Gujarat, known as “The Jewel of the West”, is a state where commerce has always been a part of its history, ever since the ancient times, being the location of the main centres of the Indus Valley Civilization, such as Dholavira and Lothal – the latter considered to be one of the first seaports in the world. As one of the most developed states in India, it also presents a valuable heritage of culture and traditions. It also has a very strong tradition in crafting.
The former capital of the state, Ahmedabad, houses the second oldest stock exchange and is India’s second largest producer of cotton. Having, therefore, the textile industry a strong presence in the city, it was formerly known as the “Manchester of the East” and stands as the country’s largest supplier of denim. In the suburbs of the city, there’s the house where Gandhi lived for twelve years with his wife, Sabarmati Ashram, which is a national monument now.
Anand, “Milk Capital of India”, was the city of the Amul dairy and milk revolution – well known as the white revolution-led by its founder-chairman Dr. Verghese Kurien. It also holds major corporations that include the industries of Tobacco and Banana. In the south and standing on the west of the Gulf of Khambat, lays the city of Bhavnagar, a very important commercial centre since its beginnings with the world’s largest ship breaking yard, Alang 50 km away. It is also the biggest producers of salt.
Once known as the “Brass City”, as it is the largest producer of Brass items in the country, Jamnagar holds the title of “World’s Oil City”, for being the place where the largest oil refinery was established by Reliance Industries- the world’s biggest petroleum company that plays a major role in India’s economy.
Surat, one of the oldest and the second largest city in Gujarat, is famous for its diamond cutting and textile industries, being the biggest producer of clothes. It is, thus, known as the “Diamond City” and “Silk City” of India. Slightly north, is located the city of Vadodara, well recognized for its educational institutions, with a very important presence of culture and industry as well. The main sectors are petrochemicals, engineering, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and plastics. Progressively, it is becoming the center for IT in the state.
Rajkot, the fourth largest city is another important settlement for the Indian industry. Known for its jewellery market, silk embroidery and watch parts, presents itself as the largest producer of CNC machine and auto parts manufacturers in the country. It has also one of the largest gold markets in the country. The textile printing units are famous for producing cotton salwar suits and cotton print, and silk sarees.
Although the state is an important industrial hub, the government has battled against traditional commercial activities in Rann of Kutch, one of the biggest salt deserts in the world, as salt extraction is a threat to the region’s ecosystem.
The preservation of natural life is also been taken into consideration with the Gir Forest National Park, a wildlife sanctuary where the Gir Lion lives, one of the most protected areas in Asia.
As mentioned before, Gujarat doesn’t end in the industry sector, having a very strong culture, as the Somnath Temple proves. Known as the “Shrine Eternal”, this is an important pilgrimage place, being the first of the twelve Jyotirlinga Shrines of Shiva.