Gujarat – Introduction And History

December 23, 2012 , , 7 Comments

A student of History has to understand Geography, Economics and Anthropology simultaneously. A person curious to know about world history has to proceed step by step, learning his own state first, then country and then only one can understand world history. Well, appreciating above facts, I am starting my study with History Of My State Of Gujarat. I have put it in order of time and later described important states and rulers.


Gujarat is a state in Western India having 75868 area, 1600 Km long coastline and population exceeding 60 million. Its capital city is Gandhinagar and is a home to Gujarati speaking people of India. It is bordered by Rajasthan to the north, Maharashtra to the south, Madhya Pradesh to the east and Arabian sea and Sindh of Pakistan to the west. It was created by the division of Bombay State on 1st May 1960.

Anarrta - Kathiavad - Saurashtra.
Laat Pradesh - South Gujarat.

1. 41 Ports - Major, 11 intermediate, and 29 ports minor.
2. 34 rivers - Narmada is the longest river (1312 km), Tapi is second and Sabarmati covers the longest area in Gujarat.
3. Districts of Gujarat: 27 districts.
4. Cities with population: Ahmedabad: 6352, 254. Surat : 4,462,062. Vadodara : 1,889,428.
5. The density of population: 308/km2
6. Religion : Hindu : 89.1% Muslim : 9.1 % Jain : 1%, Sikhs : 0.1%, Christians : 0.01 %
7. Administration: Legislative Assembly of 182 members of them, 13 seats are reserved for scheduled castes and 26 seats are reserved for the scheduled tribe. The state is lead by the chief minister. The term of office is five years.
8. The government of Gujarat bans drinking alcohol and gutkha (tobacco) chewing.
9. Economy: Agriculture products: Cotton, groundnuts, dates, sugarcane, milk & milk products.


Reliance industries for an oil refinery, Jamnagar
Tata for Nano car, Sanand
World's largest ship-breaking yard, Alang, Bhavnagar,
Oil and Natural gas, Kalol, Khambhat and Ankleshwar
Diamond cutting and polishing, Surat

10. Language: 84.5% Gujarati, 5% tribal languages of Bhil and Gamit, 4.7 % Hindi, 2% Sindhi, 1.5 % Marathi and 1% Urdu
11. State Symbols: Animal: Lions. Birds: Greater Flamingo. Flower: Marigold, Language: Gujarati, Sport: Kabbadi, Cricket, Song: Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat, Tree: Banyan Tree
12. Festivals :
(1) Bhavai: Entertaining and ritual dedicated to Amba
(2) Ras - Garba: folk dance as a celebration of Navratri wearing Chania-choli by women and Kedia by men
(3) Makar - Sankranti: flying kites, eating sweet balls (ladoo), and undhiyu (a special dish made of various vegetables.)
(4) Diwali: Year-end festival
(5) Holi: A religious act of burning fire
(6) Tazia

13. Tourism: Great Rann of Kutch, Saputara Hills, Asiatic lions at Gir forest Girnar, Pavagadh, Parnera Hills. Museums at Baroda, Kutch, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Dharampur.
Religious sites : Somnath, Palitana, Sun temple, (Modhera) Dakor and Dwarka - Lord Krishna Temple Ambaji, Mahudi, Snankheshwar, Shamalaji & Choutila.

14. Transports : Air, Sea,Rail and road.


(I) Ancient History:

Gujarat is the main centre of Indus Valley Civilisation having major metropolitan cities like Lothal, Dholavira and Gola Dhora dating 5000 years back.

There was a succession of Hindus and Buddhism states such as western satraps, Gupta Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, Pala Empires, Gujarat Pratihara and Maitrakas.

(II) Gujarat Maitraka Dynasty (470-819)

Because of the weakness of last Gupta kings, Bhattarka (The army chief of Gupta) established Independent Maitrak rule in 470 with Valabhi as capital.

During 349 years of rule, there were 19 kings of them known were Bhattaraka, Shiladitya I, Dronsinh (500-500), Dhruvsen II, Dharsen IV and last was Shiladitya VII.

