West India Region
The industrial powerhouse of
the India, Western Indian region which comprises of Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra
and Madhya Pradesh, occupies almost a third of India's area and is home to a
quarter of her people. Almost all of the country's petroleum comes from
There are dense tropical forests in Madhya Pradesh, unending salt
marshes in Rann of Kachchh where nesting flamingos, pelicans, and avocets
stretch out as far as the eye can see and, in Maharashtra, precipitous hill
topped by impregnable fortresses from where the marathas and the legendary
Shivaji fought the mighty Mughal rulers in the 17th century.
This is the
region where you can see incredibly beautiful stone sculptures at Khajuraho,
Ajanta and Ellora caves, relax at the famous beaches in Goa and Diu or, may be,
run in to some of India's most glamorous film stars when you visit 'Bollywood',
as Bombay (renamed Mumbai), is often called.
Gujarat - Tucked away on the north-western sea board of
India, off the regular tourist beat, and sharing a border with Pakistan, is
Gujarat, the land of the gentle Gujaratis (people of Gujarat). This is the
hallowed land where the 'Father of the Nation' Mahatma Gandhi, was born in
1869. He won India's freedom in 1947 after a relentless, peaceful struggle
through the early part of the century. And the simple, but unique weapon that
he used was 'ahinsa' (non-violence). This is the foremost religious vow of the
peace-loving Jains who form a sizable and influential part of the population of
the State. Gujarat boasts of a number of Jain pilgrims centres, including,
Shatrunjaya, one of the holiest. The crest of 'Shtrunjaya' hill (Shtrunjaya-
'the place of Victory', over hatred and worldly things) is dotted with as many
as 863 beautifully carved marble temples build over a period of 900 years.
Goa - With a coastline of 105 km and measuring
just 60 km at its widest, this 'Emerald' on the west coast of India lies
on the slopes of the
Sahyadri Ranges. A number of rivers (Zuari, Mandovi, Tiracol,
Chapora etc.) flow westward into the sea breaking the coast into fascinating
estuaries and marking off picturesque palm-fringed beaches.
Hills and rivers, lakes and waterfalls, serene villages amidst lush green
fields, miles and miles
of famous silver beaches and, above all, friendly, hospitable
people who seem ever ready to break into song. That is the magic of Goa!
Little wonder that,
after rushing helter-skelter across this vast country, the
dusty traveller usually heads for this 'Oasis of many incarnations', to
rest his cares and let
the waves nibble at his toes.
Indeed, Goa is to India as Hawaii is to
India's third largest and third most populous State, Maharashtra,
lies on the west coast of India. Providing more than 20% of the value of
India's industrial output, it is amont the most economically important
It's history goes back bearly 2500 years. Numerous Buddhist and
Hindu rock-cut caves lie scattered across the land. In more recent times, it
was the domain of the Marathas whose legendary hero, Shivaji, challenged the
might of the Mughals in the 17th century. To suit the hurly-burly of his
guerrilla warfare, Maratha women modified the 'saree' to nine yeards from the
traditonal six, wearing it to look like pants. This distinctive and unique
style is still retained.
Madhya Pradesh - Madhya Pradesh, India's
largest state, lies sprawled across her very heart, occupying an area as large
as Iraq or Sweden (443,446 sq.km.). A land of contrasts, it has the Malwa
plateau in the north-west covered with black cotton-soil, rolling plains
interspersed with hills of the Vindhyanchal range which run east-west across
the middle, river valleys (notably of the holy Narmada river), and thick
forests. Many areas of this huge State continue to live in relative isolation
making it a fascinating land to explore. Twenty-three of the forty-five
districts have a predominantly tribal population.