I knew nothing about this state, other than that it is one of the most industrialised states in India and perhaps one of the richest. So I travelled there with great curiosity to see what it was like. It is, like a lot of states in India, huge and houses some 60 million people so what I saw was probably a smidgen of all the state has to offer.
Some titbits I enjoyed :
It is the home state of Gandhi, Jinnah and S.V Patel all giants in Indian history and for very different reasons.
It had one of the earliest ports in Lothal, so trade in goods and slaves was plentiful.
What with Gujarat being the only place in India which still has asiatic lions you could well be confused for wondering where you were occasionally.
It is a dry state - alcohol is not sold or served. Maybe that is why a lot of Gujaratis left !
Its cuisine is quite special and they pride themselves on the wonderfully delicious dishes they serve which often have a sweet, sour taste and while spicy are not fiery hot.
The roads are quite good which helps travel.
The people are a real mix of Hindus and Muslims and tribals.
There has been a history of communal riots involving both communities. More recently Narender Modi who is chief minister was exonerated of any blame. It seems that he has been instrumental in the rapid industrialisation and development of the state.
And yet wonderful scenes from the middle ages still appear with bullocks pulling a plough and shepherds wearing traditional dress like this shepherd here.