The area of the rule was Kutch and Saurashtra in the west, up to Abu (Rajasthan) in the north, Vindhya and Sahya Hills on the east and up to river Tapi in the south.

Valabhi, the capital, was a port and there was a great Vidhyapith (University) famous for teaching grammar and religion. The cause of the end of this dynasty is not clear. Some say they lost to Arabs.

(III) Solanki and Waghela Dynasty : (942-1304)

Solanki Dynasty.

Mulraj I 942 - 997 Committed Suicide in Fire.
Chamundraj 997-1010 died by Santharo at Shuklatirth
Valladraj 1010-1010
Durlabhraj 1010-1022
Bhimdev I 1022-1064
Karndev I 1064-1084 Founder of Karnavati (A'bad)
Died to remember God.
Siddharaj Jaisinh 1094-1142
Kumarpal 1143-1172
Ajay Pal 1173-1176
Mulraj II 1176-1178
Bhimdev II 1178-1242
Tribhuvanpal 1242-1244

Waghela Dynasty

Visaldev 1242-1262
Arjundev 1262-1275
Sarangdev 1275-1295
Karndev II 1297-1304 (alias Karanghelo)

Golden Era of Solanki and Waghela Dynasty:

Word Gujarat: Gurjar country for our state was first coined here. Typical "Branded" Gujarati having characters of ambitiousness, courage, a skill of business, nature of compromise and fear of quarrel, Intellegentia and skill of earning a lot without hard work were developed and established during this period.

Ancestors of Solanki are thought to be south Karnataka "Chalukya" tribe of "Kshatriya"
First ruler Mulraj was crowned as king at Patan in 942 AD and established the boundary from Sanchor in the north to Narmada river in the south. Chamundraj, Vallabhraj, Durlabhraj, Bhimdev, Karndev, followed him.

(1) Religion:
Shaiv or Vaishnavism with the prayer of a mother of power and Jainism.

(2) Festivals:
Diwali, Navratri, Dussera, Vasantosava, Holi and Rathyatra.

(3) Caste:
Four types of grading were done and there was untouchability.

(4) Marriage:
Child marriage existed, the affording persons had more than one wife, on the demise of husband, wife either lived widow life or died in the cremation fire of husband (Sati), prostitution was present.

(5) Slave:
Slave system was present. The slaves were sold, purchased and or gifted. They were asked to do all sorts of hard work. People were becoming slaves themselves out of poverty inability to pay tax and criminals.

(6) Wrong belief:
People believed in ghost, goblin, witch hag and all such evils and were afraid of them. There was a big list of good and bad signs. - ill omen.

(7) Agriculture:
All grains, cereals, sugarcane, cotton, flowers & fruits, blue.

(8) Industries:
There was a trade via Khambhat & Bharuch ports with Iran, Arab, Africa, Srilanka, China and Indonesia.
Cotton: Baroji of Bharuch, Khambhatiya of Khambhat, Patola of Patan.
Cattle breeding and leather work. Khambhat & Gogha were important ports with shipbuilding industry.

(9) Patan (the capital, also known as Anhilpur) had 12 miles circumference, 84 Chok and 84 different markets. Every trade was having a separate market and every caste was having a separate street to stay. Sahastraling Pond was having 1000 Mahadev's temple with school, staying and food facility in dormitories. Water was derived from Rain and river Saraswati directly. Huge gardens with different flowers and different architecture temples are seen to be believed.

Great Kingdom of Siddhraj Jaisinh (1094 - 1143)

Siddharaj means one who has acquired many success/victory.

Jai means winner.
Of the forty-nine years of rule, thirty odd years carrier was that of different wars only. He was the son of father Karnadev I and mother Minaldevi. (daughter of Karnataka king Raja Jaishri). His mother played a major role in upbringing him and teaching of different skills of war.

Area: His kingdom extended from Saurashtra, South Gujarat, Gwalior, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Kirad, Sindh, Kokan and Sambhar of South, Rajasthan and nearly total of western India with Patan (Anhilpur) as a capital.

