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Saurashtra

Saurashtra

Overview
Saurashtra is a region of western India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, located on the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

 coast of Gujarat state. It is a peninsula also called Kathiawar
Kathiawar
Kathiawar or Kathiawad is a peninsula in western India, which is part of the Saurashtra region on the Arabian Sea coast of Gujarat state. It is bounded on the north by the great wetland of the Rann of Kutch, on the northwest by the Gulf of Kutch, on the west and south by the Arabian Sea, and on...

 after the Kathi Darbar
Kathi (caste)
The Kathi are a Hindu caste found in the state of Gujarat in India. Kathi is also a big gotra of Yaduvanshi Ahirs of Haryana. Also inter-marriage between the Ahir and the Kathi is an old phenomenon.Kathi tribe is named as Catti or Cat'hi and has been named as 36 royal races by James Tod.-History...

 who ruled part of the region once. The Peninsula is shared with the Kachchh region which occupies the north, Saurashtra or Sorath forming the southern portion. The Saurastra or Kathiwar region comprises of south western part of Gujarat state and the districts included in this region are Rajkot, Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Amreli, Surendranagar, and some portion of Ahmedabad District also fall under this area.
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Encyclopedia
Saurashtra is a region of western India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, located on the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

 coast of Gujarat state. It is a peninsula also called Kathiawar
Kathiawar
Kathiawar or Kathiawad is a peninsula in western India, which is part of the Saurashtra region on the Arabian Sea coast of Gujarat state. It is bounded on the north by the great wetland of the Rann of Kutch, on the northwest by the Gulf of Kutch, on the west and south by the Arabian Sea, and on...

 after the Kathi Darbar
Kathi (caste)
The Kathi are a Hindu caste found in the state of Gujarat in India. Kathi is also a big gotra of Yaduvanshi Ahirs of Haryana. Also inter-marriage between the Ahir and the Kathi is an old phenomenon.Kathi tribe is named as Catti or Cat'hi and has been named as 36 royal races by James Tod.-History...

 who ruled part of the region once. The Peninsula is shared with the Kachchh region which occupies the north, Saurashtra or Sorath forming the southern portion. The Saurastra or Kathiwar region comprises of south western part of Gujarat state and the districts included in this region are Rajkot, Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Amreli, Surendranagar, and some portion of Ahmedabad District also fall under this area.

History


Referred to as Surashtra and as some other names as well over a period of time, since Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 and Vedic period, this region is mentioned again as Surastrene, or Saraostus
Saraostus
Saraostus was the name given by the Greeks to the area of Saurashtra and parts of south-western Gujarat....

 in the 1st century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea or Periplus of the Red Sea is a Greco-Roman periplus, written in Greek, describing navigation and trading opportunities from Roman Egyptian ports like Berenice along the coast of the Red Sea, and others along Northeast Africa and India...

:


Sorath


For a long span of time, the name Sorath remained limited to the region and later to the Muslim-ruled Princely State of Junagadh
Junagadh
Junagadh is the headquarters of Junagadh district in the Indian state of Gujarat. The city is the 7th largest in Gujarat. The city is located at the foot of the Girnar hills, 355 km south west of state capital Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad. The city is in western India. Literally translated,...

 ("Junagarh" or the "Old City"). During British rule, Junagadh and its neighboring princely states were supervised by the Western India States Agency
Western India States Agency
The Western India States Agency was one of the agencies of the princely states of British India. This agency was formed on October 10, 1924 as a part of the implementation of the Montague Chelmsford report on constitutional reforms. It was formed by merging the areas under the erstwhile Kathiawar,...

 (WISA). In 1947, Junagadh's Muslim ruler desired to accede his territory to Pakistan, but the predominantly Hindu population rebelled, and while he fled to Pakistan, a plebiscite was conducted as a result of which the kingdom was merged into the Indian Union.

