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Gujarat is a state in Western India and Northwest India, a coastline of 1,600 km (990 mi) – most of which lies on the Kathiawar peninsula – and a population in excess of 60 million. It is the sixth largest Indian state by area and the ninth largest state by population. Gujarat is bordered by Rajasthan to the northeast, Daman and Diu to the south, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Maharashtra to the southeast, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and the Pakistani province of Sindh to the west. Its capital city is Gandhinagar, while its largest city is Ahmedabad. The Gujarati-speaking people of India are indigenous to the state. The economy of Gujarat is the third-largest state economy in India with ₹14.96 lakh crore (US$210 billion) in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of ₹157,000
The state encompasses some sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, such as Lothal, Dholavira, and Gola Dhoro. Lothal is believed to be one of the world’s first seaports. Gujarat’s coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch and Khambhat, served as ports and trading centers in the Maurya and Gupta empires, and during the succession of royal Saka dynasties from the Western Satraps era. Along with Bihar and Nagaland, Gujarat is one of the three Indian states to prohibit the sale of alcohol.
Gujarat was one of the main central areas of the Indus Valley Civilisation. It contains ancient metropolitan cities from the Indus Valley such as Lothal, Dholavira, and Gola Dhoro. The ancient city of Lothal was where India’s first port was established. The ancient city of Dholavira is one of the largest and most prominent archaeological sites in India, belonging to the Indus Valley Civilisation. The most recent discovery was Gola Dhoro. Altogether, about 50 Indus Valley settlement ruins have been discovered in Gujarat.
The ancient history of Gujarat was enriched by the commercial activities of its inhabitants. There is clear historical evidence of trade and commerce ties with Egypt, Bahrain and Sumer in the Persian Gulf during the time period of 1000 to 750 BC.There was a succession of Hindu and Buddhist states such as the Mauryan Dynasty, Western Satraps, Satavahana dynasty, Gupta Empire, Chalukya dynasty, Rashtrakuta Empire, Pala Empire and Gurjara-Pratihara Empire, as well as local dynasties such as the Maitrakas and then the Chaulukyas.
The early history of Gujarat reflects the imperial grandeur of Chandragupta Maurya who conquered a number of earlier states in what is now Gujarat. Pushyagupta, a Vaishya, was appointed the governor of Saurashtra by the Mauryan regime. He ruled Giringer (modern day Junagadh) (322 BC to 294 BC) and built a dam on the Sudarshan lake. Emperor Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, not only ordered engraving of his edicts on the rock at Junagadh but asked Governor Tusherpha to cut canals from the lake where an earlier Mauryan governor had built a dam. Between the decline of Mauryan power and Saurashtra coming under the sway of the Samprati Mauryas of Ujjain, there was an Indo-Greek defeat in Gujarat of Demetrius. In 16th century manuscripts, there is an apocryphal story of a merchant of King Gondaphares landing in Gujarat with Apostle Thomas. The incident of the cup-bearer torn apart by a lion might indicate that the port city described is in Gujarat