Architecture work and constructions:

(1) Lakes of Viramgam - Dholaka - Sihor - Kapadvanj - Patan Sahastraling lake
(2) Forty different forts between Vadhvan to Thana.
(3) New city of Sinhpur (also known as Sihor) Bhavnagar district (Sidhdhpur) Rudramahatya Literatures: Hemachandra Acharya wrote a grammar book comprising of 1.25 Lack slokas in Sanskrit and gave Siddha-Hem (connecting name of king Siddharaj and his own Hemchandra) name.

He was cursed by Jasma Odan (a labourer women of Patan Lake.) with whom he wanted to have physical relation and Ronak whom he wanted to make his life - both refused, died and cursed him. He was having no son.

He was having respect for all religious. Kumarpal followed him. Kumarpal became "Jainism" devotee and made Jain Kingdom - built - 1472 - Vihar all over the state.

(IV) Muslim Rulers:

Nagar Minister of Madhav of weak Waghela king Karandev II felt insulted by the king because his wife/daughter was illtreated, so he invited Allauddin Khilji to Gujarat.

1. Only attacks: Invasions to grab wealth.
1025: Mohmad Ghazanvi (Ghajini)
1177: Shahabuddin Ghori
1194 & 1196: Kutubuddin Aibak

2. Rule of Delhi Sultanate (1299-1405)
1300 : Allaudin Khilji - Gujarat Subo (Head) Alapkhan.
1316 : Malek Kafur Suba - Malek Dinar
: Suba - Hisamuddin
: Suba - Saiyad Vahiuddin Kureshi
1320 : Kutubuddin Mubarak Khilji.
1320 : Nasruddin Khushro
1320-25 : Gyasuddin Tughlak : Suba - Malik Ahmad Biu Aiujay
1325-51 : Mahmud Tuglak - Suba Zafarkhan.
1351-88 : Firoz Tughlak
1388-89 : Gyasuddin Tughlak II
1389-10 : Abu Bakra
1390-94 : Mahumad.

3. Independent Gujarat Muslim Rule. (1405 -1572)

Delhi Sultan Firaoz Tuglak's Gujarat Suba Farhatu - L - Mulk wanted to be first independent ruler of Gujarat. Zafar Khan defeated him. Later Zafar Khan won wars of Patan, Mandalghad (Mewar), Idar Junagadh and Somnath. In 1407, Zafar Khan became first independent Muslim ruler and changed his name as Muzafar Khan. I
1407 - 1411 : Muzafar Shah I
1411 - 1442 : Ahmad Shah I
1442 - 1458 : Muhmad Shah II
1458 -1513 : Muhmud Shah (Begado)
1513 -1526 : Muzafar Shah II
1526 -1554 : Bahudar Latif Khan
1537 -1554 : Mahmud Shah III
1554 - 1561 : Ahmad Shah III
1561 - 1572 : Muzafar Shah III

Sultan Mohmad Begado:

Best of Gujarat's Independent Muslim Kings : (1458 - 1513)

Born in 1445 AD, he was the youngest, but the most intelligent son of king Mohmad Shah II and his name was Fateh Khan in childhood.

Works :
(1) Helped Sultan Bahamani of South India.
(2) Stoped king of Killa Pardi from stealing work.
(3) Junagadh - III times, attacked, looted and won fort of Junagadh.
(4) Kutch - Sindh attack & victory
(5) Dwarka temple destruction after the victory
(6) Gogha port protection actions
(7) Founder of Mahemadabad.
(8) Malva attack.
(9) Champaner victory and made his capital.

Constructions: Founder of three cities:

(1) Mahemudabad (Mahemadabad)
(2) Mustafabad (Junagadh)
(3) Mahamadabad (Champaner)

Constructions at Ahmedabad :

(1) Sarkhej: Baxsaheb Dargah
(2) Rasulabad: Alamshah Dargah
(3) Vatva: Alam Saheb Rojo
(4) Mirzapur - Rani Rupmati mosque
(5) Asarva: Dada Hari Stepwell
(6) Adalaj: Stepwell
(7) Fort and gates, lattice network type geographical sculpture
(8) Two gardens and trees on both sides of the road from Patan to Baroda.