Sorath/Saurashtra has a great spiritual touch and has produced many Saints and divine souls. For a brief list of some notable figures of Saurashtra / Kathiawar
Kathiawar
Kathiawar or Kathiawad is a peninsula in western India, which is part of the Saurashtra region on the Arabian Sea coast of Gujarat state. It is bounded on the north by the great wetland of the Rann of Kutch, on the northwest by the Gulf of Kutch, on the west and south by the Arabian Sea, and on...

, please refer to Notable characters and figures.

Saurashtra state


After India's independence in 1947, 217 princely states of Kathiawar, including the former kingdom of Junagadh, were merged together to form the state of Saurashtra on 15 February 1948. Initially, it was named United State of Kathiawar which was renamed to Saurashtra State
Saurashtra State
Saurashtra State also known as United State of Kathiawar was a separate State within Union of India from 1948 till 1956 with Rajkot as its Capital.-History:The Saurashtra State was earlier named as United State of Kathiawar...

 in November 1948. The exercise took up a lot of Shri Vallabhbhai Patel's time to convince the local princes and petty subas(totalling 222 in Saurashtra alone). However, Maharaja Krishnakumar Sinhji
Krishna Kumarasingh Bhavasingh
Krishna Kumarsinhji Bhavsinhji was an Indian monarch and politician who ruled as the last Maharaja of Bhavnagar State from 1919 to 1948 and also served as the first Indian Governor of Madras from 1948 to 1952.-Early life:...

 of Bhavnagar State
Bhavnagar
-Topography:Bhavnagar is a coastal city in the eastern coast of Saurashtra, also known as Kathiawar, located at . It has an average elevation of 24 metres . It occupies area of 53.30 km². General slope dips in the northeasterly direction at the apex of Gulf of Khambhat...

 readily extended to offer his large and royal empire of Bhavnagar / Gohilwar to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Bhavnagar became first in the country to get merged into the union of India.

The capital of Saurashtra was Rajkot. Uchharangray Navalshankar Dhebar (1905-1977), who later went on to become President of the Indian National Congress between 1955 and '59, became Saurashtra's first Chief Minister. He was succeeded by Rasiklal Umedchand Parikh (b.1910) on 19 December, 1954.

On November 1, 1956, Saurashtra was merged into Bombay state
Bombay State
The Bombay State was a state of India, dissolved with the formation of Maharashtra and Gujarat states on May 1, 1960.-History:During British rule, portions of the western coast of India under direct British rule were part of the Bombay Presidency...

. In 1960 Bombay state was divided along linguistic lines into the new states of Gujarat and Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

. The territory of Saurashtra, including that of the former kingdom of Sorath or Junagadh is now part of the state of Gujarat.

Language


Saurashtra
Saurashtra language
Sourashtra or "Sourashtras" or ꢱꣃꢬꢵꢰ꣄ꢜ꣄ꢬꢵ refers to a community of people who had their original homes in Gujarat and presently settled almost in all major Towns of Tamil Nadu and are concentrated more in Madurai which is considered as their cultural Headquarters.They have also settled in...

 (alternate names and spellings: Sourashtra, Sowrashtra, pattunulkaarar,Palkar, Saurashtri) is also the name of an Indo-Aryan
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 of Kathiawar-Saurashtra. Though Saurashtra Language
Saurashtra
Saurashtra is a region of western India, located on the Arabian Sea coast of Gujarat state. It is a peninsula also called Kathiawar after the Kathi Darbar who ruled part of the region once. The Peninsula is shared with the Kachchh region which occupies the north, Saurashtra or Sorath forming the...

 is not spoken in the region now, people of this region who migrated to the Southern India especially Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

(Madurai, Paramakudi, Salem, Tanjore) and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

, still preserve the language and speak the Language. The script of this language is derived from the Devanagari Script
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 and share similarities with the modern Day Gujarati
Gujarati language
Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is derived from a language called Old Gujarati which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages...

.

