Geography

Gujarat is the westernmost state of India. It shares an international border with Pakistan. Indian states bordering Gujarat include Rajasthan to the north east, Madhya Pradesh to the east, Maharashtra to the south. The union territories of Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the south also share a border with Gujarat.

Geographically, Gujarat has the following coordinates: 20° 6' N t° 24° 42' N (north latitude) and 68° 10'E to 74° 28'E (east longitude). Gujarat is counted among the fastest growing Indian states in terms of economy. The state of Gujarat was recognized on 1st May 1960.

The state can be classified into three regions, based on geography:

  1. The Saurashtra Peninsula, which is a rocky region interspersed with low lying mountains.

  2. Kutch, located in the north east of Gujarat, is a barren region with rough, rocky terrain. It is where the Rann (desert) lies. The Rann has two parts: the big Rann to the north, and little Rann to the east.

  3. Mainland, which is a fertile plain composed of alluvial soil. The Mainland lies between the Rann of Kutch and the Damanganga river.

These regions are discussed in further detail in the next section.

Physiography


Gujarat is Geographically Divided into Three Regions

Kutch, situated in the north west, is home to the Rann of Kutch. While this region remains arid throughout the year, the interesting fact is that during rainy season, it sees heavy downpour. So heavy are the rains that the Rann is covered in water during the rainy seasons.

The hilly Saurashtra region is home to low lying mountains, while the fertile plain lies between the Rann of Kutch and river Damanganga.

While less than 10% of land area in Gujarat is forested, it is well known as the place where Asiatic lions are found. Indeed, the Gir forests of Gujarat are the only place in the country where this species exists.

Geography

Geography of Gujarat has the following aspects:

  • Climate and natural features
  • Rivers
  • Terrain

Each of these points is discussed below.

Climate

Gujarat is known for its climatic diversity. The salient aspects of climate in Gujarat are listed below:

  • The winters are pleasant and dry, with moderate temperatures. Maximum temperature during the day time is approximately 83°F and night time temperatures are 53°F.
  • Summers are very hot and dry, with maximum day time temperature around 115 °F.  Night time temperatures are around 80° F.
  • During rainy seasons, some places in the state may be flooded due to heavy rain.

Rivers

Gujarat has many rivers; the four major rivers are mentioned here:

  • Narmada, which originates at Amarkantak plateau and merges into the Arabian Sea at the end of its journey. For Hindus, this river is among the seven sacred rivers of India. It meanders through the district Narmada, and into the district Bharuch, and finally flows into the Arabian sea near Bharuch city. The river is the site of the Sardar Sarovar dam.
  • Sabarmati, starting from the Aravalli hills, flows through Udaipur in Rajasthan and empties into the Arabian Sea, covering a journey of more than 370 kilometres. The Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi is situated on this river bank.
  • Tapti has a length of more than 700 kilometres, and happens to be one of the three rivers of India that flow from east to west. The other two rivers in this category are Narmada and Mahi.
  • Aji river is a crucial water resource for Saurashtra. Starting from hills at Sardhar and Lodhika, the river flows through Rajkot district and then empties into the Arabian Sea. The Aji river dam supplies water to Rajkot city. The dam area has been beautified by the city administration and boasts an amusement park, aviary, and zoo.
  • Besides these rivers, Guajarat has many other rivers including Damanganga, Rukmavati, Banas, Purna, and Shahi.

Terrain

The Aravalli mountains of Gujarat cover a major part of the state, but around 8% of land is under forest cover. The type and density of forest in a region depends on the rainfall received.

Flora and Fauna

Gujarat has a rich diversity of plants, birds, and animals. There are over 500 mammalian species, and 2000 bird species. Adding to this rich diversity is the countless numbers of insects, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. There are more than 400 species of plants, including Teak, Diospyros, and Boswellia serrata found in deciduous forests in the west. The arid regions of the state have xerophytes, plants that have adaptations to help them survive in extreme dry, hot climate.

Mineral Resources

The geographical diversity of the state makes Gujarat rich in minerals such as calcite, limestone, lignite, manganese, bauxite, feldspar, quartz, and agate. The state produces about 90% of soda ash in India, and 66% of the salt produced in the country. Kalol Kambat and Ankaleshwar are centres of oil and natural gas mining, and Dhuaranan's thermal power station is run on coal, oil, and gas. Surat is a city world famous for its diamond trade.

Forests

The hills, which are higher in elevation, receive more rainfall than the low lying plains. The forests of Gujarat are therefore mainly found in the hills of Saurashtra and the other hilly parts of the state. The hills of Kutch are the exception, as these hills receive little rainfall. A little less than 20 lakh hectares of land is under forest cover. The southern part of Gujarat is rich in deciduous vegetation, such as teak. Kutch has thorny forests, constituting trees such as Acacia Arabica, Acacia Leucophloea, Zizyphus Mauratiana, and Capparis Ophylla.

The geographical diversity of Gujarat includes hills, desert, forests, and rivers. The state is also rich in mineral resources and has an abundance of different flora and fauna. Thanks to its mineral resources and trade, Gujarat is counted among India's most prosperous states, with one of the highest per capita GDP in the country.

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