionchass (buttermilk) is believed to be a must-have in their daily food.

Khaman is a popular Gujarati farsan.
The Gujarati film industry is one the largest regional film industries in India. The first ever Gujarati film, Narsinh Mehta, was produced in 1932. Bhavni Bhavai is one of most acclaimed Gujarati films, having won National Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration and National Film Award for Best Art Direction. Many famous actors have worked in Gujarati film industry, such as Sanjeev KumarBinduAsha ParekhKiran KumarArvind Trivedi,Aruna IraniMallika SarabhaiAsraniNaresh KanodiaParesh RawalNeeraj VoraDilip JoshiAyesha Jhulka, and Himesh Reshammiya.
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 pavastring instruments, such as the ravan hattho, rktaro, and jantar andpercussion instruments, such as the manjira and zanz pot drum.

Garba during Navaratri in Ahmedabad

The folk traditions of Gujarat include bhavai and rass-garbaBhavai 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, popatiyutrikoniya (hand movement which forms an imagery triangle), lehreetran 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, DiwaliHoliTazia and others are also celebrated.
Diffusion of culture

Foreigners playing Dandiya Raas
Gujaratis spread to many places outside of Gujarat with the success of the Maratha Dynasty (as the dynasty was spread over much of India.) Even today, Saurashtrians who migrated during the Maratha Dynasty's time can be found in Tamil Nadu.
The progenitor of the Sinhala language is believed to be Prince Vijaya, son of King Simhabahu who ruled Simhapura (modern-day Sihor near Bhavnagar. Prince Vijaya was banished by his father for his lawlessness and set forth with a band of adventurers. This tradition was followed by other Gujaratis. For example, in the Ajanta Frescoes, a Gujarati prince is shown entering Sri Lanka.
Many Indians had migrated to Indonesia, some of them being Gujaratis. King Aji Saka, who is said to have come to Java in Indonesia in year 1 of the Saka calendar, is believed by some to be a king of Gujarat. The first Indian settlements in Java Island of Indonesia are believed to have been established with the coming of Prince Dhruvavijaya of Gujarat, with 5000 traders. Some stories propose a Brahmin named Tritresta was the first to bring Gujarati migrants with him to Java, so some scholars equate him with Aji Saka. A Gujarati ship has been depicted in a sculpture at Borabudur, Java.


Gujarat has a large tourist potential
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 enhanced 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 toMahatma 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'sDepartment of Museums is located. While the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum is housed within Lakshmi Vilas Palace. It's the palace whereMaharaja lived, and now has been turned into a 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 at Jamnagar is a palace transformed into museum, was residence of the Jadeja 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
Religious sites are major part of tourism in Gujarat. Somnath is the first among twelve Jyotirlingas, and has been mentioned in Rigveda. The Palitana temples of Jainism on Mount Shatrunjaya, Palitana are considered the holiest of all pilgrimage places by the Svetambara and Digambara Jain community. The Sidi Saiyyed Mosque and Jama Masjid are holymosques forGujarati 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 (Gujarati: ભવનાથ નો મેળો). The Kutch Festival or Rann Festival (Gujarati: કચ્છ or રણ ઉત્સવ) 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 km away), Palanpur (65 km 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.
The Tarnetar Fair is held during the first week of Bhadrapad, (September–October according to Gregorian calendar), and mostly servesplace to find a suitable bride for tribal people from Gujarat. The region is believed to be the place where Arjuna took up the difficult task of piercing the eye of a fish, rotating at the end of a pole, by looking at its reflection in the pond water, in order to marryDraupadi. Other fairs in Gujarat include Dang Durbar, Shamlaji Fair,Chitra Vichitra Fair,Dhrang Fair and Vautha Fair

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Even after relaxing on the beaches, playing in the sea and experiencing Goas night life, your trip to Goa is incomplete if you do not indulge in shopping in Goa.
Goa offers visitors a myriad of opportunities to shop, ranging from top end boutiques that offer exclusive knick-knacks, exotic silks, embroidered products, handicrafts and antiques to the popular weekly flea markets on various beaches, with pleasant and affordable shopping experience.
In between these are delightful little shops, some that are no more than a hole in the wall, but stock up some unique stuff.

Where and what

Of course, the most popular ones are the flea markets of Goa which were basically introduced by the foreigners in the early ’80s, when they used to assemble at one place to sell their electronics or barter other things with the native residents.

These beach bazaars are an entertaining and colourful world of crowds, chaotic sounds and an elaborate variety of products ranging from clothes, junk jewellery, spices, fabrics and handmade crafts at reasonable prices.

Most of these products are also available at various Government Emporiums located across the state if one wants to buy authentic stuff at fixed prices. However, other shopping haunts are definitely much more fun and worth exploring for the variety as well as for the sheer experience.

The state capital, Panjim is the most popular shopping destination in the state for its showrooms and shopping malls. Some renowned designers (think Wendell Rodricks) have also set their shops in the city. 18th June Road and the Craft Complex in Panjim are some of the main shopping districts in the city.

Old Goa is where you will find exclusive, traditional antique and handicraft items. The Old Portuguese houses of Goa, which are renowned for their home decor and styling articles as well as designer fabrics, have become the fashion destination for most tourists.

Anjuna Market is the most popular flea markets in Goa. It is organised every Wednesday, amidst coconut trees near the rock-strewn Anjuna beach. While almost everything under the sun ranging from home-decoration items to spices, fabrics and junk jewellery is on the offer, even handicrafts from Goa, Kashmir and Tibet are available at bargain prices. The foot-tapping Goan music in the background adds to the exuberance of the entire experience.

The Friday market at Mapusa, a small town 13 km away from Panaji, has been the shopping hub of North Goa since ancient times. This market has a vast collection of fascinating items like old coins, handicrafts, antique pieces, fish (dried and fresh), pickles, preserves, exotic fruits, the famous Goan ‘chouricos’ (spicy Goan sausages), spices, beach wear, sarongs, trinkets, fresh food items and even the country liquor at extremely affordable prices.

Calangute Beach – located 14 km north from Panaji – is crowded with shops selling a wide variety of souvenirs, metal items, leather crafts, clothes and jewellery from all over the country. The expansive beach stretch, which is lined with coconut palms, is full of sheds with vendors selling sarongs and beachwear and enthusiastic astrologers wanting to read your fortune. Calangute also houses a Tibetan market and many Kashmiri retailers too throng the place to sell carpets, handicrafts and other embroidered fabrics.

Cuncolim in South Goa is famous for its colourful wooden lacquer articles called ‘chitaris’.

Irrespective of the market that you visit, remember that even the most shopaholic customer needs to keep certain things in mind before you venture out for shopping. ‘Haggle, bargain and negotiate hard till you find the right price for something that has caught your attention.’

It is an integral part of the Goan shopping experience and adds to the zing. And last but not the least, do not let anything come in your way of taking a slice of Goan life back with you.
The shacks and vendors along Baga Beach
Baga Beach, nine kilometres west of Mapusa, is actually an extension of Calangute Beach with clean white sand but is much better maintained. A beautiful flea market is organised on Saturday here, complete with many lamps under the night sky in addition to the live bands which tends a true Goan carnival-like spirit to the place. It has several shacks and huts which offer delicious mouth-watering Goan delicacies and the infamous Fenny. Apart from the usual collection of shops selling some lovely handicrafts, trinkets, clothes, brassware and wood carving items, the place is thronged by many astrologers, funky haircut and tattoo artists and tarot readers.