Communities


Saurashtra is home to a number of communities that are unique to the region. The kshatriyas, vaishyas, shudras and others live here peacefully. The castes include Lohana
Lohana
The Lohana also referred to as Luvana are an Indian caste,largely classified as merchants and are categorized as Vaishya or Bania caste although their ancient history proves that they are Kshatriya of Suryavanshi descant, claiming their lineage from Lava, son of Rama...

s Leuva Patel, Kadva Patel, Chauhan
Chauhan
Chauhan, Chouhan or Chohan , , - is a clan who ruled parts of northern India in the Middle Ages. The clan is most famous for Rajput King Maharaja Prithviraj Chauhan...

s, Jethwa
Jethwa
Jethwa is a name of a Kshatriya, Rajput clan that claim descent from Makardhwaja son of Lord Hanuman who appears in the Hindu epic Ramayana...

s, Raijadas, Chudasama
Chudasama
The Chudasama are a Rajput clan found in the state of Gujarat in India. The Chudasama dynasty,originally of Abhira clan from Sindh. The disambiguition of the name Chudasama means, Chuda-Sama, 'Chuda' is an Indian word used for big bangles which are normally worn on the wrist of Indian women and...

s, Gohil
Gohil
Gohils are Suryavanshi Rajputs who have descended from the Guhilots of Mewar. As per the Sikarwar Khyat, Prince Shiladitya was born on Jesth Sudhi Chaturdashi of V.S 543 . He was the son of Emperor Aditya Sen and Queen Subhaga Devi. Though born at Chitor he was educated at Vallabhi...

s, Parmars, Jhala
Jhala
Jhala is a term in Hindustani classical music which denotes the fast-paced conclusions of classical compositions. It is often characterized by the overwhelming of the melodic component by the rhythmic component. This is sometimes effected by the rapid striking together of the chikari between notes....

s, Jadeja
Jadeja
Jadeja belong to the Yaduvanshi rajputs or Chandravanshi rajputs. They are one of the 36 royal dynasties of old tracing their origins to Lord Krishna...

s, Chavdas, Solanki
Solanki
The Solanki was a royal Hindu Indian dynasty that ruled parts of western and central India between the 10th to 13th centuries. A number of scholars including V. A. Smith assign them Gurjar origin....

s, Sarvaiya
Sarvaiya
Sarvaiya / Sarvaiyya are a Rajput, Kshatriya clan of India mainly found in Gujarat.-History:Sarvaiyas like Jadejas, Chudasamas, Bhattis & Raijadas are off-shoot of Samma clan of Sindh. Sammas are again have branched off from Yadava clan of Kshatriyas, who claim descant from Samba, grandson of Krishna...

s, Savji
Savji
“Savji” or “Somavanshi Sahastrarjun Kshatriyas” are people who belong to the Kshatriya community within the Hindu caste system in India. They claim their linage to legendary puranic king Sri Sahasrārjuna also called Kartavirya Arjuna or Sahastrabahu of the Haihaya vansha...

s, Nagar Brahmins
Nagar Brahmins
Nagar Gujarati Brahmins are believed to be one of the oldest of the Brahmin groups.-Overview:Historians suggest that the origin of the Nagars to be Aryan, having immigrated to the Indian plains from Balkh in Central Asia...

, Kathiawadi Memons
Kathiawadi Memons
The ancestors of present day Memons who settled few centuries ago, in various part of the district of Kathiawar are now identified as simply Memons or Kathiawadi Memons, or Halai Memons . Kathiawadi Memons are further divided into sub-group which is generally refer to their ancestral village or...

, Sagar
Sagar (caste)
The Sagar are a Hindu caste found in the state of Gujarat in India.-History and origin:The Sagar claim to be of the Kshatriya varna, whose ancestors arrived in Kathiawar from Rajasthan. They are one of a number of quasi-Rajput groups such as the Kathi found in Saurashtra, and are concentrated in...

