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» West India
» Gujarat
Location: West End of India
Capital: Gandhinagar
Tourist Attractions: Gir National Park, Dwarka, Kutchh
Best Time To Visit: July To April

The people of Gujarat are divided into three major groups in terms of religion - the Hindus, Jains and the Muslims, with the size of the communities divided in that order.

The major population of Gujarat comprises of Hindus. From earlier times, 'Vedic Dharma' was popular and from the remains found from the Indus Valley Civilization, it is believed that worship of goddesses, Sun and Shiva was followed. The temple of Somnath, one of the twelve 'jyotirlingas' of Shiva; the eleventh-century Sun-Temple, at Modhera; and the oldest temple of Dwarkadhish are some of the places sacred to the Hindus.

Jainism is widely followed in Gujarat for years. The oldest temple is believed to be of Shankheshwar Parshvanath in North Gujarat. Taranga temples were built during the Solanki period and they are better preserved than the temples of Mount Abu, Girnar and Shatrunjay. Palitana, is India's principal Jain pilgrimage site housing temples antedating 5th century.

Through the sea-route, which was open for trade, the people from Iran and Arabic countries started coming to Gujarat. The trade system was established and the Indo-Islamic culture flourished. The famous mosques are built during Mughal times. These include Sidi Sayyid's mosque, Jami Masjid, of Ahmedabad , Alif Khan's Mosque in Dholka, Jama Masjid of Bharuch, etc.

Buddhism also became popular about the same time as Jainism. There were Buddhist temples also and the remains of the same are found all over Gujarat. Ashokan Buddhist edicts engraved on a rock, dating back to 3rd century BC, are near Junagadh.

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