The name 'Gujarat' is said to have been derived from the Prakrit words 'Gujjar ratta' or 'Gujjar rashtra' - meaning 'the land of Gujjars.' Gujjar is the name of a tribe of people who entered India with the Huns in ancient times, wandered through Punjab and
Rajasthan and settled in western India. Gujarat had a great civilization even before the arrival of the Aryans. It had established trade links with ancient civilizations of Sumer, Babylon, Assyria and Egypt.
Gujarat is situated on the west-coast of India. Gujarat is bounded by the Arabian Sea in the west, Pakistan and Rajasthan in the north and north-east respectively, Madhya Pradesh in the south-east and Maharashtra in the south. It has an area of approximately 196,000 sq km.
Gujarati and Hindi are the official languages. About 70% of the people are Hindus, followed by the minorities of Muslims and Jains. About one-third of the population lives in urban area. The most urbanized part of Gujarat is Ahmedabad-Vadodara (Baroda) industrial belt. Major towns are Rajkot, Junagadh,
Bhavnagar and Jamnagar.
About two-thirds of the population are engaged in agriculture, the gross area cropped amounting to about half of the total land area. Wheat and millet are the staple food crops, with rice production being concentrated in the wetter areas. As one of India's most industrialized states, Gujarat has a variety of industries.
Gujarat is renowned for its temples and monuments associated with momentous historical periods. The architectural and artistic virtuosity of the people is reflected in many buildings, both ancient and modern. Wildlife sanctuaries, hill resorts, and religious centers are very much a part of Gujarat. The state has 4 national parks and 11 sanctuaries. Coastal shipping routes link Gujarat's many ports with other parts of the country. Kandla is a major international shipping terminal. Gujarat has several domestic airports apart from an international airport at Ahmedabad. Most of the domestic airlines operate from Ahmedabad connecting it to the rest of the country.