, the Kathi
Kathi (caste)
The Kathi are a Hindu caste found in the state of Gujarat in India. Kathi is also a big gotra of Yaduvanshi Ahirs of Haryana. Also inter-marriage between the Ahir and the Kathi is an old phenomenon.Kathi tribe is named as Catti or Cat'hi and has been named as 36 royal races by James Tod.-History...

s and Khant
Khant (caste)
The Khant are a Hindu caste found in the state of Gujarat in India.-History:Khants numbered 13,423 , including 6,733 males and 6,690 females. They are found chiefly in Gir villages in Junagadh district in Kathiawar. The chief of the tribe claims descent from Bhati Rajputs. The leading families are...

s, Turk Jamat
Turk Jamat
The Turk Jamat are a Muslim community found in the state of Gujarat in India. Many members of Turk Jamat Muslim community migrated to Pakistan after the independence in 1947 and settled in Karachi.-History and origin:...

 Karadia Rajput, Koli
KOLI
KOLI is a radio station serving Wichita Falls, Texas and Vicinity with a country music format. It operates on FM frequency 94.9 MHz and is under ownership of Cumulus Media. It is the radio flagship station for the Wichita Falls Wildcats hockey team....

, Kadiya, Kumbhars, Waland, Hajjams, Kannivadi, Kuppal, Juttu, Goundan, Appen
Appen
Appen is a municipality in the district of Pinneberg, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is situated approx. 3 km west of Pinneberg, and 20 km northwest of Hamburg.It is twinned with the village of Polegate, near Eastbourne in East Sussex, England....

 and Bhoi
Bhoi
The Bhois are an ethnic community native to Maharashtra, Gujarat,Western Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states in India. In Maharashtra, the Bhois originally lived in Mumbai, Nashik, Dhulia, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Pune, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri and Sholapur districts of Maharshtra. Presently, the...

s. The Siddi
Siddi
The Siddi, Siddhi, or Sheedi , also known as Habshi, are an Indian and Pakistani ethnic group of Afro-Arab and/or Black African descent. The Siddi population is currently estimated to be 20,000–55,000, with Gujarat and Hyderabad in India the main population centre. Siddis are mainly Sufi Muslims,...

s are to this day unique with their roots in Africa.

Postage stamps


The first postage stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

s of the state were issued for Princely State of Junagadh
Junagadh
Junagadh is the headquarters of Junagadh district in the Indian state of Gujarat. The city is the 7th largest in Gujarat. The city is located at the foot of the Girnar hills, 355 km south west of state capital Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad. The city is in western India. Literally translated,...

 in 1864. They consisted of three lines of Hindi script in colorless letters on black, and were produced by hand-stamping with watercolor ink. A second issue, in 1868 used colored letters, printed in black or red on several colors of paper.

The issue of 1877 was the first to include Latin letters; the circular design included the inscription "SORUTH POSTAGE" at the top, and "ONE ANNA OF A RUPEE" (or "FOUR ANNAS...") at the bottom. Some of these were surcharge
Surcharge
A surcharge may mean:*an extra fee added onto another fee or charge** Fuel surcharge, sky freight charges which represents additions due to jet fuel prices.** Bunker adjustment factor, sea freight charges which represents additions due to oil prices....

d in 1913-14, followed by redesigned stamps in 1914.

The next issue came in 1923, and featured a portrait of Nawab Mahabat Khan III, along with the inscription "SAURASHTRA POSTAGE". A set of eight stamps in 1929 including pictures of Junagadh, the Gir Lion, and the Kathi Horse
Kathiawari
The Kathiawari is a breed of horse from India, originating in the Kathiawar peninsula. Closely related to the Marwari horse, and resembling both that breed and the Arabian horse from which they descend, the Kathiawari was originally bred as a desert war horse for use over long distances, in rough...

 in addition to the Nawab. In 1937 the one anna
Indian anna
An Anna was a currency unit formerly used in India, equal to 1/16 rupee. It was subdivided into 4 Paise or 12 Pies . The term belonged to the Muslim monetary system...

 value was reissued reading "POSTAGE AND REVENUE".