With all the praises for his justice, care of army personnel, modernization of army by cannon, winning big areas of kingdom with two hills - mints with Mahmudi coins, ecofriendliness by planting trees and preparing gardens and so many other issues, I cannot but say with regret about orthodox Islam nature demanding forced religious conversion to Islam and destruction of Hindu temples & idols especially Dwarka.

(4) Moghul Era (1572 - 1614)

(a) In 1535, Humayun won Pavagadh and looted there.
(b) Itimad Khan invited Akbar to rule over Gujarat .
1572 : Akbar
1605 : Jehangir
1627 : Shah Jahan
1657 : Aurangzeb
Then Shah Jahan Bahadurshah - Jahandar Shah - Farukh Sigh - Mohmad Rafi Ud Rajar - Shah Jahan II - Nasiruddin - Samatuddin - Azizuddin II

(V) British and Portugal Rule (1614 to 1947)

(VI) Post Independence (1947)

The purpose of this article was to bring you from unknown past to known present. I think "this is done", so I have stopped here avoiding other details of British and Portugal Rule and Post Independence, India.

Before concluding the article, I would love to introduce the history of three important states and their kings.


Because "Gond" tribe people live here or because "Gan Mandal" (cow place) the town is known as Gondal.

The early history is wrapped in obscurity. Different masters of different dynasties such as Yadavas, Guptas, Chudasamas, Jethvas, Mohammadans and Vaghelas ruled Gondal.
Vishnoji - 1611 AD, Mehramji - 1635 AD, Kumbhoji - 1678 AD, Samraji - 1709 AD, Haloji - 1836 AD, Kumbhoji II - , Muhuji 1790, Dajibhai, Devaji, Nathuji, Kanji, Motibhai, Bhanabhai.

Samgramsinhji II 1875

20th king Bhagvatsinhji was a genius person. Between 1884 - 1932 Gondal state had progress in Town planning, underground electricity and communication, education, roads, agriculture, underground drainage, railways, Irrigation and what not. He built schools, bridges and colleges each a model of great architectural style. He was architect, engineer and doctorate, in medicine making him a genius. He introduced first ever Gujarati, a dictionary called "Bhagavad Gan Mandal."

Maratha Gaekwad State of Baroda :

1721: Maratha general Pilaji Rao Gaekwad conquered the city from Mughal Empire.
1761: Gaekwars established Independent rule of Baroda from the central rule of Peshwas.
1802: Treaty with British accepting British suzerainty.
1875: Maharaja Sayaji Rao III

Gaekwar Maharajas :

1721 - 1732 : Pillaji Rao Gaekwad
1732 - 1875 : Damoji - Govind - Sayaji - Manaji - Govind (restored) - Anand - Sayaji II - Ganapat - Khande - Malhar Rao Gaekwad.
1875 - 1939 : Maharaj Sayaji Rao III
1939 - 1951 : Pratap Singh Gaekwad
1951 - 1988 : Fatehsingh Rao Gaekwad
1988 - 2012 : Ranjitsingh P. Gaekwad.
2012 : Samarjit Singh R. Gaekwad

Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III (1875 - 1939)

Born 10.3.1863 died: 6.2.39. He was a child by Maharani Jamnabai. He was taught extensively all administration skills by Raja Sir T. Madhav Rao and F.A.H. Elliot. All this made him great statesmen, ruler and educator.
1. Developed Textile: Industry
2. A ban on child marriage, legislation of divorce, removal of untouchability & a spread of education.
3. Founding Bank of Baroda 1908.
4. Compulsory & free primary education.
5. Railway network, Kamatibaug, M.S. University.
6. Patronage of Dr B. R. Ambedkar, Dadasaheb Naoroji and Sri Aurobindo.
7. Dance Academy and classical music.

