As a tourist destination, it is difficult to define Gujarat since it is perhaps one of the most diverse states in the country. It has a history, which dates back to the Harappen Civilization and flows through the dynamic kingdoms and principalities of the saurashtra region to the architectural splendors of Patan, the one time capital of Gujarat, ruled by Siddhraj Solanki.
History continues to flow down the Sultanate period of Muslim domination resulting in specific architectural forms, which characterize certain parts of the State.
The southern coasts of Gujarat have been the gateway to the Dutch and later on to the English and trade has been constantly conducted from the flourishing ports, dotting the vast coastal line of Gujarat, with Portugal, Africa, the Gulf countries, Italy and other parts of Asia and Europe.
The independence movement and the creation of Gujarat as a separate state have attempted to provide and identity by knitting the diverse influence in the history of this region, resulting in a vibrant and colourful tradition and culture which cannot be printed down to any one homogeneous group, but which retain the essence and fabric of the Gujarati culture.
In this amazing background exists the fortified towns of Gujarat. Many do not know that there are so many fortified towns, some of which retain the flavour of their original character. Many quaint towns such as Dabhoi, Vadnagar, Idar, Lakhtar, and others where the forts have remained intact find people still living with the focus of the fort as their common identity.
Located on the country's western coast, Gujarat is bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west and southwest and Pakistan to the northwest. Rajasthan neighbours it to the north, Madhya Pradesh to the east and Maharashtra to the southeast.
Signs of civilization in the region that is now Gujarat date back to the period from 3000 to 1500 BC. The region was part of the Mauryan Empire in the 3rd century BC under King Ashoka. In 1818 AD, the British East India Company took control of Gujarat by administering the state through local princely rulers.
For tourists who have comparatively less time at their disposal and want to 'do' Gujarat within a week, three places may be considered a 'must' for them. These are the Gir lion sanctuary, Palitana temples and the Ahmedabad city
The most convenient entry point into Gujarat is through the metropolis of Ahmedabad. Gandhinagar the capital of Gujarat is in west-central India.