The Indian province of Saurashtra did not design any of its own stamps, but before adopting the stamps of India, Saurashtra issued a court fee stamp
Postage stamp
A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

 overprinted for postal use, then created more one anna
Indian anna
An Anna was a currency unit formerly used in India, equal to 1/16 rupee. It was subdivided into 4 Paise or 12 Pies . The term belonged to the Muslim monetary system...

 stamps by surcharging three stamps of the 1929 issue.

Water scarcity


Saurashtra was not always a water-scarce area. People say that water was easily available in the region 10-15 years ago. Ashvin A Shah, a US -based engineering consultant who conducted a survey in 1998 on water availability in the region, says, “The presence of 700,000 dugwells in Saurashtra region indicates the presence of extensive groundwater aquifers throughout the region. This means there is one well for less than 20 people or one well every 300 metres" Saurashtra went through severe droughts over the years to the extent that people could no longer grow crops, nor did they have drinking water available. There has been in recent times a campaign to take up rain water harvesting .

See also

  • Rajkot
  • Junagadh
    Junagadh
    Junagadh is the headquarters of Junagadh district in the Indian state of Gujarat. The city is the 7th largest in Gujarat. The city is located at the foot of the Girnar hills, 355 km south west of state capital Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad. The city is in western India. Literally translated,...

  • Jamnagar
    Jamnagar
    Jamnagar is a city and a municipal corporation in Jamnagar district in the Indian state of Gujarat. The city was built up substantially by Maharaja Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji in the 1920s, when the district was known as Nawanagar. The district lies just to the south of the Gulf of Kutch and is...

  • Maher caste
  • Bhavnagar
    Bhavnagar
    -Topography:Bhavnagar is a coastal city in the eastern coast of Saurashtra, also known as Kathiawar, located at . It has an average elevation of 24 metres . It occupies area of 53.30 km². General slope dips in the northeasterly direction at the apex of Gulf of Khambhat...

  • Porbandar
    Porbandar
    Porbandar is a coastal city in the Indian state of Gujarat, perhaps best known for being the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and Sudama...

  • Amreli
    Amreli
    Amreli is a city and a municipality in Amreli district of the Saurashtra region in the state of Gujarat, India.-History:It is believed that during the year 534 AD Amreli existed was formerly known as Anumanji, Amlik and then Amravati. The city is named in ancient Sanskrit ass Amarvalli. Initially...

  • Somnath
    Somnath
    The Somnath Temple located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India, is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of the God Shiva. Somnath means "The Protector of Moon God". The Somnath Temple is known as "the Shrine Eternal", having been destroyed...

  • Veraval
    Veraval
    Veraval is a city and a municipality in Junagadh district in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is located 6 km from Somnath.- History :...

  • Surendranagar
  • State Bank of Saurashtra
    State Bank of Saurashtra
    State Bank of Saurashtra was a government-owned bank in India. It was one of the seven Associate Banks of the State Bank of India, with which it merged on 13 August 2008...

  • 2006 Gujarat earthquake
    2006 Gujarat earthquake
    On 6 April 2006, an earthquake was reported at 11:29:16 p.m. IST in Gujarat, India's Kutch and Saurashtra region. Intensity of the earthquake was measured at 5.5 on the Richter Scale....


Further reading



Further information regarding the culture and people of saurashtra can be found in the works of Harilal Upadhyay
Harilal Upadhyay
Shri Harilal Upadhyay was a Gujarati author, considered as one of the all-time great authors in the Gujarati language. He wrote more than a hundred books, including historical novels, social novels, short story collections, biographies, the great Mahabharat series, children's literature, poems and...

, well known Gujarati author.