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The name 'Gujarat' is said to have been derived from the Prakrit Gujjar Ratta or Gujjar Rashtra - the land of Gujjars - a tribe that entered India with the Huns in ancient time and wandering through Punjab and Rajasthan, settled in western India.
Even before the advent of the Aryans, Gujarat had trade links with the ancient civilisation of Sumer, Babylon, Assyria and Egypt. The pre-Arayan Harappan culture survived here for over five centures after it was destroyed in Sind and Punjab. The ancient port of Lothal excavated recently has been identified as one of the most important centres of the 4500 years old Indus Valley Civilisation.
Gujarat is a complete destination in itself. Imposing buildings, ancient monuments, mosques, temples attract a large number of tourists to Ahemdabad. The most fasincating Palitana Temples at Shetrunjay Hills, dominating the landscape for miles is one of the most sacred places for Jains. Ancient temple of Somnathpur near Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach, Union Territory of Diu with its Portuguese characteristics; the house of majestic Lion at Sasangir and imposing forts at Junagardh are some of the highlights of visit to South of Gujarat. The west is dominated by Runn of Kutchh, the breeding ground of Flamingo, Pelican and the heart of Gujarat's handicrafts buisiness flourishing for many centuries. The tribal belt at Bhuj - The Rabaris can be seen all around in their traditional dresses, busy in the fields of art and culture.
Maharashtra, India's third largest state in area and population is one of the foremost state in agricultural and industrial production. Marathi is the predominant language of the state. The deep sense of nationality and unity among the Maharashtrians, whose ancestors defied the mighty Mughals under the leadership of their great hero and king, Chhatrapati Shivaji.
The pride city of Maharashtra, the commercial capital of India, Bombay famous for Gateway of India, Elephanta Caves and many other imposing buildings, museums is also the gateway point for tours to South India and Goa. The other most important tourist town of Aurangabad,named for the Mughal emperor Aurangazeb, is most famous for Buddhist Cave paintings at Ajanta and rock cut Kailash Temple at Ellora.
Pune, another fast grown industrial town with pleasant climate year around is also an institutional centre of Maharashtra, 170 kms from Bombay. Besides, Maharashtra's Ghat areas near the Konkan coastal houses several small hill stations. The closes to Bombay is Matheran, Mahabaleshwar and Lonavla. Karla and Bhaja Caves are 12 km from Lonavla
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