Bhavnagar :

Gohil Rajputs of Marwar of Surya Vanshi clan shifted to Gogha port near Bhavnagar in 12-13 century.
- 1260 AD onwards it had 3 capitals.
- Sajakpur, Umrala and Sihor before finally establishing Bhavnagar as a capital in 1723 AD by Bhavsinhji Gohil and the last princely ruler were Sir Krishnakumar Sinhji who handed over the state govt. of India in 1947.
- Bhavnagar remained major port for two centuries trading with Africa, Zanzibar, Mosambic, Singapore and Persia.
- Present day Bhavnagar was planned and designed by Sir Takhsinhji Gohil (1869-96 AD) who constructed Barton Library, High Court, Alfred High School, Sir Takhtsinhji hospital and Takhteshwar temple on the hill.
AD - 1260 Gohil Dynasty rule.
AD - 1570 Sihor Capital
AD - 1723 Bhavsinhji Gohil ruled & Bhavnagar city founded.
AD - 1857 Jashwansingh (mutiny)
AD - 1870 Sir Takhtsinh Maharaj
AD - 1878 British Rule established

AD - 1870 (1) Railway Construction: Bhavnagar to Wadhwan and Bhavnagar to Dhoraji.
(2) Rajkumar college of Rajkot decorated with Takhtsinh wing
(3) Takhtsinhji Hospital of Bhavnagar.

Before Independence, India was ruled by about 6002 kingdoms of them, 222 were in Saurashtra alone. (on Wikipedia by Manoj Pande)


India was having 602 small kingdoms at the time of independence in 1947, of them, 222 were in Saurashtra alone, a western part of Gujarat. So a student like me desirous to address the history has gone step by step and summarised the above said details for oneself. If that has made some sense for the reader, I am the happiest man!


1. Gujarat no Itihas: Gujarati language book for III year B.A. students written by Pro. R. C. Shah, Dr Mukesh Patel, Pro. Falguni G. Desai and others in 2010 and has 240 pages (Price Rs. 120) published by Popular Prakashan, Surat.
2. Wikipedia
3. Bharat Na Samrato, by Jitendra Patel. Published in 2011 by Prashva Publications, A'bad.

Dr Bharat M. Desai
Desai Eye Hospital, Feeder Road, Bilimora - 396 380.

An ophthalmologist by qualification and profession, Dr. Bharatchandra Desai loves reading about history, religion, and spirituality. He has written about them and also about 'Anavils' at length. Read all articles. ડૉ. ભરતચંદ્ર દેસાઈના ગુજરાતી લેખો વાંચવા અહીં ક્લિક કરો.


  1. You have taken great pains to write authentic history of Gujarat. In Industries, may I suggest you to include Art-Silk Weaving industry of Surat, Cotton Mill industry of Ahmedabad and Rajai woven by Bharuch weavers. In Politics, Gujarat has sent one Prime Minister of India, Shri Morarji Desai; no history of Gujarat will be complete without mentioning the immortal Mahatma Gandhi, the iron man of India Sardar Patel, legends like Kaka Kalelkar, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Kavi Narmad, Narsinh Mehta, Uma Shankar Joshi, Makrand Dave, et al. Importance of Surat needs to be highlighted that in 15th and 16th century it flourished as International city with flags of 84 nations flying in Surat port, establishment of 1st English factory in Surat, loot of Surat by Shivaji [no. of times], 1906 historic Congress session at Surat and 1936 historic congress session at Haripura, Vyara, Surat. These are random thoughts coming to mind. Excellent effort. I appreciate your creation.

    1. Resp. Jyotindrabhai,

      I thank for going through my article and appreciating my work.
      I am happy one out of many readers has gave response.

      I do agree, the points you enlisted are worth adding. I suggest my readers to go through your comment till then.

      I liked the words of praise again.



  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. hello bharat desai

    thanks for up loading some very important information.

    can u suggest the best books to read for patan history..

    mihir upadhyaya

  5. hello bharat desai

    thanks for up loading some very important information.
    can u suggest the best books for as ancient history of patan.

    mihir upadhyaya


Thank you for your comment!